The Night the Burglar Came


The Night the Burglar Came
by Faramarz

اون شبی که خونه مون دزد اومد

In Iran, the home burglars usually come late at nights when everybody is sound asleep after eating a big dinner. They scale the brick walls, tiptoe around the rooms, collect anything that they can carry on their backs and then throw them over the wall to their partner and run away. Before targeting a home, they usually watch it for a few days and then they spring into action. And that’s what happened on a warm summer night when my father was away on a trip and we were sound asleep on the rooftop.

I always looked forward to my father’s trips. Not only it meant souvenirs, chocolates and other things, it was also a good excuse for my grandmother to come and stay with us.  She always had great stories about ghosts (Jen o Pari) that she would tell us at our bed time, but we had to promise to keep our eyes closed. Once in a while, if one of us opened our eyes, she would say, “I heard a noise in the house. If you don’t close your eyes a burglar will come!”

On that summer evening, my mom and my aunt took a few of us to see The Pink Panther. Watching the movie, I became fascinated with David Niven’s role as the rich and famous jewel thief who had a beautiful girlfriend! He did not look anything like the mental images that I had about the burglars! To me, he became the face of a burglar in a black outfit!

On summer nights, most Iranians have their dinners in their backyards, around the fountain, and then they would sleep either there or on the flat rooftop. Although many homes had air conditioning back then (Cooler Arj), but most people didn’t like to sleep with the A/C on. At nights, the backyards and the rooftops of Tehran would become an interesting place where a lot was happening!

There was a newly-wed couple who just moved across the street from us and rented the top floor. Late at nights when they thought that everybody was asleep, they would get into action under the mosquito net! At first I wasn’t sure why the guy kept saying, “Ah, ah, Fakhri…Ah, ah, Fakhri!” But one of my older cousins explained the whole thing to me later!  

That night after dinner we all climbed to the roof and put our mattresses and pillows right next to each other and went to sleep. In the middle of the night my grandmother got up to get some water from the kitchen. She walked down the stairs and as she entered the big room she saw a shadow running out to the yard. She turned the lights on and saw all our clothes thrown on a large sheet in the middle of the room! There were ties, shoes, shirts and everything else that were in my parents’ closets!

She just ran outside and screamed, “People, there is a burglar! People, there is a burglar!”

آی مردم دزد اومده، آی مردم دزد اومده

The heads started popping up from the rooftops and a few guys ran out to the street. The burglar had just jumped over the wall and was running down the street when a couple of guys chased him down and cornered him. They were the two sons of Haji Tonbooni who lived down the street from us.

Haji Tonbooni was the guy who used to wash his Mercedes in his pajamas when clean water was running down the Joob. He had two college-age sons and many daughters! You could never tell how many girls lived in the house because they all wore scarves and looked alike! One of his sons started smoking cigarettes, but tried to keep it a secret from his father. One night as he was smoking the cigarette in the old-fashioned toilet at the corner of the yard, the accumulation of SH2 gases in the toilet caused a small explosion that burned his ass! He was rushed to the hospital, but the worse problem was that he had to explain to his father that he was a secret smoker!

Haji’s sons and a few other guys who had caught up with the burglar started kicking and punching him. He was not a big guy and kept saying that he was sorry and was praying to god to save him. An older man came to his rescue and told the guys to stop beating the burglar. A while later a policeman from the local station came. As he was rubbing his eyes and trying to stay awake, he grabbed the guy’s shirt, hit him a few times on the back of the head and dragged him to the station!

The thrill was over!

We all went back to the house. My mom started putting the clothes back in the closet while my grandmother looked on. Up on the roof, I lied on my mattress and looked at the bright summer stars and thought about our burglar and David Niven. I was not afraid of the burglars anymore!




Here is the song from the movie, The Pink Panther!


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Maziar jaan:

by Bavafa on

Is that what Mashhadi accent sound like?

FYI, mine is certifiable Araki accent :)  



13th Legion

by Faramarz on

Sizdeh Bedar,

Thank you for your comments.

You guys with your binoculars and the TV on the roof were a lot more advanced than we were! We just had our eyes and ears and a wild imagination!

Remember, a famous person once said, "Youth is being wasted on the young!"



by Faramarz on



You are one of the coolest people on this site!

Anyone who dances with his poppy to I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor) has the right state of mind and is my virtual friend forever!


Faramarz, as Whacky as i get

by Monda on

sharing info with sp, NoFear or i heart khamei... not my thing, but:

Imagine 3 days of complete silence, no talking, just hearing the wind and the rain and your hearbeat or stomach growing.... that's what the above was about... namaste And honored to be 1/2-Divaneh if Divaneh Is as our Divaneh Does.




13th Legion

Wonderful story ;))

by 13th Legion on

Thank you for sharing Faramarz,

Your story brought back many child hood memories, sleeping on the roof tops on those magical tehrani summer nights, gazing at the stars and witnessing dawn, for a while we had figured out a way to bring the TV on top of the roof top and would watch TV shows or movies ( remember” gallery shabaneh”, the scary movie show?) along with enjoying fresh fruit before going to bed. Once I was a bit older around 11 or 12 years old me and one of my best friends from down the block picked up a new exiting hobby; we would sneak up on top of my friends roof top which was one of the tallest apartment buildings in the neighborhood with a pair of binoculars from around 9pm to 12 midnight and spy on all the neighborhood girls and married couples by zooming in into their rooms, and oh my the things we saw ;))

Javani yadesh be khayer ;)

maziar 58


by maziar 58 on

thanks for yet another nice story faramarz khan .

also like Bavafa said In his mashhadi accent? I tried too sleeping out few times on a card board and sleeping bag some times just to remember those breezy nights under pashe band and pooshte boom .

