White Balloon

Daily Journal of Mahaan, an Iranian-American student residing in USA.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Flying to...

I'm not writing much on White Balloon for many personal reasons.... But life has been continuing... with a lovely fellow-traveler! 
White Balloon flies slowly and steadily... Maybe to the west of the sun!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Drama withVajiheh khanoom and Hossein aqa

Some time in life we don't need cinema or theather to create or watch drama.  Our internal voice create dramatic moments/;

In a slow day, frustrated with housing search in Berkeley, while I had invitation to go to a dinner in San Francisco, I decided to ditch the dinner and do something more uplifiting than a semi-boring dinner with techies and scientists:  I decided to drive to Pleasanton to find and visit Vajiheh khanum and Hossein Aqa!! Vajihe khanum (Ms. Vajihe) and Hossein aqa (Mr. Hossein) were this nice old couple who lived in my old apartment complex in the first year of life of me and Reyhan..  They were greatly supportive and kind to us in that year.  Their simplicity and funny old-school attitude were subject of laughter for us and many of our friends.  And there was a deep cozy grandpa-grandma feeling when we visited their home (although they were not really that old).

Of course, driving to Pleasanton and the apartment complex was full of nostalgia for younger years of life, etc.  I started searching for their apartment and I couldn't find that neat and organized entrance with lots of flowers and plants.  But then from the window I saw the table that I had dined several times, but the house didn't have the old organized view from outside.  I knock and a young fellow opens the door and I started asking if he lives here and he says yes and he asks me if I'm Iranian... and then he says that he's the nephew of Vajihe khanum.
Long story short: Hossein aqa passed away three months ago and Vajihe khanum is depressed and dealing with light alzeihmer... and they're moving her out of the current apartment to some smaller community housing unit in Livermore.... Hopefully soon I'll go visit her. 
 But then with her nephew, we started talking about the odd of me deciding to stop by on the last day that they were vacating the house....and simply i could have missed them all together.... With all the sadness that was in hearing about their state, I'm still happy that I got a trace of them....It was all that internal voice this after that told me to skip the SF dinner and go after something more passionate.
Rest in peace Hossein aqa.  Sorry if I impersonated you too much... You were so humble and gentle and will be missed a lot.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Dreaming into reality!

A dream starts.  you're enjoying it, but somewhere there you get tempted to wake up and see if this is true or not.  but then you'd rather dream.  you push the dream in different corners.... you add nice memories to it....while enjoying the ride, you think of how to wake up... maybe there is way to get up and see, no this could be more than a dream!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

moving back to the US

While chatting to a colleague recently, we talked about the timing of moving back to the west and his philosophy was that when it is the time for such move, one would feel it...  For me that call started a few months ago in this Persian gulf state.  First, I realized that work and progress has slowed and social interactions both here and in Iran are becoming repetitive and customary.  After finishing the housing project in Iran and finishing the postdoc time, I feel it is the time to go and settle myself back in the US.

There are several lines of thoughts and ideas which are influencing this decision:

Relatively true ideas:
1. In the gulf, my possibilities will be limited to an academic/teaching life.  Am still not convinced that will be the right route for me and also if that will produce a long-term career for me.  Am really concerned that staying here will push me in to becoming more side-tracked and insecure and end up getting stuck in the gulf for a long time.  In the US, I might be able to seek opportunities in the industry and establish an average engineering career.

2. If life is going to happen in the US for the next few years, then why not doing it earlier.  As a matter of fact it is the time for my family to organize some aspects of life in the US.  Even with respect to the relations and marital life, independent of the person who will be my wife, it's better set shop in the US and then make a marriage move.

3. The direction of my university under the new management is unclear and shaky.  I feel to some extent this happens in many of institutions in this country and part of it relates to the very complex geopolitical role that this country is playing that confuses all investors in tuning and predicting the future.  So all together, it might not be the best place to invest unless one can build a very strong relationship with the main campus and secures something over there.

False and illusionary ideas:

1. I'm not that productive here in Qatar and can be more productive in the US or I'm not learning enough here in the gulf and I can learn in the US.
2. I cannot do the type of work that I like in the gulf and I will have more freedom in the US.
3. Concerns about the gulf, politics of the region, Iran, etc which might affect life security in the gulf.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

good feel moment

One of those beautiful moments in life is when you reach peace after a thoughtfully and patiently fought and won an emotional battle with a woman who you care about!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Movie: Reluctant Fundamentalist

A nice movie by Mira Nair about the life of Pakistani fellow around 9/11.  Beautiful soundtrack, good pace and edit and excellent cinematography.  All together a nice work about tough times that many of us felt some slices of it in the US after Sept 11.  A powerful demonstration of the fight between moderation and fundamentalism and many ways that we all can be dragged in to dramatic life changes.  The movie gave an excellent opening to the DTFF.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012


it might happen today at 5.

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