By Syma Sayyah, Tehran
You must all wonder what had happened to me, since I have been pretty silent for the past few weeks, except for two short art pieces that were written before I left Iran for a few weeks to carry on my busy life in some corners of Europe as well as visiting my loved ones.
I should start by telling you that I had no plan to leave Tehran for the Norouz holiday as my mum was convalescing at our house after being in the hospital for about four months. All that I will tell you about another time. However, on the night of the Monday before the New Year, the day we had that strange snow, our central heating broke down and I called our wonderful technician who comes over no matter what. He checked things out and tried everything possible but informed me that unfortunately there was a serious problem with the pipe and they needed to do some serious digging in a few parts, and he had had to turn off the system in the part of the house where my mum was staying. This was late Tuesday afternoon; the whole country was about to come to standstill in a day or two for nearly two weeks. I had learned the hard way that important works, especially those to do with the house, must not be done in a rush. So we jointly decided to postpone the repair until after the holidays, when he could be assured of the quality of work and the workmen that he would use.
My mum was so happy and she said that now she wanted to go to her own home. She always complained at best of times that my house was not warm enough for her, so in all fairness I could not disagree with her under the circumstances. She had her nurse in attendance and my brother was home to care for her anyway; she knows so many people around there since she has been living in that street for nearly 40 years; and there would be no need for me to stay around. This gave me an opportunity to go! I had originally wanted to go to Europe for Christmas but when Mum was taken to hospital in November I had changed my mind. I had my tickets and visa ready, my office was now closed for over two weeks, so I just called my travel agency and asked them to put me on the first flight from 3rd day of Norouz, as I wanted to be in Tehran on the 1st and 2nd day to pay my respect to a few dear friends who had their First Eid. So that is how I ended up in Europe.
I have written 4 short pieces that summarizes the activities that I have attended in Europe. I would like to share these Payvand readers starting with the first piece.
(1) Haft Seen at British Museum in London
I have a new good friend, Diana, who lives in London and heads the Popli foundation, which many of Payvand's readers may be familiar with as they often present the news of the foundation. Popli is involved in helping those who are deprived in this world with education and tools of earning a living in order to carry on a healthy and respectable life. Like the proverb says, they actually teach them to fish rather than just giving them fish. Popli's focus is mainly on Iran, but they also work in other places such as Afghanistan. The Popli foundation also supports and sponsors events that relate to Iran and Iranians as they are proud of their Home and Heritage. One such event that I had the pleasure to enjoy was held at the British Museum library. The event was the Haft Seen (seven things that starts with S in Persian) and was part of the Norouz celebrations there. The wonderful Mrs. Curtis who was in charge of the program explained a lot of details about the objects that they had put in the glass cabinet next to it.
Maybe next year others, wherever they are, will take up the idea and spread the good things that Iran and Iranians do and care for. I must just thank the British Museum, Mr. & Mrs. Curtis, the Popli foundation and their supporters for such a good event.
1. First Eid: in Iran when someone loses a loved one, friends and family take it upon themselves to pay their respect to the family by visiting them on the first Eid after the death of this person; and many try to make it as early as possible after the new year, which changes by just over four hours every year (Iranian calendar follows the Sun).
... Payvand News - 4/26/04 ... --