Iranscape: Mehdi and Garik

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In this episode of Iranscape you will meet Mehdi, from Afghanistan and Garik, from Armenia. Both fluent in Persian, they have discovered a major part of their lives in Iran.

TIME CODE: 00:00_05:00

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Teacher & Students: “In this system, whose interaction I told you about, one is a planner and other is the plan itself, which we will be completing in this workshop. In a plan, we take a project into consideration and elaborate it's relevant subsets as I explained before. In this course, we will gradually go ahead and complete all of them one by one.

Last week, I told you to list all these. By listing I mean create a desktop folder and layout your plan to see how many elements you've got. One of the suggestions I can give you is to draw in blocks in various steps. If something needs to be elaborated, then your block should be bigger, like a big "C" block followed by a "D" block ... and if you don't somehow show its significance it will just get lost in there!

Uuuum! Like for instance ...

Cause I don't exactly know about the elements you're including.
If I place the "D" block here, ...

In fact, they don't even have the same significance and are not happening at the same time. In the economic field, is the budget you've jotted down for this person the same as the others? So even if you have a particular timing planned you can draw the blocks in different sizes. You should also plan the layout of these blocks ...

What about the spaces between them?

Well you should arrange that as well! You should see when this person will be present in the movie.

You mean if there's only one character in the movie you can set the background ...

What do you mean by only one character?

I mean like the plan .....”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mehdi Afrouzi, Afghan Student: “I'm Mohammad Mehdi Afrouzi. I was born in 1965 in Bekrabad, which is a sub-district in Herat. I'm originally from the Tajik race and we speak in the original Farsi and Dari languages. My father is currently a teacher but he has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Polytechnical University of Kabul and my mom's a housewife. But she loves Hafez and Khayyam and she knows most of their poems by heart. We're four brothers and four sisters. Until the age of nine, we just used to skip school and our go outdoors to play with our kites! Flying kites is a quite usual thing in Herat! I mean in autumns there, it's customary to play with kites.”

Conversation [Persian] Garik and his friends: “-Garik, tell me about Armenia! What kind of place is it?

-Armenia is a good place. In fact, you should've come over in all these years, the nature is beautiful for traveling, sightseeing and stuff like that! And the weather there is very much like the north of Iran.

-So it must have lots of greenery!

-Yeah, it has a lot of greenery and many places you can see and go for entertainment.

-And well what's the population of Armenia?

The population is about three million.

-Quite interesting! ...It doesn't have a high population. The population of Armenia is even less than Iran's Mazandaran province! Compared to Iran's 70 million population, you hardly have as many people we do in one province!

-Yeah, the population is rather low cause it's a small country.

-It might be interesting for you to know that 187 years ago, I mean up to 187 years ago, we were countrymen and lived in the same country! ...

-Well I already knew that!

-... And the two countries split following the Tready of Torkmenchay.

-In fact, the Erivan fortress that was captured in that war ... You do know the story about the --Erivan fortress?

-Yeah, yeah I do!

-That fortress still exists!

-One of the renowned Armenian writers named Khachatur Abovian ...


... has written a novel that's about the Erivan fortress that dates back to ...

-Yeah, the fortress that was captured in the war between Iran and Russia ...

-Yeah, yeah, that's exactly what I wanted to say!

-Yeah, that's the one, the ruins of it still exist. It's one of Armenia's tourist sites.

-In fact in this book, he's well explained the whole war between Iran and Russia.

-You mean the second war between Iran and Russia, ...


Which led to the signing of the Treaty of Torkmenchay?

-Yeah, the second war.”

TIME CODE: 05:00_10:00

Conversation [Persian] Garik and his friends: “-I wanted to ask you about the museum you've got over there that keeps manuscripts.

-Yeah, we've got a museum, Matenadaran, that keeps about five or six thousand ancient manuscripts.

-What's Matenadaran? Where is it?

-Matenadaran is in the capital, Yaravan. Matenadaran is a museum that keeps ancient manuscripts.


-Several thousand Iranian manuscripts in Farsi

-In Farsi!

-... from the Safavid dynasty and eras before and after that are kept there.

-I've also heard that there's a mosque in Armenia!

-Yeah, there's a mosque there called the Blue Mosque. It's been operational since the Qajar dynasty and it's actually known as one of the museums in Armenia.

