Wednesday, April 13, 2005

until i was four or five years old, my grandparents lived in this great house with a pool in which i almost drowned. it was into that same pool that my uncle, who was then 12 years old, pushed his best friend out of excitement upon hearing that i had been born.

other than the near-drowning incident, which i can remember in vivid detail as though it happened yesterday, i only have one other memory from that house. the night the Shah died, the extended family was sitting in the living room, listening to the radio as my grandma cried. noone else gave two pennies about the passing of the recently deposed shah, and my grandmother was chastisted by just about everyone for wasting tears on the dead dictator.

in the days when the iranian revolution was breaking out in full force, young radicals used to regularly knock on my grandmother's door asking if she had any empty glass bottles she could spare. and my sweet sociable grandmother, who had no idea that the bottles were for making molotov coctails, would make daily donations to the revolutionaries.

then someone, i think my oldest uncle, caught her in a transaction, informed her of the exact nature of what she was contributing to, and the whole thing came to an abrubt end. but by then, who knows how many of my grandma's bottles had been used in attacking the regime of her beloved shah.

somewhere in this story of grandma's unwitting contributions to the revolution there is a lesson for contemporary iranian political activits, i think, but i'm not quite sure what it is.

and just for the record, though grandma's sentimental nostalgia for the shah himself hasn't really changed, she can't stand monarchists any more than i can, and she says "no" to a war on iran!