Sunday, November 23, 2003

Clooney Shmooney
Make Way for the Persian Adonis:

The guys have spoken, they are in love with Niki Karimi. Kaveh, in his November 22 post, has declared his love for her and allegedly, Pedram also has feelings for her ( or her eyes rather)! Now is the time for us girls to publicize our love for the Iranian hunk, Mohammad Reza Golzar. Not only is he multi-talented, but is too handsome for words. Talk about gorgeous eyes.

In "The Last Supper", Golzar plays a student in love with his professor, a beautiful woman much older than him. I have witnessed a real life scenario similar to that; a 20 something year old handsome Iranian man, head over heels in love with a not so pretty woman 20 something years older than him. So this so called controversial movie did not at all shock me. What is sauce for the goose should after all be sauce for the gander. If It is ok for a man to marry someone 20 years younger it should be ok for a woman too.

Friday, November 21, 2003

I'm So Excited!
I just can't hide it!

YES YES YES! Finally, a prayer answered, a wish granted! One wish down, over 10 more to go! Wonder if the rest will be granted before the end of the year too. Well, even if not, I am so happy that just one will suffice for now. Prayers do work you guys. ( Though it usually takes at least 10 years on average for a wish of mine to come true! 10 years per wish, hmm, doesn't sound very good, does it now?)

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

"The Tune of Nostalgia:"
Not the Right Notes:

Sohrab says:
"It does not matter where I am.
The sky is always mine.
Windows, ideas, air, love,
earth, all mine.
Why does it matter if sometimes,
the mushrooms of nostalgia grow?"

Sohrab talks of the "mushrooms of nostalgia", Joseph's film is called "The Tune of Nostalgia", and when I saw clips from his movie, all I could think of was the pangs of nostalgia.

We met Joseph and Gilbert at a Persian gathering last week. We were told that these two handsome gentlemen are the sons of "Martyr Hike Hovsepian"( I will write about him in my next post). We talked to these two brothers and were highly impressed by them. While they talked about how the story of the film is about the life of the refugees and their hardships, I got all choked up, tried to fight back the tears, Sohrab kept chanting in my head the above poem and my heart started burning with the pain of nostalgia that we all are so familiar with.

My excitement over a movie that is to depict the misery and despair of the Iranian refugees, their dashed dreams and their real life experiences turned to disappointed after I saw the movie with friends and family.

The opening was fine. Pictures from Tehran and the heart wrenching songs played well with the audience's emotions. I weeped through the first part only to be ashamed of the in vain shed tears by the end of the film.

A Muslim musician, played by Gilbert who is amazing at the Piano, is determined to leave the country and his reason? Not a political one but because of his love for music and thinking that there is no future for him in his country. He easily leaves Iran (the movie does not portray the hardships of obtaining a visa to get out of Iran). At the refugee camp, he falls in love and has a great time with a girl who is supposed to be Iranian, but in reality is not and the lip syncs are so unnatural that one can easily detect that. It surely is an insult to the intelligence. The girl leaves for the States and the guy falls ill! Not because of being away from his family and his motherland, but for the love he has fallen in to in a short period of time. (How does that depict the pain and suffering of the refugees remains a mystery to me).

His Christian friend takes him to the church and he decides on converting. He finds peace and solace after that. Another interesting character in the movie was Jaffar, a Muslim outlaw. He gets imprisoned for robbery and the minute he is released, he goes to the church and repents. So I guess all convert and live happily ever after. I am sorry but for the life of me I cannot see that as a true portrayal of the predicaments of the Iranian refugees at the refugee camps.

While I admire Joseph for wanting to give the world a picture of our nostalgia and pain, I think that the movie was neither well-thought of nor well-planned out. Some more research into the lives and dilemmas of our fellow country men, better dialogues, and more real life depiction would have made the movie less Titanic like and more appealing to the audience.

Just one more thing; I did not detect any bona fide signs of nostalgia from the movie, so I believe that the title is not befitting. Maybe if Joseph considers changing some of the notes of the tune the title will make more sense.

P.S. The twinge of nostalgia is unbearable at times, especially for those of us who have recently left our birth-land. Yes, my heart aches from being away from my beloved country but the pain appears trivial compared to what our people back home are going through. I wish someone could rightfully picturize their agony. My heart goes out to the likes of Ahmad Batebi and his parents. His story is a tale of nostalgia in one's own home.
I was sent the URL to this clip that compares Batebi to Kaveh Ahangar, the song truly makes your heart bleed.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Promoting Dialogue among Civilizations?
You have got to be kidding!

"I would like to propose, in the name of the Islamic Republic of Iran, that the United Nations, as a first step, designate the year 2001 as the "Year of Dialogue among Civilizations."
Excerpt from President Khatami's Address to the United Nations, Sept. 21, 1998.

"In response to the proposal made by the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the United Nations' General Assembly declared 2001 as the year of Dialogue Among Civilizations. The Iranian government subsequently founded the International Centre for Dialogue Among Civilizations (ICDAC) in February 1999."

5 Years Later:

We are still supposedly promoting peace and tolerance. All words, no action. My question is : "How can we promote dialogue among civilizations and cultures on an international scale when we cannot even promote it at the national level?"

Friday, November 14, 2003

Not So Funny in English:
Persian to English translations:


I have a cute persian friend who has a hilarious American boss. Her problem is that when talking English, she is always translating ( I do that too sometimes!). The other day she had a client, Sue, with whom she needed the boss to talk to and explain the programs to( wow, too many "to"s!). The boss is out of the office and when he returns:

Her: Hi Jim, I was waiting for you to come back and try Sue!
Him: Gladly. Just tell me how old she is!

