In Search of Serenity

Iran sits next to two tumultuous countries, Iraq on one side and Afghanistan on the other. In recent years, these two countries have had more than their own share of wars, civil unrest, political turmoil and foreign invasions. Thus, many refugees have tur

I run a small tailoring shop here. I go to work in the morning and come back home in the evening.

Hi, everybody. Good morning. How are you?

I was a construction worker for three months when I came to Iran in 1980. Then I went to Kerman to work in the army barracks for one year. Then I came back to Tehran for work. This time, I tried street vending. The war had just broken up. After about two years I shifted to tailoring. In the beginning, I did legwork in a shop till I became a sewingmachine operator. Working as a sewingmachine operator for about four years I decided to work at a ladies fashion house. I worked there for about nine years for a lady. When the lady went to Canada, she gave her shop and tailoring things to me. I continued the job and gradually expanded the business.

How many are they?


I used to design a new dress every year and show it to clothing sellers. If they liked it and if it sold well they would order a number of it. Then I would produce a number of that dress. Then we would design another dress and give it to clothing sellers to sell it. If the product sold they would order a number of that in proportion to the sales rate.

I came to Iran in 1982 with my family. For a few years, I went to school. Then I began working in a tailoring shop. After a few years as an apprentice, I became a tailor. I’ve been working as a tailor for about 15 years.

My name is Enayat Bayat. I’ve been living in Iran for five years. I was in Isfahan during my first year in Iran. I was working in a bagmaking workshop there. It was not a very rewarding job. So I moved to Tehran to work as an apprentice tailor. I learned tailoring within about 7 months. From then on, I’ve been working for myself.

I went back to my country after 9/11 when the US troops came to Afghanistan, hoping that peace and security would be restored and its economy would thrive. I resumed my schooling there for a while. I had financial problems so I decided to help my father. He’s a welder. But it didn’t better the situation. I knew a little about computer so I decided to open a photography shop. I bought some photography equipment. I worked for one year. The job was good but I had an associate. Anyway, I couldn’t get on. As far as security was concerned, the country was no good place. To cut the long story short, I left the country and came to Iran. If the situations get better in Afghanistan I may return. Otherwise, I’ll stay here in Iran.

Everyone wants to be the best. We also want to be the best here. As a tailor you don’t get paid very well but if can have a shop, you can make money. I’m working here hoping for a better future.

As far as dressmaking is concerned, we do the whole job here. We ourselves design dresses or for example do embroideries here in the workshop. We either come up with original designs or copy from journals.

O.K., call me if you want more. All right, thanks.

We distribute our products to three clothing stores: The first store is in Tehran, located in Jordan Street. The second one is in Tabriz. Its name is Kouli. And the third one is in Yazd. Since we cannot make many dresses we have just three regular customers in Tehran, Tabriz and Yazd.

Thank God, everything’s fine as regard to the business. I earn enough money to support my family. I’m satisfied with the job I have. Thank God, as far as my job is concerned, the situations are satisfactory. We work hard and make enough money.

I’ve got two daughters: one of them is a highschool student; the other one has got married. My elder son comes here and helps me. My second son works in the clothing store in Jordan Street. My youngest son is a university student.

I’m Mojtaba Jamali, the son of Gholam Ali Jamali. I’m doing commercial management at university. I’ve been in Afghanistan just one time for a week for university and passport paperwork. The situations there are not comparable with those in Iran. Living in Iran is much better than there.

Since I was born in Iran, I think I can get a better job here. I’ve accustomed myself to here and I feel more comfort here than anywhere else. If I found a commercial company here it will be very lucrative, I guess.

My father says that we may have to return to our country some day. So, we must be well prepared, just in case. But I prefer to stay here. I like Iran. It’s a lovely country. I feel at home here. And I have no problems here. I have close Iranian friends. And Saeed is my friend since high school. We’ve been friends with each other for six years or so.

My friends and I get along quite well. Almost all friends of mine are Iranian. I’ve got a few Afghan friends.

At leisure time, we play football or go to mountains. Saeed and I go to the gym. We also go to the cinema once in a month. Sometimes, we take a trip together. Maybe, I tour my own country one day. I think I need to visit Afghanistan.

I’m going to the clothing store to see if they need anything and do everything necessary.

About eight years ago, I got acquainted with him through his wife, when she came to my workshop one day to make her a suit. She asked me to work in their store. We gave them some samples and they liked them. Since then, we’ve been making clothes for them. They sell well. And there is a huge demand for our products now. I want to be in both Iran and Afghanistan markets. A friend of mine comes from Afghanistan to buy our products. He says they sell well. At first, I sold them to my relatives. Now, he has a small shop there selling up to 20 ones a month. He comes here once in a month to buy our products. Sales may go up in the future because women there in Afghanistan also put on gowns and trousers. On average, my friend sells up about 20 ones in a month. He’s satisfied with the job. He brings me local products and I mine.

Since Iran is an Islamic country, as Muslims we live comfortably here. I cannot go to Afghanistan if the situations there get worse like 33 years ago when the country was in war.

Hi. How are you? Everything’s fine?


Well, I’ve got the talent.

I come here after university to play tennis twice a week. One of my favorite sports is tennis. I’ve just a beginner but I’d like to be a professional tennis player, with a bright future.

This is a traditional Afghani dish called Martouei.

I hope that it makes a change.


Hi. Did you go to the gym?


Hi, granny. How are you?

I get up early in the morning and make breakfast before children go to school. One of them is a university student and the other one a high school student. I make a pot of tea. Then Mr. Jamali goes to work. Then I do the housework. Then I go upstairs to see my mother. I have a friend who lives downstairs. We’ve been friends for seven years. We are very close friends. We eat together from time to time.

Not for seven years but twenty years.

Oh yes, twenty years.

We’ve been neighbors for seven years.

Yes, we’ve been neighbors for seven years and friends for twenty years. When she is away I look after her family. She says that she likes me more than her sister and mother. I also have the same feeling towards her. Sometimes, we have lunch and dinner together. We also go shopping together.

Now it’s about 33 years we’re living here. We’ve got used to live here. My eldest son was born here. 33 years, it’s a long time.


You’re still raw and inexperienced, dear.

You’re like incomplete stories, dear. You’re like incomplete stories, dear.

One is afraid of grief; the other is not.

One is in love every moment; the other is in love forever.

Tell me, which one are you, dear? Tell me, which one are you, dear?

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