Iranscape: Sara and Mumit

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Sara and Mumit are two young people who have traveled to Iran to study. They both reside in Tehran. They have both lived in Iran for some time and are to some extent acquainted to Iranian life and culture. They are both enchanted by Iranian culture and language and they have travelled extensively and seen many different regions of the country. Mumit is studying Persian language and literature at the PhD level. His thesis is on ancient manuscripts of Persian poets. Mumit has fallen in love with the Persian language and he has enjoyed his stay in Iran a lot. He has travelled across Iran from the northern cities by the Caspian Sea to the south and the shores of the Persian Gulf, but his favourite city is Shiraz since the tomb of Hafez, the great Persian poet is there. Sara speaks Farsi fluently and is studying business management in Tehran. She is a young businesswoman who hopes to import Persian carpets and other handicraft to her home country, Turkey. Sara and her business partner go to the Grand Bazaar of Tehran to see what goods she can import to Turkey. She has lived in Iran for some time and has enjoyed her stay. Sara is inspired by the many successful and active women in Iran and believes their success is partly due to the prevailing safety and security in Iran.

TIME CODE: 00:00_05:00

Conversation [Persian] Two foreign students: “Hello! ... Good morning!

Hello ... Good morning to you too! ... Where did you go this morning?

We have a Turkish breakfast today.

I thought you'd gone to university!

No I hadn't gone to university. I went to get the ingredients to make a Turkish breakfast.

It's very delicious Sara! ... Bon appétit!

Thank you so much! ... Bon appétit!

Did you like it? ... Yeah, I really enjoyed it.

Iran is very a safe country. ... Yeah!

Have you noticed how active the women are here! ... Yeah!

That's because they have no fear. There's security in the streets and all over the country ... Shakila, do you know what "zaher mishavad" means?

"Zaher mishavad" means becomes apparent or clear.

Apparent ... Apparent! ... Aha!”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Sara Poulad, Foreign Student at Tehran University: “I'm Sara Poulad. I'm a foreign student at Tehran University. My family live in the city of Istanbul in Turkey. I study Business Management at the University of Tehran and it's been almost four years that I'm in Iran. I came to Iran in 201. Before coming to Iran, before the year 2011, I was in Syria where I studied Arabic for a year. When I got here in 2012, I learned Farsi language at Imam Khomeini International University in Qazvin. After passing the international exams and getting an admission, I got into Tehran University. I came to Iran because of my father's job. He’s been into transportation between Iran and Turkey for years. I've come here to learn Farsi to help him out in his work.”

Conversation [Persian] Mumit and other people: “Hello! Hello Mamet dear! ... Good morning! Where have you been?

Doing sports, I went to Laleh Park! ... Yeah

Why didn't you wake me up?

Well, you're always busy! You always say you're studying, studying!

I was up until 3 O'clock last night. I was studying.

Doing a thesis is very difficult! I have a manuscript and I'm working on that. I mean the explanation, correction and analysis of "Goldasteh Golshan". This version includes 135 poets like Ferdowsi, Khayyam, Hafez and Saadi from Iran. Then Abol-faraj Runi, Kamal Khujandi, Rudaki from Central Asia.

All of them?

Yeah, we have to read all of them! Like Tabrizi, Amir Khosro Dehlavi, Hassan Dehlavi ... In general, Iran has become our second country! Hasn’t it? For you Syria comes first and Bangladesh for me.

You know, our lives have in general become Farsi!

... Has become Farsi and Iranian!

I always say that! Always!

Do you know professor Iranzadeh, Nematollah Iranzadeh? ... Yeah

He is a professor who was deployed to Bangladesh before ... I said to him “What have you done professor? You've totally changed my life into Farsi!”

Well see, I come from Syria and you're from Bangladesh ... Aha!

We have a common language we can speak in!

Yeah, that's very interesting!

How could we talk together when I don't know Bengali and you know no Arabic?

Like about Nowruz!