-So it's a historical site and one can always go for a visit.

-Yeah, it's a tourist site.

-Aha, that's very interesting!

-In class, the professor also spoke about the printing industry that's gone there from Iran by the Armenians.

-Yeah, that's right! After the Safavid King, Shah Abbas, came to power, Armenians migrated forcefully. After those years the Armenians became more influential and trade between Iran, India and Syria ...

-Garik, it's about three years that you've been in Iran. Right?

-Yeah, it's almost three years.

-You speak Farsi rather well! ... And you never run out of words! ... You've been among people a lot ... What are the similarities between our people, the Iranians and Armenians?

-The Iranians and the Armenians are quite similar in their lifestyle!”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Garik Isakian, Armenian Student: “I'm Garik Isakian from Armenia, the city of Yerevan. I was born in the city of Gavar. We are a family of four, my father, mother and sister. My mother is a school teacher, my father's the manager of a driving school. I used to be a rather quiet kid, and as far as I can recall, I never imagined studying Iranology or the history of Iran or even ever travel to Iran someday! I came to Iran for a visit because of its historical background ...”

Conversation [Persian] Garik and Mehdi: “-Garik, move your leg a bit inwards ... Just a bit ... Yeah, yeah, that's good.

-I have to write something!

-No, no I didn't mean stay still ... Just like that ...

-Is this ok?


-Should I look a bit in this direction?


-How was Afghanistan?

-This time I had a lot of fun in Afghanistan!


-I visited many places. ... The situation was better this time ... compared to my last visit.

-The two pictures you see there, the citadels, are for my thesis.

-Yeah, I'd seen the draft.

-Well look, the picture you put up on the wall there, that church ... Is that in your own hometown?

-No, in fact, it's close to the border with Iran.

-It's an ancient historical church.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Garik Isakian, Armenian Student: “When I was doing my Bachelor's in Iranology in Armenia, I learned Farsi well. Besides Farsi language, we also learned about the history of Iran and Persian literature. I first travelled to Iran in 2011 and after that in 2012, I started my Master's program at Tehran University. I was in Qazvin for two months and I lived in the dorm for foreign students at the Persian Language Training Center. In Qazvin, I found many friends from different European and Asian countries, both Muslims and Christians, and in fact this was the very first time I became friends with Muslims.”

Conversation [Persian] Garik and Mehdi: “-Did you know that they're taking us to the north this year?


-Last year, we went to Yazd and this year we’ll be going to the north!

-Yeah, this year we're going to the north!

-I hope they take us to ... Where's that beautiful place it's got? Rasht or ...


-Yeah, Masooleh!

-I've heard that we will be visiting some ancient villages!

-How many days? Will it be three days like the last time?

-I have no idea! ... But can't you remember how wonderful Yazd was?

-Yeah! Uuuh, it was a desert we went to, wasn't it?


-Can you remember the camel there?


-Kordi fell from it! ... Ha, ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha! ... I couldn't stop laughing!

-Yeah, our trip to Yazd was so good! ... But our trip to Isfahan was even better! ... We became friends there!

-The weather in Isfahan was very hot when we went there! ... -Well we actually became friends over there!

-... My skin was broken and burning for a whole week!


-I used to think the weather in Herat is hot!

-Was Isfahan hotter? -The heat in Isfahan was twice as much!

-Come over, come here, come on ... I want to show you your pictures! ... In the mountains!

-Ha, ha!

-Take a look at this!

-Ha, ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha!

-Ha, ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha!

-Remember how tired you were here!

-This was Yazd, wasn't it? ...”

TIME CODE: 10:00_15:00

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mehdi Afrouzi, Afghan Student: “When I entered Tehran University, I mentally and physically matured a good 80 percent. I gradually became less shy! ... And a good lesson Tehran University gave me was to learn that I know nothing! I realized that there's a wide circle of information. Not only my studies improved in Iran, I even started feeling better. The dorm we stayed in was perfect and at Tehran University, they used to take us camping once a year. Shiraz was one of the best places I've ever traveled to. And one of my best memories is that one day we left the hotel in Shiraz and headed toward the Persepolis! It was an amazing feeling, you felt like moving back in time! Just like a sci-fi movie! After that, another nice city we went to was Yazd. Yazd has a great ancient texture. I remember the last day we were there, we went to the desert in Yazd. I'd never seen a desert until then!”

