THE MAGIC CARPET

The latest addition to our furniture is not, amazingly, from Walmart. It is from the bazaar in Tehran. And it is inconceivably more beautiful, precious, and wonderful than anything Walmart has to offer.

The background is blue, but not the standard stern dark blue of the carpets in our house when I was a child. Rich red and dark blue are now outdated, grandmotherish. The nouveau riche have cream backgrounds, “called sugary” or “milky” in the bazaar. Occasionally you might see a soft pistachio-green background. But I have never seen the colour of this one now lying on my bedroom floor, complementing the colour of the ocean outside: a softer, greyish, greenish, smoky blue, with small flashes of turquoise woven in at the centre. It reminds me of the sea around Kish. And since I have never seen this shade before, I can look at this carpet without having any associations with the hundreds of carpet I have looked at since childhood.

The pattern is standard Kashan, derided and mocked by “younger” generation (my peers), who prefer abstract geometric patterns and disdain these lovely intricate whorls and curvy many-petalled flowers. I remember several years ago I was on a work trip to Isfahan with a couple of colleagues, and we had several hours to kill before our return flight. We wandered round the bazaar, looking at various carpet displays and I got into a furious argument with a colleague who blatantly disparaged the traditional curly flowery patterns of Isfahan and Kashan carpets. It’s all about simplicity and minimalism, my dear, she said. Not for me. These twists and petals satisfy something in my soul. Keep your triangles and hexagons and pentagons for yourself.

And the soft, soft texture of the wool! The blue takes on a different shade at different lights and angles, so I don’t think it is possible to ever get tired of looking at and sitting on this beautiful magic carpet; a pond with floating flowers, lying in the middle of my bedroom.

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