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End of the year thoughts

By Syma Sayyah, Tehran

At this time of the year, many people take the time to reflect on the events that have taken place during the past twelve months.  I too have been wondering about all the many ups and downs of life that I have been through.


Syma Sayyah
Syma Sayyah 

I have been very active and busy throughout the year and keeping busy was the only way I could manage the difficult path that was set for me.  The ‘little pieces’, that I did not think would be much noticed, at times provoked such a response.

I am grateful to my editor at Payvand and all of my readers, especially those who sent messages and comments, good and bad.  I was quite flattered when one reader emailed me that if there was ever an award for the best citizen of Iran, he would nominate me for my work writing about events here.  This e-mail among the many others that I received from Payvand readers makes my humble efforts all worthwhile.

I was involved with two well known and very successful awards again this year.  The Second Kaveh Golestan Photojournalism Award, which is making a big name in Iran, took place in November at Iran Artists Forum and is the only independent award in its field.  In December, the Fifth Houshang Golshiri Literary Award was held at Niavaran Cultural Center; its prestige and independence is influencing writing and publishing alike in Iran.

I made new friends, some of whom I got to know in person or by email through my work with Payvand.  Several of them have been guests at my home and a few are now among my very good friends.

I got to know about more charities, one of which was Addicts Anonymous which is quietly working very successfully and is profoundly helping and saving many lives and families.  I believe they deserve to receive more help and support.  I hope I shall be able to do a piece on their work soon.

I also became familiar with some new women’s charity organizations as well as some older, mainly environmental women groups, which are doing their job without fuss, with their aims and goals clearly defined.  

Life in Tehran never fails to amaze me.  I was invited to a most interesting international philosophy conference on Heidegger.  There was another one on the works of my beloved Machiavelli, entitled Reading Machiavelli in Tehran.  This year I also went to my first fancy dress party, with a borrowed costume, dressed as a black witch.  I went to a very enjoyable party where, for the first time in many years, there were more boys than girls and they were not only charming and interesting but also great dancers too.   I also attended several women’s group meetings, as well as many business-related seminars.   Finally for the record, at long last I managed to visit Persepolis.

During the year, I encountered several situations that were quite challenging. When faced with such challenges, how I overcame or endured them without losing hope was a personal triumph.  The best thing for me last year was feeling the love and affection that my sister Sohaila, my partner Paul, my friend Shahnaz and my godson Madjid were able to give me, which made my more difficult moments bearable.

The greatest tragedy for me was the loss of my dear mother who left us in early September, even though I knew this was coming and we did everything we could to make her last months comfortable.  Yet, the depth of loss I feel and my missing of her zest and energy for life as well as her deep although not so obvious place in my life and in my heart, has cast a shadow which I hope will slowly but surely lift with the love and support I am blessed to receive from my family and friends.

Memorial for Syma Sayyah's mother

The worsening of traffic in Tehran and the pollution has meant that I venture out of the house less often.  My blood pressure rises, although less often now, at the petty annoyances of life here.  I find yoga has helped a lot to make things easier for me.  I have been a little disenchanted and disappointed with some of the NGOs I was involved in and have temporarily withdrawn from them for now.

We saw many new galleries opened in Tehran and I covered numerous art exhibitions, but on the whole I found the standards lower than previous years.  At times I walked out feeling upset and dismayed to have wasted my time.

Generally speaking, despite the shortcomings, with the help and wisdom which comes with age, and with yoga, I have managed to stay optimistic and cling to my belief that life is a field of contests and challenges.  We get what we ask for rather than what we deserve. 

Yes, it is up to us how to see things and how to behave in any given situation.  We as individuals allow what effect any events have upon us.  We cannot control the external factors, but we can control our reaction to them.  We should be ready for whatever may come our way, without despair and with hope, and even a smile whenever we can. 

On this note I take this opportunity to thank you all for your support and comments and to wish you all a very easy, smooth and if we are lucky, happy 2006.


Other Articles by Syma Sayyah:


Editor's Note: We sincerely thank Syma for her many contributions in the past year. Her articles have provided us with a small but bright window into Iran's culture, society and life. We wish Syma the best in her struggle with life, pollution, traffic, ... in Tehran; and we look forward to many more enlightening pieces from her.



... Payvand News - 12/29/05 ... --

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