I was in front yard sitting on the chair tying my shoes. Mehdi - the owner of the house, and acts as the Uncle or simply Dad to all this hostel guests - join me to have a little chat of what I’m planning to do in my first day in Tehran. I was just arriving at 2 AM, a mere 7 hours earlier.
Suddenly we heard a sound of falling object, and there it was, a grey pigeon with its wings spread facing the concrete, fallen from the big three that shades the house. We saw messy, transparent gooey substance from its beak. I think the pigeon just ate something rotten, or just having a bad hangover after flying from Turkey after wild night in Istanbul night club.
“O God, the bird is sick,” and uncle Mehdi carefully took the bird and put it in the corner of the porch. He frantically looking something to put some water near the pigeon to no avail, and then went inside. A moment later uncle Mehdi and his wife Forough came with a bowl of water. He gently rub the back of the pigeon, and wash the beak, and try to persuade the bird to drink.
Let me tell you that uncle Mehdi is tall, lean, grey haired middle age man with deep sharp looking eyes. A little bit stern is my first impression 7 hours before. Now with him being so worried and gentle with a sick (or injured, or poisoned, or drunk) pigeon is the best example of don’t-judge-the-book-from-its-cover.
Auntie Forough went inside again and came with some bread crumbs in her hands, and pour it next to the bowl. Hey, isn’t that those yummy crusty skin of sangak bread I had for breakfast just before? Please don’t gave it to the bird I really love it. (But I’m sane enough not to said that out loud. I guess they will abruptly kick my ass out of the house for being so unempathetic with the poor bird. That would be big problem because that day was my first morning in Iran and I didn’t know where exactly I was in Tehran at that moment except ‘you go left and left again and you’ll be in Shahid Moffateh Metro’ which I memorized like some kind of password to a vault full of free money or full of sangak bread). Half an hour before Mehdi served me those sangak bread by himself, accompanied by Forough’s homemade apple jam, cheese, boiled egg, and tea. I am just a guy who in my hometown impatiently ate bubur ayam (savoury chicken porridge induced with tons of MSG) in a styrofoam box with recycled plastic spoon for breakfast. Sometimes while standing in Jakarta polluted street on my way to work while thinking ‘oh what a beautiful morning mist, it so romantic, no it’s not mist you moron it’s smoke from motorbikes’. Anyway, being served by Mehdi made me a little bit uncomfortable. Thank you Uncle Mehdi!
So, I don’t know what to do with the bird situation and awkwardly excuse myself, eagerly ready to start exploring Tehran. I took 2 photos of the pigeon. And although I understand if you think I’m lying because the bird looks healthy (or you might think I just randomly took photos of any other pigeon), I swear it was the particular pigeon I tell you in this story. I just now realise that both sick bird or healthy bird has similar facial expression.
That day I went to Golestan Palace, the bazaar, some museums, Taleghani Park and Tabiat Bridge. Already forgot about the bird when I came back in the evening, Auntie Forough happily told me, “the pigeon…, the pigeon is not there, I think it recovers and fly!” I went back to the porch with her, to make sure the pigeon really was gone, not just hiding in the bushes. She handed me a flashlight, we spent about 5 minutes looking. I guess It would be funny if my friends send me a whatsapp message at that moment asks how am I doing in Tehran and I said, "it's really great, I'm looking for a sick grey pigeon in the bushes now."
We finally conclude that the pigeon was indeed not there anymore. We wish the pigeon long and healthy life, flying above every new travelers in Tehran.
Hey pigeon, I just want you to know that I will never forget you. And if you can read this, give me a sign by pooping to one lucky traveler, and let the traveler tell the story to me.