Yeah, Nowruz! ... Look, this is about the festival…Well see, here it says like Iran ... See this! ... Iran..Tehran… It's been published by the university I studied in. ... This is important…

There's a part about Nowruz in India, Afghanistan, Central Asia like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan ...

The Kurds in Syria also celebrate it.

Celebrate Nowruz? ... Yeah ... How many days?

Not many, about two or three. ... Aha! Good!

They celebrate it in our country as well but not at the beginning of the year. It's celebrated on the 25th of Farvardin.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mamet, Foreign Student: “I'm Mamet al-Rashida from Bangladesh. I'm 35 years old. I currently work as an assistant professor of Persian language and literature at Dhaka University. We've been living in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, for 25 years. I came to Iran in 2013 and enrolled for a Ph.D. in Persian Literature and Language at Tarbiat Moddaress University. I'm in the fifth semester. My thesis is on manuscripts, the correction and explanation of manuscripts.”

TIME CODE: 05:00_10:00

CONVERSATION [Persian] Shop keeper & Customers: This fabric is made of eleven colors ... Ok

It has the highest color density. If you take a look at the other side, you can see the amount of silk used in it.

This one is made of seven colors. If you turn it around, you'll notice that there are fewer colors. ... Yeah!

But the smoothness of the silk is the same. ... Can you feel it? ... Yes

If a thread on the back is cut, it won't run ... and most good quality "Termeh" fabrics have an ID included in them, which shows when they were woven.

The fabric is so soft. ... It's very beautiful, nice and soft!

It's the softest you can find, it has the highest silk density. There's a date woven in the fabric, which shows when and where it was made. Most of our factories are located in Yazd. ... Aha! ... Aha! ... Yeah!

Can you see it?

Yeah, I can, it's woven in there!

The year is there as well, which tells you when it was made.

For instance, this fabric has been made in 1388, it's woven right here in lilac. ... Can you see it! It says 1388.”

CONVERSATION [Persian] Shop keeper & Customers: “Hello sir

Excuse me, what's this made of? It's made of brass .... It's brass designed with enamels ... Aha!

In old days, it was customary for families to get a brass set for their daughter's dowry. About 40 to 50 kilograms, including pans, pots, kitchen utensils, jugs and other things ... and the inner layer of the brass should be whitened because if not, eating in it could be hazardous to health and whenever the white coating starts turning red it should be sent for whitening again with pure tin.”

CONVERSATION [Persian] Shop keeper & Customers: “I think in old days they used to weave it like this!

Yeah, they still do!

Do they still weave it like this in Iran?


Do they weave all the handicrafts like this?

Yeah, they sit on this and weave it.

For instance, this ....

This is a small one and the bigger ones have a larger frame.

How long does weaving a rug take? Like the one over there ...

Weaving one like this would take seven or eight months.

How many workers are needed? ... Just one!

One ... and it takes about seven or eight months!

We want to take some Iranian handicrafts to Turkey. ... My dad's into import and export and I study business management over here ... We want to take some Iranian goods to Turkey, things that are not available there.

Well, most of these carpets can't be found there ... and if you find any, they've been ...

... sent over from Iran ... sent from Iran ... Turkish carpets are different!

Yeah, yeah ... Iranian rugs have recently found their way into the Turkish market and they are very expensive there.

They're expensive because Turkey has a lot of tourists.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Sara, Foreign Student: “When I was a kid, just like other children or most of them, I liked to study medicine and become a doctor. But since I was brought up in Istanbul, in a historical area, and there were many tourists there, I also became interested in different languages. I did a lot of thinking about it and came to this conclusion that a business job would be an ideal one for me. The first country I decided to go to was Syria because of the special interest I had in Arabic language. After a year, I was forced to return to Turkey because of the problems in Syria. After a while, I decided to go to Egypt. I studied Arabic there and after receiving a degree, I returned to my own country. Then after a while, I decided to learn Farsi and came to Iran.”

TIME CODE: 10:00_15:00

CONVERSATION [Persian] Mamet with his friend: “Hello ...


