Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My Uncle's Humble Abode

A few years ago on one of my trips to Iran, I paid a visit to my uncle who lived in a tiny village outside of Neyshabur. My uncle is an artist and has always lived the simple life devoting his time and energy to painting, weaving and reading. 

Arriving at his quaint village felt as though I had arrived in another century. From afar, it almost reminded me of a smaller scale Masouleh, where the houses are built such that each person's roof is another's courtyard. Upon closer look, however, it didn't seem that these roofs could support also being courtyards. 

I don't know about the other houses, but I was completely enchanted by my uncle's- the simplicity, the organization, the art, the color combinations... it was all very much him. These mud houses are natural air-conditioners. It's quite amazing really. As hot as it may be outside, you immediately feel cool upon entering.  

Inside, I adored his attention to detail and the fact that he had decorated his house with his own artistic creations. I mean, really, how could you not love that splice of mirror embedded on the wall with an apple in front? Modern art in the middle of what seemed like a centuries old village.

Neighbor drying sunflower seeds on the roof

He made my favorite chai albalooand gave me a brief lesson on weaving (not carpets. My uncles weaves accessories like bags or takes paintings he likes and creates woven versions of them). I find it truly mind-boggling how these talented artists weave carpets or, in this case, paintings, and I've always thought it was funny how these delicate works of art are made to be walked on. And while I would hardly claim to know what I was doing, at the very least, I can say that I am the proud weaver of about 5 knots of that particular work. 

I love spending time in these kinds of villages. It's nice to get away from it all and just bask in the silence and simplicity of life. For me, it's in this environment, more than any other, that I feel completely at peace and really understand what those ancient Sufi Persian poets were always talking about. 

My uncle has since moved from this house, which makes me a little sad. He is, after all, a bit of a dervish. I look forward to my next visit to see him, though. I can't wait to see where is he living now and the new artistic touches that he has given his new, quite literally, humble abode. 

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