2.His Big Fat Persian Wedding:

Our family friend told me that he threw a big wedding party and invited his boss to attend. The boss could not make it and our friend was very anxious to tell him in detail how splendid the whole ceremony was, so he goes to the boss the next day, looks straight into his eyes, and in a cute, thick, Persian accent says:
"I want to tell you all about my wedding night!"
To which the boss freaks out wondering why someone would want to talk about his private matters! to his boss! I am thinking our friend should have not left out the word "party"!

3.The one on top?

With another friend I go to her dealership to complain about her car problem. I go along as the translator. I explain to the manager, who is this very well-dressed, well-mannered serious lady, about the problem only to be told there is nothing they can do. My short-fused friend gets all upset, turns to the lady and says:
"We don't want to talk to you. Just tell us who is on top of you lady!"
By which she was demanding in her own unique, sweet, Persian fashion to see the esteemed lady's superior, I guess and hope!

4.Mr who?

Mr Faaker was in the US I guess(not sure where he was exactly) and he was supposed to give a speech. The MC goes to the mike and announces on TV:
"And now Mr. F**ker is going to take the podium"!
I would like to suggest a name change Mr F.

5.Protection Provided:

A friend and I at Officemax, trying to find the best antivirus. After being burnt by the blaster worm and going through the lengthy process of worm-killing, we wanted to make sure we get the best protection for our COMPUTER.
The saleslady is very helpful, gives us a box and explains for 20 minutes how it will keep our COMPUTER safe. My friend turns to her and innocently asks:
"Yes, yes. But is this enough protection for us?"
I don't remember much after that, but I think I ran out of the store and hid in the woods for a week!

6.Ooops, wrong word!

During the first years of revolution, Mr. Rafsanjani held quite a few press conferences ( remember his famous semi-grin while talking to women reporters?) This may be hard to believe but it is the actual translation a consecutive translator gave:

Rafsanjaani to the translator:
"Beheshoon begin ke emrica be maa tajaavoz karde ast"!
The translator to the reporters:
"America has raped us!"
Me to the translator:
"How about Taking the translation course again"!

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Jesus or Mohammad?

I am a born Muslim. I have always believed and had faith in God. I have always said prayers in my own style before falling sleep. I have never been a practicing Muslim though. I have not been very religious and do not know much about my religion.
Back home I had Christian friends. With them I went to churches and lit candles there as well as in emamzadehs (don't know its equivalent in English). I was seeking refuge and solace. Prayer and faith gave me hope for future.
Here, we have quite a few friends who have converted to Christianity. Their reason: getting a greencard. With them I went a couple of times to listen to the teachings. I sang along with the choir, shed gallons of hot tears and asked the Father for prayers. Amazingly, the two churches I attended in Cali are filled with Alis, Mohammads, Hosseins, Fatemehs, Zahras,...! Even the Fathers are muslims who have converted to Christianity. There was a Father Hossein there tonight who gave me his blessing and prayed for me while I sobbed and weeped and snivelled and sniffed! My heart is so torn apart and my feelings so lacerated that I take any kind of prayer. The prayers, the solidarity, the kindness flowing there and the positive energy they impart to you is so touching that sometimes I wonder....

I love Mohammad and I love Jesus. Do I have to choose between them?

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Lynching Already?
Much Ado over a "Lynch"!

Hollywood does not lose any time now does it? "Saving Jessica Lynch" is to be broadcast on Sunday. I am thinking that this incredible lionization of this 19 year old is a clear travesty of the whole concept of heroism/sheroism!

Nightmare Relived!

Just when we thought the wild fires were 100% contained Bush arrives in San Diego. Watch out Cali, here comes the wildest fire of them all, the W. Bush Fire.

Birthday First Lady:

Laura Bush turned 57 today. Wonder what her cowboy of a husband gave the birthday girl, promise of less goof ups?

Another "Death to" day in Iran:

"Abaan 13th" again! The day we pour into the streets to chant "Death to the Big Satan" once more. How many more years of this can we take?

"Clone" Kebob:

"Clone meat is safe to eat".

"11", a Sequel to the movie "10"

Well, "10" is a beautifully made movie with interesting dialogues, but as a fellow film watcher who is of blood relation to me put it, it had nothing new to offer. The same old cliche themes were again restated in this low-budget movie. So my suggestion is for another episode to be added to the film, something different and new. Say, a man crying over being dumped and actually talking about it. But hey, we appreciate the touch of feminism Mr Kiarostami. More power to your dashboard cams.

Jobbin' USA:

My first day in a non-Persian work environment. I get a cubicle all to myself. I sit quietly in the corner of my cubicle. I do not see the faces of the people who arrive and start their work, but I sure hear alot of voices. From the cubicle in front of me I hear:
" Wow dude, check out celebrityphotos.com, these 2 b*t*hes are freakin' playmates bro"
"This freakin' b*t*h is freakin' smokin' dude"
"You are freakin' funny bro."
"Last night I was freakin' wasted dude."
"My puter is freakin' f**ked up, I freakin' cannot click on the freakin' photos dude."
And the flow of "F" words continue as I am sitting all blushed up in my cozy cubicle and that is a story on the first 5 minutes of my first job in the United States of America! I sure am gonna get a great lesson in everyday English conversation dude!

P.S. I got to know the dudes a bit later and they are real nice guys. They just seem to have a whole different terminology incomprehensible to the likes of me.

I-5 Hemmat Freeway, california:
8:00 AM, Tuesday:

As I was stuck in the traffic (sad rahmat be otobane Hemmat!) I tuned into KIRN, 670 AM radio channel. The above titles are my take on that day's headlines, some disconnected thoughts while concentrating on the road, and what happened to me once I got to my destination, Kaveh. So I guess the theme could be" My Tuesday in Cali", from AM to PM!

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