A True Story Of A Homeless Man
خاطرات يك آواره
Since I am not a writer , if there are any writers or good in English, who would like to correct the mistakes (Grammar or Dictation) in this story, I would appreciate to send me your comments. I hope you enjoy this real Survivor story.
This is God,
I will be handling all of your problems Today, I will not need your help so have a Miraculous day!
|Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage.|
- William Ellery Channing
I don’t claim to be a writer, so please forgive me if there are so many mistakes or grammar problems. There was long time I was trying to bring my life on the paper; I was always looking for a reason to do that? What? I am not sure. Maybe I could not type it in Persian. Or I had no reason to share it with others. There was a time I was good in writing. I was writing all the love letters for my pals who they were in love with some one and they were trying to impress them with my lines. I did not predict one day I will mix couple of languages which now I have even hard time to write in my own language.. I try to bring this Journey in simple language
Long time ago, when I was homeless my dad advised me: write about your life story you might be able to sell in future, it takes your mind of your problems and you might make some money as well. Maybe if my dad were not thinking too much about money I would not be home less in first place. While I was going through rough time, I wrote and wrote. Maybe it was too exciting or too sad which he destroyed the book himself. And we never talked about it ever. Before my notes get destroyed so many people read them, and each they had different feeling about it. I try to write it again, you might like it , if you have patient enough to finish it
I read so many books before I start my journey and who me? Some one who never could stay in one place and did not have enough patients. I got interested in reading. Books like Papillion life story, Well I always thought they will help me in my trips. Life stories like Charlie Chaplin and like this.
I go back a little, may be I can make a good intro for this story. I don’t claim, I am a good writer however I try my best to describe it. At least this is true story and is not like those stories you read in the magazines every week and in the end of story keeps you in your misery until next time.
Master Chief John Urgayle: I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A bird will fall frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.
Master Chief John Urgayle: Pain is your friend, your ally, it will tell you when you are seriously injured, it will keep you awake and angry, and remind you to finish the job and get the hell home. But you know the best thing about pain?
Lt. Jordan O'Neil: Hell no!
Master Chief John Urgayle: It lets you know you're not dead yet!
Tehran, 1987, standing in the hood. In our own word try to make the best out of our time from nothing to zero. Or vise versa. Ever teen were trying to skip the Military. We were planning in every way to run away from going to war. After all it was not our war and we were trying to stay alive. With all the hard time we had, there were wonderful. We had our dreams. Stay in the way of our girl friend to meet them. We were loyal to our friendships, we were pure and we were in love. In better word, we loved to love. As soon as we were learning a new word about love we were passing it to our lovers and were were writing it down in case we forget it.
We were reading love stories from writer R-Etemadi like Shabeh_irani ( Iranian night ) or Kafshhayeh ghamgin Eshgh ( Sad shoes of love ) we used to listen to songs from Javad Yasari or Abbas Ghaderi and try to be the man in the hood. The man! Dance competitions, and fighting with brothers who never understood what is the meaning of brotherhood. I mean Islamic military police.
They did not want to understand, there is more in to love than hate and name it love. Getting bit up and getting free haircuts by special Islamic force. Make the story short; I am sure most of these have happened to our young and old generation. Well maybe not that far back. Well I was like other young ones, I wanted to get out. I wanted to live. To be someone. And to be able to have choice and chose my life. Not to die for some thing which I did not even believe in it. I wanted to see abroad. Some how I was trying to runaway from family responsibilities, Military and Hard University life. There was Play by Mrs. Ahoo Kheradmand good friend of mine who used to say: my mom wished me to become a Doctor and my dad wishes me to become an engineer. I did not become any of them and end up being Delivery boy.
After all the hard time we had in High school, and after going through hell with family I made them send me out of Iran. I was telling them, if I go I will make something out of myself and if I stay I will end up to go to Heaven like my girlfriend cousin who dead meat
|The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.|
- Mark Twain
After couple of pre arranged meeting, they arranged my trip. I was not sure if I should be happy or sad. I could not scream and tell every one which I am going toward freedom since it was not a normal vacation trip. Every thing was supposed to be hidden. Like every one of my friends, which after a while we would notice he is disappeared, if he was not coming back dead, we knew he is gone out of the country.
We used to spend most of our Thursday evenings on Sarsabil Street, I remember last day me and couple of guys and my pal (my cousin) we went for a walk. We used to go all the way to the end of street, which was about an hour or so. That day I was trying to say good-bye to all the regular locations which we spent our spare times. My cousin was telling me, “The way you are looking at these places, like you don’t want to come back anymore” poor guy, he would have been felt it right. I love to tell him, however, bustard smuggler has told me, you will not talk to any one other wise the whole trip will collapse. And hey I had no experience, I was a kind of kid which were home every night at 9 pm the latest, I did not want anything rune our plan.
Last night, I went to Gym (Zoorkhaneh) and after working out, said good bye to all the equipments. And kissed the holy one for the last time. And paid my respect.
I was too proud to cry and see my tears are dropping. At my place, I said good-bye to my room and before I notice I was talking to the books and bookshelves. I was telling them take care of my brothers.
For the last time I had read the story of Papillion’s book. And I was reminding myself which I have to be brave. As I said I was kind of guy was home every night at nine. The only trip I was by myself was going to battled field. And my only wrong move was staying at gym over time. No I was not the holy man either, I did my things as well. Like harassing the girls on the way of school or dance competition in the battlefield and while they were praying, stealing dates for our snacks. Well dance competition in that situation was they only fun we had while every one had hard time, us, kids from Tehran and poor kids from small towns. Well I was not into drug or alcohol, I was not like others Islamic militant which they were smuggling drug or bringing self made alcohol to drink in the desert. Like those which they were chewing hash instead of date in the dessert. We were calling them, the Nation who is always in heaven.
On the day, I was getting to go. My mom was holding the holy Koran and burning seeds (spand) I was trying to ignore this step of leaving. I always hated to say good-bye. I was trying some how to skip this part; she was prying while she hugged me. No one tried to turn on the lights. Like from the lights every one in the neighborhood could find out I am leaving. It was a while which my brother and me were not talking to each other. He came forward, he was crying silently. I did not see why I should hide my tears, I hugged him as well. We were trying to talk with out any words for every moment we did not talk. I cannot describe in any language how we were feeling that moment and what we went through.
|Keep your fears for yourself, but share your courage with others.|
- Robert Louis Stevenson
Well the moment came and I flow toward the magic city of Zahedan. Even though I had diploma in English, but while I was sitting in my sit, was looking on the dictionary and looking for the words like: refugee, homeless, war, and similar. Smuggler had told upon arrival to Karachi you will go to united nation high commissars for refugees and you will say only one liner: I want to be refugee. That’s it and they will send you to any country you like. Or in three month you will go to Sweden. Well what a dream.
In Zahedan, we stayed in a place for a short period of time which that was enough to taste the chili for the first time in my dish. After a while they came after me with a small pick up truck. And we left toward out of the city. For me which every thing was new, was exciting even dressing as a Pakistani man. Driver stared to push the gas, I though hey this is cool. But shortly after like 007 movies he said if we get chased with police you got to jump, I said hell no. With over 100 kilometer per hour you want me to jump out of the car who do you think I am, Rambo?!! I watched Rambo movies and some others like that incase I have to copy their moves but I did not expect to be able to do or have to do them as well. Well finally out of town, me and one of the local man got of the car and head to the desert. He asked me if I do any sport, I said yes I am an excellent sport man: wrong answer, I did not know they would use that later. He said you seem like a sport man, you are strong. I asked why? Do I have to do any labor work? He answered no incase if we everything goes smooth we will ride the camel. I said to myself hey even Rambo did not ride the camel and I will. Is better than walking for long time. And I am talking about long time, over 30 hour. I was into myself and my thoughts which we heard scream I felt there is something going on. I asked are we going to jump or something, he said no, the other driver in second car is been arrested. We have to walk toward mountain and wait in there. As soon as we got out of the car, the driver disappeared. And we went in dark. I asked how long before we get to the camel, he said, we will not get into the camel tonight since we have to hide in the mountain tonight. Ten-minute walk end up to be couple of hours. Well it was desert and dark. It was not like we were at the beach or something. So time was even felt longer.
I spent the whole next day between the rocks and listen to the radio. It was Thursday afternoon, automatically I remembered our fun time with my cousin and I felt homesick. But I could get over it since I was excited for my journey.
Next night we started our walk again. We had to walk during the night other wise they could see us. We walked over 10 more hours. My knees were burning. I forget about the mussel pain. But I could not dare to complain. Well I had my athletic pride.
I think it was almost two days we were circling around the desert or we were going somewhere. We were always in the dark. I could not see to far ahead of me so I had to follow the guy. Finally we got the camels and some who was taking care of them. I was so happy to see our ride is there. I was so hungry, last couple of days we had just some pieces of fruit or dry meat and some bread. New guy gave me an apple and piece of bread. I am not sure how did I ate them. But I was so thirsty who I sucked the apple for it’s juice. After 3 days of walking which was around 32 hours having the camel do the job seemed like fun. I asked how long the ride is. He said 3 hours; I said is that like 3 hours of walking? With sarcastic tone of voice. He said no we couldn’t joke with camel. Well, this 3 hours camel ride end up being worse than the whole walking hours. For next three days I could not sit with out using something soft. My behind was so soared and painful for couple of days after. It was my first and last time and hey it was another experience. Right?
Well we got to the point which was the border and we had to be even more careful. We started to walk with the same guy and new one. This one was another 10 hours of walk that was more like rock climbing rather than walking. Worse was I had cold and I was getting thirsty faster than normal and I could not even sneeze since the sound was echoing in the rocks and that was not good. Every time I was going to sneeze I had to hide my head in my jacket and use it as a silencer. After a while I noticed a spring and two other guys drank fast and left, it was still dark and we could not make any extra noise. I am not sure how much I drank but seems like I was trying to store more than I could drink since I was not sure how long more we had to go before to get to the next location. I was drinking which I noticed I am by myself. I rushed to reach them which my coat got to the barb wire beside the spring. I could not scream or any way tell the others which I am stuck here. Finally I got myself out and ran after them. Finally we got to the point which one of them said here is Pakistan border, that’s it. I said hey we are free. He said don’t get to excited from here on we have to be worry about Pakistani militant. So we are not home free yet. Their police are worse than Iranian police.
|The best way to predict the future is to invent it. |
- Alan Kay
After this point we did not walk much longer. After a short walk we got to some desert made rest places. And we got into some landrace pick up trucks. These cars made for sand driving. So they were higher shocks. They added some more Iranian guys, which there got there earlier. No one was talking to each other. I was still in shock for the hours of walking and specially that camel ridding. Every one of my mussels was aching. We drove like we were crawling in the sand. I noticed they are hiding not because they don’t know how to drive. No one still was talking. Silence was worse. We were dieing to talk and talk about what has happened to us and share the moments. But…
I was in these thoughts which driver asked every one hang on to something and sit tide. We are going to fly, and hell he meant that when he said flying. 170 per hour in the sand. I could not believe the way these guys driving. They were dame good. Exactly like sand racing in the TV shows. We were 3 pick up truck back to back. I was just thinking one little mistake and we would really fly and roll over. I said are these guys in hurry or something, some one answered, no, if police see the trucks they will shoot without any questioning. During this driving we switched the trucks and houses couple of times.
We got to the area which all was large tents. We got into one of them and a local lady purred some tea in special cups, every one was thirsty, I am not sure how many of these little cups we drunk, but we got to the point we had enough but we did not want to be impolite and say no. one the guys said hey I don’t want to drink any more we got to find out a way to tell the host. One of them who understood the language, said if you don’t want to drink you should flip the cup up side down, that means you are fine, as long as you leave the cup in front of you means you like to drink and host will pure. As soon as we heard that every one of us we turned the cups.
Until we get to the first real city of Pakistan, we switched couple of houses and so many cars. During this driving, slowly slowly every one started to talk and describe how we should do when we get to Karachi. And how we should talk to UN. The interesting was, every one who was related to a certain politic group was trying to promote the group. I did not want to get involve with politic so I tried to ignore the conversation. The first modern city of Pakistan was worse than our own villages. For the first time after couple days we could get shower and clean up. A young Jew family and me we got in to a van and continue the next day toward Karachi. Well this was the best part of my trip in last couple of day. The road we were driving, at least seemed like civilized road. I thought at least there is not police to bug us anymore which driver said no one goes by himself since if local police doubt on us we will get arrested. We don’t have any papers and they will know we are illegal immigrants.
After couple of days driving we got to Karachi. And at least clean hotel. After long time and maybe for a long time I had a nice clean breakfast. For the first time I put on my sleeveless shirt which we were wishing for long time to be able to wear it while we were walking on the street. I shaved my beard, which I did not for long time since I was trying to look like locals. All the ladies took their scarf off. Every body was happy. I was feeling weird without beard and with sleeveless shirt. I was not used to it. I was feeling shy in front of the ladies. Even looking at the ladies without scarf. Movie posters on the billboard, colored dresses. There were no more long dark Islamic dresses. Every thing was different. Seemed like we came to different planet or something.
Next morning, we went to the hotel lobby and I could use my English for the first time and I was trying to be interpreter for the family, I felt proud which my English could be useful.
|Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life. |
- Immanuel Kant
The same guy who left me first time at Zahedan, he came and picked me up here. When he asked me about my trip I remembered my pain and how tired I was last couple of days.
My kneecaps still were burning. Excitement of the trip made me forget every thing. He took me to his own home in part of town which was Bulloch community. We got home an old lady came to the door. Well he went back to Iran the next day and asked me to stay till you find a place. Next day, a guy my own age came and introduce himself as old ladies son. He could speak Farsi. Well he was half Pakistani and half Iranian. He was not sure which country he should choose.
He told me later which every one tries to escape Iran and come here and I have to go to Iran since there is better opportunity for him to live there. Well what could I say? He was a nice and smart kid. We got close very soon and he asked me to stay with them longer before I find a place.
