October 22, 2003

Hello Mandana,

Thanks for the kind words you posted to your site. It brings me great ecstasy knowing that the pictures gave another soul a joyful, positive energy. We're sitting at almost the opposite sides of the world, and we can still share some good laugh. It is indeed a small world. The reason I do not write in Farsi is that I'm way slower with the Farsi keyboard, and therefore when I type in Farsi I practically "summarize" myself :) But to respect your comment, At the end I'll include a Farsi poem I wrote a couple of months ago. Anyhow. Back to the main topic.

Between last night and today, I finished reading your archives. It looks like watching the movie of one's life in fast forward, and at the same time finding a lot of nice little surprises of familiarity, like the Truman Show which I loved a lot, or "?? ???? ????" which I know by heart (oh, and by the way - you most probably already know this - there's a CD by Mahour of Shamlou reading Moulavi's, and the CD starts with this particularly beautiful ghazal), or Harry Potter, or love for Tibet and Budhism, and lots of other things, setting aside the expression of the emotions, fears, nostolgia, running into a person who was at some point special in your life, different moods, etc. It was all very touching because they sounded so familiar. Your moments of feeling light and happy put smiles on my lips, and your moments of sadness and confusion almost brought tears to my eyes. As shamlou rightly says:

?? ??? ??????. ??? ????? ??. ?

I sort of lived with your past couple of years as I was reading through your journal entries, since I was trying to remember what I was doing and what sort of mood I was in during the same time period. My wife and I separated in December 2001, so most of my 2002 was spent on thinking about myself, what caused the marriage fail, what are the dynaimcs af a relationship, what are my big questions in life, how could I be a better person, and a whole number of other important questions. I guess it was one of those periods of life when confusion makes you question everything.

In that period I wrote a lot. If some day you want to, I'll share it with you, as you have shared a lot about yourself with me over this amazingly weird cyberspace.

It's a journey that people like you and I decide to walk into. A journey deep within, in the deepest layers of emotions, insecurities, confusions, and unanswered questions. And it's a shame that a lot of us decide to close our eyes on this important journey and focus on the external side of life - which is just as important, but not _more_ important.

It was my utmost delight to see that you have been through the same kind of
journey. Not necessarily on the exact same road as - fortunately for you - you did not have to go through the tough aspects of dissolving a family bonding, but on a similar path, because your expressions of emotions and questions and worries are all along the same lines of what I've seen. To understand the sadness, to cherish the sacred beauty of love, to apprehend the unfolding of anger towards some things, to try to understand why things do not happen the way we expect them to happen but go awry, to crave for the higher qualities of life, to appreciate the other souls around us for who they are, to question the self, to understand the self, to think about the real self rather than the image of the self in the minds of others, to differentiate between observing and judging, and to be honest.

That's a whole lot. You are an exceptionally talented young lady, with an
admirably high level of emotional intelligence. I congratulate you on the fruitful journey you have had, and I'm sure it has not come easy for you. It is even more admirable knowing that you have had to walk a more rough and tough road because you have lived in Iran. There's pros and cons for living in Iran and out of Iran - everything is relative. But from my experience of living in the US, even not that long - about four years - I can tell you that for somebody who is eager to learn and thinks about these issues and is sensitive to the delimmas surrounding the improvement of the self, there's a whole lot that can be embraced here. The freedom, resources, being multi-cultural, respect for people, and the expressive culture in here is something that unfortunately we've never experienced in our own country. Things like paying a visit to a Budhist monks place and spend a day with them, or taking a philosophy of Budhism course here at UCLA, which for an interested person here are very much available, are way far fetched for talented person like you. That's sad. And make that contrast ten times more obvious when it comes to women. I know very well how you, being a woman, have to carefully hide all those emotions that you put in your weblog when it comes to really talking to and interacting
with people. I'm glad that you have two sisters who seem pretty close to you -
I guess that helps :)

Oh, and I cannot finish this without thanking you - and your family - for visiting drug rehab facilities and taking care of those people, who are people just like us. That's an action of sublime humane value, specially when it is supported by the belief that it's not "in exchange for heaven", but just for the good cause. I felt profound proud of you when I saw your point of view about why one should do something like that. And yes, I do remember the dubbed voice of Zebel Khan. That part of the story was really sad.

I will pray for him tonight. Maybe you want to do the same tonight - it's been some time since it happened, and a little prayer will go a long way.
As Hafez says:

??? ???? ?? ??? ?? ????? ????
???? ??????? ??? ??? ??? ????

I don't know if this is a correct observation that I made seeing the fast forward version of your past couple of years, but I'm sharing it with you anyways just in case it triggers something: You used to talk with your God more in 2002. I saw less and less of that as I moved towards present time. Just something to think about :)

Ok... I promised to you that I'll leave you with a poem. Like I said, I'm slower at typing Farsi, and also, it has been a prioriy for me to learn to write and speak good English. That is why I do things mostly in English, but it's by no means about forgetting Farsi or disrespecting Farsi. I love Farsi, and I never go to sleep without reading Hafez or Sohrab.

