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Sunday, November 15, 2015

The desire to be free

The desire to be free 
I was 18 years old and wanted to enter university. I wanted to join the college to become the captain of a ship. I was invited to an interview. There were hundreds of people for the interview. The queue moved very fast and stopped one of them who came out to ask what they had been asked. One of them said they asked him his name. Another said that they asked him the time. 
After three hours it was my turn. I took off my glasses and my watch. I knocked very loudly on the door. There was a panel of about 15 people in the interview room. One of them asked me my name. I shouted out my name and was invited into the room. I had checked the time when I went in 10.10am.  Before the interview I had checked up in the newspapers and magazines about ships and the sea and had memorized as much as I could even though I had to read in the shops because I couldn't afford to buy the magazines. 

One of them asked me why I want to become a captain. I told them that I like the ocean and was a man of the ocean whose father gave him many books about the ocean. Then one of them asked me the time. I told them I would check the wind. I looked outside and told them its 10.22. They were surprised. I told them my grandfather had taught me how to tell time from the shadows made by the sun. They asked me what my grandfather had been. I told them he was a shepherd who had taught me in the summer about the sun and how to tell the time. This was their longest interview for the morning. 

Then they asked me what I would do if I was on the ship and the family called to ask me to leave the ship because my father has 10 hours to live. I would call the office to ask for permission. Then they said what if it is a public holiday and no one is in the office. I said that I would not leave the ship.  The men on the panel said that I should jump. They were all shouting at me that I should jump into the sea. I shouted that I would not jump into the sea because of the sharks and I am afraid of sharks. If I jump into the water then I would not reach the shore. The men on the panel all laughed at me.  I told them that I would need a helicopter to reach my father in time. Each of them stood up and shook my hand and told me that I was accepted for the medical check up.  

I went and passed every test. The last test was for eye sight. I memorized the eye test chart and knew the sequence upwards and backwards over a few days.  
I watched them test the person before me. The person had to name different pictures. I memorized the words in each page. When it was my turn the phone rang and she answered the phone and was playing and spinning the book. She opened the book from behind and I didn't know.    

The test was for colour blindness and the pictures were in different colored circles. I could not see the pictures because I was colour blind. I gave all the answers but of course they were incorrect. I did not know that I was colour blind.   

She called the doctor to test me again. The doctor used the eye chart to test me. I had memorized the chart. My eye sight is weak. She told me that me eyes are amazingly good. I had missed one of the lines and that gave me away. I was desperate to get into the college. 

She told me that it would be too dangerous to be a captain of a ship if I was colour blind since I would have many people's lives in my hands as the captain of a ship. After a few months they invited me to study to become an engineer on a ship. 
In the interview you were asked ideological questions about Sharia, the Koran and other similar questions. I grew a beard before the next interview. I dressed like a very religious person. 

While I was sitting there a man came out and saw me and asked why I was sitting in the queue. I told him that I had come for the interview. He told me that because I had been in the war that I should come in and eat and I waited there for four hours. The boss came to interview me. 

He asked me a lot of question about religion. He asked if I was married. I said I wasn't because I was only 18 years old. He asked if I had gone to war and I said no my mother didn't allow it. Then they asked again if I am married, I told them I am only 18 and don't yet have a job to take care of a wife. He kept asking the same question. 

I asked him if he has a sister. He asked why. I told him then if he has a sister I could get married to her. He became angry. He said you didn't yet see my sister. I told him that he is a good looking man so his sister must be beautiful too. He shouted at me and chased me out of the room. 

It was important that I be married because the training was in Belgium. They feared that the men would not return to Iran after the training but if they were married then they would have to come back to Iran.  I left and went to shave my face then went back. I told them that this is the real me and that I don't want to join them. I decided that I want to be free. 

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