Conversation [Persian] Garik and Mehdi: “-Did we go to Darband the last time?

No, it was Darakeh!

-It was Darakeh!

-We went there with our classmates! Can't you remember how much fun we had?

-I'll cook if we go again! That Arabic dish!

-You promise to cook that dish every week but you don't!

-I will this time!

-We're still waiting for you to cook it!

-Garik, they've filled it with water!


-It had no water the last time we came here!

-Mehdi, where was that park, the one we went to ... Eram Park. Was it Eram Park?

-Yeah, it was Eram.

-The amusement rides and the bicycle riding there was really good!

-Garik, what's a duck called in Armenian?

-A duck?


-A duck is called "Baad".

-"Baad"? ... "Baad" has another meaning in our language! ... So what do you call wind in Armenian?

-Wind is called "Kami"


-Call them so they come closer!

-Let's take a picture with them!

-With the ducks?



-Let me set this!

-Look this way!


-Just like the last time!


-Remember how many photographs we took the last time we were here!



-Yes dear!

-... what does your family do over there?

-My family?

-Yeah! What's your father's job?

-My father's a professor and my mother is a school teacher. ... And my sister's doing her Bachelors.

-What does your father do?

-My dad teaches and my mother's a housewife.

-What does he teach?

-Physics and Math.


-And my sisters, one of them has a Ph.D. in Philosophy ...


-... and the others study Theology.

-In Iran?

-Some are in Iran and the others in Herat. ... And my two brothers are computer engineers.

-Say hello to "Tafaakor" so we can leave!

-What's this "Tafaakor" made of?


-What's it made of?

-How should I know!”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Garik Isakian, Armenian Student: “Well, thank God the level of education at Tehran University is high and we had very good professors there. After coming to Iran, we travelled to many places. Some were organized by the Ministry of Science and Education and the others we went on our own. I've travelled to Isfahan several times cause Isfahan has many beautiful tourist sites like Naghsh-e Jahan Square, Si-o-seh pol, and besides these there's the ancient Armenian city of Jolfa and the Vank Cathedral, which is one of the most beautiful Armenian churches. The following year, we travelled to Mashhad and visited the shrine of Imam Reza. We travelled all around the city and then went to the city of Toos, where they were holding a commemoration for Ferdowsi. Foreign students had attended the ceremony. After visiting Toos, we travelled to the city of Neyshabur to visit the tomb of Omar Khayyam.”

TIME CODE: 15:00_20:00

Conversation [Persian] Garik and Mehdi: “-Hey Garik, the weather has become so pleasant today!

-Yeah, the weather is getting better!

-Today is just great for sketching!

-There are so many subjects around you can think of to sketch!


-Well that's my field of study, sketching and ...

-That's good, good!

-... graphics design in general.

- I studied drwing for my BA.

-I like drawing!

-There's a good model there!

-Why do you want to sit down?!

-I want to draw something.

-Not again!

-It won't take more than a minute!

-One minute!


-Generally speaking, I've become interested in illustration.

-Do you also have galleries in Armenia so I can bring my drawings over to be exhibited if possible?


-Do they give you permission?

-Yeah, there are so many galleries there!

-There's a very good gallery there, in fact, it's a park gallery!


-Many renowned artists exhibit their work there.

-You'll be able to come over if you apply for the relevant license.

-Nowadays, they're also holding exhibitions in Herat!

-Have you held an exhibition there?

-It's possible to do so, but a galley ....

-Have you held an exhibition there yourself?

-Yeah, I have.

-The last time I went there, I exhibited my work at a gallery in a university.


-It was quite good!

-Now you say something! ... What have you done there?

-Nothing, I had fun! ... Now when do you plan to come to Armenia?


-When do you plan to come to Armenia?


-I told you about the beautiful places it's got to visit!

-I'll come over during the next semester if possible!

-Yeah, do come over! ... It's got many tourist sites!

-Did you know that there are many Armenians in Tehran?

-Yeah, the last time we went out together ...

-When we went to the Armenian church!


-Yeah, in general Iran's had many Armenians since long ago!

-And were these Armenians born here or not?

-Yeah, most of them were born here.

-You mean they have an Iranian ID card?

-Yeah, they're Iranian.

-You also have a footballer here!


-What's his name? ... Andrak Termou ...

