Throwback

What Autumn Means to Me

autumnintehran

TEHRAN, Islamic Republic of Iran (November 26, 2007) – In a short inadvertent chat last winter with a fellow MSUan and batch mate who is presently based in Toronto, she asked naively, “It’s too hot there, isn’t it?” To her astonishment, I retorted “Yes, it’s extremely ‘hot’ here as it’s the peak of winter now”. “Do you mean there are four seasons there in Iran like here in Canada?!” she queried. “Yup,” I quipped.

As the Middle East region as a whole is commonly associated with a portrait of camel-driving nomads in a vast arid desert, there is no blame if someone outside the region is unaware that Iran has four seasons. In fact, even fewer outsiders know that its calendar, whose basis of reckoning is centuries older than Christ, is accurately divided quarterly according to the four seasons. It commences on the very first day of spring (March 21 or 22) and ends on exactly the last day of winter.

Since September 23, it’s been autumn now here. Skies turn grey. Leaves of trees change their colors, usually turning into a reddish or brownish hue and begin to fall. Rain showers and at times downpours are frequent; hence, a natural boon to the polluted Tehran metropolis. The days get shorter and cooler while the nights get longer; thus, a rare opportunity to those who are keen to perform optional fasting. In short, it marks the transition from summer into winter.

Just as deciduous trees have different colors of leaves at this period, so are the meanings of autumn to different people.

To the tillers of soil especially in the temperate zone of both the northern and southern hemispheres such as the Philippines, autumn means time of reaping and fecundity. To me as a schoolboy then in the first half of 1980s, harvest season meant variegated and relatively cheaper fruits such as atis and rambutan at the Cotabato City Fruit Stand which is just outside our school.

During my college years in early 1990s, this season meant mushrooming of madang/marang fruits in certain spots of MSU Campus such as in front of PLH, Commercial Center, 5th Street, and Baryo Salam. Unless provoked by certain PLH dwellers, I would evade buying marang in front of PLH as the price was somehow heavy to my pocket. Instead, Baryo Salam which is near the dormitory where I stayed in during my first three years in the campus was my favorite hub where I could buy one marang as cheap as 2 pesos–after three to five minutes of bargaining, nevertheless. Around this time, lucky were those who had classmates or roommates who are from the nearby town of Balo’i because invitation to their hometown meant free-of-charge marangs to the heart’s content.

To the poets and ‘outdoor’ individuals like my wife’s Trinidadian friend, the fall season means melancholy and gloominess as the chill of winter and forced indoor retreat are in the offing, nay imminent.

To a bachelor or spinster, fall season may be linked to strong feelings of sorrow as it symbolically represents his or her own ageing self. It serves as a nagging reminder that like the natural world, he or she has also reached the prime of his or her youth while having no offspring.

To the mystics and spiritual wayfarers, autumn constitutes a stage of journey toward perfection as well as yearning for the forthcoming and sought-after reunion with the Beloved and the attainment of the state of felicity after life-long smashing of the idol of I-ness.

To the leaf peepers, this season means the time to come out of their cocoons to enjoy the mellow sight of fall foliage. It is therefore a seasonal godsend to the tourism industry of Eastern Canada, the New England region of the United States and Eastern Asia including China, Japan and Korea where colored autumn foliage is most famously noted.

To the Iranian households, autumn (and winter) means more consumption of gas as the source of heat energy.

To the Palestinians, this year’s autumn means possible reenactment of the Madrid Conference and its dismal repercussions while to their cousins, it means more incentives by forging diplomatic and/or trade relations with [Persian] Gulf sheikhs.

To the inmates of the world’s largest concentration camp called Gaza Strip, this fall and the approaching winter signify further suffering and starvation.

To the “coalition of the willing”, this year’s autumn means further dwindling with the impending pull out of the Australian buddy. To the Australians, in turn, the same means self-rescue through the ballot from the five-year old quagmire that is Iraq.

To me, every autumn means more emotionally charged reminiscence and re-experiencing of the MSU-Main Campus climate though, unfortunately, without the soothing panorama of Lake Lanao and the centuries-old serenity of its Sleeping Lady.

(An excerpt from my book “My Tehran Diary” (2015))

sleepinglady

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My Tehran Diary

MyTehranDiary

The present book is a collection of 11 short essays on various subjects I had written when I was still a postgraduate student of International Relations at the University of Tehran. Three of these essays – “Remembering Hafiz,” “He Whose Crime was Justice” and “Who is Papanok?” – were published in Mindanews.com, an online news magazine based in Davao City, Philippines. In the eleventh essay entitled “Tale of a Long Tunnel,” I gave a brief account of my experiences while pursuing my graduate and postgraduate studies. It was penned soon after my dissertation defense and I was then about to return back home (Philippines).