Anyways, this is something I wrote a while ago, and there are some pointers
in it to the events and people involved, but I guess for the most part you can enjoy it. I have a flatmate - Ahmad - we share the same apartment and I call us "Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson" sometimes (Oh, if you've seen the pictures for Nourooz you know who I'm talking about), and some of his friends invited him to a gathering, and they invited me as well. So that's the story. And it was exactly the nights when Mars was the closest to the earth (was that a big news in Iran as well?) and it was like a really big, shiny star in the sky, hence the references to the Moon and Mars (for which I like the old Farsi name of "Bahram" a lot more than "Merrikh"). I guess from the quote I have as the signature of my emails (Have you seen Contact?) you can tell that I love stars... Anyhow, here's the poem:

http://www.unixica.com/~nasser/prose/sabad.html

Well, my good unseen friend, have yourself a great day.

--Nasser

Posted by mandana at 02:37 PM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2003

Hello Mandana,

When I wrote to you last night, I did not expect myself to open my eyes in
the morning thinking about your write ups. Remember in one of your postings last year you described the moments of awakening on a Friday morning, opening the eyes, seeing half way because your own arm - partly
under the pillow - is blocking your sight? It was something like that.

Today I decided to grab my food and go back to my desk and use my lunch break to read through your archives, starting from the very beginning. Sounds like a big project though, you have written a lot, and you should be proud of writing so much prose reflecting real feelings and emotions, going beyound the surface.

I'll have a lot to tell you, but as I am in the middle of your November 2002 here you have mentioned Kaman and war related issues, and I have to leave you up until probably bed time when I can take my laptop to bed with me and continue the journey through your archives, I wanted to share with you a poem that I wrote a while ago. And I was not sure if you would check weblog comments for the old postings, so I'm emailing rather than commenting. I hope you do not find the emails unsolicited.

I lost family in war with Iraq, and I also volunteered to go to the front (I have always been a pacifist, and I never liked the idea of picking up guns, so I went with Jahad Sazandegi) and I have bitter and sad memories from what I saw and lived through and experienced in those days. Specially when I started to understand more about the whole political game - sort of like your experience with your emotions for Hajjarian and your conversation with Reza - Parisa's husband? - three years later. Now, years after, living far away from home, the memories of those days are still among the most deeply sad ones I've had. Oh, and in case you're asking, no it's not because of hatred or those memories that I left Iran. Long story there.

Anyhow. This poem covers the sadness of those days, along with a lot of other sad things, some for external events, and some parts of my internal journey. It's sort of a portrait of my experience with life.

Interestingly enough, I think you will find quite a number of things that I've referred to pretty much familiar. I see them in your writings.
And, just like you said somewhere, it's not about being depressed. It's a
stoic, sacred sadness, missing things, that is with us. I know that you'll
understand:

http://www.unixica.com/~nasser/prose/sad-days.txt

Bests,

--Nasser

Posted by mandana at 03:25 PM | Comments (0)

Hello there,

I ran into your web log tonight. Great prose. And I'm not talking just about the style, I'm talking about expressing the feelings.

I preferred not to leave a comment on the site but to write to you in person, because my impression was that most of them did not follow the depth of the issues you're observing in your life - the comments are mostly greetings and at the best comments on writing style. And on the other hand I know what I would be writing would become pretty long, so an email would serve the purpose better.

Issues about love, feelings, doubts, and in gneral relationships are such
delicate and confusing things. We think we've got them down, and the moment we're sure about it we realize that we don't really know the answer.
I guess the biggest reason for that is that getting to know the self, and
also the real personality of the other person we're dealing with, and
understanding the dynamics of what happens between the two, is harder than
what we realize. It takes a lot of observation, experience, objectivity
and patience to understand them and deal with them.

So I wanted to tell you that your honset writing was very touching, and I
did relate very closely to some of your write ups. Like where you said "I
wanted to throw up the whole past" (Delam mikhad hame-ye gozashtaro estefraagh konam) - I know exactly what you were talking about.

Now there are times that all these issues around us depress us big time.
More than what one can handle. I wrote a prose one day that I felt like
that, and I guess it helped me move on more easily. Here it is in case you
care to read. Maybe you too find it a relief:

http://www.unixica.com/~nasser/prose/gratitude.txt

And last but not least, I noticed you were looking for pictures to use for
your site/projects. You can find some pictures that I have taken on my web
site. Most of them are pictures of events, but there's a few pictures in
the "Misc" section at the end which are not related to a particular happening or gathering, and maybe you find them interesting. If so, feel free to use any of the pictures:

http://www.unixica.com/~nasser

Again, good job in writing honesst feelings. I can tell from reading you
that you're honest. My best wishes with you.

--Nasser

Posted by mandana at 01:48 AM | Comments (0)