Monday, January 18, 2010

A Beautiful Angel in a Dark Prison / Azadeh Pourzand

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The Feminist School

Azadeh Pourzand’s weblog:I go to sleep determined to dream about Mansoureh Shojaei. I resist all the nightmares of her in Evin Prison. Instead, I try to remember her beautiful smile… Growing up, I did not really know her. But as I was reaching those tough teenage years, she somehow magically appeared in my life just in time to remind me of the excitement of adventures and of being courageous. I vividly remember the first time I met her. She was sitting in our apartment’s lounge when I walked in, looked at my mother and shyly said hello to our guest. “Hello, welcome!” I said. I was a moody teenager and was really not interested in meeting my parents’ guests. This time, I simply wanted some pocket money from my mother to go out which is why I walked into the lounge to say hello and ask for money. Mansoureh looked at me kindly. She looked like a nice lady, but I really just wanted to get the money, get a cab and go to Tootfarangi(Strawberry); a café in Tehran that was trendy for its time.

Mansoureh looked at me and said, “Do you want a new friend or are you too busy with your own friends?” I gave her an annoyed—but polite—look and said, “sure!” Without any pause, she said, “Well, then, let’s hang out next weekend. Thoughts?” She was speaking with me like an adult and I liked her tone. She was probably the first family friend who did not pull my cheeks hard and who did not obnoxiously ask me, “What is your favorite subject in school?”. I responded to her invitation positively and she promised to pick me up on Friday to take me hiking. Mansoureh became more than my friend. She became the aunt and an older friend that I never had. Her small family became almost like my own family. Mansoureh once criticized me for being a bit too spoiled or cautious and told me, “Go for whatever there is that you want, girl! Even if there is a huge wall on your way, get on the road and think about the wall when you hit it. The wall will have to surrender. It might get your head broken at first. But who cares? You will somehow go beyond that wall.” She used to make fun of Bamdad, her son, and I for being lazy and slow in hiking. She would say, “when I was your age…” As soon as she would say this, Bamdad and I would pretend that we were not tired and start walking faster. (Read more...)