Saturday, June 07, 2003

The Wedding


My aunt once told me this story about her wedding day:
She was married at age 13 or 14. At that age she didn't know exactly what the marriage is about. The family had told her that she is going to marry someone whom she didn't know at all, and told her about the date of the wedding. That was all she knew about her own marriage.

At the wedding day the family "prepared" the product -her body and her appearance- with the dress, make-up and all of that stuff and asked her to sit there on a chair facing the guests, and not doing any thing else.
She sat there and after a while they brought her a new "decoration," a new "technology" for an Iranian wedding ceremony in 1930s. It was a series of small light bulbs connected together through a wire, with a button on it to turn the light on and off.
While the others wrapped the light bulbs around her the father asks her, the bride herself, to hold the button and continuously turns the lights on and off. She sits there staring at the gusts in silence the whole night, turning the stupid light on and off ,... on and off.
To me this can be a beautiful scene, sadly beautiful, from a surreal movie. Sometimes our experiences of "Iranian life" goes beyond reality. I think that is the reason Marquez is so popular in Iran. Latin America's Magic Realism is so familiar for Iranians. Their every day life is a mixture of naked reality with something disgustingly unbelievable.

The darkest part of my aunt's story was hearing a word from her, repeatedly, after every sentence: the word was "NEKBAT" (Adversity.)
I don't think any other word can explain our "Makondo" clearer than this one.
Photo: Wedding portrait of Iranian couple, Mahin Khavari and her husband. ca1948. Courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library.