It's me Mamet ...

Please come in

How are you doing?


Hello! ... How are you?

How are you doing? ... Welcome

Sorry to trouble you!

Don't even mention it!

Excuse me!

Feel comfortable! ... You can take it off here. ... You're late!

Sorry, the train at the metro station arrived a bit late!

Aha! ... Come on in!

Open the Bangladesh file.

Here is the manuscript from Bangladesh


See this, this verse says "If I write about your hair in a scroll"

What was a scroll?


Well see, remember kings used to unfold something which read 'In The Name of His Majesty"!

Aha! That one! Yeah, yeah I know

That's called a "Toomar"

Now move to the India file

This is the Pakistan file

Pakistan ... Aha!

This is a manuscript from Pakistan.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mamet, Foreign Student:“Since I've studied Persian literature, I was hired instantly. ... I was hired as a mentor at Dhaka University. ... I always thought that I should definitely see the Iranian civilization for myself. ... I've been to many different places over the past year with my friends. ... I've learned about different cultures and tribes like Turks, Lurs, Fars and Azaris. I've found friends from all regions and we've become very close.”

CONVERSATION [Persian] Some in workshop: “Well, to cut the pattern of a ladies dress you should start off with the upper part of the back ... You should move down two centimeters for the neck curve and then move down five centimeters to form the shoulder ... This of course is an Italian pattern, but I've made some changes and altered it.

Well, in the dresses I make I want to show the culture and traditions of the counties I've lived in, like Syria, Iran, Turkey and Egypt. I want to show their cultural heritage and the way they used to dress in my work.

That's a brilliant idea! In fact, there are a number of books that show the history of drawing patterns ... Aha

The history of making different kinds of clothes ... Aha!

You can get these ... No, I'll get them for you. ... Oh, thanks!

They tell you what sort of dresses were made in different periods of history ... Aha!

They're very beautiful, you can see some of them in different movies and plays. ... Aha!”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Sara, Foreign Student: “Before coming to Tehran, I'd heard a lot about "Baam-e Tehran" from friends who had travelled here before. They used to say good things about that place and the Tochal Mountains. The very first thing I did, the first time I came to Tehran, was go and visit "Baam-e Tehran". It has a very beautiful scenery ... It was wonderful! ... Uuuuh! I'd heard a lot about the north of Iran, it's nature, the food there and I was really eager to go and taste their food. The first time I travelled to the north of Iran, the first thing I wanted to taste was "Eshpel" ... I found the taste quite interesting and I really liked it. In general, my visit to Iran was very interesting!”

TIME CODE: 15:00_20:00

CONVERSATION [Bengali] Mamet & his friends: “Hi, what's up? ... How are you doing? ... Hi bro, what's up?

A few days ago, I realized that you'd found fish here from Bangladesh! Is that right?

Yeah, I found a kind of fish like those in Bangladesh!

Did it also taste like the fish in Bangladesh?

In Iran they call it "Soboor"

In Iran they have a fish market just like the one in Bangladesh!

It's a wholesale fish market called Be'sat Bazar.

You're right, they look very much alike!”

Since we are in Iran now, we are able take some of this Iranian culture back to Bangladesh with us when we return home.

I can describe it with the photographs I take!

I use every opportunity to take photos!

I hope to hold an exhibition in Bangladesh with the photographs I take here.

I came to Iran in 2009, and I've seen many different places across the country ...

... like Tabriz, Aradabil, Hamedan, Lorestan, Kermanshah, Kerman, Ilam ...

... and the north of Iran like, Golestan, Babol, Ramsar, Chaloos,

... and other places like Shiraz, Kerman and Yazd.

We've sacrificed so many lives for freeing ourselves from oppression

With these tears, we've written our memories”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mamet, Foreign student: “I like to live in Shiraz. ... Ever since I learned Farsi, Hafez has had a great influence in my life. ... That's why when I go there, I prefer to spend most of my time with Hafez and live nearby. ... And the civilization and culture of the Achaemenid era, the Achaemenid empire was the biggest and most vast country in the world. ... The people of Shiraz are very hospitable, of course, all Iranians are hospitable! But, since Hafez is there, I prefer to spend most of my time with Hafez.”

