Bibi Djan, The Rug Weaver
Introduction Grandma Helen (Heghineh) Davidian spent early mornings at her writing desk. She didn’t sleep as much as the rest of her family, and the extra time was invested in telling stories about the lives of young Persian women in the early 1900s.
Part 12 “Let Allah make me go blind!” cried Bibi Djan. “Do you think I would uncover my face in the presence of a man doctor? I would rather die in my own house.”
“Don’t you go to the hospital, girl!” advised a woman neighbor, who had brought her water pipe with her and was smoking it unceasingly. “Don’t listen to them. They took the daughter of my sister-in-law to the hospital and killed her with an operating knife.”
“Bibi Djan, my soul, do not refuse,” pleaded Habib.
“Choke yourself, you son of a dog! I know you want me to die so you can take another wife!”
The nurse tried to put the crowd out of the room, but no sooner had she chased them out of one door than they rushed back in through another door like a swarm of flies.
She went to Habib and whispered something into his ears. He ran out. In a short while he returned, panting. “The carriage is ready khanoom.” The nurse again whispered something into his ear.
“Do as you please, khanoom,” he said, “I am your sacrifice. I will kiss your feet, khanoom. Please save Bibi Djan.”
Bibi Djan, her elbows resting on the edge of a niche, was moaning and weeping. The nurse asked Bibi Djan to lie down on the bed that was spread out on the floor. The old woman with the water-pipe cried out, “Let the dust fall upon my head! Don’t lie down! Whoever saw a child-bearing woman lie down? What crazy notions these English midwives have in their heads!”
(to be continued)