Content or shell?

I literally saw my soul separated from my body and devilishly laughed at it


Content or shell?
by Midwesty

Many years ago when I was paying my life’s due to the government as a private in military, on one of those trips that I was coming back home form the holyland of Kurdistan, I met a young student in the bus. He was sitting next to me in the row of seats closer to the dark end of the bus. I was drunk in the happiness of getting away from the smelly beds, disgusting food and suffocating military atmosphere heading towards the light, the feast, and the holly circle of friends.

After a couple of hours that the pleasure of dreaming about my hometown settled I started to notice my 3-hour-long companion next to me. It seemed he was too heading home. However he seemed down. He was not so friendly and seemed to be bothered by something. You know the kids they tend to be troubled by stupid things that makes them do stupid things again and possibly starting a vicious circle of eternal stupidity.

I don’t know why but I have been always, not always but often an optimistic person. I know it’s not my fault. It’s probably due to my IQ as you know psychologists suggest that smarter people are indeed sadder people. Look at our friend Sadegh Hedayat, he was one sad person. We don’t want to mention Freydoun Tonekaboni who went through a whole lot of ordeal, prison and torture but still managed to keep his sense of humor and optimism.

Thus here I am, someone, who is begging for the smell of a fresh Noon-Barbari sitting next to a kid who was a student of university away from the Kurdistan’s havoc at the time. So I slightly tapped on his knee and said, hey wassup?! He was shy but replied with a quiet voice, I’m fine and then dead silence.

It’s been many times that I regretted and wished done something to stop a disaster, an accident, a break up, an angry comment and other minuscule human drama. Back then in my time and scale I used to think if I could cheer up a kid I would be gladly drowned in the pool of pleasure for years. No I am not the follower of Jesus Christ nor a Sufi. But I believe that if you look carefully inside of a human being there is a universe with its vast space, stars, planets and who knows there might be some UFOs.

I tried again and this time asked for what he was there for and why he was there. He slowly opened up to me and said things about his life that I wanted to laugh at when compared it to the life that I was living on. But he was dead serious and was hurt by it.

I tried to give him something that he would never forget and would raise his self-esteem. I started with my recent encounter with Sufis in Sanandaj. I told him how scary it was for a new-comer like me having a face that stands out in a Kurdish crowd sitting amongst people who were sitting mustache by mustache, in a tight and strange crowd.

I forgot to tell you that earlier that year I heard about one well-known Sufi gathering in the city. I got the address and time and got there earlier and reserved myself a good panoramic spot. As the crowd was slowly bunching up I noticed that I was the only one who wasn’t carrying a gun or a knife. At the beginning the crowd was awfully quiet, just coming in and saluting their Sheikh and their Khaneghah with their weird and one of the kind salutations process. But after a good number of them gathered I saw two or three individuals stood up and started pounding on their musical instrument the majestic, all Iranian, all Kurdish, heavenly sounded Daf.

It was beyond any excitement I have ever had in my life. I literally saw my soul separated from my body and devilishly laughed at it. That sound did something to that crowd that no punk rocker could’ve ever dreamed of doing it. People who were in khalseh, the spiritual drunkenness, a moment ago were jumping up and down and screaming from where once their umbilical cord was attached. The sky seemed to be falling and people were ready to stab themselves with their own knives. It was the most ultimate super Khaneghah I have ever been in. This was the XXX rated Khaneghah where you could exercise your zero amendment right from the book of human constitutional right, first edition written by God himself.

After the dust settled and people started to fan out, I stood outside. I lit a cigarette and let the cold wind of Sanandaj’s night coddle my wet hair and sweaty neck. I could hear my ancient ancestors whom their spirits riding on the wind and flowing down from the mountain to whisper in my ears their prehistoric language. I’ve never felt that good in my life.

As I was approaching the end of my story I saw the spark of hope in his eyes. We were finally there. It was close to dawn and traffic in Tehran starting to pick up. I got to the side of the bus to get to my luggage. I saw him there too so I said good-bye. He stopped me and asked me if he could have my name and number. I denied him that. He insisted on just knowing my name but I didn’t give him that one either. I clearly saw that he was puzzled. I said hey bro I want you to know that what I said was true but if you get to know me you might not like me then you’ll think what I told you wasn’t true and that will hurt you even more. My name is not important so see what I am saying. But when I look back I still don't have the answer to this question if the content is important or the shell, form or the function?


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Re: Thanks for the link!

by jamshid on

That was a nice link. Yes there were many new words/expressions that were added to the Farsi language during the war. I think more than 50% of these will remain in our military vocabulary forever.


There were many Azari expressions too.




by Midwesty on

You asked for resources. Try Wikipe...just kidding...Start from here:


Don't worry, they don't bite! ;O) Believe or not they are as Iranian as you and I are. I love the slangs they used to use in the front line. God! It's sometimes too funny at the same time too sad. 



by Midwesty on

I thought you might be interested in reading one of my old writings:




Thanks JD and Jamshid!

by Midwesty on

JD, Thanks! I used to travel from Sanandaj to Hamedan and then to Tehran. Amazing people! Amazing memories! I stayed in Sanandaj the whole time. If the weather permitted we could go back home every two months. I can't imagine these American kids are being deployed 15 months at the time. Jamshid, Unfortunately or fortunately, depends on which way you are looking at it, I wasn't in the front line but I was close enough to feel the heat. I could never think that a human being become as vicious as an animal or as pure as an angel. I like to write about it but I don't know how. I especially look forward to write about one of my friends who escaped Sadam's prison so then he can come to Iran and be killed by Mullahs. I recommend to write down your dreams if not for us at least for your own use. These are precious memories sometimes to precious to share with others. Anke ra asrare eshgh amookhtand...mohr kardand o dahansh dookhtand (Molavi)




by jamshid on

Yes, it reminded me of the horrible days (and in some very rare occasions, not so horrible days) of military service too. I had a similar encounter with a 16 years old on my way back to Tehran. It was on that trip that I wowed to myself to skip the war and get out of the country.


I felt so guilty about it later, specially when I would read about the deaths in the front, but now I don't have an iota of regret.


Thanks for sharing your memories with us. Please write more about your experiences during the war. We belong to different political views, you Midwesty and I, but if you recall, the same was true among many of the fighters in the front.


I choke sometimes when I think of those that I knew and died. In my memories, I see their faces with a beautiful smile. I don't know why with a smile? Do any of you also see them that way?


A few weeks ago, one of my war pals appeared in my dream. We were walking up a mountain and talking. It was in Azarbaijan of all places. That dream left me with a good feeling but I was depressed the whole day.


Does anyone know of a good none-political book written by a Iran-Iraq war veteran about his memoirs in the war?

Jeesh Daram


by Jeesh Daram on

It took me to the days of military service and our bus rides from Shah-Abaad-Gharb to Ghasre Shirin or to Kermanshah....and beyond...