Table of Contents
Preface
Chapter 1 – Remembering Hafiz
Chapter 2 – He Whose Crime was Justice
Chapter 3 – Shall the Cyberpower of Quds Day Whither Away?
Chapter 4 – Who is Papanok?
Chapter 5 – On the ‘Verticalization’ of Eschatology
Chapter 6 – The Politics of Hermeneutics or the Hermeneutics of Politics?
Chapter 7 – What Autumn Means to Me
Chapter 8 – Right to Have a Good Name
Chapter 9 – Personally Experiencing Existentialism 1
Chapter 10 – Personally Experiencing Existentialism 2
Chapter 11 – Tale of a Long Tunnel
About the Author
Other Books by Mansoor Limba
Connect with Mansoor Limba

Author: Mansoor Limba
Title: MY TEHRAN DIARY
Published: 2015
Words: 10,670
Language: English
ISBN: 9781310878060
Available formats: epub, mobi, pdf, rtf, lrf, pdb, txt, html, and Kindle
Price: US$2.99

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/545988

MyTehranDiaryAmazon

Categories: Current Events, Education, International Relations, Middle East, Throwback | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Is ‘Gems Sigay’ a Kaleidoscope, Rainbow or Mosaic?

Gems

Kaleidoscope. Rainbow. Mosaic. These are three words which are commonly used to describe a high school reunion’s reorganization, and its subsequent gatherings and activities.

Kaleidoscope refers to a tube-shaped optical instrument that is rotated to produce a succession of symmetrical designs by means of mirrors reflecting the constantly changing patterns made by small objects. It depicts a high school reunion group that constantly changes its colors of activities. At one time, it is all about wining and dining, while at another time, it is purely community service and civic action.

Rainbow, as we all know, is a bow or arc of prismatic colors appearing in the sky opposite the sun and caused by the refraction and reflection of the sun’s rays in drops of rain. A high school reunion is said to be a rainbow if its planned activities are too high and too big to be implemented or realized. And after a long period, they will just remain as ‘planned’ activities.

Mosaic, meanwhile, is used to describe the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. This word portrays a high school reunion which determines a set of diverse activities and then takes small, yet constant, steps toward their realization.

Today, exactly three months (or a quarter year) after the first ever reunion 25 years after graduation in high school, it is worthwhile for CCSPC Batch ’89 (Gems Sigay) to assess the identity it tends to assume – a kaleidoscope, rainbow or mosaic?

Immediately after the reunion day, the following steps in building our Contact Directory have been proposed: (1) Maintenance of FB Group Page, (2) Listing of mobile contacts, (3) Grouping according to fields of endeavor or line agencies, and (4) Grouping according to locations. (It’s part of commitment to the first step that this nondescript has to join the FB community.)

The following guiding principles have also been suggested: (1) Managing the Batch shall be a microcosm of our ability to duly serve (a) others (batch mates), (b) our alma mater, and (c) the community; (2) Batch ’89 shall be a marketplace of different and differing ideas; (3) Transparency shall be observed in financial matters and motives; (4) Reunion shall be an avenue for community service and giving back of blessings; and (5) To aim big while doing the doable things no matter how small they may be.

With these proposed steps in building our Contact Directory and guiding principles, the scene of actions in the past three months is dominated by the following activities, among others: charity works, luncheon meetings, homecoming parties, reaching out to a sick batch mate, wedding events, funeral services, entrepreneurship seminars, birthday greetings, etc.

The coming months, until the next reunion, will determine if we could maintain this mosaic of small, yet diverse, activities and programs. We hope we can – and we will!

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On Being a Resident Stranger

The_cave_and_its_surroundings02

Written: February 1, 2009

After yet another post-‘Ashura commemoration program held recently at the research institute with which I am currently connected, my daughter handed to me an LBC package. “Yes, Mustafa has sent them as he promised,” I whispered to myself while reading the sender’s address.

A few days earlier, I had received a text message from my Batangeño friend asking for my postal address as he has a gift for me. As I found out, the brotherly present consists of DVD films about Saint Mary, the Holy Messiah and the Companions of the Cave [ashab al-kahf] from an Islamic perspective. In his subsequent text message, I learnt that Mustafa offered similar items to his Christian relatives and friends as Christmas gift.

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The Cosmetics and the Acid Test

Gaza child 2011

Written: January 5, 2009

On my return home last October from abroad where I attended an international conference and spent the whole month of Ramadan, my wife and I were treated by a longtime friend and brother-in-faith at a favorite Thai restaurant somewhere in Makati City.

No sooner that Tom Yam Goong was served than my former classmate started a casual tête-à-tête, “You know, I regularly monitor the US presidential race. I would hardly miss watching Obama’s speeches and interviews. I also read news reports of his election campaigns and debates. I like his ideas. With him, I hope for a change for the better. I really like to see him campaigning along with his ­hijab-wearing sister.”

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Who is Papanok?

Papanok

Sunday, 22 July 2007

TEHRAN, Islamic Republic of Iran (22 July) –Barely an hour after signing in Friendster.com early today from a student dormitory for couples here in central Tehran, the first three persons who joined my ring of friends are of course my better half, Mamot, followed by sister Mayhanie, and then an anonymous Papanok (meaning ‘bird’ in Maguindanaon vernacular), thanks to its extraordinary vision.

Since Papanok is flying with its wings of anonymity, I was curious to know its identity. So, I decided to sneak a look at its photo album which contains 14 pictures. Perhaps, at least one of these images could give me a clue.

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