Soon I became like celebrity between this community since I was the only Persian and white guy and I was mussel man to them. Some kids they were comparing me with John Rambo. I stayed with this family close to one month. Every night we were going to the beach or playing with Atari games. And other leisure’s. I remember the first English movie, Commando with Arnold schweitzenager.
|History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.|
- Winston Churchill
Days were passing after the days and I lost my hope to go to Sweden or talking to UN. They were just helping very hot cases. Humanity meant nothing. If you had a paper work which shows you killed someone or you will be killed or chased by the government, maybe. Otherwise you meant nothing to them.
You could not go to Europe unless you have a big bag of money.
One day, I was walking by myself on the street which I decided to chase a beautiful lady. Maybe I get a date or something. And test my English in real job! Well I walked after her for a while which I got nothing except I got lost. Well I didn’t dare to tell her anything. When I went back I told the story, they reminded me which Pakistan is worse than Iran if they catch you with a woman who is not your relative. You will get punished much harder.
One of the guys who was trying to practice his English with talking to me (poor him) and that’s why we got friend. He suggested finding me a woman. Well, who I was to say not this offer. I said I don’t have anything against it but what’s the catch? He said, I will help you find a Pakistani woman and you help me to find a Persian one for marrying me. I said God help you. I said: we are not here on vacation, we are all immigrant and we are trying to go to somewhere else. I don’t think a Persian woman wants to marry you. Well in very polite way I was trying to tell him. He is not Iranian woman taste. Well at least those women who were in Karachi and waiting to get out of there. Well I accepted the deal. What could I lose? Part of Zero is still is Zero. However I did know this Pakistani lady whom he is going to introduce to me does not speak any English. So I had to learn some Urdu. And I have only 3 days to do so. I found out there will be a pick nick on the way which couple of young female and male are planning to meet out town. And one of them is me. First I did not know what’s going on and one dating means a lot to these kids too.
I must tell you most of the names in this story is been changed.
Ahmad who promised me the date, started to teach me some lines. For three days I tried to learn a Urdu line which says:” I want to become your friend “why I needed this line and how could I talked to her if even she says yes, don’t ask. Any way, I memorized the line and on the day, I was so happy which I am getting to know a lady.
Every one got ready and we looked like Hindi movies. Well when I am thinking about this set up, I could not call it anything since at the time it was wonderful however now I am thinking about it, it was ridicules.
When they said is worse than Iran, I should have believed it. We picked up every woman from one place, which looked like we are picking up some spies for CIA mission. Every female was covered completely. And with some secret tactics they were getting into the car. Well if Pakistani police were catching us they could make a colored TV series and show it in Black and white TV. After all the James bond movie scene that we went through, we got all the ladies and as soon as we got out of the town, they took the covers off. Dame they were fine women. No wonder they were covered.
|You need to learn to be happy by nature, because you'll seldom have the chance to be happy by circumstance. |
- Lavetta Sue Wegman
After couple of days of wait, it came to the time I was going to meet my future girlfriend. I even wrote couple of line poems in English and Urdu in order to express my feeling and pretty much for breaking Ice.
When she got to the car, she did not take the cover off her face. I said to Ahmad, is this only my luck or she is shy? He said: no since she does not know you, as respect she is not taking the cover off her face. Well talk about bad luck. I said: could we get to the point of introduction so she can take off the mask. I like to see her face. He said you have to wait.
We got to the free zone, what every that meant. This was different type of weird Islamic rules. One part of the city it was ok and one side you had t be covered. Like God was in break in this part of town so there were no sin.
We got out of the car and every guy got his own woman and went for walk. Ahmad, the lady and me remained, he pointed at me, which go and talk to her. Finally she took the mask off. She was beautiful but not that much to be covered. Well I know it was for Islamic rules. Any way, I stayed in front of her. I was shy and did not know how to start. Ahmad went behind her and told me to repeat. I came to say one liner that I memorized, but I was too excited I forgot the line. I said to myself hell no. This is not the time to play stupid. Ahmad repeated one by one until I finished the line. As soon as I finished the line she answered in Urdu: no. I asked what does that means. Ahmad said, means No.
I got upset and I said what do you mean no. We don’t have no. After 3 days of practicing and all we went through no she only says no. At least she could put some effort to say more. Ahmad said calm down. I will talk to her. Well after a short conversation. He explained to me which her ex- was from Iran as well and he left her empty handed and now she does not want to get involve with another one. And she knows you will leave too. Well I did not have any more to say. She had right to say no.
That was good experience and that day I became center of attention as usual and every women in the group were trying to ask question about Persian women or at least practicing their English.
Days were passing by and nothing was happening and less hope on UN. We I could not feel much since everything around me were new. Everyday something new was happening.
For instance I never forget the first time we went by a lake. Every guy took their cloths off and jumped to the lake and I was so shy to do that.
Mix culture of English and Hindi had some bad obvious on Pakistani culture. Like one side they were Muslim and the other side they were pissing on the sidewalk, as English people would do. But not in side walk toilets. While they were pissing as a Muslim they were sitting down without they care about ladies who were passing by. Which I never could do such thing. It was quite embarrassing. The guy who I was staying in his house came back and saw I am still in his place. I explained which I have good relationship with your relative and others in neighbor hood. So I like to stay here more. He said no like, I don’t want to, but you have to meet more Persian and they will help you to go on with your life rather than staying here. Well he was right. Instead of staying there and finding more friends which could not help me it was better to go with other Iranian.
|I try to avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward.|
- Charlotte Bronte
Finally I came out of the house, and with suggestion of one the guys, I moved in with a Mullah, he told me since he is the men of God you can trust him and also he might cheer you up as well. I had 200 US dollar with me, so I was afraid to lose it. I did not have much to carry, so it was hard to hide the money too. First day he was wonderful.
One day I came home and I noticed couple of guys was watching TV. Renting a video recorder was hot at the time. So I said hi and went to my room. I went out and came back home again. And I noticed is still same movie and same scene. I though, there is something fishy is going on. When they left. I went and checked the VCR. Ok movie was fine and still same spot. I looked for rest of movies that I found out a porn movie. I knew it, they were watching porn and as soon as I was coming in they were switching it to normal movie, that’s why it was in same spot. I was totally shocked, Ayatollah and group porn watching???
It did not take so long to find out what kind of bastard he was. Next day I came back home and I saw my luck is broken. Right away I went to my book, yes one the 100-dollar bills was gone. I went to Mullah and complained. He took it very offensive and he asked me to move out right away. I took one of my friends and told him to translate the story, he could not help either. He was too upset. I said to my friend, he stole my money and now kicking me out and he is still upset???? I told him about porn movie too. He said, is better you forget about it, by saying more, you will make it worse. He has power and he is misusing it. So just give up, no one will believe you anyway.
I went and I got a room in a hotel, I though I should go and stick to my own kind. I found Iranian and the hotels they were staying. I though since they understand my pain I could trust them too. What mistake.
Well, as soon as they found out I am fresh blood, they asked me to move in with them. I said hell, where are you? I am in heaven. I gave up the hotel same night and moved in with a group, my instinct game me some wrong feeling. Some how I could not trust this guys either. First night in the room, I pretended I am sleeping; couple of guys was talking and were planning to pick my pocket. I rolled over and slept on my valet. Well, next day I was out of there. Of course in that room, I met Darius and Cyrus. Two brothers, which they were quite known, as what I was not sure. They were speaking the Urdu and Punjabi very good. So I got impressed, it was first time for me to see someone speaks other languages that good. When I moved out, Darius came with me too. We were going for a long walk; I was not in hurry to get to hotel since I knew they will pick your pocket if you fall in sleep. I got a room in very cheap hotel with Darius. Well we could not sleep even 10 minute, there were so many lice's, which we had to leave. Soon I got to know these two brothers and their friends Reza. Reza was from Isfehan and they were from Tehran. I found out later which this two brother have been here more than two years and there was nothing they haven’t done, of course in wrong ways. Reza came to Pakistan about 8 month.
Kites rise highest against the wind - not with it.
- Winston Churchill
One night, couple of guys went out for one of that long walk. We got in front of a beautiful building and garden. I found a bench and lied down and I am not sure how long it took I fell in sleep. A voice in Urdu woke me up: stand up. I woke up and noticed is only Police and I. He asked me what you are doing here. With sarcastic tone I answered, well I am not sure last time I checked I was dreaming and you just woke me up. He said, funny ha? As soon as he found out I am Iranian, he said you should come with us to the station. I heard what would happen to you if Pakistani police arrest you. That time of the night I did not have any choice and none of the guys were around so I followed them. I am not sure why others they left me there by myself. At police station, sergeant asked me; did you know where were you sleeping? Again with sarcastic tone I said yes, on the bench. He said no I mean, where was the bench? I said no, did I have to pay for it? He said no, you were sleeping in front of US embassy. What were you doing in front of US embassy? I answered, you just told me yourself, I was sleeping, he said why there? I said well, I could not find any clean place and I told him the real story. He asked me for my paper work, I just remembered Nazis military, which everywhere you were just a piece of paper. I said I don’t have any thing with me. He said you would go to jail till tomorrow which you show us your immigration paper. And if you say is the truth you will be free. I was never arrested and never was in jail and no in one night I was homeless and in jail, wow. Well, I could say so many time I got arrested with our own Nazis police, (committee) that was different, I knew what I have done, you could go to jail for just your hair and the way you wearing cloths, and if you were looking at any one of them straight in the eyes you were in jail, and you get bit up first and they were questioning you later. They were god gifted to man made Islam, Not Islam that came from God. In Iran if you were getting arrested by any of special police force and you were coming out you were getting special respect from people, no one were looking at you as criminal or bad guy, you were victim after all. And you were getting free hair cut too. They wanted to leave an initial so they were shaving your head. But Pakistan police was different story.
I should add which it was a while local people they were demonstrating against US and it’s politic in there, so me being there was not a good thing. After filling up some paper work which I did not understand what is it they send me to special room, but not inside the jail cell? Officer asked me stay there or sleeps on the bench. I sat down, I was talking to myself, at least over there was a garden and Bench was clean, meanwhile I am not sure if you heard of the joke about where ever you go, you hear a famous line: Hi, Are you Iranian too? Yes that was the line I heard, I was surprised, I turned my head and I saw a man behind the bars. I smiled. I answered yes I am why? He asked, “Why are you here?” I said, I am not sure, I was sleeping on the bench … and I am here, I am afraid they send me back to Iran. With confident voice said, don’t worry, if they wanted to do something, they would have done it by now. And look you are out of jail. I asked, what have you done? He said I cut taxi driver’s nose. I was like, what? He said yes that’s truth. I said that was funny but in real? He said I am saying we had fight and I cut his nose and put it in his hand. Yes he was telling the truth.
Any way, it was strange enough to hear it especially for me who I never had a crime or simple fight. After couple of hours, sergeant came back and said you are free; you can go but promise not to go around that building again. I went back in hurry and asked the others why did you leave my there, I was in police station … well for them was something very normal. They said you are lucky they let you out. That’s important. They don’t let any one out easy, at least not without bribe.
Next day, with Darius who had more experience and knew language came out of that hotel. These brothers they convinced me which waiting for UN is useless. And since I did not have any money, flying was not a good choice either, so we decided next solution. Going illegally to India. Cyrus talked me into it and left his brother with me and went to Lahore with Reza. They wanted to find out the best and cheapest way to pass the border.
They left for Lahore. Darius and me went to a cheap hotel, and when I say cheap, means cheap. First night, we came out, after almost one hour. As soon as we went to bed, the bugs they did not let us sleep. Well we almost ran out. Darius told me I have better idea. We can go to 6 rupee beds; they were quite famous in Karachi. Wooden bed beside the crowed road. Every night, you were paying 6 rupee and getting a comforter and next day you were out. Oh I said comforter, sounds very nice. These comforters they were so thick and so heavy which even me could not carry them and we had to drag them on top of us. The good thing was they were not moving from top of your body. Dirt and what ever it was stuffed in them and moist in the comforter were making them so heavy and the color was muddy gray instead of white. I was taking every thing as part of my experience and my journey and accepting them, as is my destiny so I was shot up. We had to go to bed almost mid night since there were so many trucks passing by and we had to get out of the bed since instead of birds singing, we had trucks noise and their pollution. Means not much of sleep either. We spent couple of night like that until Darius got fed up, imagine he was only 17 and had quite experience and if he gets fed up, what would I feel. Any way, he contacted his brother and after some sort of gang bang the decided we join them too. That was good news, no more 6 Rupee bed. We got train and left to Lahore. Darius was only 17 but master of disguise, what ever you say he was in bad way. And I had to suffer him too; I needed him and his language. I did not found out much about this too brother fast enough. I did not know their background or what they have done in the past or what they have not done. But in hope of a solution and finding a way to escape from this situation we went to Lahore. And I thought we had to be with them for next couple of days anyway so it’s not that bad.
The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.
- Emile Zola
Even though I had good job in a nice location in Karachi, and I was getting about 100 Rupees a day, but I had to leave, working in Karachi was not what I came to this country. I was not expecting being far from home to effect my emotions that fast, but sooner or later I was starting to feel homesick. And god that was not a good feeling. Every thing started to become problem and every little matter seemed bigger than it is. At my work, all the guys were nice and they were treating me nice and they were trying to make me feel at home. But it was not enough; I was missing something, which I was not sure what it is. One of the matters which were bothering me was, my plan was to come here to go to European country, more advance than ours not coming to a country which they were way behind ours. I was scared of fire, I jumped to boiling water. That’s what happened to me.
I did not have any plan, any idea what will happen to me next day and being away from family and many more, they gathered and made my mind go crazy. This country was worse than Iran, Islam was different, you could find porn movie in stores but you could not talk to a female because you could get arrested. Women could not wear certain clothes other side some they were all covered even faces. And in the middle of the night you could see a motorbike like driving discothèque with loud music playing on them. There were so many unusual rules and discipline, which they were under Islamic rules and country was fully equipped with drug and under united state control and complete westernized. Being Muslim meant to pee beside the sidewalk and sitting on your knees, or peeing on the church’s walls or eating with your bare hand. I was confused about Islamic rules back in Iran since Iranian government anything they did not like were changing them under the name of Islam and if it was not working in their favor that rules was gone next day and now these guys were worse. With little more freedom of course what you call freedom that’s the question. Well in total it was a left over soup which the cook was blind and deaf and had no sense of taste.