Conversation [Turkish] Sara & her friend: “Today, we went to see the products in the bazaar to choose the best ones to import them to Turkey. Which ones can we import and sell there? What’s your opinion?

For Turkey? I think the termehs were good.

The termehs?

Yes, they are handicrafts but the carpets seemed good too.

Were they 12 million tomans or rials? I mean the price of those carpets.

Of course they were 12 million tomans.

How many zeros does it have?


Do you think we can find those carpets in Turkey too? I mean those silk carpets.

I don’t know. We might be the first ones to import them.

The last time I was in Turkey, I think I saw those Iranian carpets there.

I don’t know, maybe you are right.”

Conversation [Persian] Mamet & his friend: “On the eve of Eid al- Fitr, I called the university dean and congratulated him on the occasion and he said: “Mamet ... Come back sooner! ... Come back sooner!”

So that's why you want to return early!”

TIME CODE: 20:00_25:10

Conversation [Persian] Mamet & his friend: “Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Well see, studying manuscripts is obviously a time consuming task ...


... Those who came here to study manuscripts ...


... were usually annoyed because the work just dragged on, but they remained patient to get results.

Yeah, yeah!

But if you expand your sources ...


... to some extent ...

Yeah, yeah!

... and use the experience of others ...

Yeah, yeah!

... who've worked on such subjects.

Yeah, yeah!

Well this will help you improve your work.


But I would suggest that you don't sacrifice quality for quantity!


I've got a very good friend ... Uuuh! ... who's an expert in manuscripts. His expertise, of course, is in manuscripts before the ninth century ...


... I can introduce him to you so that ...

... he can sometimes help you if you face any problems.

Yeah, yeah!

There's also the Ayatollah Mar'ashi Library and ...

I've heard that it's the largest manuscript library in the Middle East!

... and there are treasures in that library that ... Uuuh! ... are gradually discovered! Some of the poets that students base their thesis on these days, or do research on have been found amongst the unknown manuscripts in that library.

Aha, yeah, yeah!

Well Mamet, help yourself with some fruit!

I really like Iranian fruits!

We Iranians have this culture that if someone has a yard or small garden in their house, they prefer to entertain their guests there and ...

It's really interesting professor! Really interesting!

Ha, ha!

We're not used to anything like this!

Well you've got trees in your hometown ...

But it's humid! We've got mangos, lychees, pineapples and bananas! We've got all those, but we don't have peaches! We haven't got any peaches! We don't have these ... What's this? ... Plum ... Plum, yellow plum.

Yellow plums

We don't have them.

What's this?

It's a nectarine!

We haven't got nectarines either.

Yeah, yeah!

You told me to buy 100 kilos of these this year, but I don't feel their real! They're real, they are, but hopefully when you come to Bangladesh Yeah, yeah!”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Sara, Foreign Student: “I really like Farsi language! I knew nothing about it before coming here. But when I came here I realized that Farsi is a very sweet language and just hearing it made me happy! I became even more interested when I learned it. I would really like to learn the poems of Hafez, Saadi and Molavi ... cause in Turkey, in Turkish literature we do study Molavi poems but they're in Turkish language. I would really like to read and understand these poems in Farsi. I like the world to always be a peaceful place so everyone gets the chance to learn from other cultures and languages, stay in touch and live in peace.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mamet, Foreign Student: “I always say that Iran is the paradise of the Middle East ... cause Marco Polo has travelled to different places so has Ibn Battuta. In his accounts, he's mentioned that he's travelled to Alamut in Qazvin, and says this paradise-like area has been separated from heaven! Iran has four seasons, four really amazing seasons! Autumn really feels like autumn and in winter, there's plenty of snow! In Bangladesh, we have no snow in winter! And summers here really feel like summer! In my opinion, living in Iran feels like being in paradise!”


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