PO Boxes in Karaj, also empty.

 flickr  View my photo journal

It was only on my recent leaving party that I learned my Iranian address. After around 8-months of living at, "right at the petrol station, get to the cross-roads and take a left - here will do, how much do I owe you?", my place had a name. Armed with these newly learned road names, helpfully written down by my neighbours, I'd texted directions to friends and family as to how they may get to the party. Over half of the almost 100-visitors managed to eventually find their way, yet not without touring the city and bothering pedestrians whom also weren't familiar with the names. Like me, "right at the petrol station, get to the cross roads and take a left...", means a lot more to my fellow city folk.

Although I'd pass the street signs daily I'd never needed to provide details of where I live thus not really taken note. I've put this down to laziness on my part but in my defense, I struggle to remember all these new names, names with no association, just odd and mostly unpronounceable words – I might as well live on Nidlen Scole, it means as much as much as Navab Safavi.

Not once in 8-months have I needed to write my address and therefore it is no surprise that not once have I received a letter – solicited or not. It actually occurred to me around 2-months ago that I should maybe check my letterbox by the entrance door, maybe there would be junk-mail, maybe I existed to somebody. After searching my flat I'd found a set of unmarked keys and eventually reunited the correct key with the letterbox. Not a sausage. I looked through one end to see the day-lit gap between flap and frame allowing a light breeze through this dusty tunnel. I think I was very pleased.

Quite possibly she'd triggered a new spending trend and would shortly be receiving an invitation to join a Caribbean cruise at a one off special price – smoked salmon can do that!

I'd remembered why this pleased so much while standing in a well mannered 'baskets only' queue of a large supermarket chain. The lady before initiated her payment process by giving a keyring with a barcode. I guessed that she'd logged in, adding to a database of spending habits that will be sold on, happily done so for arbitrary discounts on future purchases. Quite possibly she'd triggered a new spending trend and would shortly be receiving an invitation to join a Caribbean cruise at a one off special price – smoked salmon can do that!

I'd remembered the increasing ratios of colourful and clever papers that sandwiched my bills, I remembered the cameras that protect me, I remembered the passwords and pin numbers, I remembered the feeling I had when hundreds of people would look at my name and address asking me if I remembered. I remembered that I was looking forward to not having to remember.


  • I was hoping you might continue your blog now that you are back in England, thinking that perhaps you might help us to understand what the major differences are between living there or Iran. I am Canadian and enjoyed your posts from inside this mysterious country. Hope you haven't given up. Take care.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:41 AM  

  • Hee hee, has no one really told you about Navab Safavi? He was a fundamentalist psycho who founded a group called "Fadayani Islam." He and his group were responsible for killing for or five prominent Iranians, three were prime ministers whose names I don't know off the top of my head, but one name I do know is Ahmad Kasravi. He was a brilliant historian and linguist and one of the few who studied the Azari language and people in depth and he was assassinated by Navab and his crew of idiots. When Safavi was caught for these murders he was executed, I think in the 50's or 60's and since the revolution the IRI considers him a "martyr" for what he did and how he died.
    Anyway, a tangent not really related to your post, but a good bit of information to keep around. You should look into Ahmad Kasravi and his work, though I'm sure most any site with his name on it is blocked in Iran now.

    By Anonymous Tahereh, at 10:45 PM  

  • Ick, *four rather.

    By Anonymous Tahereh, at 10:47 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home