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While I was cleaning my closet tonight, I found a series of pictures from previous years. At first, I hesitated to look at them, thinking that they might make me depressed and nostalgic. Though, finally I looked through these pictures. I would say the approximate time frame of these pictures were from when I was in 10th grade in Iran till the first year of university in the US. Surprisingly, none of these pictures made me nostalgic or sad. By looking at these pictures, I remembered the changes that my family has gone through over the past few years.

In almost all of these pictures, I felt a sense of alienation in my own eyes. It was as if my eyes were looking at else where rather than the lens of the camera. I looked uncomfortable and worried in most of these pictures. I think the reason for that alienation was both my being a teenager and the way my life was changing in every direction. And of course there are a few in which I am very happy and am laughing hysterically.

In almost all of these pictures there was either me and crowd of friends or my small family. I paused while I was looking at one of the pictures from my final months in Iran in 2001. There was a little party that we had thrown since Lily had retuned from Canada to visit my who was struggling with cancer and the rest of us. Most of my best friends from Iran were present in that picture. It felt really weird to realize that almost all of them are somehow displaced in this world one way or another. One of them was in Cypress last semester, the other one lives in France, another one lives in Canada, the other one has left Iran for Eastern Europe, one of them goes to the best university in Tehran (but she, too, is thinking of leaving Iran), one is on her way to Canada and one has gone to Orroomieh( a city in Iran) for her college years! And I am in Ohio, Lily is in Toronto, my mom is in Boston this year, my dad is in Tehran…

Don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining or anything. I am just saying that it feels weird to think that many people, who are well grounded in Iran, leave as soon as they find an opportunity and there are people like my family members who painfully get kicked out of their country and go into exile. Ironically, all of these cases happen to be present in this constraint picture that is right now sitting next to my computer.

Now all of those friends are in orkut, Hi5 and other internet spaces. I think I can’t expect more than being able to take a look at their pictures and profiles once in a while in my internet network places. I don’t think I can ever have them all in one place and to take a picture with all of them at once… Such a dream is currently against the laws of physics... just like the picture that is in my hand…my friends at the center…in our home… and my parents and Lily in the margins of the picture!

I mean if you think about it, our home city, Tehran, does not even have any space for us anymore. With this pollution, you even think that there is not enough air for an extra person! When I went back to Tehran last year, I felt like a giant who was taking so much space. Walking in those familiar neighborhoods of Tehran would make me think that I was occupying too much space and violating other people’s right to life! It was as if there was not enough land for my feet! And I had lost most of the skills that could help you survive in Tehran. I was slow in crossing the streets and my voice was not high enough so that people could hear me!

Anyways, these pictures took me to my beloved and ill city, Tehran. They reminded me of my family as a whole, my friends, our apartment and my room…It was a cute room. You know what I miss the most about that room? I miss the sounds of the crows that used to sit on the branches of an old plane-tree right next to the window of my room. Man, those crows would get up damn early….GHAAR GHAAR…and I would curl up in my bed and hide my head under the blanket! Ohio does not have crows. It has corn fields with scarecrows in them, but no crows, anyway…

a crow

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