Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Stuck in Roodarbaisti

Salaam, doostan! Chetorin?

As you know the art of taarof is an incredibly integral part of Iranian culture, and I've written a few posts on it. I wanted to introduce another cultural concept today known as رودربایستی roodarbaisti (although when spoken, it usually sounds like رودرواسی roodarvaasi). 

تو رودربایستی گیر کردن , to roodarbaisti geer kardan, literally, to get stuck in roodarbaistiAs far as I know, there isn't a good English translation for this (at least I haven't been able to come up with one), but in a nutshell, roodarbaisti is an uncomfortable, reluctant feeling/acceptance involving a bit of taarof and a third party. It's completely fitting that the verb for this concept is to be stuck in, and you'll understand why with a few examples! 

We know that taarof can be both sincere and insincere. So say that you insincerely taarof someone to stay at your house and that person unexpectedly accepts. You aren't exactly happy about this situation because you were just trying to be polite and didn't think they would actually stay. Now you are stuck in roodarbaisti because they took you up on your insincere offer that you can't get out of. You have that feeling of "Oh great! What do I do now? I didn't really think s/he would stay." 

Here's another example. You are going to Esfahan and staying with a friend at her house. Your friend has prepared everything for only you- room, meals, plans, everything. Suddenly you show up to your friend's house with your three cousins. Even though they planned on staying at a hotel, your friend taarofs them to stay at her house (this is Iranian culture, after all) and wouldn't even hear of them going to a hotel. They stay. The friend's mom asks why she let them stay (maybe they don't have enough room for them) and the friend says, "What could I do? To roodarbaisti geer kardam, I got stuck in roodarbaisti!"  She doesn't really want them there, but she has roodarbaisti from you (the third party) and doesn't want to be rude, so she reluctantly taarofs and accepts their staying.

Or imagine that your father-in-law's friend, who you just met, tells you he's going through tough times and asks to borrow $1,000. You obviously don't want to give this money- you don't have it, you just met this person, etc. Maybe the friend thinks that because of the common denominator of your father-in-law, you would be more willing to give the money. You get that uncomfortable, awkward feeling because you don't want to be rude in front of your father-in-law (the third party). You are stuck in roodarbaisti. Now, of course you can say no to the friend, but because of the roodarbaisti you have with your father-in-law, it would have to be backed up with a lot of apologizing and reasons why you can't help.

There are also times when you may verbally acknowledge this concept. Say you are baking and are suddenly short a cup of sugar. You ask your neighbor to borrow a cup until you can get to the store. Your neighbor also happens to need sugar at that moment and says they were going to use it, but ok, they will give it to you instead. In this situation, you can say, "roodarbaisti nakonid, don't roodarbaisti. It's ok." Since the neighbor is also using it, you are telling them they shouldn't feel obligated to give you the sugar or feel bad about saying no and that you can just get the sugar elsewhere. (You can also use the terms bi roodarbaisti/roodarvasi or beduneh roodarvasi without roodarvasi).

Here's a final example. Imagine my mom and her in-laws were to visit my mom's sister. Now if roodarbaisti existed, my aunt would go all out for the in-laws, making sure everything is perfect, perhaps cooking 3 different varieties of food, etc because she has roodarbaisti from my mom (the third party), and my mom, in turn, has roodarbaisti from her in-laws, so the sister needs to be a perfect hostess so as not to embarrass my mom. But if my mom were to tell her, "Don't worry. I don't have roodarbaisti with my in-laws. Just keep it simple," my aunt would then, of course, be a most gracious hostess, but she wouldn't feel obligated to go that extra mile. She would feel more comfortable and not have that added pressure of impressing her sister's in-laws (or, worse, risk being gossiped about later by the in-laws: "We went to her sister's house, and she...."). 

I hope these examples have given you a better idea of this concept. For now, I'll leave you with this song called Bi Roodarvasi by Javad Hojati.

♥ Pontia

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...