My grandma was telling us stories about when she was younger, and how her father hated my grandpa. It was really bizarre to me, I mean, I knew that even in Iran there was/is some form of g*psy racism, but it’s never been as outright as it is in the West (probably because in Iran there was still a lot of nomadic tribes, especially when my grandmother was growing up, and Romani - what we call koli, looli, or kaardaag - definitely fell into the nomadic tribe category)
But my grandmother was telling me that when she met my grandfather, her father was livid. She said he hated my grandfather because his family was “g*psies”. It was crazy to hear her talk about it, and how at fifteen, she basically defied her own father to literally run away with a tribe of koli. And holy shit, did she run away with a tribe of koli, and basically her father disowned her.
It was then that I realized, holy shit, my grandmother had a defiant bad-girl streak…. And if she hadn’t followed through with it, I wouldn’t be here.
Anyhow, happy ending to the story. My father was born extremely premature, and almost didn’t make it. But when he finally got better, my grandmother took him back to her grandparents’ home so that they could see their great-grandchild, and apparently her grandmother walked over to the next house, where her son - my grandmother’s father - lived, pounded on his door, and dragged him out of the house and forced him to see his grandchild.
Apparently my father was so fucking adorable that my great-grandfather forgot he was mad at my grandmother and fell in love with him. Although he still did apparently make remarks about how it was a “g*psy” baby for a while, but eventually he got over it. My grandfather settled into a home and got a job in the petrol oil industry and tried to live like a settled Iranian. His still had the “kaardaag” itch, and still does…. And my grandmother’s family still really regards my grandfather’s family with some distaste…. but it was just so weird to think that was why.
I mean, I thought my grandmother’s side of the family didn’t like my grandfather’s side because they were all crazy, and because they gambled, and because my grandfather and grandmother divorced…. Yeah, I mean, that was part of it, but I guess the big part of it was that my grandmother’s family were “shahrestanih” in the sense that they were settled versus the koli who were “kaardaagih“.