Morality Police and 'Porru'


Morality Police and 'Porru'
by Temporary Bride

I could make out the silhouettes of four officers through the dark, tinted windows and as they opened the door I could see that they were wearing emerald green uniforms. Two of them, both in their mid-fourties stepped out, badges bearing gold stars were sewn neatly onto their shoulders and revolvers hung from their thick leather belts. One began yelling angrily at Vahid and pointing at me. He barked at the two officers who had remained in the back and gestured violently for us to get into the car. I could see from Vahid’s face that this was serious.

“Jenny?” Vahid asked looking down. “Yes?” I murmured, still listening as the last notes of the azoon faded away. “What do you think of me?” he asked.

We reached a brightly lit street and as I thought about his question, I saw a green and white police car. It was driving along the opposite side toward where we were standing and I had the sudden feeling that I should look down and turn my face away, yet somehow I couldn’t.

I watched the car as it drove past and my stomach clenched as it slammed on the brakes, did an abrupt u-turn and pulled up forcibly onto the sidewalk just in front of us.

Through the dark, tinted windows I could make out the silhouettes of four officers. Two men, both in their mid-fourties stepped out. They were wearing emerald green uniforms and polished, black leather lace-up boots. Neat rows of gold stars had been sewn onto their lapels and revolvers hung from their thick leather belts.

One of the men began yelling angrily at Vahid and pointing at me. Vahid removed his identity card and army release papers from his pocket and handed them to the officer who took them and scanned through them impatiently, rubbing at the laminated plastic coating with his thumb. Handing them back to Vahid he barked at the two officers who had remained seated in the back of the car and gestured violently at us to take their places. I could see from Vahid’s face that this was serious. I’d read about Iran’s famous morality police but I had naively assumed that as a foreigner I would be immune to the whims of their nightly patrols.

“Call your parents and tell them to come and meet you at the police station,” he ordered. “They can explain to us what you are doing alone with this foreign girl.” I stared at the ground avoiding their gaze, hoping to appease them through a show of deference. “I am not calling anyone,” said Vahid firmly. He put his hand on the officer’s shoulder. “My phone is out of batteries. And my parents will be very upset to hear that you have frightened my cousin who is our guest from London.”

He turned to me calmly and said ‘Jenny, do you have your passport with you?’ I reached in my bag and opened my passport to the page where my visa had been stamped. Vahid passed it to the officer who thumbed through the pages with interest as I continued to look downward. I had no idea if he could read English, or had the vaguest idea what any of the stamps meant. His expression softened slightly as he carefully examined each page, squinting under the dim street light. ‘Ask her how the police would behave in her country,’ he said sharply to Vahid motioning to me. ‘My cousin is free in her country,’ he replied firmly, looking directly into the officer’s face. After a few moments the officer smirked and handed my passport back to Vahid. “Bashe,” he said. “Let it be.” They shook hands and the policemen drove away.

Vahid turned to me and smiled. “You are really my lucky coin,” he said. “That was the first time I could avoid going to the police station.”

We continued our walk and a new silence fell over us. Our awkward, shyness had gone and powerful, unspoken solidarity had risen up in its place. Its energy lapped at our feet as we walked and we exhaled and shook our heads in wonder. ‘How porru we are!’ Vahid laughed. Porru was a Persian word that literally meant ‘full of face’. In English it meant cheeky. brave or audacious.

I remembered Vahid’s question and I looked at him.


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by yolanda on

Wow! What an interesting episode.....Vahid was pretty good and he rose to the occasion.....he was able to get off the was funny that he said his phone was out of battery when the cop asked him to call his parents.

Thank you for sharing! 


Nicely written

by Abarmard on

Very interesting. Thanks


so emotionally intelligent and brave you are!

by Monda on

Another nice read, thanks for sharing dear.