My howl of anger and frustration towards the sky, as I learnt that our voyage to Tehran will coincide with the holy month, the month of love and of mysticism, of spirituality and of… oh excuse me while I vomit.
Words cannot convey the horror to those who have no experience of living under State-imposed theocracy, the horror of the holy month for non-religiouf people.
The media cranks up the sanctity and piety a thousand-fold, with verses and holy anecdotes and sermons and tv series showing happy families breaking their fast blaring out non-stop. Drinking and eating in the public is strictly forbidden. Restaurants are closed during the daytime. (I said it was horrible). The traffic jams during sunset and twilight reach epic proportions.
Meanwhile, gluttony and food consumption during the dark becomes almost baccanalian, minus the grape-drink, of course. During the day, people talk obssessively about what they had for the early morning meal, and what their mothers are preparing for the early evening break-fast.
Some of my memories of the holy month:
Gobbling down smuggled candy in the girls’ toilets at school…fat family friends of my mother arriving extremely late for the evening meal party, exclaiming jovially that they sleep all day and eat all night…my mother, pale and faint from fasting, insisting that she is alright and will people stop bothering her…a young girl of nine or ten reaching out at a family gathering for the evening meal, and slapping her mother across the face, shrieking at her to leave her alone…my father, cursing and swearing…buying contraband stinky potato salad and fake ham from the store across the unversity with fellow students, and eating in the girls study room…offering food to a fellow-student at a party in Halifax, having him remind me that is “the month” and that “muflims” are fasting, oh sorry I came here to forget…