Thursday, October 31, 2013

I do not Belong Here

It is a Halloween night.  I am staying home with a headache and a bitter taste in my mouth. I cannot wash it with however many candies I eat.  I eat nothing. I decide to do nothing too. Perhaps tomorrow is a new day with a fresh taste. It is only 7PM and a long time till the next day.  I have to kill the time. I think of watching a movie instead.  A break. A time away from all the thoughts and all the feelings. I blindly follow the recommendation on Netflix: Safe Haven. I have read the book a couple years ago. One of those airport-bought books to read at the airport and to recycle at the airport too.  She flees away from her house; she stops at a small town and soon settles there. She falls in love and she finds what she was looking for. She finds what she deserves. She finds where she belongs. That's where the movie ends. That's where my next day begins.

Monday, October 28, 2013

An Inspiration from the Past

A haiku:

Rocks and mortar standing tall
Castle walls protecting all
Boundless imaginations

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

When I Feel Defeated

"So many times it happens too fast
You trade your passion for glory
Don't lose your grip on the dreams of the past
You must fight just to keep them alive"

Sunday, October 20, 2013


I think I love to sit here by the fire; yet I love to put on a cozy jacket and head out to walk in the rising autumnal fog right now.
The high branches of the not so far trees suddenly look mysterious and majestic in the deep fog. Inviting for exploration, contemplation, meditation.
I put on a jacket on top of my robe and 

sit in the patio instead. It is rare for me to find such moment of peace at home. Everyone is still asleep. Surprisingly even my sunny son.  Perhaps because it is still hazy thanks to the fog.
Sipping on my (instant) coffee thinking. Deciding perhaps.
What I want to read first?
Chekhov or Maximum Influence?
Work on my short story or write in my blog?
I am just typing silently on my iPhone. The nature is ignoring me. I hear the hummingbird flapping, the robin's claws on the fence walking.  The blue jay pecking on mulch.  All these other birds I don't know chirping. Oh I just heard a rooster. And a dog barking. Gosh it is marvelous!

I feel compelled to make some decisions.
Whom do I want to be?
What do I want to do?
How do I define me?
What do I want to see when I look back in twenty years?
I need my diary.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sunglasses - A Short Story

She paused in her late morning hour to observe her day for a moment. She thought it was a busy day like most other busy days.  The main difference was that today she was going to meet him.  Noon hour was the agreed upon time.
She had originally proposed to meet a couple weeks ago but he declined and eventually rescheduled for today.  she had forgotten about what she wanted to tell him.  Whatever it was, it seemed unimportant now. But there was other things concerning her mind that she thought to share. But may be these would also deem unimportant in a few weeks.
While packing up her bag she received a text from him to meet in the patio of the cafe instead.  She sent a short response in agreement.  Then grabbed the sunblock and started applying it while walking to the door. At the exit door she realized she had forgotten to pack her sunglasses. She paused for a moment. She was already late. But he wanted to meet in the patio now and it was indeed a sunny day. She decided having a more comfortable lunch on the patio would perhaps increase the quality of their meeting, even if it was shortened by a few minutes.  Comfortable, however, was an ambitious wish for the meeting.
When she got there he was already sitting at a table. There was little patches if shade on the table provided by a neighboring tree.  He had hunched over his bowl of salad and some sort of meat. Healthy, she thought.
She approached the table from his left and casually apologized for her tardiness. He announced that it was a breezy day. It was indeed. She was enjoying feeling the wind in her hair now and thought why  he cared considering his short hair and long sleeve shirt.  She refrained from asking him.
She sat down with her dishes and started munching. She could hardly remember what possessed her to want to meet with him. To catch up yes. But that would take only a few minutes of sharing how she was and how her family was and how he was and how his family was.
He was finishing his salad. She was still playing around, finding small reasons to say something avoiding the eminent awkward silence awaiting their meeting.
She glanced at his wrist watch. Almost half an hour was remaining. She felt relieved knowing that she still had time yet anxious how to find the words to fill that time.
She couldn't read him. He looked calm, indifferent even.  The sun was on his face now and he made a shift in his sitting position. She was afraid to lose the moment. She was almost done with her meal.  Almost time to leave. May be it was best to leave now rather than starting the talk. What if she didn't tell him? Then he would find the meeting very boring perhaps. A waste of time. But what if she told him and later when she thought about it she realized that she exposed herself too much in her talk? She tend to do that.  After all the subject seemed utmost important now. How could she possibly prevent damage from this meeting?
Suddenly the moment arrived. It got triggered by his question. The question landed on her like an unexpected patch of shade. So she started telling him. All she could manage saying. She was not sure when to pause or if she should pause or if she wanted to pause. She wondered if she was crossing the line of confidence. At times she found her voice trembling ever so slightly. Her eyes welled with tears a couple times but she tried hard to sound professional and poised. But eyes. They can never betray.
She told him at last. Done.
He stood up to leave. She followed.  The meeting was officially over. Nothing more to say. Back to the usual life.
She started back trying to walk tall. Good that she was wearing her sunglasses.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Life Passing

Once upon a time there was a man who no longer is.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Change Oppotunity Growth

Once in a while I feel restless.  I feel unsettled in my skin.
Once in a while I find the "usual" boring, too little, even unacceptable.
Once in a while I need a little big change.
Some things are changing.  Some things have changed already. Now it is time for me to change too.
Perhaps I am just going through another growing pain.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Secret About Influence for An Immigrant

I have been reading a couple books on the subject of influence and unexpectedly I have made an amazing discovery: to be influential may be totally counterintuitive in different cultures. I see that particularly true for Persians living in the America.

