A Tudeh-ei's Wife

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A Tudeh-ei's Wife
by Faramarz
12-Feb-2012
 

A Short Story about a Young Woman who Married a Tudeh-ei Man

Shahla married Manouchehr Khan, a Tudeh-ei man.

I must have been around 7 or 8 years old when I heard the term Tudeh-ei for the first time. Shahla, one of the young women in our family was going to get married and my parents were quietly discussing the wedding. From what they were saying I could gather that my father was not at all happy about the groom-to-be. He said that he was a Tudeh-ei. That was the first time that I heard that expression. Somehow it sounded as if he had a contagious disease or an incurable addiction. That phrase stuck in my head until years later when I learned what it really meant.

Manouchehr Khan was a student at Tehran University where he was indoctrinated into Tudeh party. He was arrested and spent a few years in jail. When he was finally released, he could not find a job. His friends and relatives tried to help him and finally got him a job as a high school math teacher. He was also a good musician and could play both the accordion and the violin. He took a second job as a music teacher at a primary school.

Shahla had just finished the Teacher Training College and had started as a teacher in the primary school where they met. Manouchehr Khan immediately fell in love with the charm and the innocence of Shahla. He followed Shahla home every day and observed her actions from a distance. After a while, he started talking to her as she was walking home. In the beginning, she was uncomfortable with all the attention that she was getting from him, but gradually she gave in. She asked him not to walk next to her as they got closer to her neighborhood. She didn’t want the neighbors to gossip. So he walked a few steps behind her as he talked about his books and his passions.

After several months, he told her that he wanted to come to her house with his mother and brother for Khaastegari and hoped that Shahla and her mother would accept. Shahla was not sure, but she thought that maybe her mother could help her make the right decision. Shahla’s father had passed away when she was very young and her mother was always anxious to marry off her daughters as soon as she could.

After the visit, Shahla’s mother was not sure either, but they said that they would get back to Manouchehr Khan soon. A month went by and there was no answer. Manouchehr Khan could sense that things were not going his way. So he decided to escalate the situation and threatened that if he did not get a positive response soon, he would camp outside of their home all day and create a scene. He said that he would sit on the branch of the big tree in front of their home and play his violin until they agree to let him marry her! By then Shahla knew him well enough to take his threat seriously.

I knew that tree quite well and my cousins and I used to climb it whenever we went for a visit to Shahla’s house. I tried to imagine where on the branch he would sit to play his violin without falling down! The threat worked and Shahla and her family finally gave in and agreed to the marriage. They had a modest wedding and moved to an apartment near Shahla’s mother’s home.

After a while, they invited all the relatives to their place. What caught my eye was his glass book shelf with a sliding lock. There were lots of books in there arranged in a way that the books in the front hid the books in the back. Later on, as he let the older kids in the family borrow his books, I learned that most of the books in the back were banned and you could get into serious trouble if you had them around the house.

Our relatively large family accepted him with open arms and he became another groom in the family. He also did his share to fit right in. At family gatherings he played games with the kids and after dinner and once he had a few shots of vodka, he would play his musical instruments.

Manouchehr Khan did not believe in owning a house or a car. It was against his belief system. They lived in a rental apartment and took the bus or taxi to work. Over the years Shahla had put away some money and begged him many times to buy a piece of land and build a modest home, but he always refused. Shahla would say, “Look at how everyone is having a home and a new car and go on vacation to Europe and we are just staying home.” But he wouldn’t budge. At the end he finally agreed to buy a car, a used Peykan.

He took the driving lessons, got his license and bought a black Peykan. It all looked strange to me and the other kids in the family that a grown man couldn’t drive and didn’t have a car. The very first time after he got the car and brought Shahla and their little baby girl to a family gathering, we were all waiting outside to see how he drove his car! He was so afraid of the waterways (joob) on the sides of street that he parked his car way in the middle. Shahla quickly got of the car and went inside. The rest of us kids looked disapprovingly at the way he had parked the car and were giving him directions on how he should park closer to the side of the street. Finally one of my uncles came out and parked the car for him. Inside the house Shahla was telling my aunts how Manouchehr Khan was cursing everyone on the road; he called the cab drivers “Gaari-chi” and the fancy women driving BMW’s “Zanikeh Faahesheh!”  

Manouchehr Khan was all excited when Khomeini came. It was as if he had finally proven everyone wrong and it was his time to shine. But his exuberance didn’t last for too long. As Khomeini started eliminating leftists, he became disillusioned and bitter. One of his relatives told him that he should get rid of his books because he could get into serious trouble if they found them. But he refused. The books were his most precious belongings. Finally Shahla gave him an ultimatum; either the books go or she would. He reluctantly agreed but he never forgave Shahla for that. One of the relatives suggested that he should rip the books and throw the pages in the waterways at nights when the water was flowing. But he would have none of that. He wanted something more worthy of the books. At the end, he agreed to let one of the relatives take the books to his basement, dig a deep hole, bury the books and cement over it. And that’s where those books are today.

