Hello lovely folks! Here I am on a freezing Sunday in Tehran tending to my blogging duties. I’m forsaking you not, so forsake me not! But what the heck, my friends: the world is turning topsy turvy and going cuckoo and not in a delicious Persian kookoo way. I am not flippant and I don’t mean to be frivolous and I know this blog is a platform (one that I yearn to use to its full extent) but I also don’t want to get involved in politics. I won’t get involved in politics. Whatever I say, whichever I say it, will be held against me, one way or another. Politics, by nature, is divisive. Food, by nature, is yummy and unifying. So I will only communicate via stories of food and culture, as has been the modus operandi of this here ol’ blog. I must note that a number of you lovely readers have reached out to me publicly and privately – asking about my well being and expressing your concern and support — and for that, for your sweet and thoughtful care and consideration, I am grateful! I can’t send you all Persian cream puffs (’tis a true pity) but I’m sending you something nearly equally wonderful and less caloric: LOVE! There’s no ban on that yet, huh? And I’m happy to report that while it’s true that I shiver and bite my nails when reading a certain someone’s Twitter stream and fret about the mayhem that may be unleashed, I nevertheless remain hopelessly optimistic that all will be well … and as it is now, I’m busy in Tehran with work and enjoying various Persian delicacies and recreational activities. And I do long to share it all with you! (ps Apologies that this post was prematurely published a few days ago. That was a snafu.)
Let’s dive in. I didn’t make any new year resolutions for 2017 but with Norooz (the Persian new year) looming oh so close, I do feel the pull of “shaking the house” tradition of spring cleaning and clearing and creating closures for loose ends. A “house” can have many literal and figurative meanings (not just our abode but our mind, our spirit, our thoughts, our relationships and all the places we store things and memories dear to us) and for me the strongest pull of organizing and cleaning up the clutter is to share long overdue stories and photos of my second epic visit to sojourn in Iran here with you. I am determined to pull this off and to avoid perfectionist traps that lead to paralysis, I’ll forego a clever or thematic structure of postings and stick to a loosey goosey photo essay format and start at the top of my iPhone photo album with whatever lies in wait for us there (never mind the season or relevance) and start to share and purge away. Thus, it so happens that we commence with a photo-story of my encounter with Alborz High School.
Alborz is the name of a glorious mountain range in Iran and it is also the name of one of the oldest and most illustrious prepatory schools in Tehran. I wasn’t very familiar with Alborz High School, but in the course of Zeerak Media (the digital company I told you in an earlier post that started here in Tehran) assisting a crowdfunding project on behalf of some Alborz alumni, I got to visit the school a number of times and via research get quite familiar with its past and current story and history. I can’t possibly articulate the full account here, it’ll be too long and tedious, and there are many things that I’d love to articulate that for one reason or another must remain unsaid, so we will let the pictures tell a thousand words.
Speaking of pictures, the team and crew of the prominent Iranian documentary filmmakers Mehrdad Oskouei shot a poignant film about Alborz High School and I got to witness a bit part of the behind the scenes to-do on one of my visits.
This is a snapshot of 2 school boys leaving the gymnasium. They volunteered to be photographed. Aren’t they adorable? They were LOVELY! Sweet as sugar cubes.
This gentleman used to be a teacher and is now a caretaker at Alborz High School. Here he is – at the entrance of the school – with Fati joon, one of the treasured Zeerak team members. The gentleman cracked us up by announcing: “I’m a super feminist!” I swear that’s what he said. He then read aloud excerpts from his epic poetic feminist manifesto. You all should have been there, is all I’m saying! 🙂
This is the entrance to the main building on the Alborz campus.
We made a few field trips to the school to take pictures.
Doctor M. A rare and true human. (Roheh zibashoon shad.)
Hipster Alborz alumni!
Some behind the scenes pix that you might enjoy.
Since residing in Tehran, I’ve been on the look out for good new books and writers to fall in love with. There is a wonderful little bookstore near where I work and the helpful salesclerk recommended Zoya Pirzad to me and wow … what a great recommendation. I fell immediately in love with her flawless writing and have since devoured ALL her books. In this collection, the book Fati is holding I mean, there’s a reference to Alborz School and Doctor M. which I thought might be of interest to die-hard Alborz fans.
It’s very niche information … apologies to non-Farsi reading non-die-hard Alborz fans.
Non-niche information: this is the food establishment I frequented for lunch after my very first field trip to the school. (It is practically right next to the school.)
The store sign reads: “Pamador’s Homemade Sandwiches” …
I remember debating the truth of the sign’s advertising while pondering this chalkboard menu … limited but good selection and very decent prices.
I ended up purchasing the “Fresh herb kookoo” sandwich and I remember I sat on the stool, enjoying every bite while people watching as people walked by in the golden mid-summer sunlight.
It did taste homemade. It was super delicious. It hit the spot. I felt satiated and grateful.
It was the right kind of kookoo.
And with that that, ’tis the end of this post, and I bid thee farewell till sooner than later my sweet friends!