Iranians, they were doing any thing to get out of Pakistan, and some they accepted the situation. For instance we had 300 official Iranian prostitute, imagine how many more were not official? That was what I could not accept, my Iranian pride could not accept and Iranian women trade sex in a country like Pakistan because we had such a government. We had a group, which they baptized to Christ. When I met these groups some of them were worse than Islamic fanatic. They were more Catholic than pop.
Running away from Iranian government Islam and accepting Christianity, that was something. Poor Mohammad and Christ. Men do any kind of crime and sin under their name.
Traveling with Darius across Pakistan, which I was playing as his mom, was mix with some adventures too. We tried not to pay part of the way, and had some fight since he could understand words people they were making fun of us as foreigners. It was long trip and it was better than walking and it was good opportunity to see the country.
When we got to Lahore, Cyrus and Reza was expecting us. And of course Reza was quite upset from Cyrus and what he did to him as I had some stories to say about Darius. When we exchanged the stories which we did not want to accept the fact these brothers are nothing but crooks. Well we found out these two brothers they were almost fugitive from the city for what they have done here. No wonder their Punjabi was perfect. They were looking for trouble any where they were going. Any way we got placed in these two brothers uncles house. Wow, quell surprise; I did not even know that until we got to the city. Imagine. His uncle was almost Pakistani guy, he was married to a Paki woman and they had a one-year-old kid. Uncle was architect and they seemed to be understanding couple. First couple of nights; they treated us as guest which was wonderful. But soon everything changed. Aunty, uncles’ wife, as we called her, found me a job without pay. Dah. As I said I was so naive that I had no idea what was going on. Reza became Nanny in the house; he was doing almost anything in that house. Soon they made me leave the house; the job was for the same reason too. The couple’s act changed completely and going to India got forgotten fast. Aunty did not even want to talk to me. Slowly slowly he stopped me from seeing Reza too. And it got to the level that Cyrus threatened me and he tried to stab me with knife. Well I guess for my own sake it was better to forget their names too.
I'll sleep when I'm dead.
- Warren Zevon
Soon I got friend with guys at work, well as I said I was not working, me being there was like gene pig in lab, I was a white foreigner which every one was enjoying to have me around. John was the first person accepted me as real friend. At work place every one was Christian. His English was poor but we got along very good. He was wonderful guy, in heart and his face. His act made me to trust him right away, his wonderful smile and kind heart. John found me temporary place to stay. Slowly going to India became a wish and story. John told me to stop talking about it since police finds out I will be in trouble. They could arrest me as spy. I told him no matter what I should go to India.
Reza officially stayed with family as Nanny, he was telling me he is not that happy, but he does not have much of choice, if he comes out he loses the place and free food. Two brothers they got disappeared.
While I was with John I had to change couple of places, either to live or work. Where ever I was going I was like a English speaking mouse lab. They wanted to have me around to tell every one we have a foreigner in our store. Days after days, the only thing was changing was my situation, it was getting worse. I was loosing weight and Rambo changed to Charlie Chaplin. I was missing workout days. But here only thing I had in mind was what to eat at lunch or what I will have for dinner, which most of the time was nothing but I still was thinking about it. When you get to this situation, every little matter becomes a big disaster. Like the day I had to go and find a free dentist. When they told me you have to pull your teeth out because you don’t have money to treat it, I was almost dying. I was swearing to everything, to my teeth, to my time and even God. Back in Iran I never went to doctor, here I got sick for bad diet and went to hospital. John was the only one beside my bed. When I came out of comma, he was trying to calm me down, and telling me it’s ok to cry. I don’t know why he knew I am too proud to cry. He said this happens to every one. It’s god’s will. I told him, I hate god too. Why I have to become sick. Why me?
Bashir, Stores owner that I was staying all day, he was a Punjabi speaking man, with a golden heart. I cannot describe this man; he was famous for his kindness. Unfortunately he could not speak one word of English. His Punjabi dialogue and they way he was speaking even though I could not understand him, made me feel like he understand me and cares. Most of his customers were Christians as well. John, with his poor English was interpreter for me. He was trying to learn Persian as well. As usual he learned all the bad words. Every one was trying to teach me little bit of Urdu.
There was a little kid; I never forget his face even though I have forgotten his name. He used to come and sit beside me and take my hand and saying I am his older brother. And was trying to teach me the words. He was pointing at things and saying their names.
They say life is a game, and we are players, I am not sure why life was playing with me like this. There are people they come to your life that you try to forget their name and faces and their people they come to your life, which you wish you could see them one more time. I promised myself, one day, when I am in a good position I go back and try to find these people. John, or this little guy, or Bashir were some of these people. I met people which I never had opportunity to say good-bye to them.
One day, the kid came and sat beside me and asked John to translate him. He called me his brother and asked me to accept him as my younger brother. He was trying to teach me Urdu because he wanted me to understand him. The problem was the state I was living was Punjabi speaking language, is like learning Persian in Turkish states of Iran, every one might understand Persian but their accent and dialogue is different. But these people they did not know English or even Urdu. I had couple of argue with some guys and I found out they are making fun of me. After that I decided to learn the language and stop people from talking behind my back or make fun of me on my face. John was trying to explain to me, which these guys are trying to show their excitement with making fun of me. For them is interesting to have some one different around. And they have a subject to talk about. Well maybe for them was fun, but for me was insult. Any was, that was good reason to learn the language. For instance since Urdu has made with Persian language we have a lots of words in common but with the accent has changed during the time. And some of the meaning of them. One day some one asked me, how are you? There was an expression with in Persian means you are a jackass. But in Urdu means how is your health, you can imagine when I heard the line what my reaction was.
You need to learn to be happy by nature, because you'll seldom have the chance to be happy by circumstance.
- Lavetta Sue Wegman
I was heard which Lahore is center for Baha’ee’s followers but I never had a chance to meet any one. After long time being in this city I met Babak and Manoocher. Babak was Muslim, and two friends came together to Pakistan in hope of going to Europe together. This religion they had problem with Muslims, since all the problem government created for them like hunting them for even their lives. That’s why they did not want to accept any one between them unless being same religion. I used to live in Christian living area back in Iran. I never noticed any different between any of our neighbors. I never knew two humans being are different and they will be judged for what they believe. As soon as I came to Karachi, the first question they asked me what is your religion. And now every where I was going; they were treating me upon my language and religion. Now I understood what these people was feeling while they were in Iran. Because they were questioning my believes. I never looked at my friends different. I knew their names are not similar to Muslims but did not matter. That made me to respect them even more. I was never into politic and never was religious person, but now I started to understand you don’t have to be into politic in order to hate the government. Form what I knew from Islam meant every one is same, every one is brother no matter what color of skin or language or land you are from, and now we are not that far from our own land and they made us separate and made us to judge each other for what we have not done. Our sin was to look at our God in our own way, cherish him in different language and color.
I started to have different feeling about people. I never looked at my Christian friend different or I treat them like they are from different planet. After revolution religion was just an excuse to separate people from each other. I was judging Pakistani people for their religion as well with out even I know. I hated them not for my situation, for how they were living or what they believed. I never though what is the color of God, or what is his religion, even though I was calling names when I had problems, still his was in my side and he was my best friend. He helped me so many times. But isn’t he the best person to blame when we make a mistakes? Even a thief is looking for God when he is in trouble.
Any way, this new group of Iranian they accepted me as friend. First time I went to visit them, it was strange. I had a weird feeling. I felt there is something is going on. They served tea and started to discuss different subjects. Most of them, they were there more than one year. Wow, one year, for me seemed long time. They were comparing the times to being in military, which it was two years. Any one was under 3 month still considered as goof or rookie. After all I was under 3 month. They turned on the music on; Darius was singing a sad song (similar to Elton John’s Candle in the wind song) every one was quite. The song was almost finishing, that silent was kind of suspicious. I asked are you guys waiting for something. Or every one is in love? Or day dreaming? Manooch gave me a devils smile and said, no don’t worry we don’t mean anything bad. Song finished and every one screamed, I asked what happened? They said hey man; you don’t have much of heart. Babak told me, who ever come new, we play the song. If he is homesick he starts to cry and you are one of the hearts less that did not. And you passed the test. I told them come on, crying and me?? Well they did mean any harm.
I asked them, how do you guys write letters and how often? If you hear a love song and react like this? Manooch, smiled and said, first you come, you write to every god dame person, because you want to tell them you are free and living in a foreign country and you talk about every new thing you see. After a while problems start to pour, you don’t feel to write even to your parents. And it will come to a point which you don’t have enough money to buy stamp to write them. I could not believe what I was hearing. I said I love to write letters. I cannot imagine I don’t write to my parents I feel like is my duty to write them. I asked them how is it possible to think of them and not to miss them. Babak, looked at me with sarcastic look and said do you want to know? That feeling comes to you when, your Tea changes to Coffee and your ten letter you are writing in a month will changed to once a year and instead or saying yes in Persian you will keep saying ok in English, that’s the time you start to become like a wooden human, no heart, you will be cold blooded stranger among us.
They said letters, I never forget, first couple of month my mom used to say to every one my son is gone to military service and he will comes end of the month, she was afraid to blow up the cover still after weeks pass by. After couple of weeks, which she could not keep lying to family, she had to say he is gone to Holland and he is studying there.
Till came a time she had to prove her words, how? Member of the family asked her to show one of my letters to them. This means trouble. So she asked me to write a letter and pretend you are in Holland and in your hand writing say stuff about Holland. At the beginning it was just passing the words. And she was pretending I am saying hi in the phone, it was much easier. I did not have to lie.
Until my mom asked me to write about Holland. God. How could I write about a place I have never been?
Well I asked Babak, have you ever been in Holland? He said yes we all have been, we have a big map of National geographic, which every day we travel, for free all over the world in 80 min. I said stop goofing around, I need to write something and show I am there.
He said first of all I heard they write in special paper, so we have to find special paper for letters. And than we think of something to write in it. Well we went to hang out place, expensive hotels. They were cool and it was good place to run from heat. He told me we could find something there. While we were sitting in the lobby, Babak told me, those papers under the plants! Those papers seem like letter writing papers. We can steal some of them and you can write on them and they would think you are in Holland.
Probably you can imagine how we took the papers from under the plants so no one could find out, especially in the hotel lobby.
Now we had problem how to lie about the story. Every one suggested something. Babak like Ice cream a lot. He said write Holland has wonderful, colored ice cream. And write anything you say about them. Well our first letter was all about ice cream in Holland. It was harder than writing a SA about what would make you future brighter, money or studying? I used to talk to God most of the time; even he got tired of me. I called him couple of time; I guess he was too busy, even in his answering machine he was saying stop calling me dude!!!
It was difficult to lie about something you don’t even know or a place you have never been, imagine I was in a bad situation and I have lie and pretend I am in a better place.
After the first letter, I had to tell my mom, I am not going to write any one, tell them, I am too busy with university which I don’t have time to write. Well I am sure that was not good news, since I got disconnected from family as well. The good thing was, I did not have to lie about anything. Since none of them could not help any way.
Me and the new kids on the block we got friend and became closer, I still did not have chance to move in with them and become roommate. 3 of us, we became closer, enough to plan to escape to India together. And gee our plans were so complicated sometimes which even 007 or Indiana Jones was a kiddies stuff compare to ours. For instance we planned we tie ourselves under the train for all the way to Delhi. I guess we were watching too much Hindi movie. Soon, with a short period of being in Pakistan I became interpreter for others.
Days were passing by and every day we were coming up with different new plans. Which with most of them we were either dead or in jail by finishing the plan. And when we were not planning for anything we were trying to find food or work. For instance I never forget 2 days working in Afghani Kabob store. God, that was unbelievable. Sometimes Babak was getting call from this mini restaurant. One day he talked us into it and we decided to join him. For two days, we were working close the very hot oven, in a 50-degree weather temperature. So you can imagine. We had to wash dishes that we almost washed everything, even our body. We were sweating like pig. I am not sure if we were washing the dishes or they were washing us. And we were getting paid for twice a day food. End of the day I am not sure if we were happy for eating the food or for finishing the job. When I say restaurant I should correct the word little bit. It was kind of man made oven mixed with kitchen, pretty much every thing was in the same place in a 2 meter by 2 meter and next to it was two table. One of the poorest restaurants. Talk about sanitation. By the way, I would not recommend the restaurant to eat there.
We were trying to bring some food, in any cost. Of course in a decent way. Working in that city, especially if you don’t know any kind of work and not to have permission to work was not easy. I remember one day I found rice and bread, I took it to them; I say every one is almost half unconscious from starving and heat. We cook the rice half way and since we could not wait to prepare it completely, we rapped it inside the bread and pretty much swallowed it. You have no idea how delicious was the lunch. When I look back, I still don’t believe I went through those days. These kids were the most wonderful people who I ever met, there was only one problem with them, and they were smoking hash and wid. You might say, hey cool dude, well yap if you are in a good welt and in 10 times better situation, it might be good, but when you are in deep doodoo and you got to find a way to save your back and life is not a good idea to be out in a lala land. For our plan we needed a master mind, not crack head. Most of days, when I was hanging out with them, I was playing as housewife, at least that’s what we called the person in charge of every cooking and cleaning and making tea. One day we had a party of ten in the house, which they were smoking wid. Manoocher told me, today, you got to smoke too. I was not even smoking normal cigarette. I said no. The forced me to smoke. It got to the point which he put a knife on my neck and threaten me to smoke. I said I don’t want to smoke. Babak came and helped me and asked every one to leave me alone, he said he is not into this so don’t ever ask him again. One of the guys who hardly could talk, said, well every one is doing something (he meant smoking) he should do something too, to prove he is one us. I said you know what, you need some one to prepare food and tea, I can do that. Since than I became the nanny as they named me.