As their daughter got older and went to college in Iran, Manouchehr Khan didn’t like the fact that she was having Khaastegars. He refused to let them into the house and cursed them. Shahla knew that the only way to save her daughter was to send her to school abroad. At the end their daughter got accepted in Germany, moved there and quickly got married to a German.

As time went by, Manouchehr Khan became more and more angry and unhappy with life and he ultimately came down with cancer from many years of smoking. He finally passed away, but he didn’t go without a fight. He kicked and screamed and cursed the world. He made life miserable for everyone around him. It was as if he wanted to take his loved ones with him. Shahla just sat there by his bed side and tried to console him. I am sure that he was jealous of what Shahla might do after he was gone. But she remained a loyal wife through all of that.

He finally left in the middle of the night in a cold winter night in Tehran. I learned from my relatives that as soon as his body left the house, she opened the windows, threw his blankets, pillows and sheets into the washing machine and the next day gave all his clothes and stuff away to the neighborhood mosque.

Shahla came for a visit to the west coast a while back and I made a point of seeing her. She remembered me as a bright-eyed kid who was always playing and chasing the ball. She didn’t know that I knew all these things about her that she probably didn’t want me to know. And I didn’t say anything. I just sat there and listened to her as she talked about her life and her grandkids. She is still way too young to be a grandmother.

As I looked at her beautiful face beaming with kindness and having aged so gracefully over the years, I couldn’t help but wonder that Iranian men of my generation are so spoiled because of women like Shahla. They are so kind and selfless and they gave everything that they had to their husbands and their kids and never asked for much in return.

They don’t make women like her anymore.

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more from Faramarz
 
Faramarz

Thank You Uncle G.

by Faramarz on

As always, I appreciate your kind words and your thoughtful analysis.


G. Rahmanian

A Painful Story!

by G. Rahmanian on

Too realistic not to be tragic. The realism tells as much about the social forces as about the personal choices that make tragedies even harsher to bear.

Of course, as Faramarz wrote in his comment to Anahid, Manoochehr had more problems than he could handle personally and was unwilling to/incapable of making compromises.

He was caught between his ideological principles/dogmas and the real day to day life of a husband and a father. He was unable to resolve this dilemma not only because of the ideological constraints that kept his mental activities/processes in check, but also due to the revolutionary period our country went through.

The choice of the photo is great. Unfortunately, the real life is not like a test we can take so many times in such a short period of time.

Thanks for sharing, Faramarz. Great storytelling, as always!


Faramarz

Thank You Dear Bahram G.

by Faramarz on

Your kind words and continual encouragement is greatly appreciated.

Believe or not, every time I think about writing a story, I feel the gazing eyes of many of my friends here on Iranian.com and try very hard not to screw things up!


Bahram G

Dear Faramarz

by Bahram G on

Thank you for a masterfully narrated account. You are indeed a gifted story teller and writer. It is always a pleasure to read your writings. This one is a real life touching and tender story skillfully put in words. May you remain as alert and agile the way you are to keep writing.

SEPAASGOZAARAM


Esfand Aashena

Faramarz jaan in the same token then they make women like that2!

by Esfand Aashena on

Everything is sacred


Faramarz

Thank You

by Faramarz on

I appreciate your comments and insights.

Aynak,

I struggled with the title for this story because I couldn't make up my mind if it was about him or about her. But you are correct.

Divaneh Jaan,

Iranians have so many stories to tell about hiding their treasures, fear of being discovered, escape, fake documents, fear at the borders or at the airports that hopefully at some point Hollywood will make some great movies about our plight.

Esfand Jaan,

They make men like that everyday in the Islamic Republic; different ideology, but same mentality.

Dear Fatollah,

Thanks again for your comment.


Fatollah

شَهلا خانم

Fatollah


what a nazanin soul, .

As for Manouchehr khan, I'll keep my mouth shut!

A beautiful, but touching story.


Esfand Aashena

Faramarz jaan they don't make men like that anymore either!

by Esfand Aashena on

Everything is sacred


divaneh

Wonderful story

by divaneh on

Thanks Faramarz Jaan for pointing your torch to another corner of our society. I remember after the revolution when Sepah started to inspect Bahais homes for books and other media, my dad dug a hole in the back garden and buried the books in there. For him it was more fear of losing them than an arrest. Given the fact that he was not that religious and he didn't spend much time reading them, I am not sure why he cared.

Then there was the war and we left the house. A year later he went back to Abadan to fetch whatever was left from our belongings, which to our surprise was all of it. Amongst other valuables, he dug out the books and fit them inside two air conditioning units (coolers) and smuggled them out to our new home in Shiraz.

 


Shazde Asdola Mirza

Not to worry Faramarz dear: Iranian students have their fun too

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

Perhaps too much fun!