-Andranik Teymouriyan

-He's also the captain of Iran's National Team.

-There are a few more footballers as well, but I can't remember their names.

-And there are Armenian artists and musicians here as well.

-You gave me a book last time!

-Yeah, that book! What was the title? ... "Armenians in Iran"


-It's all written in there! ... In general, there are many of them ... The Armenian population in Tehran is very high. ... They have their own church and different ceremonies.


-I once took you to the church ...


-... for Christmas.

-Yeah, it was so nice!

-Did you bring along any music from Armenia this time?

-Yeah! ... That was traditional music.

-Your traditional music is so amazing!

-Yeah, yeah!

-I brought along some for you as well!

-You mean duduk music!


-I gave you some traditional and classical music.


-In fact, I gave you a musical piece from an Armenian in Tehran as well!

-And I've taken you to the church!


-What about Afghan artists? You told me about Kazem Kazemi who's a poet. Is there anyone else who plays traditional music?

-Yeah, there should be but I don't know them since I haven't been here for long! ... I know the ones in Afghanistan.

-There are many Afghan nationals here!


-Why are there so many Afghans here?

-Well, they've migrated to Iran because of the recent war in Afghanistan.


-Remember that movie we watched in the cinema about the war in Afghanistan?

-Yeah, "A Few Cubic Meters of Love"

-That's the one!

-Well that just portrayed a part the Afghan people's life in Iran. ... It was a good movie!”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mehdi Afrouzi, Afghan Student: “In general, I've experienced different kinds of life styles! A computerized life, a mechanical life, a traditional life and a medieval life! Each period has had its own good aspects and I'm satisfied with it. I always say I've done what I had to do and did it right. But I regret not having read many books during my childhood despite being brought up in an intellectual family - my sisters, brothers and dad. When I was a kid, my dad always used to tell me to read this book but as a child I was very naughty and playful!”

TIME CODE: 20:00_25:00

Conversation [Persian] Garik and Mehdi: “-Garik, do you know the architects from the Safavid dynasty? ... I need some information.

-I haven't worked on this subject very much! ... In fact, the books by professor Ajan ...


-I think he's got a few books on architecture. ... You can use them to get some help cause I've mostly worked on the Karabakh region. ...

-Well, what are you going to be doing now that we're about to finish our studies? ... Get a Ph.D. or go to work?

-Uuuh! I'll give myself a break for a year.

-Well, what about after that?

-I need to sort things out in Afghanistan and then I'll either go to Europe or the U.S.

-You don't want to stay in Afghanistan?

-Well yeah, I'll go study there and return. ... I'll keep in touch!

-What about you?

-I want to continue my studies.

-In the same field?

-Yeah, study for a Ph.D. in the same field and then ...

-You mean right after you get your Masters?

-Yeah, if I find the time! ... and then get into a scientific field!

-But I want to give it a pause for at least a year or two!

-Garik, take a look at this and see if the subject is good! ... And it goes with this picture ... I'm getting tired!

-Which one do you want?

-Is the color okay?

-It looks good!

-The cat!


-Why have you drawn its body like this?

-I combined a cat with a dragon, a wolf and ...

-I think it's eyes look good!

-Take a look at this! ... You've made a mistake!

-Is there any typing mistake?

-No, I don't think so! ... No, it doesn't, it's right.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Garik Isakian, Armenian Student: “There are many Armenians in Tehran who have helped me out in order not to get homesick. The Armenians in Tehran and Armenians living in Iran hold different cultural events about Armenia and their traditions in Iran ... and Tehran has many Armenian churches. I mostly know the people in Tehran. Generally speaking, the ones I've met are very hospitable and we've become very good friends. I have a very close friend in Tehran named Amin who's invited me over a lot. His wife cooks "Ghormeh Sabzi" very well! In fact, I can say the best "Ghormeh Sabzi" I've ever had in Iran!

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mehdi Afrouzi, Afghan Student: “War is like ... Uuuh! ... having a colorful dream and something like a vacuum cleaner coming along and pulling all the colors away! ... Uuuh! I hope my country and the city I live in, return back to their golden ages that's far from war! My city, Herat, is quite talented in art and I would like this art to expand. Wars will continue as long as there's oil and iron! I think that someday they'll run out of iron to make weapons and I hope that these companies that manufacture weaponry would someday turn into art galleries!”


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