Pain as the meaning of life

I see pain around me. A lot of pain actually, which comparing to little problems that I have in my life right now, is very frightening. Money is the main challenge for most, and not because they don’t try enough to make some, but because the expenses of living runs faster than they could work. That’s why we, Iranians, always need more money, no matter how our economic situation is. Even if we can handle our own life, we have to earn more money for our children, because they’d lose their life if they have to start from the beginning, like many of us did.

I can see some of the people around me, suffering from loneliness. Even some of them seems to be in love with someone who doesn’t love them back. I can see the ones who are deeply alone while they’re living with someone else. There are also ones who’re alone, deeply enough, not to even try to let someone into their life.  They look like they’re satisfied with their loneliness, but I’m not sure if can believe the idea could work.

I can see ones who have a life full of love and passion, but they have a collection of other problems everyday in their life, like the universe is mad at them, and is trying to take revenge just because they got the chance to keep their love for years.

Why am I thinking about this? What’s wrong with having no big problems? Nothing actually! And that’s the wrong part of the story. I know it might sound ridiculous, but it’s true. It feels strange not to have the old problems, for someone who had grown up with them like the problems were the deep meaning of his life; Like if you take away those problems, you take away the meanings of his life.

I read my friends writings, their twits and their words everywhere, and the main thing they write about, is their pains and sufferings. And to be honest, they create art sometimes! Sometimes I secretly go through their blog archives and read their entries, and even though people don’t take the blog posts seriously, I can feel the magic in their words; the magic came out of suffering most of the times.

“What’s in the Iranian’s face that we could recognize them among other faces, even before they talk?”, a friend of mine who lives abroad, asked once. I had experienced that many times before, and the only answer I could find was: “Suffer”. Iranians suffer a lot, from the beginning of their life in a way that even someday some of them could escape from the situation, they will remain under the influence of what they’ve been through before.

Not that the condition here is the worst in the world, but it’s a lot different. Complaining all the time, is one the common behaviors many of us have. To say, “I feel great today” is not a common answer when somebody asks us, “How do you feel today?”, unless we’re a bipolar and we’re in one of those “I feel great today” days. The most common answer in Iran when someone asks you about how you are, is to say “Thanks”, by which you can escape from the real answer and be polite at a same time.

By the way, I ask this question a lot from myself these days, that if we lose these pains, how our lives would look like, and what the meaning of life would be. It’s even hard to imagine.

The Open End

Soccer Field in Prison

Sometimes when I review the opportunities I’ve had in my life, I suffer from the weakness I can see through many of my decisions. I wasted a lot those opportunities because I always concerned with something when I had to decide about something else. I rejected many good job offers because I was thinking about my education, and I lost many great educational opportunities because I was struggling with my work at the same time.

I know what so-called positive people usually say when I say this. Yes! I believe that everyone could make changes in his life and choose what to be and how to live his life, but there are limitations. There is a serious question about the number of options everyone has.

I admit that many of my failures have been the result of my laziness and I know that if I’ve had tried harder to get what I wanted, I could’ve reached many of my goals, but I’m an ordinary person with average capabilities. I’m taking about the hard-to-accept fact of “being a normal person”.

Despite many of the movies and stories that have a hero who eventually, with the help of the writer and the director, overcomes the problems and live a happy life for ever, there is no guaranty in real life. Apparently God doesn’t care about his story or movie being sold. So he doesn’t need to satisfy the audience, or to prepare the ground for his next work.

So, we are here, abandoned in a soccer field, having free will to go anywhere in the field, but not even a step outside. This is while the life’s going on somewhere else outside the field,  and apparently the key to see the real life, is to  escape from the field! It’s not easy, but must be possible. There has to be a way outside.

The urgent need to let the words out!

twitter-deadTwitter blocked me. Just like that. I can still login, and I can still read my friends’ twits, but nothing else; no faves, no replies, no follows and unfollows. Feels like sitting in a stadium watching the final game, but not being allowed to scream, jump or even to say a word to the one who’s sitting next to you.

By the way, Twitter says that my account has had some unusual behaviors and now I have to confirm that I’m a human behind my Twitter account. And apparently the only way Twitter would understand that I’m a human is to let it know my phone number, which I’m totally OK with. But, Twitter doesn’t recognize Iran as a country (Thank you very much!); so there is no way that I can give my phone number.

There was this help link, above which was written something about if someone cannot provide a phone number. So, I clicked the link and it led me to a form about the problem. I filled the form, and submitted my request to the Twitter Support Team and there was this message after I pressed the button which said they would answer to my request within a few days.

It’s been a few weeks now. I submitted the form, once again. I even asked one of my friends in Germany to use his phone number for this silly activation, but it didn’t work. So… I gave it up.

Somebody told me to sign up for a new account in Twitter, but I didn’t feel like it anymore. I know my friends are still there, and I know that it was my last shelter after FriendFeed was shut down, but it seems that I’m not supposed to be there anymore.

After all, thanks to not being twitting all the time, every day a few ideas that I used to waste by twitting them in less than 140 characters, grow up in my mind, and after a while I feel the need to write them somewhere. That’s why I write more these days in my blog.