And the only thing came was my daughters cat .  Maziar

Shazde Asdola Mirza

Faramarz jan

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

In your kind list, please don't forget the three bottles of Chateau Lafite, which seem to have gone missing-in-action, since our friend's departure!


مهمان جان، دیس پلوی شازده کجاست


خیلی ممنون از لطفت!
در ضمن، دیشب شازده یک ایمیلی فرستاد و گفتش که دو دست قاشوق و چنگال و یک
دیس پلو غیب شدن! اگر اینها اشتباهی رفتن تو چمدون شما، بیزحمت امروز سر
راه بیارشون خونه من که پس بفرستم!


Shabhayeh Tabestani Tehran!

by Mehman on

Feri jan, you have written a really nice blog here. It reminded me of my childhood summer nights in north Tehran where we would sometimes sleep outdoor in pasheh bands, it was really cool and nice and the sky was so clear, Tehran's weather was not polluted at that time.

tanx for re-awakening those sweet old memories!


Dear cousin Framarz,

by Bavafa on

Like your twin brother I am married now, married with children (that is three lovely Persian cats of course). So, grabbing the sleeping bag and heading for the roof is out of question. But if I am lucky and good, once in a while the Mrs. agrees to take the mattress to the deck and sleep in the back yard. Oh boy, I enjoy it tremendously while  she suffers till the morning.

Now, I am thinking of taking your stories to the back yard and reading it there.... that ought to be icing on the cake.


P.S.  And I am still baffled by Iranians and the constant fear of the burglar. My dad chains his car with a two ton chain even when he goes for a 2 min stop at the 'sabzi forosh' or constantly warn us "doozd meead saretono meeboreh"


دو قلوی الدنگ، ماندای کمی دیوونه، پسر خاله مهرداد


Twin Al-Dang,
I found my long lost brother while ago! His name is Bundy, Al-Bundy! But to be on the safe side, email me some hair samples and nail clips!

We need to see more of your whacky side, if you are related to Divaneh!

Cousin Mehrdad,
Stop reminiscing about the past! Get your sleeping bag out of the closet and sleep on the roof tonight! Just make sure that you put a mattress on the ground, in case you roll down in the middle of the night!


Oh, good old days dear cousin Framarz,

by Bavafa on

یاده اون روزها بخیر. یادم یک تابستونی رو که دیگه بزرگتر شده بودیم و خونیه دوستان مطونستیم بخوابیم.  شبها تا دیروقت تو خیابون فوتبال گل کوچیک بازی میکردیم و بدش هم میرفتیم رو پشتبن برای خب.  صبح زود بلند میشدیم بریم کوه، چشمه موشک

By the time we had arrived at the little spring, there was a guy with his herd of sheep already there, sitting on the rock and singing out loud, oh what a good voice he had.

Then once we were done with out hike, we would head back home, cut thru the orchards of the people, stealing grapes and other goodies then stopping at the bakery to get a fresh noon tafton. Once we had our breakfast, we would go back to sleep till noonish. Then the day would begin again.

One of my best summer as a teenager with my best friends at the time, Ali Meraji va Sayeed Harirfrosh. Yade dostan bekhair.



Nostalgia galore, Faramarz... Thank you!

by Monda on

The summertime dozdis in our neighborhood, sleeping over at MB's house (she said he could never fall asleep away from my grandpa's snoring and my BB would not budge!), my gazing at the summer skies on the cool sheets over beds made hours before we brushed our teeth... wait Divaneh said exact same thing... could we be cousins?!


Oh yes!

by al-dang on


Nice.   You may be my lost twin brother.   How tall are you?  In our case, the house was pretty much cleaned when we woke up and went down stairs.

Dang, Al-Dang


سیگار قاچاقی، قصه مادر بزرگ و لحاف تگری


Shazde Jaan, Merban Aziz and Divaneh (without chains),


Thanks for reading and commenting on the story!

Your comments are an inspiration and a motivation to write the next story!

Thank You!


Lovely Faramarz

by divaneh on

Thanks for your sweet memories. We also slept on the roof top in the summer. I remember we used to spread the beds few hours before we slept so they could cool down. I also did not like the air conditioning. There is a world of difference between sleeping in the fresh air and in an ac room. I remember that I used to gaze at the skies in amazement and try to locate those that I had seen the night before. I miss all those stars in the starless skies of the UK. Also, thanks for the PP clip, really enjoyed that too.


Good one Faramarz

by Mehrban on

What is it with Dozds and Madar Bozorgs?  My dozd story happened in my MB house one night, my uncle walked into the haal and was gesturing to someone behind him saying bia too, bia too.  The guy behind him came in and sat on the floor we brought him dinner and gave him money and sent him away.  He was a dozd that my uncle had encountered on the second floor.  I was so embarrassed for him.    

My MB house was never burglarized again until very recently by a couple of Afghan workers. 

Thank you for your story.   

Shazde Asdola Mirza

Very funny and very nostalgic, Faramarz jan. Thanks a million!

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

Oh, that secret smoking in the toilet - how could we do that?  But then again, it was ten times better than 20 feet outside a building at -30 in Canada!