Saturday, April 10, 2010

Teabags and Cigarettes: The Legend of a Cafeteria

I spent six years of my life to get my bachelor's degree at IUST (Iran University of Science and Technology, or Elm-o-San'at). If you ask me what is the most vital part of IUST life, I will answer "the cafeteria;" there is no doubt about that. Others seem to agree with me. In just a few days the IUST cafeteria page on Facebook has more than 550 fans, and counting. (This is also a testimony to the fact that the government censorship of the Internet has practically no effect. Facebook is blocked, but everyone is on Facebook.)

We're talking about the boys' cafeteria of course. In Iran there are separate cafeterias for the boys and the girls. The girls sometimes came to our cafeteria though, but I never saw the girls' cafeteria during all those years. A female classmate of mine once told me that their cafeteria more like a dungeon. The girls never seemed to find their cafeteria very important. As to the the boys', the complete opposite was true. The cafeteria had sort of a religious importance to us. We used to joke that it's a "vajeb" (Islamic mandatory) to show up at the cafeteria everyday.

The quality of the food served at the legendary cafeteria was poor, so what was so interesting about it? I have two words for you, teabags and cigarettes. Of course, cigarettes weren't sold in there, we had to buy it from outside the campus. But then, we would come to the cafeteria, get teabags and hot water in paper cups, sit with our friends (and there were always a few people we knew in there) and kill endless time talking about trivial things.

That's all I miss now from my IUST days: a cup of tea, a bag of cigarettes and a few friends to kill time with forgetting everything else in our life.

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