First, live enough!

type-writer

I cannot forget the day when we had just graduated from the Islamic School of Art after 3 years of participating in different courses about the history of art, literature, and attending a variety of workshops like story-writing, reading the old Farsi texts and engaging the hard work of expressing ourselves with words and trying to convey our messages through our broken and useless sentences which at last could be some pathetic show off about an inexperienced kid who thinks that he could be a writer by rambling some senseless words and calling them a “short story”!

It was one of those days, when I was maybe 23 or 24 and I’d learned the techniques of  writing, not knowing that the story is not so much about the techniques. One day a true writer, who had some real published works, came to our school and listened to some of our short stories. At the end, when he first showed us that he was touched by our works, he said, “Fellas! You’re good at writing, but I don’t think you have any thing to write about; because you have not lived enough yet!”

I can’t deny the humiliation I felt that day, and I even tried to defend myself by trying harder to write more stories. But today, when I know that there is no chance he could read my blog, I can try to be honest and admit that he was right.

It’s been years since that day. I’m still young, but there have been days in my life in which I had to choose between things I loved, that I had to sacrifice one thing for another, that I accepted many of my failures. There have been days in my life that I had to let things go.

Life goes easier on me now that I’ve given up many of those silly ideas that I used to have. Those days I was always running to reach an unknown goal in my life and to find some answers that I now know they never existed. Now I feel more like an old man who sits on his old chair on the wooden porch everyday, smoking his pipe, watching the birds singing and playing in the woods, and thinking about how calm and quiet is everything.

After all, I think I have couple of things to write about, even though I’m not sure if I can write anymore.

Being vegetarian not for its being healthy

Living in Iran, specially in Qom, I hadn’t seen many vegetarians around me. I knew that he number of them has been increasing in some so-called high-level parts of the society, but they weren’t around. But now, in just a couple months, I’ve found out that I have a lot of vegetarian friends! Yes many of them have been living this way for years!

But actually, this is not what surprised me. The interesting point about them was the reason they stopped eating meat. At least two of them to which I talked, told me that basically they didn’t have any problem with eating meet, but they think that the contemporary meat industry in Iran doesn’t observe the ethical codes of slathering the animals.

I didn’t have enough time to check if he was right, but my friend told me that some of the commercial chicken houses that are designed only to produce more meat and to make more money, and the owners don’t think at all about the experience of the animal there.

a chicken house in Iran

According to what he said, the chickens in these chicken houses sometimes never get a chance to see the sunlight, because they grow up in very small cages in where they can’t move so much, and have nothing to do but to eat and grow up so fast with the help of the pumped hormones. Some of the people who run these kinds of chicken houses, make the place so crowded so they wouldn’t need to spend any money for the warming. The chickens would stay warm being stick to each other all the time!

A normal happy chicken that has a normal live in a village would grow up maybe two times slower and sees the garden, the sunlight and walk a lot at least around the small yard of a house. It usually has the chance to live her life with a rooster who, as far as I’ve seen, is so hot and willing to come to his wives frequently during a single day!

Apparently, the same goes to sheep and cows and  other animals, in a different way. And the only priority for the producers is to make more money out of the job.

So, this way, my friends has become vegetarian. And to be honest, this is the first time I’m interested. Though, there still might be solutions for the problem, like trying to find non-industrial producers like the villagers who still treat their animals as family and respect them as alive creatures. It’s not easy, but possible.

By the way, don’t be surprised if I announced someday that I’ve become a vegetarian.

To be real good at something!

It’s been a continues conversation between me and Kosar these days that we have some decisions to make these years. We both are passing our thirtieth and there is not much time to continue the so-called “trial and error” method to find what job is the best for each of us.

I’ve been in various job positions since nine years ago when I started to work for the first time in my life.  I was an editor for Firooze for one and half a year; maybe the most pleasant job I’ve ever had. Then I was R&D manager for another company that used to work on social networks and internet-based medias. I’ve also worked as a researcher and you can guess the rest! There are a lot of them.

It’s not that I couldn’t do those jobs properly, but after a while, I always needed to change. And to be honest, it’s not only about my job. This is how I changed my studies so frequently. Art, literature, jurisprudence, religions studies, media and etc are the fields that I have spent my life in!

But it has to be stopped somewhere! I can’t keep going on like this, even if it’s so exciting not to stick to one path and taste many different flavors of life during the unknown time you got in this world.

To stop this changing, means that I finally have to choose.  It means that I need to let many things that I like go. It’s not easy and I clearly know that, but there is nothing else I can do.

By the way… I think this is one of the biggest challenges that I’ve ever been dealing with in my entire life. I think that I should accept the fact that it’s much better to be real good at something than to be just good or OK at many things! I agree with this Farsi proverb which says if you’re expert in everything, you’re expert in nothing!

So… the only and the last question that I need to answer is: “What can I be real good at?” Not an easy question. I know!

