He asked me out for one last time
By Shahin Shahin
May 11, 2001
It seemed like yesterday when I decided to break up with Asghar. I told
him it was over. He did not seem bothered. Maybe it was due to the fact
that we had only seen each other once in the past five years. He asked me
out for one last time. I thought why not? Let's throw caution to the wind.
I let him decide where to take me. So he chose Hassani's, my favourite
deezee experience. Freshly slaughtered Zanjan mutton on the bone simmering
in a big pot of water with onions, potatoes, chick peas and seasoning, accompanied
with nan sangak, mint and raw onions, mast-o-mooseer and cheese to boot,
Bulgarian I think.
We then went on to Akbar's Kababi for some koobideh ba noon. Over two
jars of doogh-e gaazi with ice we talked like old times. He talked about
whether he should remain in his rented room overlooking the joob or switch
over to the one with the panoramic view of the central hoz and the washing
lines regularly used by his landlady. I told him to go for the zir zamini
room, more bohemian, closer to mother earth.
No we did not go for the paloodeh at Akbar's. That was his first deviation
from our plans. Asghar suggested we should drive a bit. It was a pleasant
night. His open top Vaanet Baari was inviting. With him behind the wheel
and I sitting in the back facing the traffic we drove around to the raucous
sound of car horns and hysterical screaming Tehrani drivers. My hair was
safely inside my roosari. I wasn't paying much attention to where we were
The smell of gasoline caught my attention. I could taste the carbon dioxide
on my lips. Hum... I coughed profusely. "Chayee?" He asked. Back
to my favourite dining experience routine. At Hozkhooneh there was a live
band playing Baba Karam. Ahmad kootooleh on tonbak and Gazanfar Koorogli
on kamancheh. A new attraction? I recognised our tune. "Beraankaard
beyaareed, mano toosh bezaareed". I could tell Asghar was about to
show off his moves. Then I heard those three lovely words, "Wanna clap
I extended my arms upwards and joined him in a care free clapping movement.
I always loved his rhythmic hand movements. I think I first fell in love
with his clapping. In those 15 years of our courtship we had only clapped
together twice. I decided to stop analysing our relationship, "Go girl,
enjoy the moment," I thought. We clapped to the left, clapped to the
right, with him gazing tearfully towards me. The smoke from his half-finished
cigarette between his lips was going straight into his eyes.
Asghar whispered into my ears, "Let's get out of here." Back
to his Vaanet Baari. There was a familiar feeling in my stomach. Could it
be from eating aabgoosht and kabab koobideh with piaaz and maast, washed
down with gallons of doogh? The feeling was unbearable. I wanted to find
the nearest bathroom and heave and heave till I felt relieved. But I was
on the back of the Vaanet.
The feelings in my stomach became larger and larger, like a trapped tornado
trying to find its way out. I was trembling with anticipation. I moved myself
upwards slightly, raising myself enough. And it happened. The feeling was
a mixture of happiness, infinite light -- and a gentle stomach spasm. I
sat down again. Peace, contentment. The feeling of utter bliss overshadowed
While I was travelling where every winded woman travels alone, Asghar
was driving the Vaanet Baari through the winding kooches of south Tehran.
It reminded me of an old movie, "Samad beh Shahr Miravad".
We are in front of what looks like an aaloonak. I immediately noticed
the broken down roof, and the half smashed front door. Where is he taking
me? He seemed to have a purpose. I just follow hoping not to be done for
trespassing. He opened the front door and turned around. "Can you smell
"Oh my god! The smell hasn't reached here, has it?" I asked
myself. He motioned me to the back garden where the whole space was filled
with Gol-e Maymoon. Yes, I could smell it. I preferred jasmine though.
-- "Do you like it?"
-- "Like it?"
-- "Yes. The place, isn't it grand?"
-- "Yes it is."
Then he whispered to me like he never whispered before.
-- "Will you co-sign my mortgage application?"
Months later I heard Sakeeneh co-signed for him.
Coming next week: Rajish Kapoor and Indira Hindi in "Romancing