The other problem or concern we had in this town, which in everywhere you might see it, is commuting. Because we did not want to pay for bus or Taxi, not like we had money, we had to hitch hick. Which we were getting life with bikes to Luxury cars. I never thought there is anything wrong with this method, since I saw so many local people the use it too, until I got some marriage proposal and none of them were ladies. When I talked to the guys, they told me the real story. They explained to me which most of those who pick us up, they are homosexuals, which they are trying to get laid or other way around, they male prostitutes, which they are looking for clients. I never noticed at first, most of these drivers they were decent looking and rich and I always thought they couldn’t be in need of looking for love in a cheap way or at least this way. Until I got some of these drivers that as soon as they found out I am not into fooling around they rudely dropped me off. After that day I was trying to be careful whom I get life from? Well I should say after that day we started to become smarter too, and we were playing with some of stupid one.
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
- Winston Churchill
I was spending most of the time with John, He was my closest friend and we trusted each other. One day he asked me to go to his places. He officially introduced me to his family and in front of them told me, my mom is like your mom; my sister is like your sister. I like to have you in my family as my brother and I want you to live with us. Later on which we got to understand each other better in matter of language, he explained to me which, I could not ask you to live with us, because our house was in middle or renovating and we did not have enough room. Even after I moved in John’s room was not complete yet, after a while when the whole house build, John and me shared his room. I gave the 2nd US hundred dollars to John’s father. I did not know his father accepted the money for short period not for as my help to them. I could not believe the difference of a family, the man of god rubbed me and through me out of the house and now a simple Christian man would not even accept the money as payment for food or rent.
Most of conversation with this family was through eyes and sign language. And it was so amazing which we did not need to know much of a language to talk to each other’s. I could not understand their accent and language so we were talking with smiles and sign language. I was solving one problem and a new one was showing up. Problems which in normal situation you don’t even consider them as a problem, the seemed to be a huge deal.
I was the one, one day I passed the test of listening to music and be cool about it and no reaction to it. And I could not believe one day I could get so emotional who I could cry in front of a almost stranger family and did not care about my surrounding.
One night,; I was not in the right mood. I was angry with every body and trying to pick on any one was passing by. I came home, every one was at home; Mom let me use the type recorder to listen to my own music. She asked me put one of your own music that will help you to cheer up. She thought she is helping, in silent, she point at the type and told me, you are welcome to listen to music. I said ok. And I put one of Darius’s songs, “My dear brother “I did not even get to the 2nd chores, which I became like spring’s clouds. I did not even care who is around me, I cried and cried. Poor mom, who gave me the type recorder to cheer me up, it was quite unexpected for her??? She ……. Had no idea what’s happening, she did not know what to do. She asked her daughter, do something. She said to her daughter take the type away, stop the song; whatever the song is made him cry. I asked no, let him sing and I grabbed the type recorder. After long time, crying made me feel so light. The funny part was, when John got home, they told him the story, he was trying to cheer me up and at the same time act like a elder brother and give me hard time, with both languages. He was making faces and trying to make fun of me. After we got cool down, he took me for bicycles ride. He was telling me you should teach me some bad words in Persian; so whenever I want to give you hard time no one understand them. He was so simple and so kind, very hard working and caring about his family. I always wished I could talk to him properly and we could understand each other more than some broken sentences.
Those friends I had around me they were a give from God. The colorful and strange stories I was hearing from other Persian, at the time it was just another story for me, since I was not in a good situation either, so I did not care much. They were all survival stories. However after the years past by, I feel I was lucky even I met those people. I was not sure, what kind of people or level I am dealing with. I did not know, John and his family’s situation, if they are rich or poor, or every other Pakistani friend I had. I was so involved with my own hunger, which I never tried to find out how they are making a living. I was just lucky they were decent people. One night, John asked me to follow him. He asked me to go to Bashir’s house. Bashir was wonderful man and big heart and he had always smiled on his face with a strong men’s face. Since he was owner of the store we were hanging out in there, I never thought, how he is living. When I entered to his house, well if I could call it house. I was totally shocked. It was smaller than one bedroom. Very small, yard and two little room inside each other. His wife and his kids were living together in that little house. For me, it was unbelievable. Maybe house was small, but his heart was big as a biggest castle. His wife asked us in and the way they treated us, I still could not forget it. John, looked at me, I knew he is trying to tell me something. In very simple words he told me life could be this was as well. Bashir was a Christian man, who his cross was hanging by his large mirror, beside his families’ picture.
His race was black Punjabi, for me who my government made me a raciest against my own people and different religion; he was what I was seeing. But you don’t have to be rocket scientist to realizes, you don’t look at his color of skin or religion or nationality to understand his kindness. That night he and his family gave me the best give in the world, and that was their smiles and hospitality.
|The best way to predict the future is to invent it. |
- Alan Kay
One day that I was hanging out in Bashir’s store, some one came and told me, “Your mom was here to meet you” with shock, I answered, it’s almost impossible. If she wants to come, she will let me know. This is not a simple traveling. I found out a Persian lady is been looking for some one with my description, who they though is me. Pretty much every one knew me in that neighbor hood so it was very easy to spot me. Messenger told me don’t worry; she will come tomorrow as well. Next day she came again, and after a bogus introduction, she told me she could arrange for me to leave the county to France. Wow, that was a wish come through. I said, lady, until now every one has step in to my life, some how tried to ripped me off one way or another, how is it which you just showed up and trying to play like an angel? Or Red Cross? And going to France, an almost impossible place to go.
Well, she did not explain more than that. Next day she came back in excuse of looking for a lost family. And talked about a very nice Pakistani man. She told me for little bit money he will try to send you to France and you should work and pay it back. He is rich so he does not care for advance. He is just trying to help people. With this much experience I already got, story was not something I could believe so fast. I said ok, it does not hurt to meet him. I was too desperate; I guess she could see it on my forehead. I went to Babak and explained the story. I said instead of India I want to go to France. He said you are kidding right? Or you are again hungry and talking nonsense??? I told him everything and asked if we can go together since they had more experience. I said I don’t want to walk in a place which I can not walk out. He said what the hell; we don’t have anything to lose.
Well we went to the address. There was a big beautiful house. I said for sure there are drug involved. When we entered, I asked about the lady. He said have a cup of tea and she will come. We sat down for a while, no one showed up, Babak told me, this guy is a crook; we should plan how to escape. We were making fun of the men we met. He was either a bi sexual or some one who was looking for some fun and adventure. After a while a 35 years old guy walked in with couple of passport and photos and showed them to us. And also that ladies photo as well. I said to Babak, yes this is the lady I met. When he got our trust little bit, he continued, she is gone last night. She had flight to Paris. I said I could guess that by myself, since instead of a live person you brought her picture. With a joke and sarcastic tone, I told him, seems like she was in hurry, we could get to know each other more. He said let me be honest with you guys, since I feel like you guys are understanding. I am into sex trade business, and looking for guys to hire. Babak told me, well that’s solves the mystery; I told you he is one of those motorcycle riders. And he is bi. The guy who had no idea what we are talking about, continue about how he will take us to Paris, we will get paid $500.00 US per week and every facility we need to live there and as soon as we sign the contract, he will prepare the passport and all the necessary documents. Babak, with smile told me, we don’t have any thing to eat and this guy is asking if we are into sex. He should see me naked! Only couple of bones left of me. I said let him finish. He finished with; the contract will be for minimum of two years. Now it was my turn. I said, imagine, two years of playing for porn video, for sure our dads will see the types, and he will say, oh my God, look at my little son; oh he is big, wow, so sexy. After he finished, he said this lady accepted the deal and she is now in Paris. When you saw her, she was saying good-bye to her friends. I said well it was our bad luck; we could not say good-bye to her. He said I would leave you alone to think about it. As soon as he left, we finished all the cookies, and we were planning what we can do with $500.00 US money, and we had to work out too. We could eat well. What was missing in the picture? Well so far it was all the wishes most of us in that situation asking for it. Babak said, son of the bitch, he knows how to play with our minds. He came back and very calm, said, you don’t have to answer now, you can come back in couple of days and we can talk more.
We left with so many, thoughts and nice words. We could see a bright road out of Pakistan. Couple of days later I got a message who I should go and see this man again. And he asked me to go alone. I went to meet him, he repeated same story again. It was strange feeling, I was the person I had plan to tie myself under the train and go to India which is like you have seen it in the movies, but some how that was more fun than playing as a porn star. I knew that would involve drugs and other related stuff.
I was sitting and traveling in my dream, which he walked in and asked me to take my picture naked and have sex with me in order to test me to see how good I am. I said to myself, hell no, if you were beautiful princes or even and old lady with sexy body, I would sleep with you, but an ugly half black dude? In your dream. I am desperate not that desperate, hell is not frozen yet. Well looks like this was the excuse I was looking for, to get out of this deal, with out pissing him off, I told him is a wonderful plan, however I should think over more and I will let you know by tomorrow. How about that?
I went to Babak right away and told him the story, I said,” yap, Paris is there but you have to pass couple of driving tests, and hell you are not the driver if you know what I mean?” he said, “don’t worry, I will make him pay, but not for Paris, for even wishing to have sex with a Persian guy”. I kind of knew it was too easy and there is something behind the story, but now which I found out I was so mad enough even to kill the guy. Babak with his sense of humor, added, while those desperate Iranian ladies are around, some one thin and ugly like us does not have chance to pass the test. It’s unfortunate and shame which couple of Islamic countries like this, are using our situation and our women in their benefits. I told him, imagine how fucked up is this guy, with all these beautiful ladies, he wants to sleep with homeless guys like us.
Babak went back and he pretended he wants to accept the deal in my behalf. Or at least he wants to go first. We didn’t hear from him for couple of days, I started to get worry and was going to call the police. When he came back, he said, “You know me I had to make him pay. I followed him to Islam Abad, and made him treat me like a king, and finally left him some where on the road. I am not sure what exactly he did, but we never heard from that guy again.
Keep your fears for yourself, but share your courage with others.
- Robert Louis Stevenson
My mom in Lahore
After a while we almost forgot about it and came back to our fantasy plans to escape to India. One day, I heard my mom is in town again. I said not again, where are we going this time? Berlin? Well this time with all the signs gave me, surprisingly, was my real mom. I was totally shocked. They told me, he came by with a man. But nothing more helpful, no address or phone number. I had to wait till next morning. I went through hell that night of thinking of my mom, with a stranger, here, in Lahore… how is that possible? Why I am not informed in advance.
With little information I had and John’s help we went and found them. Yes she was my real mom. I wish I could just describe my face. Well at least what I could figure it out from John’s face expression. Oh what I was wearing and what I looked like? I can describe that. I had the latest model of American pants. (I bought it from a market, which they were selling all the goods, which were coming from US to help Afghani’s war victims, but they were ending up in that market). I had an old spandex and ripped off sleepers with out socks and all the injuries and dried out skins all over my legs. And half of the body when I came out of Iran since I was keep losing weight.
When we got to the meeting place, my mom came out of the Rickshaw and as soon as she saw me, with very surprised face, started to cry. I am not sure if she was crying out of happiness or seeing me with that look. I did not know how to calm her down. I had nothing to say or I did not how describe it to her. On the way home, she explained to me which this trip happened suddenly that’s why she could not inform me in advance and the lady was with her, she was that man’s mom, who they came yesterday to find me. I was so shocked which I forgot there were two more ladies with her. A mom and her daughter. She added, “This lady and I, met at the train and I found out they are coming to visit their son as well, and seems like they know the way better and they know some English. So I asked them to help me out.” On the way to place they were staying, my mom, who noticed my ripped off clothes and my injured foot, tried to hide her feeling and put it very nicely in front of our guest or host, she could not be silent any more and she said, “ what the heck has happened to you, why are looking like this.” With sarcastic tone answered her, well, Rambo is in diet. He is losing weight.” And of course these sleepers are in fashion here.” She could feel my sad smile. I told her welcome to Pakistan, mom! Well, seemed like a long trip with that Rickshaw, finally we got home, a beautiful young lady opened the door. She had still her scarf on, however she seemed like a nutty girl; she controlled herself not to do anything in front of our moms, which disgrace the family rules against boys and girls.
Well it was while since I was thinking about a girlfriend and relationship and as soon as I saw her, my heart started to talk to me in speed mode. Of course it did not take too long, since I remembered she is a beautiful tourist who is here to meet her brother, and who I am? A homeless without any future. I was in my thoughts, which I am sure her mom was reading my mind too; she tried to interrupt my thought, and asked her daughter to invite me inside. Like I came for marriage proposal.
Some how I did not get any good feeling with her mom, I cannot even remember her name. She started to race in some sort of competition with my mom in how the sons are good and how successful they are. Oh bad conversation, but hey it was Mom’s habits, I am sure my mom was losing the battle soon. I was almost started to believe some of this strange lady’s conversation, but it did not take too long, which all they became just a mirage.
After long time, that day I saw some wonderful Persian food on the table. I could not believe it. All of sudden I remembered my friends, as soon as I was going to get first bit, I lost my appetite. Some how I was feeling guilty to eat the food.
My mom asked,” What’s wrong, this is your favorite food.” I said, “ Yes, I know, I could not believe one day I could have this food again. I am just feeling guilty to eat it and my friends are hungry. And I am eating it today, what will happen when you go back?” I am getting used to being homeless and staying hungry every day, I feel like this is just a dream and I don’t want to wake up.
She said,” don’t worry about your friends; I can cook for them as well.” My mom was trying to cover my situation from our host and she was not doing very good job. And the lady was keep talking about his god dame son. I had not even seen his son and I started to hate him. She was keep putting her son’s success stories into my face. Other strange thing was her daughter kept taking my side.
