OK; so I know its been months (since before Muharram?) since the Iranian diaries have been updated. Some of you may have lost the stomach or the momentum for it, but I want this record to be written, for myself if not for my readers! And if I don’t get to it now, its going to be our first anniversary! Plus, as Reza’s cousin gets married tomorrow and I spent tonight video skyping with the blushing bride and her family, I feel all fluffy; and remembered how I’d only just written up my niqah! So here you go; we continue! With the morning after the night before!
The morning after our niqah we woke up late, very late! Well, Reza and I did at any rate! The rest of the family had been up for hours; cleaning the house and preparing for the deluge of guests who would start arriving that evening! Despite the early start, every one waited for us to share a late breakfast! While I munched through walnut bread and fresh honey, my BIL powered up the home video we made of the niqah! It felt so strange to watch it back; as though I was watching some one else’s party! All night, Reza kept teasing me about how I trembled continually during the niqah; and was positively shaking during the part where I had to give my consent in Farsi! I shrugged this off, however, when I shook during the viewing of the film at the self-same juncture, I had to concede he was right! Watching the film made me allot more aware of what had just happened, up till this point, I had felt a bit like an outsider looking in on a perfectly forged family, yet here I was, not a part of that family, no longer viewing it through prospective daughter-in-law glasses! And while I expected to feel nervous, I honestly couldn’t have been happier!
We showered, helped mum tidy up, and then ate a light lunch of rice filled peppers, before mum started preparing to pack us off to ‘Oshaan! See, Mum and dad had wanted to send us off to have a bit of ‘alone time after the niqah, but by the time guests left etc, it was way too late for Reza to drive, and every one was too exhausted! We had a day or so of a break before the big reception, so mum figured we could vanish off now.
I packed a change of clothes and the medicine bag that was fast becoming something of an additional limb! Said goodbye to every one, and headed off! We drove through the crippling chaos that is Northern Tehran, and then got on to the Sadr Highway that leads out of the city. For any one who has never visited, Tehran is incredibly vast; for a city, the character of the landscape varies dramatically from North to South, from East to West. People speak, think and live, very differently in each city area. Not only that, but the weather/temperature etc can be vastly different, and you can almost encounter a complete 4 season cycle when travelling in Tehran! As we drove out of the smog and pollution, the air changed; from burning hot, to refreshingly cool! Fluffy clouds darted across the sky, and flanked the Arbores mountains as they came in to view. The car drove higher in to the mountain passes, tackling sharp hairpin bends and worryingly narrow dirt roads. Eventually, we made our way, pain stakingly carefully up a one-way dirt path that opened on to a long low block of apartments; this, was our home, in the village of Oshaan. We opened an automatic gate that gave way to a covered yard with ¾ spaces for cars. A tiny fountain played happily over some marble columns housing some gold fish, while beyond the yard, cherry and walnut Trees leaned over the water, weighed down with the extreme weight of their ripe, sweet-smelling fruit. The whole place looked like a miniature paradise with the mountains in the background, and the wildlife that surrounded it. We made our way up the stairs to the apartment Reza’s family owned. The flat had 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a large open plan kitchen-diner with heavy glass doors leading to a pretty balcony overlooking the garden. We threw open the doors and I washed the balcony while Reza brought our supplies upstairs. He later explained to me that there are countless little villages just like this, dotted around the outskirts of Tehran. Students flocked here, along with business people, young families, or those who simply wanted to step off the rat race for a while. To me, there was nothing like Oshaan. Fireflies danced in the trees beneath the Balcony giving out rays so bright I could see them with ease. Butterflies and crickets sang with a tropical allure, and the air was thick with jasmine and tube roses. If you have trouble imagining what ‘Jannah could be, take a visit to this Mountain paradise in Iran! I couldn’t believe that my in-laws had even considered sending us away touring around Iran for our honeymoon, I couldn’t think of any where more perfect for a newly married couple to be!
The cool air was intoxicating to me after the heat of Tehran, so I asked Reza if we could sleep in the sitting room. We brought mattresses from the bedroom and made a comfortable nest on the floor with blankets and cushions. We then drew a screen across the balcony door to keep insects out, but let the cool air in! It was the first night since I had arrived that I actually needed to wrap a fluffy blanket around me; I slept peacefully, without interruptions! And would have slept longer, were it not for a loud persistent knocking first thing in the morning! I woke with a start; Mum had given us some money owed to the building factors, and asked us to pass it over when they called on Monday morning, ‘It must be them, I thought! I neither knew what Reza had done with the Envelope, nor how I’d explain myself to the Factor, so began shaking him awake! “what is it!!”, he asked irritated. “the Factors, they are at the door!”, I insisted urgently. He got up, rubbed his eyes, and then, after surveying the scene and hearing the noise, burst out laughing! There were not any factors, (at least, not at 6.30 AM!), however, a crow who had just caught sight of himself in the kitchen window was franticly pecking the glass, trying to pick a fight with his reflection! Wildlife was never too far away in Oshaan!
Though I had returned to eating normally the day before, my constitution wasn’t having any of it! our friend, DR Reza was consulted once again, and this time he prescribed 2 different drugs for me. Reza went off to the Pharmacy to collect them (sadly, I couldn’t leave the bathroom to accompany him!). He returned with the tablets, and a tray of fresh chicken Kebab! We boiled some rice and ate the Kebabs, and then tried to read Namaz (well, I tried, and had to break them 5 times before completing my prayers on account of my sickness!). We delayed our journey back till later in the afternoon, when my system was a bit settled; and thankfully, we made it back to Tehran without any kind of Mishap! It was horrible to leave somewhere so totally tranquil and perfect like Oshaan, but we knew we’d be back in a couple of days or so; and at that moment, I couldn’t think of any thing else! When I reached home, our house was thick with distant relatives from Baba’s side in Kerman; people I did not know. All had gifts for me and good wishes for Reza and I, particularly Reza’s paternal Aunt, who was quite a character! She would have been Glaswegian, if she hadn’t been from Kerman! Her constant smile, energy and to-the-point questions were quite a culture shock from mum’s gentleness! She was all out there; and kept lamenting to Reza how sad it was that I didn’t know much Farsi yet, she could have teased me and questioned me way more! For my part, I think I was saved a great deal of humiliation; and have made a mental note not to meet her till I’m allot older; and have 3 kids in toe!
Mum was worried about my colour; and frankly, so was I! At that moment, I looked like a ghost with a tropical disease; and that look wasn’t going to make good Bride material tomorrow! I refused to eat, after the horrors of post-lunch bathroom trauma, so opted for tea with honey and lots of hedge mustard and water (its an Iranian thing, check the earlier posts for more on it!). Baba had also picked up my dress from the adjustment people. Mum insisted I try it which didn’t make much sense to me. After all, if it was damaged, there was nothing we could do now! What I’d do if it didn’t sit right, was too tight, too loose etc, was not something that I, or any one else, appeared to have an answer for! Overall thankfully, the dress seemed alright! Given the time they had to fix it, they had done the best they could, and it looked better than before, so we were grateful for small mercies! Reza insisted that I eat a sandwich, which I did, followed by yet more tea and sugar water and then I was packed off to bed! I never thought I’d sleep the night before my wedding (well, reception), but I drifted in to a deep, fitful and nightmare ridden sleep; it was as though my soul knew; that Tuesday was going to be the toughest day yet!