My father and the steel worker relaxing in the orchid to a hubble-bubble pipe.

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We've inhaled resin fumes, fiberglass debris, varying forms of dust and erected two watersides in the process. We've lifted, connected and fastened. We've mimed, mispronounced and waved hands around simulating tools, scaffolding and even people. The English engineers – currently occupying my flat-come-hotel and entirety of each day during this construction period – were impressed with the staff provided, a mix of mostly Afghani labourers. Their enthusiasm and energy seemed to counterbalance their skill and commonsense. The three so called, 'Oompa Loompas', (referring to their size and odd looks more than a being a racist sleight), seemed to let the side down by feeling the need to work in close proximity – one doing and two watching. Yet, 'Oompa Loompas' are surely far more efficient, I might suggest that they resemble characters in a historical war strategy game, standing static until selected and instructed, "Baleh", they would reply as I ask them to cut some scaffolding or move boards from here to there.

One evening during the English occupation we escaped for a barbecue at the family orchid, where we sat around the hubble-bubble pipe and blending the conversation between work and play. After arriving I lay motionless, feeling less than 100%, with my body aching from the ten-days of mothering. Having tucked my hands in my sleeves and trousers into my socks to protect from mosquitos, I waited impatiently for the event to end, wishing simply to get back and get to bed. To help pass the time I propped my head up on an uncomfortably high log, angled to fit my cranium and aimed so my eyes can witness the path of the moon as it passed the spider's web neighboring the lamp above. As I looked on at the battered web collecting a feast, my uncle fanned the coals for the kebabs that I was sadly unable to stomach.

Music, I noted, had been our catalyst, had invited some privacy and kept us from feeling too distant

The junior ranking engineer – without mention – passed me the right ear piece of his portable music-player. We shared 'Hotel California' mixed with the blend of work and play entering the other ear. Although this is one of the more frequently played western tunes in Iran, I appreciated the timely symbolism (with my flat-cum-hotel) and certainly the kind gesture. Music, I noted, had been our catalyst, had invited some privacy and kept us from feeling too distant.

"Stanford Road?" I inquired, "Yes, I lived round the Seven Dials area...", replied the junior ranking guest. These words arrived like a spoon of medicine, the perfect fix to ease the pain from an nondescript illness that befell me that day. We continued to reel out lists of locations, starting with regions, then roads and eventually pubs. I could taste the Sunday roast as I finally remembered the name the local that also coincidentally was his at one point too. The finer the detail the more I escaped as we shared stories from our former residence. "In between the launderette and gallery, past the Curry Inn, keep going to the crossroads then opposite the church", I informed him, overjoyed that this meant something, even if he was the only one in the country.


  • Hey man! if I get it right, you miss you're hometown? Actually, I've been wondering why you don't seem to miss the country that you're raised in...

    By the way, are you done with the Danesh Complex project? Are English Engeneers still in the country?


    By Anonymous Reza, at 6:50 PM  

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