Our first day visit with this family was all power ride and some empty conversations. I was not sure I was happy to meet this family or angry with them. I found out, Mehrzad, her son, was one of the under cover Government agents who first came as student and he tried to stay but they did not let him so he joined to Iranian Embassy and spied against refugees. The problem was, he was trying to pretend he is real and not spies or undercover, he is just an ordinary student and not getting paid by government to work against other Iranians out of country. And his mom was trying to connect their family to Shah’s Royal family. Wow, what a combination. Mehrzad’s dad was one of the Shah’s Generals. So we had some fake argument between mom and son. Interesting was, couple of days before I met Mehrzad in the post office which was trying to pass some government documents and advertise about it. He did not notice me but his look was very obvious that he is from government.
Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.
- Soren Kierkegaard
More catholic than pop
After couple days spending together, all the truth came out. The only real person was Mehrnaz (his sister). She had simple heart, maybe that’s why she did not want to get involve with the politic side their family. Mehrzad was on of those who we call more catholic than pop, just because he did not make it as normal student and he became Government agent, he was thinking he is the one. He is been sent to be God’s messenger. After that, I tried to keep my mom away from them, since it was nothing but trouble. But some how, they were keep following us and for different reasons they were showing up.
Well if this was keep going as normal guest visiting I had no problem with it. But hell no, it had to be something behind it. Mr. Nice guy, he started to feel like he is been sent from God to save me. He tried to invite me to Islam. I did not have any thing against Islam; I did not like his Islam and the way he was getting advantage of it. Is like US Government, any thing happens, the put it under National Security and the screw innocent people? This style is very easy to convince people what they are doing is no a sin or mistake is just for sake of people. The difference was this guy was just a dust in the wind.
At first he simply asked me, “come back to Islam and I will help you go back to Iran without any trouble and going to jail.” But later on every thing changed. I was like. Hellooo. What the fuck you guys are thinking? Is it say a fool on my forehead or one of those note on my back, which it says kick me in the head. After all these years why some of these guys don’t get it or they don’t want to get it. After all I have been through, he wants to send me back, and he wants me to trust him! Not to be harmed, and who died and left you king of nowhere land?
I told him, you know what? I accept your Islam! What ever it is and I will accept Mohammad, but send me to Europe I will pray for you to get your hands on Heavens beauties. And you know what? I will make sure those heavenly ladies wait for you at heavens gate, how about that??? And don’t worry, even for all the sins you have done you end up with hell, I will wait for you in front of hell’s gate with bucket of ice to cheer you up. Since Iranian Government promises are not much of promises and they don’t have much of sense of humor, and he was part of it, he did not take my offer very seriously either. And situation got worse. And he started to ask more. If I did not like her sister and of course my mom was not there, I could help him to meet that Pakistani dude to go to Paris. But my hands were tide and he knew that.
After that wonderful heavenly offer, we stayed away from the family, my mom got more closer to John’s mom, even thought they could not understand each other at all. Some how they could understand each other very well.
One night, John’s mom cooked some veggies like the eggplant with a lot’s of hot chilies. When my mom saw how I was eating it, she told me, I thought you don’t like the eggplant. I said, yes I used to not like a lot’s of things, but now I am just happy to have something to eat. I looked at her, she was in tears, I was a kind of guy, rejecting almost most of the food she was cooking. Don’t take me wrong she was excellent cook but I was too spoiled.
Almost every day argued with my mom, infect it was not my mom which I had problem with, I guess I could not find any one better to talk to and I was trying explain my problem in a way of talking to her. She was always good listener, she found out what’s going on in Pakistan and this is not the gate of heaven they promised us, and she saw what has happened to me and most of others like me. Now she knew why I lost so much weight and why I could not continue lying on the fake letter papers and send it to my relatives. Some times I just want to close my eyes and forget about those days and forget about all those things happened to me, but it is not easy. She saw everything and she promised to change it when she goes back. She promised as soon as she goes back she arrange my escape out of the country. Some how, I had feeling it was going to be a long wait for that wish to come through.
It was almost time for her to go back. Mehrzad’s family tried to get close to us again, this time I knew something would happens. His mom invited us to their place to arrange their trip to go back together.
We went to visit them. Mehrnaz was alone at home. Oh that was a bad sign. That day I found out our looks and sign languages and her attentions are not just sexual attraction, it was more of love that got mixed up with our family problems. I got her some gifts as good-bye memories. Duran Duran, T-shirt and type since I knew it were her favorite. My mom felt it as usual however as usual who was trying to stop me from immature decisions, she did not stop me this time. Gee, I was feeling like some one’s last wish in execution chamber.
The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.
- Mark Twain
An Innocent love
I remember it was hot day; you could easy get sweet all over. When I say hot means really hot. Like those days, in love stories they give as example of lover’s feelings. I always wished one of those loves happened to me. You know what they say about wishing: be careful what you wish for, it might happen to you. When we got to their homes, her mom for the first time she left her daughter, my mom and me alone for short trip to drugstore. Mehrzad was in university as well. Seems like trouble. My mom suggested a cold shower for me to cool down; I was not sure, for which reason, hot weather or hot Mehrnaz? Who ever could see us at that moment could see from our look a high fever and passion in both of us. Young blooded couple that they were almost in love. Bad combination.
Mehrnaz gave me a devil look and smiled and said go get shower before my mom show up. I said ok, ok, you two lady want to get rid off me. When I was taking my cloths off, I noticed she is picking from the half door open.
She came toward me and asked me if she could help?!
I said, “Yes, but …” she opened the door and continued, “I don’t like us leave from here.”
I said, “I don’t want it either but we have to.”
She said, “I wish, either you come with me or I come with you.”
I said, “I would rather you come with me. But as you see I am just a homeless and no future.”
She said, “I have got strange feeling for you, whom I can not describe.” God, I guess it was for my situation, which I was just listening, and no feeling about it.
I said, “You mean, you …?”
She said, “Yes, I love you.”
I said, “Don’t you think you rushing in to it.”
She said, “Please, I want you believe me.”
I said, “it might be too soon to say it, but infect I have a feeling for you too. But there is gab between us.”
She said, “Somehow we will find a solution.”
I said, “well, ok but for now is better you leave otherwise if your mom shows up and see us in your bathroom, me half naked. It will be international disaster, and none of embassies are going to be helping us.”
I have strange habit, every time I get excited or angry, I start to joke around or mix the conversation with jokes. And this was one of those times. I was nerves, I wanted to be fair to both of us. But I had to face reality too.
I came to answer her that my towel fell down; I grabbed the other one with other hand.
Merhnaz’s eyes were shining, look at me with … and said, I like what I see. And answered back, yes I like what I see too, but not always you can have what you like.
She said,: you can have it all if you like.
I said, : thanks but no thanks, this is not a good place or good time for it.
She got closer to me. With I noticed I was sweating and it was not for hot temperature of course and turn almost red. I am sure she noticed it; since she gave me a devil smile and said, are you sure you don’t want it?
I said to myself, dawn, do you call this luck or what? Wrong time in a wrong place, story of my life…
I was trying to control myself, I kept my breath, and she got closer to me and closed her eyes.
Without any control I went toward her. I was afraid to do move incase I wake up from this beautiful dream I was in. I did not want this moment’s finish. I looked at her; she was a beauty, her gorgeous body and her hair on her shoulders, and her provocative breasts, which were trying to show off under her shirt and her beautiful scent. All together were driving me crazy. I tried not to stare at her body but I could not take my eyes off her. In the other hand I did not want to take advantage her either and change this beautiful moment to sexual desire. Slowly we kissed, I don’t know how long we were like that but I could feel the shack all over my body. I opened my eyes; she was still standing with her eyes closed. I kissed her quickly, like I wanted to check to see we are still real. Yes she was real. And I was not dreaming.
I felt like I am in heaven, she opened her eyes, I said, “sweetheart, I love you, now please get out of here.”
Even though it was a short time I was with her, however I felt something different about her. I don’t know, I don’t dare to call it love or lust. I wanted to be her too. Our relationship was quick and clean with out any of dirty politics.
She said, “I don’t want to leave your side anymore. We both woke up with voice of my mom which almost forgot about her and where we are.
Very firmly pushed her out side of the bathroom and closed the door. I was going to scream almost to everything around me, politic, war, counties and the entire thing caused this situation specially my own luck. After long time, this was the first good thing happened to me and now I had to push it out of the door. Well, even cold shower was not working on me anymore. With my unknown future I was not allowed to be in love either.
It was one of the only sweet moments in beginning in Pakistan. Some thing I could not do anything about it.
That day, his brother came home, and what I was expecting for long time happened. Some thing first it was just a friendly offer became a threat. He asked me to go back to Iran. I said, between all these Iranian who they are official refugees, you chose me, which I don’t even have, an official name for myself? Come on, give me a break; I don’t even know what will happen to me tomorrow. And you are offering me something, which is almost impossible.
That day was the last time I met Mehrnaz. I gave her, her presents and explained everything in a short letter. Unfortunately, I could not leave any number or any thing to keep in touch; I didn’t have anything, which I could leave it with her.
I guess by not accepting Mehrzad’s offer, I pissed him off. And he chose different way; he asked me a list of the names from Bahayee’s refugee. I said you are kidding, right? Who do you think I am CIA? Even if I had such list, I would not pass it to you. Not even those couple of friends I knew. When I heard this, I asked my mom, to leave this family and don’t contact them what so ever. While we were going back on the bus, when I was explaining what happened and I was telling my mom about letter, Mehrzad was listening to our conversation. This guy was quite class act. He liked playing spy games. He asked me to pass him her sister letter. I denied the letter and I tried to through it out of the window. He stopped the bus and stopped the traffic to find the letter. Well but did not wait for him, so that gave me a chance to disappear, incase he start to ask for more. He thought he is going to find information in that letter.
Next day, my mom was supposed to fly to Karachi and from there to Iran. He could not find out about my mom flight, but he went to Karachi to stop my mom from flying to Iran. He was trying to prove how capable he is to hurt us. Of course he was in some sort of power ride, he was trying to get advantage of his position with Government. He was lucky, my mom went back safe. He did not realize one thing, I didn’t have anything to lose and every one has a limit too. I was waiting for my mom to go back safe, she was my weakness. But god forbids if anything happed to my mom, than I had to fight back. He was one of those who are trying to misuse the name Islam and under that flag do any of their own dirty works. Which we have so many of them in Iran.
After that day, I had to stop seeing any of my Bahayee’s friends, incase if he found out their addresses or names. I did not want to hurt them.
|But is is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught. |
- Oscar Wilde
Worse is worse, but worse than what?
He was the least problem I had. Semi civil war and some terrorist act were happening in Karachi. I never found out who they were, but with their bombing some places, our situation got worse. Police started to search and identify all the foreigners for safety issues. I was lucky, I had a quite good back ground and most of police in my neighborhoods knew me. And when they came to Bashir’s store, every one put good word for me. Police officers assured me from their protections and they said they trust me in every way. Well that was relieved. They asked me if anyone bothered me to call them. This time I remembered Mehrzad. I though I started to get revenge, but I had different goal. Fight back and mixing police at that time, it might keep me back from going to India. So I hide the story from every one. The minus point was for safety of the other friends I decided to leave John’s place and not to contact any one anymore. I went back to become complete homeless again. Every night I had to sleep somewhere. One of my Philippines friends helped me to sleep in a doctor’s office and work in a Chinese restaurant. Well the chef was from Sri-lanka and co-workers were from Bangladesh. Wow, what a combination, the only nation we did not have in Chinese restaurant was Chinese. Well soon I had to leave the job too. So I had to sneak to the restaurant and chef and others were giving me food. They were wonderful group, all these changing places, and not to be able to get shower for couple of days caused me some sort of skin disease.
Finally I had to tell the chef, which I want to go to India. The problem was it was bad timing. I did not want anybody think I am one of the reasons for Karachi’s bombing. Why in that situation I want to leave the country and every night I stay in one place. In the other hand I still had Mehrzad as well.
I was with them enough to convince them I am just a simple homeless, which want to move on with my life. So they decided to help me out. Dame, they were good. They were coming from Bangladesh to work here, no passport and no nothing. And it was quite distance to travel illegally. So we started to get to know the map and plan. I could hardly understand their Urdu or even Hindi. I had to grow beard in order to change my look. Well I started to push them to speed up the process. My face and my skin disease were getting worse. Blisters on my face were getting more and more. Even they did not want to shack hand with me any more. Situation got worse than ever I could imagine. Until one of chefs decided to help me out of the program. Meanwhile, situation between India and Pakistan was getting mixed up too. Every one blaming each other for the bombing and they were getting ready at the borders.
I started to go over the plan and map and any tricks had to learn for passing the border with this cook. When I told them about my story about how I passed the Iranian border, they told me, compare to what you have done, this is piece of cake. I did not know If they are telling me to truth or they are trying to encourage me for doing the job. Well between most of Iranian at that time I paid more than every one, they used pretty much every kind of method to travel me and I guess it took longer than normal. 30 hour of walking or even 3 hour of camel ridding, hey they were not the most glamour way of traveling.
We never become truly spiritual by sitting down and wishing to become so. You must undertake something so great that you cannot accomplish it unaided.
- Phillips Brooks
Crossing Pakistan and India border
After 6 month of going almost through hell, finally I got to day I had to pass the border with some one I could not ever imagine become my guide or co traveler.
While I was with these group of cooks and chefs, I never notice anything wrong with them or habit which I name them as smugglers or else. So besides being thankful for what they did for me, I never wanted to call them anything. Just unknown friends. Well my bad luck, my guide look was worse than me. He was way darker skin than local people, so he could get point at very easy. When we got the first border city, police spotted him and since he found out, he disappeared with out tell me anything. I did not know what I should do, so I went back to Lahore again. I told the story to others, they said, “don’t worry, he will show up.”
You did right thing you came back. He came back and he admitted that he got scared. And not because he is been spotted, we had to wait for couple of days.
I told them, sorry dude, you don’t have my situation, I feel like I have Leprosy, no one wants to talk to me, or a psycho is chasing you from Embassy, or not having money for food or place to stay. And I don’t want you guys keep helping me. I have to go. I guess he was waiting to hear this. He said, hey I thought you all the map and ways, so go by yourself. You have enough experience and good motive to do that. I told him, nice try. But I did not have any choice, I asked him, at least take me to the same city, and I will go from there. Some how he was right. I had talked about going to so many people that I felt I know everything. I had experience of smuggler. And my situation was not good enough to be able to stay anyway. John gave me my money back and told me you need this money more than us. I took minimum cloths I had and hid the money and got ready to go.
