I had seen Aghasi perform at a wedding earlier in the summer. I was about 10. He came over to where I was sitting with my uncle Mahmood and began joking with him. He seemed like a giant with a booming voice and a smile that seemed to never leave his face. As the night wore on and he took his very large ringed tambourine to the house next door to perform for the women's party I followed along with the rest of the rowdy kids. We were having the time of our lives late into the summer night. He played the tambourine and sang as the women and kids clapped and laughed. I noticed that his particular talent for moving his chest muscles, under his tight shirt, as part of his performance was very well received by blushing girls and older women alike. A magical and happy occasion it seemed.
The next day I was surprised to see him again at my uncle's small shop in the back of Sayyed Abolghasem Coffee House (Ironically tea was the only beverage served) near Darvezeh Doulat on Chahar Bagh Avenue. It turned out he and his fellow musicians hung out at the famous Coffee House during the days to hustle new performance gigs, especially during the summer wedding season. Shah-Ghasi, as my uncle called him, still had the same smile and jovial manner as he bantered with my father and uncle. His friendship with my uncle meant that he would always speak to me when I would see him occasionally at other events. During the summers then I would sometimes help out as part of my grandfather's rental/catering crew at many events. He was well liked and the smile never faded.
Uncle Mahmood served breakfast and light lunches from his little rented shop in the corner of the Coffee House. The place was huge and served as resting place for transients, visitors from towns and villages around Esfahan, entertainers, and an assorted array of characters you'd only find where tea and hookahs were the backdrop for the hum of small talks, outlandish claims, and smaller trades. Interested people found out about weddings and funerals and sellers of services sought gullible out of towners to set up for deals. Wedding and funeral crashers sought information about upcoming sumptuous feasts around town and exchanged information. My occasional visits, in the company of younger uncles and cousins, would result in Aghasi being asked by my uncle to escort us to the Mayak or Iran cinema's a few doors down from the Coffee House and get us in for free as he knew the workers there. He would always oblige. During winters or religious mourning months, when entertainment business was slow, Aghasi on occasion would stay at my uncle’s house and true to form my uncle would try to get him to turn some of his lame poems into a song. It usually did not turn out to my uncle's satisfaction.
The last time I saw Aghasi was a few years later when he came to Esfahan for a visit and to act in a movie. By then he was the very successful entertainer that everyone recognized. My uncle no longer had the small shop and did not want to take him to the old neighborhood. He brought him, along with Aghasi’s old musician buddies, to our house for a welcome visit. His kind smile had grown kinder and his voice warmer. He happily signed the 45 records of his songs that the neighbors brought over. He then sang a quick ditty much to everyone’s delight. He left, still smiling sincere and warm. May he rest in peace.
|نسرین ستوده: زندانی روز||Dec 04|
|Saeed Malekpour: Prisoner of the day||Lawyer says death sentence suspended||Dec 03|
|Majid Tavakoli: Prisoner of the day||Iterview with mother||Dec 02|
|احسان نراقی: جامعه شناس و نویسنده ۱۳۰۵-۱۳۹۱||Dec 02|
|Nasrin Sotoudeh: Prisoner of the day||46 days on hunger strike||Dec 01|
|Nasrin Sotoudeh: Graffiti||In Barcelona||Nov 30|
|گوهر عشقی: مادر ستار بهشتی||Nov 30|
|Abdollah Momeni: Prisoner of the day||Activist denied leave and family visits for 1.5 years||Nov 30|
|محمد کلالی: یکی از حمله کنندگان به سفارت ایران در برلین||Nov 29|
|Habibollah Golparipour: Prisoner of the day||Kurdish Activist on Death Row||Nov 28|