Below are the specific examples I have found fascinating.
1) What may be considered being influential in the US, may be considered being nosy and even rude in Iran: asking people to tell you about their personal lives.
In The Art of Influence, there is a story about a bariesta that comes home with more tips in her pocket after a couple weeks of working at a cafe.  When inquired why, she claims that she had figured people out.  That people loved talking about themselves and one must just ask.  She explained that she asked the customers where they worked, how long their commute was, if they were married and had kids.
Well, ask the same string of questions in Iran and you either don't get any answer or get a question in response: why do you ask?
It is nosy and rude to ask people about their lives.  It is hard to trust one with that sort of information.
Amazing contrast!
2) What may be considered a commitment in the US, can be completely meaningless for an Iranian: asking people to provide a positive review on a product.
In the subject of dissonance and how it can be used to make commitment, I was thinking that it may not work in Iran. Iranians usually will tell people what they want to hear, not what is real in their hearts. They even offer it without you asking.  They complement you and your product even if they don't mean it.  It is called 'taarof'. Neither the customer nor the owner necessarily believe the complement.  It is just being "polite" and "nice".  So, I think endorsing a specific brand when asked by the owner doesn't necessarily generate commitment to support the brand in Iran, while it is more likely to do so in the US, especially when performed in written form.

PS: here are the books I read:
1) The Art of Influence by Chris Widener
2) Maximum Influence by Kurt W Mortensen

My m at 3.5 Months

My little m ahs and coos.  When she starts "talking", I talk back and sometimes try to immitate her.  Lately, when I try to make the noises she makes, she laughs at me!  I think she thinks to herself, what a silly mom!
She is still very "pushy" with her legs.  Maashaalaa she has really strong legs, when she starts kicking, one better duck.  She rolls now, and she pulls herself up to her midback craining her neck.
She still adores A.  Follows him around the room, even quiets down if she is crying.
She has started waking up too frequently in the middle of the night again and not going back to sleep.  I am sleeping even less and amazingly I feel completely numb to it.
When A was this age I used to read to him.  But I have not starting doing so with m yet and I am not happy with it.  It needs to be fixed!
She doesn't like sitting in her stroller.  She much preferred being carried in a baby carrier, facing out and watching the world.  I take daily/nightly walks with her and as she is growing bigger and heavier, the weight on my back is becoming harder to bear.  I feel I am losing hight under the weight!...

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Fall

The golden leaves of A's favorit tree are falling.
There is this huge tree in the front yard; I am not sure how old it is, but it surely has been here before many of the houses in the neighborhood.  A could watch it every morning from the window of his first room.  He once told me lovingly that it was his favorit tree in the whole world.  I told him it was mine too.  I suppose it was.  I am not sure if I called any tree my favorit in the past.
Its leaves have turned golden now.  They easily fall these days with any breeze.  Some fall slowly, taking turns and swirl before their final descent.  Some turn around themselves.  Some drop straight down.  But one thing is similar in every one of them: today, it is sad to watch them fall.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Little Joys of Womanhood

She was sitting in front of the big mirror by the window in the bedroom and the morning light was shining directly at her hair. She was trimming her eyebrows; tweezers in one hand, small mirror in the other, and the big mirror standing in front of me.  She turned slightly more towards the sun holding her little mirror in front of her eyes. The rays of sun were on her eyebrows now. With infinitesimal movements, She would see a new strand of hair on her forehead and eyebrows in the small mirror, each slightly different in color.  Black, darker brown, lighter brown, colorless.  Some thicker, some thinner.  Some longer, some shorter.
Tweezers in hand, she started examining each hair and its location and its relative location in comparison to the rest.  She had grown more fearless about shaping her eyebrows now after thirteen years of "womanhood". She started trimming.
When she thought the job was done, she looked in the big mirror. She saw a woman, smiling at her, with not so perfect eyebrows, but grateful for little joys of womanhood.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Little Joys of Life

The little angel, whom I am going to refer to as "m" going forward, adores my sunny son. When he is around, she watches him and follows him around with her eyes. Of course he is minding his own games, playing with his trucks and planes and as such. It is amazing how her look toward him is totally different than her look toward grown ups. It is as if she recognizes that he is a kid.
Some things never get better; so enjoy them as they are today.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Image of the Path

A friend was talking about the book Life of Pi.  He was surprised to find a few chapters of the book dedicated to the main character's (Pi) encounters with the religion of Islam.  He had found it interesting how the man who was introducing the faith to Pi was telling him that God was everywhere and was resembeled in everything.  My friend thought I had a similar vision toward things around me to which I made no claim.  He also said that one wont find similar sentiment toward God in Christianity.
Since this discussion, I cannot stop but wonder, how is it that this is not the image of the path in the eyes of an ordinary person?
An ordinary person for whom the media is the main source of information wont see anything but savage and opression in Islam.  I was thinking how even in the movie Life of Pi, Pi's contemplation in Hinduism and his encounter with Christianity was vividly shown, but the story about his encounter with the muslem old man who eventually allured him to accept Islam was completely cut short to only a few seconds.  Perhaps the producer was concerned with the public reaction if he stayed true to the book and showed the beauty Pi had seen in the path.
"We Prayed together and we practiced dhikr, the recitation of the ninety-nine revealed names of God.  He was a hafiz, one who knows the Qur'an by heart, and he sang it in a slow, simple chant.  My Arabic was never very good, but I loved its sound.  The guttural eruptions and long flowing vowels rolled just beneath my comprehension like a beautiful book.  I gazed into this brook for long spells of time.  It was not wide, just one man's voice, but it was as deep as the universe."
There is beauty in the world.


Happy harvesting!