We got to the border city, and my guide went back as soon as we got there. I had no other option except keep going. Maybe if I was not in that situation, I never could do such thing. From the point I was standing I had still a while I had to go in order to get the border. Walking by myself, was just attracting others attention. So I got a horse carriage, and I told him I pay extra in order to get me privately. Going to that far probably was about less than 10 rupees, when we got to the border town, I remembered I have only two 5 hundred rupees. And I did not have any change, so I had to give him that, and asked him, please please bring the change. Well he found out I am not a normal tourist at that time of the evening and some one who gives 500 rupees, should be rich. He never came back of course, stupid of me, but I had not choice, going back the same distance, was almost impossible. And I could not get arrested in that area.
Well I hid in the bushes. I grow long beard and my skin got darker than normal since I was in the sun all the time, I could talk Urdu pretty close to the same accent, at least I could say I am from Kashmir, since I got that couple of time from Locals when I was talking to them. Now this was one of the scenes from Papillion movie.
If you truly want to understand something, try to change it.
- Kurt Lewin
Papillion V/S Rambo
Difficulties and life experiences makes a man out of you, what kind? That’s the question. In this case made me to move on. By the time I got to the actual border, it was completely dark. I got to the first farm and hid behind the trees. I changed my sleepers with new knock off Nike shoes, which my mom brought it for me. I got the Kong fu pants; same one, which I had when I came to Pakistan, or I used it in our martial arts, practices or even, dances competitions. Trust me if this pants could talk, he had a lots to stories to say. Maybe lots of complaints.
I fold the rest of cloth and tide them up on my back. I put the rest of the money and hid it in my underwear and put the piece of bread in sealed plastic. The only thing I had with me it was my new digital watch, which I got it for 1 rupee. I was going to through it away, since it was shining under the moonlight. But I said, hell with it, if they want to see me they will. I got black mud and rubbed it all over my face. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Commando had to be come handy. Now I was looking like in that movie. Strips of black on my skin and I colored the white shoes with black mud too. I just need a bunch of arrow to look like Rambo. I walked through the farm, and looked for the signs I memorized. I had to see the signs, if I was missing them, I knew I am going wrong way, it happened to so many people, when by mistakes they came back toward Pakistan and they went to Pakistani police because they thought is India. The problem was if you were getting arrested either side, they were looking at you as spy and by the time you could prove you are just a refugee, you could get tortured and bit up to dead.
Farms were getting more flat and slowly houses were getting disappeared. And less and less trees to hide behind them. It was amazing, I got cold that night as well same as Iranian border. I was worried if I had to sneeze again. And I was hoping I could hide from the moonlight. It was quite helpful of course; I did not have to have flashlight to see ahead of me. I got to the point I went to the mud up to my knees; it was rice farm full of water. It’s so hard to walk in that slush and without any noise. I had to have to shoes on my shoulders, after I passed that rice farm, I noticed shoes has cleaned up and now is shinning like a flashlight. God even in that darkness, you could see is knock off. I forgot when I was walking on the grasses they got cleaned off. I had to cover them with mud again. After I got out of that mess, I had to slide on the floor. I was so obvious, so I crawled to the next hill. Even though I was covered with mud I was worried some one can see me. I remembered the Iran-Iraq battlefield. Gee, even there I did not have to go through these steps. I remember on night close to almost destroyed city of Abadan, when I went out side look for my shoes, I had to take them out of mud. Or the night I got lost in desert close to the city of Ahwaz. Here I had the same feeling, except I was not in war with anyone, but I was still worried about getting shot. I heard these guys, they shoot first than ask question later. I had no excuse, what so ever, what the hell am I doing there at that time of the night.
I was in my dream and looking for signs, which I got the canes farms. The canes were way taller than me. Maybe twice my height. I had to walk through them. I cut my arms couple of time trying to go through. It was easy 10 min walk through the canes. Going straight through them it was not easy, if I was making mistake I could go back to Pakistan. After I passed it I was so happy which I noticed the river. That was the sign that I am still in right direction. Well other side of the river I could see the Soldiers hiding places. This was not turning point. I tided the shoes on my back and crawled to the water like alligator. I though if this pants get wet and heavy, what I should do, I never had swimmed with cloths on. And the river was deep. But water was so nice and warm, it was such nice feeling. I was thirsty and my throat was soared and I had cold, so when I went to the water, honestly, I did not want to come out. But in that location, it was not the place for taking bath. Well my cloths got heavier and I went deeper and swimming got even more difficult. I said no way I want to get drown here, I swimmed faster and harder till I got to the other side. When I got to the other side I was almost out of energy but I was like the cat and its curiosity, I had to look at those soldiers’ rifle-pit. I went and look at one of them closely; surprisingly there were no one. I am sure it belonged to Indian military. To be honest I did not know they are military hid out they were like little cements rooms and uniform all over the riverside. When I found out I ran toward India faster. Either it was soldiers or not but I did not want to be seen with any one at that moment.
I was still thirsty, even after I drunk some water while I was swimming in the river. I was passing from a land, which was small trees and a lot of bushes, that’s why it was darker to see or spot any river. Finally I found a hole with some water in it. At least that was how it was showing under the moonlight was reflecting in it. I smelled the water, there was no bad smell so I drunk as much as I could. I did not care what it was; at least it was water without and bad smell.
I am not sure, but moonlight was disappeared in this area. Or I was surrounded with so many tall trees? So I could not see any light. I was just wondering and thinking about it and trying to get my breath that I leaned on the three. I was thinking now what? What way I should go, which I felt something is running on my hand. I was going to find out which I felt same thing on my both feet. I still had my shoes on my shoulder so they were bare feet. I was trying to see which my hands and feet started to burn. It took just a second before I could found out they are big ass ants and they are trying too get feed from my skin. I am not how did I started to run. And meanwhile I tried to get rid of them, the problem was I could not scream. They go almost to my neck. These little suckers they were fast and they were not wasting any time. But hey I did not want to be there main course or probably at that time their break fast.
While I was running I was rubbing them off. My mom used to say, India is strange country and promise you will see a lots of weird things. I bet she was right, but I never thought I will meet this little creatures which they eat human.
I was expecting to see some snake or scorpions of course. I got the a little river and I washed myself and all my cloths, which they were all covered with mod. No matter how much I could disguise and Indian or pretend to be one of them I could not explain any one why I am covered with mod and why I am there that time of the morning. I tried to air dry my cloths and hid in a hole to get some sleep. There were so many bugs around which I could not get any sleep so I changed my mind. And also I was so excited to be in India, which I could not sleep any way. Of course I was not really sure where I was. I had to make sure. Well it did not take too long, with first farmer I met who had turban on the head and knife on his belt, I said hell this is India.
What we do not understand we do not possess.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Welcome to India
Slowly with sunrise I could see more of farmers. I did not know what time it is, not like it mattered at that time. But I forgot how tired I was even thought I did not get any sleep. The important thing was I almost made it and I was in India. Of course I got more concern when I felt there are so many curious eyes were staring at me. I remembered 007 movies and James Bonds; actually it was more like Indiana Jones. Why, I am not sure.
I went toward one of them and said hello. Maybe I was trying to test myself and my language and their reaction. I knew they are not police, so any thing was going wrong did not matter and I could test myself to see how good I am to hide myself. Well I was like a white man between black community, these guys they were sardars, all with long hair and beard and two knife and sward hanging from them. It was little bit difficult to pretend I am one of them. I had to continue, there was not a time to look for sward or anything look a like.
I walked couple of Kilometer. And I was asking the roads from farmers as soon as I could get a chance. Every country I traveled and every place I visit the best and the most honest people they were farmers or small town people. They were always had smile and they were ready to have you as guest and think of you as part of their family. And these people they were not any different from others. Most of them they had smile on their faces and even some of them they invited me for cup of tea.
These people, Sardars, in my language means “ Leaders” they were amazing people they were looking like Samurai in Japan, I heard they are all hard worker, they don’t have beggars, they are specific for their food and what to eat and what not to eat and their main city was Amritsar, they city I was heading to.
Any way I was running through my information and comparing them with what I was seeing, which I noticed two motor bikers they were coming toward me. I was close to the main road. I though this is not good. Between these farmers two person with suits and tie, that’s definitely is not good. I thought I should run. But where, it was flat farm. They could see me for miles. Plus they were on bike. I though hell, I will talk to them. They approached me and with very fake smile and a tone or interrogation asked me who I am.
I am not sure but I was comparing my trip with movies I watched. I remembers the Islamic movies, specially Messenger, the story of a messenger from Imam Hussein (Islamic prophets) any way, I reviewed the answer in my head and with the same tone and serious I said, I am the messenger from Imam and I am going to Kofeh (City in Iraq) but I kind of woke up right away and said to myself, hey don’t fuck with these guys, you are in middle of no where and these guys they have gun or at least two knife. And what you have? Just two legs to run. So answer them right way.
I looked at them and with very strong voice answered: “I was visiting my uncle and I am going home.” And again the voice said to myself. You are dame liar. You are going to blow up the cover.
He asked: “who is your Uncle” I was not expecting the name. I remembered famous Indian Movie Singam, I answered: “ Roj Kapur sing " or at least something like that. He asked: “what was the name of the village you were visiting?” Right away, I said the name of the last village I passed and the next on I was going. I had feeling I will need the names, so when I was passing through, I asked the farmers the name of the villages. Hey they came handy here. Some how I knew they know I am lying. But I was trying to show myself so confidence. If I could show the fear I was finished. I thought he is going to say, you know what, you are lying like a dog. With very strange voice asked me, what is your religion? I was going to say, what’s love got to do with this? I said I am Christian. That was time Muslims and Sikhs they were in civil war kind of. So anything else rather than Christian meant you are dead. He looks at me and said: “you know what? Some how I feel like you are lying and you might be from Pakistan. I looked at him, I was going to slap it and say, is that your final answer? You idiot? Do I look like Pakistani man? With smile told him, no my dad is from Kashmir that’s why I have white skin. Imagine how dark these guy they were, which I was looking like a white man compare to them. Seem like they gave up, one of them said go. They were CID officers and I was god dame lucky. After they left, I was trying to go faster toward the main road and not looking behind. And I was saying Jesus Christ, I love you. You saved me like you don’t believe. I should get a bus or something, because if they catch me this time, even if my uncle was Amitab Bachchan they did not believe me. I got to the main road and stopped the first bus was passing by.
Again one of the points I forgot, since I was not frequent traveler or something, was changing the money or having Indian Rupees. When I got in the bus, conductor asked me for money to issue the ticket. I told him, is it possible when we get to Amiritsar I change money and pay you. Gee, was I acting stupid or what? He said you are kidding right? I said no I am serious. He said, “Either you pay now or you get out.” I was pretending I am looking for money to save little bit of time. Bus was going fast. I thought this way, even I had to get out at least I have gone couple of mile further than the place I was. I was searching my empty pockets, which I noticed he is looking at my cheap digital watch. I told him; hey do you accept the watch instead of money? He said, “Is that a good watch? I said of course this is American made, brand new watch.” He started to test it, which I noticed still there are bubbles of water in it, well there was only fish was missing in there. He said what these drops are; I said no worry it will go away. Poor guy, he was dumb and I was dumber. They way I was answering him to get away, was the most stupid way but hell it worked. I felt kind of bad for him but it was survival game.
He issued the ticket. I bought the watch for 1 rupee and ticket was about 15 rupee and poor watch was full of water drops.
I hang my Kung fu pants from bus window to dry it. God between all the passengers I was like shinny lamp in the dark. I am not sure maybe I was feeling like that. I forgot my face and blisters and darkened skin and beard I had. Any way I was daydreaming and planning for the next city until I noticed Indian forces are searching the busses.
Couple of the days back they blow up couple busses and in one case they stopped the bus and they execute all the passengers. Of course, no Indian Army, terrorists or Revolutionary group. I just leave it to this much explanation since I don’t want to judge who was right or wrong or call them names. Since I am sure they were fighting for their own reasons.
Any way, they were searching for suspects.
One of the militant came up and start to ask every one who they are, where they are coming from and where they are heading to. But in Punjabi language. Which there was no way I could speak it. I thought that’s it, I am dead. I hide my face and tried to be behind one of the passengers. Here I was like passenger 57. He questioned every one to the sit next to me till some one called him from out of the bus. And he left out side. I was almost losing my breath. When he left I said yes Jesus, you saved my private ass one more time. Thank you. Thanks you. Conductor gave me a devil look and smiled at me and his eyes tried to show me, which you got away. May be he was stupid to accept the watch full of water. But he knew I am not one of his normal every day passengers. I tried to stay calm and look at him like nothing has happened. I gave him a thank you look for not saying anything.
Till Amritsar, this religious city was couple of hour ride. They stopped us two more time but they did not come to question any one. Probably just routine check. This city was the only one I could get train to New Delhi. As soon as I got to they city, change my money to India rupee and got a ticket. I knew I need a sit in train. So I paid to train guide to get me a sit so I don’t have fight for it. And sit somewhere safe until I get to Delhi. Unfortunately I did not have chance to see the city, since this was not a tour and I was not a tourist. So I had got of the city fast before some one start to question me. The problem was I was like a usual suspect, every ones look for me was suspicious and I was thinking every one knows I am illegal. They only thing I could see from far, were the most amazing temples which were made of gold, famous Sikhs temples.
Any was, I was trying to avoid to talk to some one incase they notice my accent. I sat in my sit. I was catching my breath, which I notice two Military police came toward me. I said. Fuck, where they hell these guys came from. Doorman should have sold me out. I was getting ready to run, which they said hello and sat on the sits in front of me. I said, wonderful. Now until Delhi I should be in front of two militants. There was only one way to avoid any conversation, pretend I am sleeping. We had couple of hours left to total freedom.
Finally I got to New Delhi. And asked for United Nation high commissioner for refugees.
