"Bossa Nova Shiraz"(trailer)
Based on Imagery / Masud Kimiai "Dash Akol" (Iran,1971)
Music / Eleni Vaitali
A Dokumuzik Group Porjekt
“DĀŠ ĀKOL”a story in the first collection of short stories by Sadeq Hedayat.
“DĀŠ ĀKOL” (translated as “Dash Akol” by Richard Arnt and Mansur Ekhtiar, 1979), one of the ten stories in Se qaṭra ḵun (Three drops of blood, Tehran, 1932), the first collection of short stories by the eminent fiction writer Sadeq Hedayat (HEDAYAT, SADEQ, 1903-1951).
‘Kol’ evokes association with ‘kolu,’ a respected local luṭi (see LUṬI) group in Shiraz that adhered to the virtues of JAVĀNMARDI (Maḥjub, pp. 121-23) an ethical system dominated by bravery, and moral and spiritual nobility. The word in combination with ‘Ā,’ short for āqā (see AQA), and ‘Dāš,’ a word of Turkish origin meaning brother, offers an apt title for a story that tells the tale of a gallant and respected luṭi who lived in Shiraz in early 20th century.
The story opens with an encounter between Dash Akol and his rival, Kaka Rostam (Kākā Rostam). Over the years Dash Akol has tangled with and has put his nemesis firmly in his place on more than one occasion, and hence is pursued by Kaka Rostam who yearns for revenge. Just as Kaka Rostam extends a challenge to settle accounts once and for all, an individual arrives to inform them that Hajji Ṣamad, a wealthy merchant, has died and has appointed Dash Akol executor of his estate. Dash Akol proceeds to the dead man’s house to extend his sympathies to the mourning widow. There, from between the curtains, he happens to see Hajji Ṣamad’s young daughter, Marjan (Marjān), who has come to catch a glimpse of the famous luṭi. Dash Akol is transfixed. “Her eyes had done their work. Dash Akol’s state of mind was changed; he cast down his eyes and blushed” (“Dash Akol”, p. 44).Convinced that he is too old, scarred, and ugly to presume to ask for Marjan’s hand in marriage, he forgets all else and devotes himself to the deceased Hajj Ṣamad’s affairs. He organizes the assets, increases returns, and takes care of the family’s every need at his own expense. Paying no attention to the taunts of old habitués, he forsakes his old haunts, and effectively removes himself from his previous life.
His only companion and confidante in nights of drunken loneliness is an old parrot. Every night, “when Shiraz with its twisting streets…and purple wines, was going to sleep…the real Dash Akol, unashamed of his desires and passions, came out of the shell that society had wrapped around him.” (“Dash Akol”, p. 47) It is to the parrot that he confesses his love of Marjan, reciting amorous poems, and confiding his sorrows.
The motif of an old man falling in love with a young inaccessible girl, recurrent in Hedayat’s stories, acquires a socio-ethical overtone in “Dash Akol” (Fischer, p. 196). The protagonist of the story, like the title characters of “Ābji ḵānom” (The Spinster), and “Dāvud-e guž-pošt” (Dāvud the Hunchback), faces rejection in part because of physical limitations (Hillmann, p. 127). After seven years a suitor, “older and uglier than Dash Akol himself” (“Dash Akol”, p.48) arrives for Marjan. Acting according to the society’s codes of honor and conduct, he makes the arrangements for the wedding, hands over his accounts in the presence of all, and walks out. Heartbroken, he proceeds to an old haunt, drinks to forget his sorrows, and recites lines of poetry:
Delam divāna šod, ey ʿāqelān, ārid zanjiri
Ke nabvad čāra-ye divāna joz zanjir tadbiri
(“Dāš Ākol”, p. 146)
“My heart has become mad, O wise men fetch me a chain.
There is no remedy for a mad man but a chain (“Dash Akol”, p. 50)
Just then, Kaka Rostam arrives and the two proceed to settle their old feud. Dash Akol places his dagger aside in an act of manliness, and it is with this very dagger that he is mortally wounded. He succumbs to his wounds the following day, but not before entrusting his parrot to Marjan.
In the final scene of the story, with Marjan staring at its colorful wings and hooked beak, the parrot recites, in its best imitation of Dash Akol’s voice, “Marjan … Marjan ... you killed me … To whom can I speak … Marjan … my love for you … killed me” (“Dash Akol”, p. 52). Tears flow down Marjan’s face.
“Dash Akol,” like most of the short stories Hedayat wrote from the late 1920s to the mid-1930s, is full of local color, and depicts a traditional social setting. It weaves the tragic life and death of a man with the accounts of a fast disappearing era (Etteḥād, p. 214; Naficy, p. 244). Told by an omnipresent, third-person narrator, “Dash Akol” is recognized as a coherent, well-structur