Click here to Download The Stationery Shop of Tehran PDF Book by Marjan Kamali Language English having PDF Size 1.7 MB and No of Pages 279.
Roya’s favorite place in all of Tehran was the Stationery Shop. It was on the corner of Churchill Street and Hafez Avenue, opposite the Russian embassy and right across the street from her school. Roya loved running her fingers over tablets of smooth pages in that shop. She loved the boxes of pencils that smelled like lead and promised knowledge.
The Stationery Shop of Tehran PDF Book by Marjan Kamali
|Name of Book||The Stationery Shop of Tehran|
|PDF Size||1.7 MB|
|No of Pages||279|
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She could spend an entire afternoon just looking at fountain pens and ink bottles or flipping through books that spoke of poetry and love and loss. The shop was simply called the Stationery Shop—no fancy name to it —but it was a bookstore as much as a stationery store. As the political divisons deepened that winter and hotheaded people engaged in debates and demonstrations all over the streets, it was the perfect retreat of quiet and learning.
It was a sanctuary of calm and quiet: never overlit, never loud. One particularly windy day in January, when Roya wanted to escape the communist demonstration gathering momentum in the street, she slipped into the shop. She just wanted to read some poetry. “Rumi today?” Mr. Fakhri asked from behind the counter. He was a calm, kind man in his fifties with salt-and-pepper hair, a bushy mustache, and round wire spectacles.
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Mr. Fakhri’s shoes were always freshly polished. He had owned the shop for as long as Roya could remember and he was an expert on books. Mr. Fakhri kept the shelves stocked with Persian classics and poetry and translations of literature from all over the world. “Yes, please.” Roya had come here so often that Mr. Fakhri knew her reading tastes well. He knew that Roya loved ancient Persian poetry but couldn’t stand some of the modern short stories.
He knew that she would spend the very last of her allowance on a brand-new tablet of paper and that her favorite stationery products were those imported from Germany because they were the most colorful and modern. Knew that she not only read every word of the ancient poets but that in silence, every now and then, she scribbled words of her own on the tablets she bought from him.
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Mr. Fakhri knew all these things, and it was his nonjudgmental calm that led her into his shop as much as the piles of pristine books and pencils and paper tablets. “Here you go.” The Rumi poetry book he handed her was printed on shiny new paper and had a dark-green cover with gold lettering. “Some of his best between these covers. Make sure you find yourself a quiet spot and don’t let anyone disturb you. He takes some concentrating if you really want to get to the truth of him.”
For Nowruz, the Persian New Year, they’d cleaned the house from top to bottom. Maman stayed up late for weeks to sew new dresses for her daughters. On the first day of spring, the family stood around the Haft Seen table set with the traditional seven items beginning with the Farsi letter s. Roya and Zari wore new clothes down to their underwear. At the exact time of the vernal equinox when winter turned to spring, they all jumped and hugged and kissed.
Baba then read a verse from the Quran and a few poetry ghazals from Hafez. It was now the new year. It was tradition to visit relatives in the thirteen days following the first day of spring. They called upon elders first and worked their way down according to age. All shops and restaurants were closed for the holidays. The scent of Maman’s chickpea and pistachio cookies and rosewater riceflour pastries filled the home. The Stationery Shop of Tehran PDF Book
Two weeks later, on the first Tuesday when the shops had reopened, Roya practically ran to the Stationery Shop. The city had bloomed into a colorful kaleidoscope of flowers. New buds burst forth as she rushed breathlessly through the streets. When she swung the door open, the bell chimed in its familiar way. And there he was, standing in front of the counter, talking to Mr. Fakhri, who was taking notes on a pad of paper.
The sound of his voice gave her a pleasant falling feeling. “Roya Khanom, saale no mobarak. Happy New Year!” Mr. Fakhri saw her first and put down his fountain pen. “Happy New Year to you. Both.” Bahman looked up and his face exploded into a huge grin. “Hey! How are you? How is your family? Did you have a good new year?” She walked closer to him and then couldn’t help but gasp. What looked like a row of large black ants crossed the back of his neck. Stitches.
Those thugs. “Don’t worry,” he said. “Jahangir’s father doused it with enough antiseptic to sterilize a swamp. I’m fine.” Two other customers came in, and Mr. Fakhri went to them. Bahman reached for something on the counter and handed her a package wrapped in red paper. “Here,” he said. “I got this for you. An eidy for the new year.” The Stationery Shop of Tehran PDF Book
Roya couldn’t even make it to the table laid with goblets of crushed melon and ice. She and Bahman were surrounded. Bahman glowed with his usual charm as everyone jostled around him. Though Jahangir owned the gramophone and the music and the dance know-how, it was Bahman everyone wanted. With him, they practiced their first steps. For him, they flirted. Bahman had memorized the lyrics, in a language he did not speak, of Sinatra songs and Rosemary Clooney ballads.
From being with him at other get-togethers since their engagement, Roya knew that if a part of the room grew quiet, if for a minute the conversation went stale, Bahman’s presence lit everything up again. It was hard not to be glued to his movements as he danced. Roya was well aware that she wasn’t alone in being enchanted by him. The girls laughed in high staccato near him, swooned when he told jokes. “Come with me.”