I was still worried to be questioned by police. So I had to get to this office and get some papers with my name on it.
I found the office and went in. I forgot my outfit and my look. Almost half naked, beard and face with scars and blisters and dirty cloths, and between everyone, wearing Kung fu pants was even stranger. When I entered the salon I notice every one turned toward me. I could see the impression in peoples face. Stranger among us. I went toward receptionist. I was not sure what I should say. With very soft voice, she asked me, could I help you. Wow, I never thought English sound better than that. It felt so good to hear English again. She was looking at like, what the hell happened to you? Did you get hit by a truck? Well of course this was the description, which later on they gave me. I was shock by the situation. I looked at him and in English told her: I want to ask refugee status. She still was looking at me strange. She answered, “Sir, you need more than refugee status. You need more like a doctor rather than refugee claim. I was going to scream in the room and say, you have no idea what I have gone through to get here, only standing in this room means a lot to me. With a simple-minded voice, I said thank you, I just like to ask for refugee status. Well when they notice I am new, they took me in special room and they gave me medical attention. And asked so many questions. I had feeling they just wanted to make sure if I don’t have any disease.
After all the routine questions and medical tests they asked to me to come back later for results. When I came back to waiting room, from the crowed I heard the famous sentence in Persian language that asked me: “Excuse me, Are you Iranian?” I turned around, Ali, was the person asked me the question. Without any delay I told him yes. He said, “You seem pretty new”. I said yes of course do I look that rooky? He smiled and said do you work out, I mean do you martial arts? Kung Fu? I told him, I don’t want to be rude or something, but I have not eaten anything for last couple of days and you are asking me if I am doing any Kung Fu?
He apologized and very politely answered, I am sorry, I did not mean to interrogate you, but I noticed your pants. And I though I introduce myself. If you don’t mind I would like to invite you to our apartment, for dinner and of course we can continue our conversation. I said, thanks I would be happy, but you have no idea what this pants has done for me and how much of help it’s been.
Ali was one of the members of Sport group who were supporting all the new and old members of Kung Fu Toa in Iran. And he was trying to gather every one as much as possible. He said when you walked in with that fashion statement and look I could not ignore and stop myself not to talk to you. Meeting Ali became the best thing that happened to me in Delhi; I met the most divers and wonderful Iranian group in his apartment. Well, if we could call it apartment. It was one room, with 15-room mate, give or take. Since ever night some one was adding and some one was going. Hey I could not complain, I was one of those guests who became one of the permanent residences of that room. No one in that room was into politic in a real meaning and no one was criminal either. Every one was trying to survive the escape. And every one was as they say cool. I don’t remember most of their names. Only couple of photos in my album and so many good and bad memories.
Kindness consists in loving people more than they deserve.
- Joseph Joubert
The Beginning of the End
Pakistan with all its problems finished, but India has its own problems.
About India, That so much of India's past remains discernible today is all the more astonishing given the pace of change since Independence in 1947. Spurred by the free-market reforms of the early 1990s, the economic revolution started by Rajiv Gandhi has transformed the country with new consumer goods, technologies and ways of life. Now the land where the Buddha lived and taught, whose religious festivals are as old as the rivers that sustain them, is the second-largest producer of computer software in the world, with its own satellites and nuclear weapons.
However, the presence in even the most far-flung market towns of internet cafés and Japanese hatchbacks has thrown into sharp relief the problems that have bedeviled the subcontinent since long before it became the world's largest secular democracy. Rooted in the monolithic hierarchy of caste, poverty remains a harsh fact of life for around forty percent of India's inhabitants. No other nation on earth has slum settlements on the scale of those in Delhi, Mumbai and Calcutta, nor so many malnourished children, uneducated women and homes without access to clean water and waste disposal.
Many first-time visitors find themselves unable to see past such glaring disparities. Others come expecting a timeless ascetic wonderland and are surprised to encounter one of the most materialistic societies on the planet. Still more find themselves intimidated by what may seem, initially, an incomprehensible and bewildering continent. But for all its jarring juxtapositions, intractable paradoxes and frustrations, India remains an utterly compelling destination. Intricate and worn, its distinctive patina - the stream of life in its crowded bazaars, the ubiquitous filmi music, the pungent mélange of beedi smoke, cooking spices, dust and cow dung - casts a spell that few forget from the moment they step off a plane. Love it or hate it - and most travelers oscillate between the two - India will shift the way you see the world.. A country totally different than what you see in the movies.
A country which every hundred-kilometer accent was changing and you could hear close to 1500 hundred different languages. Totally different than any other countries and when you say different, you could really mean the by its meaning. A country you could say, its poor people in Iran they were rich compare to poor people in India and rich people in Iran were poor compare to rich people in India. A part of this county who born on street, lived there and died on streets. Finally a country you call miss understanding in DNA. After British left this country and gave them gift of being double language, now most of the confuse people or as they say, westernized one, wanted to be British and Indian at the same time. One sentence never was in one language. Start in English and finish in Hindi or mix of the word. If some one was trying to show off for being rich or educated, was talking both at the same time. It was quite confusing trying to be two people at the same time. Well I guess this much for now is enough about India. Strange country and strange things to see that’s all you can say about it.
After all I did to get to this country, now I had to start to think of how I can get out of here. No I was not Alexander great who tried to take over the world. I came to go to Europe not Pakistan or India, so I could not stay here. So as soon as I got to know around, I started to think how I could get out of here.
Once in a while, some one was flying to Europe, and we could hear from them or read their letters.
We were mostly guys. Not much of family or women.
Here every one was different. For some of us, India was end of the journey, for some they did not even know where they are and they were living their own world, they did not even bother to learn a single word of Hindi since they hated it and some like me trying to get out of here and at the same time to understand the new environment.
At least here we had UN’s support and since India was accepting refugee, you could get minimum money to be able to live in a poor condition, it was better than living on the streets. If you call that living of course. For most of us, it was embarrassment to become refugee of India, for years and years Iran was the most powerful country in so many ways especially culture in the area and now we had to become refugee in counties, which we considered lower than us. Of course this comes out of being proud Iranian. Most of us we did not want to accept Indian or any other culture as part of our own living. As part of our culture we always respected guest and hosts, we did not know what is the meaning of racism. We did not want to insult the host but it was hard to hear from an Indian stranger, which we are terrorists or we are part of Iranian government.
Since we forced to come here. This is nothing against Indian people or culture. For me at least some countries like India or China they were rich in civilization and they had rich culture. But again when you are forced to live somewhere that’s not very comfortable feeling. Any way I guess I went too far. I am just not trying to comment about politic or people.
Second day in New Delhi, center of Iranian, a place which was considered as rich part of the city. We had a community build up and we had center that was Afghani community as well. Since both countries we had some stuff in common they put the refugee center at the same place. Any way, in this center we had medical care and language classes and we could take care of some of our basic paper works.
It was a new day, and new country for me. I did not have to follow some of strange Islamic rules of Pakistan. So I put my short on and cleaned up and went to center to see if I can see some new faces and get some English classes. As soon as I got close to the door, couple of men with long beard and turbans approached me and with deep Afghani accent asked me who I am.
Automatically I said holly crap. Here and Hezbollah. Give me break.
He said, “Brother, our sister our studying in this center and you are having short on, you have to go and change.” Well I look at them and freaked out. With sarcasm voice answered him; your sisters could go somewhere else and study. Well talk about short fuse. He got mad and said this is the last time I am telling you. I came back. I did not want to fight on my first day of the school. And I did not know the area either. I went home and told the story to the guys. Wow. Telling about this to them, couple hard headed, hot blooded and proud Iranian. Not a good idea. They said hell with them. Even Afghani people don’t like this beard guys. They are from Afghan Mojahedin and Islamic fundamentalism. Well, next day, almost every Iranian guy wore their shorts and came to that center. And of course we complain to the community center. We never saw them again. I guess they were my welcome committee. The place I was staying it was center of all friendly meeting since Reza, was the person in charge of apartment and because of his good communication and friendly attitude every one was welcome to come there. We had probably more visitor than Iranian embassy. In other word, guest was always welcome there.
The other wonderful guy was doctor, they were calling him that name because he was helping almost every one and with every problem. Good-looking guy, young but mature attitude and more experience than every one else. He had golden heart. In the other hand he was quite person.
The place we were living which I don’t dare to call it apartment, infect was basement of actual house. That place was supposed to be for house’s servants. But recently, with moving a lot of us in those areas, they were renting them to one or two of us in almost 3 time of the price. It was supposed to be for one person most. But since we were very good friend and we loved to be together, some nights we were even more than 15 people at the time. We were sleeping side by side on the floor and we used to use every thing as pillow. This room had only one single washroom, so I am sure you can imagine how 15 people could use the place.
Every one was waiting for a chance to get out of there. To Europe or America.
Here I did not have to feel lonely for being different from others or having different religion.
Pretty much every one had the same aim and goal. Of course in a large group like that you could find some differences as well, but for our situation most of this differences was faded.
Days were passing by and I was the only one in this group I had not planned to escape the country, well I did not have any money. This time I had to fly, there was not walking and Rambo crap. I did not have any hope on my family either; otherwise I did not have to come to India this way in first place. I got quite a name for myself for escaping from Pakistan. And for long time they used to call me Rambo. Especially when one of members of refugee association who were helping new comers came to our room to visit. They told us the story of a group who got arrested while they were trying to pass the Indian border and some of them got shot and killed. When I heard the story, I started to become scared. And I felt which how lucky I was. I could survive, maybe because I came by myself. They told us the story of two guys, who got arrested when they were crossing border and they were in one of Indian jails in middle of desert.
|We are tomorrow's past. |
- Mary Webb
Reza went back to Karachi and returned to Iran. Manoocher went to Europe with help of Bahayee association. Babak died from some sort of disease. Cyrus and his brother continued their work in trading drug and gun and last I heard one of brothers got shot and killed in local fights. After me so many group tried to come India. Especially a group of 90 guys, who every one got arrested and 4 of them got killed. And most of them they went to border’s jails. I was one of the only one survived, at that time.
In Delhi, since I did not have hope on going anywhere soon and I was recovering from my skin disease and my general health. I started to attend to English classes. Mostly I was hanging out in a place called tourist camp, which was a cheap motel for Europeans tourists. It was good excuse to meet some Europeans and get to know them and practice some language as well.
Omid, was young guy who was couple of years younger than me, but he was good in general communication. He was sharp and he knew how to use his manner with elders. He was telling every one his mom was one of Princes hairdressers. And he had hang out mostly with older people than his age. Any way, he was one of those rich kids, who were kind of spoiled with his family’s money. And he tried to escape India couple of time, which could not make it. And every time was trying harder by paying the smugglers more money in order they send him faster. In most of things he was smarter than his age. But in this matter I am not sure. He used to spend money and he was over doing it as well to keep his image. He was finishing his money and starting to borrowing from others. And so on. This was the good side of the story. I never forget the first time he started to roll cigarette. Over there they were buying the bags of open tobacco and papers to roll their own, so it was cheaper than made one.
He used to say: " Rambo, don’t smoke, is not good for your health ". I remember first time Doctor rolled his first cigarette. He used to compare me with a guy from Iraq.
Safa, his origin was from Iraq, but he was speaking 7 different languages. And he used to live in Tourist Camp. And waiting for interviews with embassies to go to Europe. When I registered my name for English classes, Omid said, Rambo is like Safa.
Safa, was one of the rare people who was speaking 7 different languages fluently. When he went for interview with Swedish ambassador, he did his interview in Swedish language, even though he never was in Sweden before. With out even meeting this guy in person, I made him my mentor. I said to myself I should become him; I like his talent and courage. I met him once; I never had a chance to test him to see if he is able to speak the languages, however, I always admired him. Some how I was feeling I know him long time. When back in Iran used to go to English Institute, I was always jealous of European kids who were speaking more than 3 languages. And now we had to learn Arabic language in our school by force. The language that only couple of Arabic countries could understand. I was always thing is the language of our enemy Iraq. I don’t say that was right way to think about a language, but that was my idea at the time. When they force you into something there is most possibility you start to hate it and automatically reject it.
I was always thinking I should marry a foreigner because I liked my kids learn more than on language. Well this was they way I was thinking. I had this idea, which a new language is a new culture. Of course reverse this theory is possible too. For forcing us to learn Arabic, now I hate my own language too. Don’t take me wrong, I always love to learn languages; even my marks in Arabic classes were one of the highest.
I never forget when I was in high school. I got – D in my English test. When I complained about it, our teacher gave me another – D for next test as well. After that, some how I got more interested in English and I registered in private English schools. Well I never could get more than D from this teacher, but the next year I started to teach my own classes.
Anyway, in our Refugee Center, you could choose to learn only one language only. And that could be the language of your choice. Well you had only three options of French, German or English. I put special request in UN to learn more than one. Some how they accepted it. In the morning I was going to English, Noon, to German and afternoon to French classes. I always dreamed of going to Germany and after memory of those letters from Holland, I decided to go there and now when I joined to French classes and I found out they speak French in Canada and it is an actual country and not just the name of drink, I decided to go there if that could happen. After I found out about Canada, I started to feel how stupid one can be or maybe call it lack of knowledge who not knowing about some countries, their culture or language or simply their existence. Me personally I was always thinking, Canada is the name of cold drink and is country of Eskimos and Indians. Or this a country covered with ice and people are living in Ice made caves.
Any way, guys they kept coming, they were Delhi’s guest and in couple of days or months they were gone. Those who could not make it in first attempt of flying, when they were coming back, we had a lot’s of stories to hear from them. Which some times was interesting to hear or kept adding to our information data. Imagining an airport hall way and getting your boarding card or having normal passport or even traveling with more than a suite or suitcase was a wish. Every one was coming back to our room, since Reza had golden heart; every one was welcome there. Same as me on first day.
One of the most lasting pleasures you can experience is the feeling that comes over
you when you genuinely forgive an enemy - whether he knows it or not.