The "Islamist Indoctrination" is like a white-noise for most of them; sort of a gadfly whizzing around, and mostly ignored. From what I have seen in my later trips, they are as Islamist as the students of Soviet Russia were communist.


aynak

Faramarz Jan, I think the title is a bit misleading

by aynak on

 

I know you are/were? looking for a wife and thought based on your previous  writings,  you were  goting to write about how you would feel if you had a person of Tudeh Party affiliation as wife or perhaps your experience at  Khastegari involving a Tudeh Party member, or comparing the plus/minuses of getting a Tudehi as a wife :) or even you were going to share the exeprience of a friend who was married to a Tudeh-ee woman :)    Turns out what  you really meant was "what it is like be married to a Tudeh-ee".  Then I think, the title should have been hypenated correctly:  (i.e: A Tudeh-ei's wife)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Faramarz

Ali P.

by Faramarz on

He sure did and blamed it all on the Gucci Comrades, the Gorbechevs!


Ali P.

Faramarz

by Ali P. on

Did Manouchehr khan witness the fall of the Berlin Wall?


Faramarz

Shazde

by Faramarz on

The pictures come from emails from friends from all over the world and there are always some gems in there.

Actually, when I saw this picture I thought about how college life should be full of fun and learning and making lots of friends, and not being indoctrinated to some ideology at the young age of 19-20. 


Shazde Asdola Mirza

PS: what's with the banner?

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

I don't know where you get your blog pictures, which are usually quite interesting, but this one is crazy funny!

Is it photoshoped? Doesn't seem so. Has anything to do with the story?


Faramarz

Great Comments

by Faramarz on

Thank you dear friends for taking the time to read and comment on my story.

I had been thinking about writing about this particular subject for a while and then last week I saw a story about the wives of Tudeh-ei men and I knew right away that I wanted to tell my story in the similar manner. Here is the story from BBC Persian.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/iran/2012/02/120201_n...

Ali,

I enjoyed reading about your uncle and you are absolutely correct. Every Iranian family had one of every imaginable type in it. The grownups usually kept it as a secret, but somehow we all figured it out at some point.

The part about the lawsuit and inheritance is so true. Somehow there is always a limit to our kindness and hospitality!

Dear Shazde,

Thanks for your compliment. The honest one is the 7-8 year-old kid. I am just using him as bait!

Roozbeh Jaan,

You have a great point about hidden treasures in Iran. You can't imagine how many times I have heard about people digging holes in the ground and burying books, pictures, guns and valuables. Maybe some day we go back to Iran and get into re-modeling fixer-uppers and discover treasures!

Anahid,

You are absolutely correct about Tudeh-ei crowd appreciating finer things in life like others. I think that maybe the subject of my story wanted to deprive his family from asking for things and his ideology helped him justify his actions.


Anahid Hojjati

interesting story Faramarz

by Anahid Hojjati on

however not every ex tudehi was against having home and car. many were highly educated and they ended up having very nice homes. 


Roozbeh_Gilani

Good story Faramarz, thank you.

by Roozbeh_Gilani on

You know we used to have a Physics teacher at our high school in Narmak, late 1980's  who was rumoured to be an ex tudehi? He was a great Physics teacher, very serious, very quiet, respected and feared by all. Somehow he seemed to expect all of us to be as clever as albert einstein...

BTW, I wonder if those books are still there, in the basement. I wonder what would generations to come would make out of those books if and when they are ever dug up as archeological discoveries? 

"Personal business must yield to collective interest."


Shazde Asdola Mirza

Excellent story: very readable with understandable characters

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

Dear Faramarz,

Honesty is a great attribute and you are so blessed by it. The nicest thing about reading your comments and posts, is that they are honest; so that one feels safe and secure in the embrace of your thoughts and words.

Thanks for sharing.


Ali P.

What a great story, Faramarz!

by Ali P. on

Just like, "everyone has a gay cousin" in America, and arguably, elsewhere - except in Iran , where "we have no gays"-everybody had a toudeh-ee uncle in Iran.

My uncle was- and still is- a sweet man. Many years ago, his older brother had joined the "Azerbaijan Republic", and after their defeat, escaped to Russia.

My uncle was emotionally, and not intellectually, a toudeh-ee. Everyone in my zedeh-enghelaab family disliked his passionate defense of Khomeini, and the Revolution.

He was a mere passive supporter of the Party; so when they were all arrested, no one bothered him. He was disappointed after he saw his idols confess to treason in IRI tv. He kept quiet, and seemed to be ashamed of his previous positions.

I saw him a few years ago, during his visit in the USA. He was cussing the IRI, and telling us how they have made the life of Iranians miserable. We all fought the temptation of telling him:" We TOLD you so...!!"

Yours,

Ali P.

P.S. His beloved brother came back to Iran for a visit, from Russia, after the fall of the Soviet Union. Having endured many years of  life under Communism- enjoying the conditions of a life lived by a typical Iranian peasant, though he was an engineer- ,he was an angry old man. He was enthustiacally welcomed by my uncle's family, but then sued them all to claim some of their inheretance. The case is still in litigation.


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