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A Tehran Summer

By Syma Sayyah, Tehran

Many of you may have noticed that I have been rather quiet and have not been writing much for a couple of months. I went back to work last February and since then I have been devastatingly busy with different projects especially these past few months. The most unusual weather this summer has been more than a surprise. We had some rain which was most unusual for summer here and yet we had very high temperatures 44-45C for days on end which was driving me nuts. On top of all this there was the petrol rationing saga, which incidentally at the beginning seemed to make some difference to the traffic. We believe in public transport, shared taxis, telephone taxis, the metro and the buses which my husband Paul is quite fond of!

It is evident that the rationing has helped the air in Tehran and reduced all those nasty gases around or maybe the cleaner air is basically due to the on and off wind which was so welcoming next to the pool - the pool which took us over three months t o repair during the spring and nearly a month to fill with several water tankers brought in and at a staggering cost.

This summer we were very lucky musically and we were able to go to several concerts. We were invited to two of them by my friends as their daughters were performing and a couple of times went to the Vahadatt (former Roudaki) Hall where we enjoyed the performances by the Osnabrueck Symphony Orchestra recently and last month the Nour Ensemble, a mixture of traditional Iranian/Kurdish and medieval music which was most interesting although we did not enjoy all the pieces equally - some we liked a lot and some were a little repetitive yet since we love live music it was all great. On most occasions we met friends and went together and it was so civilized and enjoyable as life should be.

This summer we had many visitors from many countries but also this summer we saw many friends leave. Once we held a big special lunch party for our friends who had left and we ate ush-reshteh - it is a custom in Iran that after family or friends leave, those who love them gather together and eat a special ush (soup) - for Frances and Kasra, Angus, Marlene and Ole and Dada among others. Their places are empty in our hearts and in our lives. We quietly miss them and try to age their empty places.

We went to a few weddings, several funerals as well as many other social functions. I went to many places to attend to my charity work both around and outside Tehran. When one sees the positive effect of the work most of the time the tiredness goes away. Once we had to sort out a whole room full of books which were collected by a kind lady who has since passed away. We unpacked them, sorted them and repacked them, as they were meant to go to different schools that we -PKCF- work with. Some of these books are still in our garage as they are to be sent to Bam.

On other fronts, with great dismay I read of endless arrests and interrogations and joyful news of releases of some of the people who dare and care to speak out. With sadness I witnessed new shortcomings in Iranian women movements which hurt me deeply.

One thing that has pleased me this summer has been the joy of being able to see the mountains around Tehran. Every day it seems we can see the cable cars far away at Tochal from a corner of our balcony. The unusual wind that has been blowing often during the hot days in July and August has cleared the air so that as we are on a hill we can see parts of Tehran far away that we did not know existed.

On that note I would like to send you all my best wishes and hope that my life and business commitments will still leave me time to do what I enjoy most and that is writing for payvand. Inshallah! Here I have a few pictures from our summer for you.

... Payvand News - 9/7/07 ... --

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