- O.A. Battista
The Truth Sometimes Hurts
One day, after class I cam home and I noticed there is no one there. I knocked the door, I got the feeling there is some one other side of the door but they don’t want to open it. I asked them to open the door, when door got open I say Doctor and his friend are busy shooting heroin. Doctor said, “oh is Rambo, we can trust him, let him in.” I said trust on what? He said don’t worry come in. I got scared and said its ok I will come back later. When I say the syringe and liquid in spoon and he was heating it with candle, I freaked out and I was going to run out of the door. I knew whenever this kind of stuff is involved means trouble. Till now I was always dealing with Marijuana, or hash, it was ok, in its own level but injecting. Wow. No way.
Doctor said don’t worry, it’s not biting. He continues,” I trust you more than everyone else that’s why I let you come in. I told him I prefer you don’t have trust on me and let me go. I don’t want to be mixing with this stuff. He said, “Don’t worry you not doing anything. I just want to you see what has happen to me, so you don’t do the same mistake. Well doctor was a good guy, and honest. Well we have been always heard you cannot trust some one who is addicted to drug. And now I was saying the same thing. I could trust him, since I had seen he cared about others. After that day, I found out what really happened to him. He was married and when he went back to Iran for the 2nd time his wife divorced him, and he lost his life with the wife. He had couple of rich brother in US who they were supporting him with money, but he could not pass immigration test because he could not pass the blood test. I always saw he was trying to quit, but I always thought is just smoking or marijuana, I never thought is heavy stuff. He was making some medicine and mix and match couple of pills and for couple of days he was tying himself and going through rough time of getting drug out of his system and dealing with pain. For a short period he was sober and fine and without any one knows, he was back in First Square. And start all over again.
So many times our room became like a rehab center, every one was trying to quite some thing they were there. It was interesting, not only doctor but everyone else, after quitting they were a new person and totally new personality, with it was wonderful to see them like that. It was amazing how it could change them. But it was not for long. I don’t every want to judge any of them. I could not be in their shoes ever; I never knew what their problems are or why they got into it in first place. I had very good opportunity, in India or Pakistan to get some sort of addiction. We had the best drug, all over and most of the time free. Or even in cheapest possible. I was in the best mental condition to start to use some thing, to at least to calm myself down, but that could be start of a disaster. Some how I survived that side of the story. Well, addiction at the time was the only problem I did not have.
In our room every one had some sort of addiction, except me. Even the cleanest person, who was Reza, was smoking back to back. Like Pakistan, we had a day that our room was becoming like drug association and all guys was making marijuana or hash and smoking in a circle. And I had to make tea for them. Two of the guys were drinking and so on.
They only bad or illegal thing I was doing, was sneaking to the stadium which was close to our location since I did not have the membership, I had to sneak in and work out in gym.
As I mentioned every one’s flight had its own interesting story. These stories were reaching to our room, either they could make it to Europe or not. For a while our room became like travel agency, but in training mode. Every one was practicing they were coming there. I was always wondering what the hell this airport looks like. Most of us never traveled illegal and with normal passport. I was always dreaming of a traveling and not to be scared of getting questioned by an officer.
One of these stories was Saaid, a Karate instructor; he tried to go to Sweden couple of times. He had planned to open his own club. He was sport man but he had to leave Iran some how. We never questioned each other deeply, since we knew none of us are criminals, we all were victim of a dirty game. Politic. He tried couple of time but he was not successful and returned to Delhi again. Last time, since he was out of money and patient he said that’s it I have to go this time. Since no one professional and most of us never went to airport they could get cut with one simple question. Any way for 3rd time he tried but this time they cut him in Spain, he did not want to come back to Delhi so he cut his veins at airport. It was like the story of “great escape “. Most of these guys did not know proper language knowledge. After little bit of practice they were going to airport.
One of the interesting one was Baggage story. There were group of three, they did all the practices and went to airport, they were not supposed to talk to each other and they go as individuals. First in line could pass the questions and got the boarding card, 2nd one who memorizes the questions, when the lady asked him, do you have any baggage? He freaked out and ran out of the hall and went out side. There was some one waiting out side to make sure every one is gone. He asked him, what happened? He told him with very scared voice, which she asked me Baggage that was not part of our questions. He answered you idiot, baggage is same as luggage.
It was very simple mistakes or just English problems. Most of the time British version or American version of the words or unexpected questions, which was not part of their manuals. When you think of it now, it sound so stupid, but for some of these kids, was their lives and futures.
The most expensive passengers were two brothers who were heading to Belgium. Every time their flight was arriving to the destination, since they did not have proper stamp and document from original country, they were not permitting them to inter the country, they were in custody for little while and they had to return, where, they were not sure where they send them so with first British airway flight they were going back to next location. The problem was, as soon as they were inside the flight, they start to drink so when they were getting to new country, they were so drunk, that could not even answer the questions. We were always surprised with regulations. For a month or so, this two brother they keep flying and getting return to different location.
Finally they got to one of Eastern European countries and they had to keep them more than one day. They had visit from Iranian Embassy, they were trying to convince two brothers to return to Iran. They brought them some paper work to sign and some food. One of the brothers was saying, we eat the food and through the rest to their faces and ripped off the paper works. These trips continued for couple week and finally Indian government accepted them to stay in India, well of course in next attempt they left India again. But they were one most expensive passenger for British Airway, at that time.
Courage is like love - it must have hope to nourish it.
- Napoleon Bonaparte
Other side of the mirror
While I was sneaking into stadium and using the facility to work out, I met sunny. He was interesting guy in his own way, had always smile on his face and very kind in heart.
I never understood why he was coming there but meeting him over there it was start of a good and beneficial friendship. I should say beneficial since everything or every one was a tool or a way to survive, after a while you start to forget the reality of feelings. Everything becomes like jungle, you had to kill weaker animals to live and survive. It might not be very good analogy but it’s a truth.
My body was pretty build and I was center of attention at the gym, for being white and foreigner so maybe that’s why I got his attention in first place.
Reza gave up the room after a while and every one disappeared. I went to live with a group of Afghan guys; well I was with them for one night. I told to sunny I am looking for place to rent. Without any delay, he asked me to move in with their family. I was surprised. Of course with little doubt I accepted. I was not sure what I am dealing with. I had good experience with John’s family, but not with most of Indian or Pakistani’s.
His family was wonderful, 3 brother and his parents.
At first was hard to understand the family. I had language and culture barrier so it was not very easy to understand them in first couple of days.
Dad, was very quite but smiley man, very little to talk.
Mom was the most amazing person and leader of family. Strong and most kind person I ever saw. She accepted me right away and since the beginning I looked at her like a real mom, and I asked her if I could call her mom as well.
Elder brother was stranger character. A chubby, lazy guy who owned a video club and was living in a sprite of actor and hero.
The youngest kid was the most active guy in the family. I am not sure how old he was, about 9 or 10 years old. Whole family was calling him, little guy. He was full of energy and running around like there was no ending. Churtoo and me better relationship than everyone else. Since after mom, he was the only one could speak English. And finally servant, who was a young guy with different type of Indian accent, he was from one of small villages. Even though I could not understand him properly, I could communicate some how. He was working for minimum salary and living with us as well. As soon as I got settled he started to treat me as part of the family as well.
The family never accepted any money from me. So I started to save little bit of money and live little easer than before. Well it was not my habit to have that kind of life style, or having a poor guy as my servant. I was feeling guilty somehow to live like that. But I didn’t have much of option. Either live on the street or god knows who would become your room mate or living with this family. Since I was not paying and they did not accept any sort of help, like buying food for house, I started to do some minimum work at house. For them it was quit strange especially for the servant. He could not accept to see I am doing some house works. I bought some paint and started to paint the house or washing some part of the house and do some basic cleaning. They were looking at me like an alien is been reforming. For every one was strange to see I am working in the same level as the servant. For instance, elder brother was telling everyone, “If I die I would not do this kind of stuff, which does belong to poor people or servants.” Wow, I could not believe this kind of comments. So many times I was going to say why you think you are better than this guy, or you will die if you do this kind of job. No like you are super rich. And it was surprising which this family was not rich at all. They were probably considered as middle class or even poor family.
Mom was one of the six sisters from a rich family. And she was the poorest of the family. One day, she took me to her sister’s house. Unbelievable, how much of different you could see between this two family. In pretty much everything they were different. From amount of money to manner and kindness.
They owned a palace, with so many cars in front of the house. I never forget they way, sister’s husband treated me when I was their guest one day. Seemed like I am in one of Egyptian palaces in the movies, he was asking me if I can teach his son, some level of karate techniques. And we were talking about it, which we got to dinnertime. I am sure he never could guess I understand Hindi. Mom’s sister asked the husband,” what shall with do with him? It was more getting permission to get rid of me or shall we invite him for dinner? His husband simply with very selfish and proud voice, told her, feed him some rice. These people have not seen rice before. I was shocked with his behavior; he was just asking me to teach his son and all of sudden treating me like a dog. I should add which dinner table was made for more than 12 people and full of different colorful food, I was totally insulted.
I answered him in Hindi, with all do respect sir, I have had my dinner, however I should add to your information that, rice is one of Iranian main dishes, plus living with your wife’s sister has thought me so much about Indian hospitality, maybe some other time I will come back and we will have rice together and I will tell you about our dishes and our culture, where we are coming from and who we really are.
He was quite shocked when he heard my Hindi. With embarrassed voice answered,” I did not mean to offend you. Or anything.
I said,” it is very good if we learn about other countries life styles before we start to judge them and don’t let our way of living get into us. I might live with your sister-in-law, I might have to live in India as refugee, but we are humans, some one like your sister.
I never went back and until I was in India never met any of them. Mom explained to me about some of this rich people’s manners but truth and reality was different.
Like Iran, India has strong culture and background and quite history, but you could always see something different than everywhere else.
One of the interesting part was, Indian love watching movies. Its part their lives. Some of them they live in these movies, especially poor one. They were saving money all week to see a movie in weekend. It was more important than food for some of them. Most days, if street was quite, you could say, there is a TV series on the air. Or some store they had small TV on the counter which every one was gathering around it on the alley to watch their favorite TV series. But the most amazing part was I was not sure what they were watching? Since I was practicing my Hindi or you can say even my English, I always asking question at home. Every night we were watching two Hindi movies. At the end of the movie, I was asking the members of the family, ok, what happened? What was the story? No one could say what the story of the film was. If there was a lot’s fight scene, men they would approve the movie as good movie, if the songs were good, ladies were approving it. (You could say about 9 songs in each movie) other than that, no one knew the story of the movie. And elder brother, who was always living in dream of one actor, after finishing, were going nuts. He was talking with the same tone of voice and standing in the middle of the room and ordering around. And since no one was giving dame about him, he was picking on the poor servant.
Most of our guys, did not like to get involve with Indian or their culture. I was against it. I was proud to learn and live with them. I was not totally happy, but I was always saying, when one day I leave this country, I want to take it at least I learned something about them and from them.
There is often less danger in the things we fear than in the things we desire.
- John C. Collins
From Tehran to Kabul
One day, I was sitting at the waiting area in Cultural house of Germany, Goethe Institute. Waiting for my next class, which I noticed, the girl next to me is writing some thing in Persian. I was shocked, I was not expecting to see that what so ever. Is like you see glass of red wine in the middle of desert. I got excited and with out any introduction told her, I love your handwriting. After finishing the line I turned toward her face and noticed her. I asked her, if I don’t make mistake you should speak Persian, is that right? And I should say, you are beautiful as well of course if I don’t offend you. Poor girl, she bombards with my question and she was shocked to hear Persian words as well. She answered me with different accent, Thanks. I could speak Persian too. I was like a thirsty man who saw that glass of red wine, answered her, yes of course. When she said the first word, I was not sure if I should be surprised or shocked. With beautiful Afghan accent, continued: I am not Persian, I am from Afghanistan. I said, “Wow. I kind of noticed that. The truth is, it’s a long time I have not talked to Persian woman. It’s very interesting to talk to you.”
She was very interesting woman. She seemed educated and talking very clearly and polite. She was not looking like other Afghanis. She was dressed like in fashion manner.
I guess she noticed I am looking at her, she said, “I am from Kabul; we are same as Tehran, different than rest of Afghanistan. We dress follow European Fashion and our Persian is close to yours.
As our conversation continued or I can say our friendship, I was not sure who I should blame for not knowing enough about these people while they are refugee in Iran. Friendship with her and of course getting more involved with more of Afghanis made me realize how poor we were thinking of them. Unfortunately, Iranian Government did not only make our own people and their religion against each other but also, he made us to hate or dislike other nations as well.
I was happy to meet Maryam, a refugee from Afghanistan, who was waiting to go some where in Europe. Trying to build her life and a family and save her mom. She had plan for Germany, that’s why she was studying in this school as well.
Language classes were going well, until I requested for Education classes or studying in University level. They game me two options, study in University for couple of years, or take a one year class in private school. I thought I am not going to be in this country for couple of years. And moving to different city is not possible either. Getting out Delhi means disconnected from every one and staying in India for ever. So I took Electronic class in private school. Most of long term student in this country were addicted to something. I mean Iranian Students. Pressure and other problem were so hard on them, who most of them which they lived more than 5 or 6 years they were into drug.
One of these guys named Manoochehr.
He was one of political refugees, who came to India more10 years ago. Cool guy, finished his study, but addicted to heavy drugs. He was one of the victims of being in wrong place. Iranian Government cut stopped supporting him, because he was involved with Politic at the beginning. Later on he told me I could not finish my study for using drug. He could not go back to Iran and none of the countries did not accept him either, since he was into drug. At start we got very close friends, he like me for my activeness. But later on, slowly we got apart. I could not follow his route. I was not a good company for his drug time. Is very hard to keep up with this kind of people and their habit if you are not one them.
Manoocher was one of those friends that I really like to know what happened to him and where he is now. He was good in heart and a good friend. Unfortunately, India, is not only Hindi movies and beautiful women dancing and happy ending in every movie, one hero saves every one. Real India has these problems as well. Our real lives are more than movies.
You're never a loser until you quit trying.
- Mike Ditka
Coming up, Shall We Dance?
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