Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The Mullah Factory

1.6 million…
…Mullahs. 70 million people. You do the math.

Iran is a mullah factory.

I made our cab driver laugh…
When I quoted this figure to him. It makes every Iranian I know laugh. I bet it makes the mullahs laugh too.

The cab driver eventually dropped us off at Derakeh which is a small area in the mountains filled with restaurants and tea houses. While we were eating dinner with K's nephew, A's mother called. She had found him a wife: a medical student, something of a beauty, with good prospects. The last time I spoke with her about arranged marriages she told me how much her daughters hated the idea of a young man they hardly know coming around to ask for their hands in marriage. "One time I let a young man and his mother come over to see if E would marry him. E was so angry!" I asked, "What kind of a young man gets his mother to arrange his dates?" A's mother said, "Exactly my thoughts."

This is exactly why we all thought she was joking when she called A to see if he wanted to meet this woman. K got on the phone and told her that all marriages had to be arranged through him first. I told her that A was definitely ready for a wife. "But he wants one with an American or EU passport," I told his mother.

At a certain point, the conversation turned serious. A got agitated. He called his mother all sorts of sweet names, a sure sign of agitation. This was even more humorous to watch than when we thought it was a joke. "Are you serious, my heart's delight?" he asked his mother. "No, no, no." A found all sorts of sweet ways to say no.

A is exactly the kind of young man who does not want his mother to make dates for him.

But at a certain point, most mothers want to see their sons settled down with a nice wife, don't they?

When I asked A about the phone call he said, "It was scary. My mom thinks I am going to leave Iran. She doesn't want me to go. That's why she is trying to find me a wife."

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