 

I’m not angry!

imnotangry

Between all the movies I watched during 32nd Fajr Festival, most of the time I was crying. I cried watching Che (directed by Ebrahim Hatami kia), Track 143 (directed by Narges Abyar), etc. There have been also times that I laughed, but the main mood was still crying!

Though, there was this movie that I cried the most watching it. And not in a good way. It wasn’t the kind of crying after which you feel relieved and relaxed. Actually I felt like staying some more in the theater to keep crying for a while when the movie ended.

The movie was Asabani nistam (I’m not angry) directed by  Reza Dormishian. The story is about an Iranian college student which was withdrawn from university for being active in an opposition political party.

after quitting the university his life becomes hard and his love life is put in danger. He tries so hard to control his anger and put his life together and…

The movie touched me because it wasn’t like I only understood it. I felt it like it was my own life, like I was the one who’d kept his anger inside him for a long time, and the most important part was that I don’t know what to do about this anger yet.

Saving and Spending

It’s only one time. How frightening! Being brought here without being asked, going on living and breathing without having a choice, and finally being caught in middle of something you may wanted to finish… aaaaaand you’re dead!

I don’t think it’s a good idea to plan so hard for the future, when your life is 99% out of your control. The amount of change you can make in the world is very tiny, so don’t blame yourself if everything sucks! The only thing that matters to me is to know that I’m making the right decision and doing the right thing, but when I know it for sure that I’m doing the right thing, I don’t care about the result.

Since the time I started to think this way, I’m free. I try so hard to get what I want, but if I lose, I don’t feel I’m a loser. How much a man could lose to get what he wants? His money? His time? His education? His future? His soul? His life? All of these are to get something, so if he wants it, he has  to pay whatever he has.

Many of us have forgot that the money is meant to be spent. What’s the point in saving money if you’re never going to spend it? There’s a same meaning for life. You’ve got this short period of time to pass it, to enjoy it, to spend it. It’s a silly idea to save your life for an unknown future. Start it right now, right from where you are.

To study Quran, instead of only reciting it

reciting-QuranIt’s been a couple of years since I stopped reciting Quran in common occasions like Ramadan or after prayers. One day I just stopped feeling that it was a good idea to recite Quran regularly.

But now she asked me to read it again together. I wasn’t into that suggestion, but I said yes. She was supposed to start from the beginning of Quran; Fatehah and she told me to start from 18th Juz. Al-Mu’minun was the first Sura I read after all these years of being apart from Quran.

I had dedicated a whole year of my life to memorise all verses of Quran many years ago. I can never forget those days and nights that I was reading and memorising Quran all the time.

This time is completely different though. I didn’t used to ask questions when I was reading Quran. Well, it’s better to say, I never used to have any question. But now I have a lot of questions when I read it. Sometimes it doesn’t make any sense to me, and sometimes I suddenly say: “That’s right! That’s exactly what I was talking about!”

By the way, I like this challenge and I’m enjoying it. And I think this is the first time I’m actually learning through studying Quran, instead of reading it.

When you sound ridiculous

alone-at-my-roomI was explaining my situation to her when suddenly I felt that how ridiculous it sounds when I say it out loud. She asked me if I’m single and I said yes. She asked again why I’m not in a relationship.

“You have to be either single or married to someone. There is no other options in Iran.” I answered. I saw how she was surprised when she asked: “What do you mean?”

I started to talk. And both reasons for being single and being in a need to be married were convincing to her. I explained that I’m not with anyone yet, because there are many responsibilities in being a husband like you would be in charge of all the the expenses of the family, you have to pay Mahrieh, you need to hold a wedding ceremony and there are also many customs like buying gold for the bride, gifts and so on… So when you’re still a student and you have not enough income, you can’t talk about marriage.

I can’t stay single neither. Because there are social pressures on me. For example it’s very difficult to rent a house when you are single. You are also always under the focus when you talk to a female at your work, at university and every where. Another problem is that to apply for many jobs in Iran, being married is required. Above all this, being alone is very dangerous for your health, both mentally and physically and it could easily lead to depression for instance.

“Are you telling me that your motives for marrying someone is to become able to rent a house, to relieve your self from physical and emotional needs and not to be under the pressure in your society? Don’t you think that these are not good reasons to marry someone?”

I could proudly say “yes”, but she was right. I was trying not to stay single and these things were really influencing my motives. What could I say? To stay alone? NO. To marry someone? NO.

She started to laugh. And she was right. It’s ridiculous and there is no more options but to laugh at this situation. “Now, what are you gonna do?” she asked out of curiosity.

I told her that I’d rather go for a marriage. My mom is searching for an appropriate girl; because I gave up starting new relationships after I wasn’t successful in convincing my family to let me marry someone who I loved. And this time it’s not going to be a relationship. There will be some proposal sessions in which we are supposed to decide if we can marry to each other.

“So, you propose to someone who you just met?!” She started to laugh again. “And by the way, who are your family to decide to whom you marry?!”

I was so confused. I didn’t know how to explain this to her. And the more I tried to clarify our situation in Iran, the more ridiculous I sounded. So I had to stop the conversion. We said goodbye and after that I couldn’t find a better way to explain this silly reality to someone else.