Bahman took Roya’s arm and pushed past everyone. He led her to the middle of the living room. A song for a waltz had just started. This she could do—it was one of the first dances Bahman had taught her, and she’d practiced with Zari for weeks. Zari had pulled Roya back and forth in their bedroom, scolding her when she made a mistake. Roya, remember. This isn’t our twirling hands/swaying hips Persian dance. The Stationery Shop of Tehran PDF Book
This is serious. Concentrate! With Bahman’s instruction week after week and Zari’s forced practice, Roya’s confidence grew. Now she glided with Bahman across the room, inhaling his familiar scent. “I need a drink,” she said when they finished. He let her go. At the refreshments table, Roya picked up a goblet of crushed melon-ice and a spoon. The sweet melon-ice filled her parched mouth. Suddenly there was a sharp tap on her shoulder.
She expected to see Bahman, but instead a tall, wavy-haired woman with olive skin and a movie-star mole above her lip (real or drawn on? If Zari were here, she would know) stared down at her. Shahla, the girl from the café. “Thirsty?” she asked. Her voice was husky, coarse. “Yes,” was all Roya could think to say. No hello, no introduction, no niceties. “Well, you cast your net and caught him.
Hoorah! He’s always been a slippery one. But somehow”—the girl studied Roya’s hair, her green dress —“somehow you did it. It’s mind-boggling.” The melon and ice stayed in Roya’s cheek, frozen. “Bahman, get over here!” Jahangir motioned from across the room. “I’d like to demonstrate with you.” Bahman walked over and they stood face-to-face, cheek-to-cheek, Jahangir’s arm around Bahman’s waist, his other arm extended with his hand clasping Bahman’s. The Stationery Shop of Tehran PDF Book Download
Jahangir drew Bahman in tight and slowly they moved. The song was sensual, almost alarming. It made Roya long for something she couldn’t even define, something forbidden and inviting. Watching Jahangir and Bahman dance felt like watching two strangers. Like watching what she’d never known she yearned for. After the tutorial, after giggles and titters from the girls and the end of the song, Bahman dropped Jahangir’s hand and took Roya to the center of the room.
They were joined by a few brave couples game enough to give it a go. When Jahangir started the song again, Bahman and Roya clasped each other. At first they got it wrong; they wobbled, and she almost fell over. The stubble on Bahman’s chin dug into her cheek. Being so close to him filled her with a desire so strong she had to force herself to focus on the steps. Her movements were wrong, but it just didn’t matter.
Her body was flush against Bahman’s, her arm extended as one with his, her hand in his. Bahman stayed in character, imitating Jahangir’s serious and sexy look from the tutorial. It made Roya smile, and he frowned as if to chide her, so she quickly imitated his mock-serious expression. They tried and tried again until they were able to get across the room without looking like they’d collapse. The Stationery Shop of Tehran PDF Book Download
If she believed in fate, she would know that they were meant to meet, to fall in love like this, to want only to be together. Her body fit so well into his, it was as though she’d found her home. She was meant to have been in that Stationery Shop when he strode in whistling; she was meant to share Rumi’s poetry with him, to feel this connection with him. These things were meant to happen—it was impossible to think of a life without him now.
She was his. It was that simple. It was more than destiny. It was reality, a practicality almost. It wasn’t a dream. It was simple fact. Roya squeezed her eyes shut and said nothing. At the next station in the baths, a young girl who looked to be about Roya’s age exfoliated her skin with a rough keeseh cloth. Dead skin cells unfurled from Roya’s limbs like shreds from an eraser bought at Mr. Fakhri’s shop. It felt good to get rid of the unwanted toxins and stress of the past few weeks.
It was an unburdening, a lightening of the load. But then the girl said that Russia was our friend and Iran was best served by following in its footsteps with a political system that ended class disparity, endless slavery of the masses, and a leftover feudal system that poisoned people. Mossadegh needed to make Iran communist, didn’t he? The Stationery Shop of Tehran PDF Book Free
The girl continued to scrub hard and said she knew she could tell Roya all this without getting into trouble because Roya didn’t look like a tattletale double-faced spy for the Shah. By the time she was finished, Roya’s skin was raw and pink. Roya did not reply with any of Baba’s likely retorts about how Mossadegh wanted democracy, not communism.
At the final station in the bath hall, an older woman lathered every inch of Roya’s body with soap, then rinsed her with hot, steamy water. This attendant, thank goodness, was quiet. After the cleansing, Roya lay down while the woman rubbed an essential oil that smelled like jasmine onto her legs, stomach, arms. With each deep stroke of the woman’s hands, Roya became more and more aroused, awake.
Two and a half hours now. In two and a half hours, she would see Bahman. Every part of her was alive. She couldn’t wait. “Vay! Why did you walk home with that wet hair?” Maman cried when Roya sauntered into the house. “Do you want to catch a cold?” “It’s so hot, how would I catch a cold in the height of summer?” Roya’s wet hair had soaked into the top of her blouse, spreading a stain around her shoulders. The Stationery Shop of Tehran PDF Book Free
It had actually cooled her off in the heat. Maman looked worried. “I hope it’s safe out there today.” After much deliberation, Roya had decided to tell her family that Bahman was coming back and that they were to meet at the square. For weeks Baba had been so worried about Bahman’s safety. Maman had prayed for his return with her tasbih beads every night. It was only fair that she let them know that he was fine and on his way back.