My dearest loyal blog reader,
Take me to my grandmother’s kitchen, take me to her cozy home filled with love and care. Take me to her kitchen where every corner has a memory, where black and white photographs here and there make the past part of the present.
Take me, I won’t ask what she has cooked, I will know what’s for lunch just by the aroma in her kitchen. Take me, so once I have gobbled down every bit of food on my plate I can lean my head on grandma’s shoulder while she strokes her hand down my hair. She tells me stories of back in the day as tears fill her eyes. I tell her about life in the real world today, I take her words of wisdom while her arms are over my shoulder. Then grandma gets up and brings me chai (tea). You know, nothing tastes like tea made by grandma (not after Mam Khalil passed away).
I ask myself: Dear Sazan, how is it you feel this sensation and yearning even though the last time you sat on your grandma’s lap was well over two decades ago?
I will tell you why. In my nest, in Kurdistan, so many older women can have a grandma presence in our life. Like Pura Parwin. While she is known to be an aunt (Pura) for me it’s a different story.
I met Pura Parwin in the Erbil orphanage once, as she had come to celebrate one of the children’s birthdays. Fast forward two weeks and the beautiful, and super amazing Saza took me to Pura Parwin, ever since I feel her little restaurant/home is a grandmother’s kitchen. When I feel I need to be spoilt with the love of a grandma, it’s time to visit Pura Parwin.
While Pura Parwin refers to this place as her restaurant, it’s actually her little kitchen and home at the same time. The large kitchen is divided into three sections. A little living room, some chairs and tables and then the kitchen itself. We chose to have our lunch on the ground in the room section. It felt exactly like a grandmother’s house. The food is clean, and freshly cooked. The gathering was like that of a family home, to the extent we helped bring the food from the kitchen too.
Once the sunsets Pura Parwin pulls down the curtains, locks the doors and what was a restaurant during the day, becomes her little home in the evening. Every day she is ready to serve guests from breakfast to an early dinner. All home cooked food.
Pura Parwin’s is unlike any other restaurant owned and run by a woman, her company is what makes the lunch or even just the tea you drink that little bit extra special. She calls herself a therapist to so many who come and visit, a best friend to others, a mother and a grandmother. Each person who comes has a different connection with her. A unique bond. She solves people’s marriage problems, shares their laughter and speaks her funny experiences.
Saza (not me, but my amazing friend) knows Pura Parwin well. As we walked in during our visit Pura Parwin almost danced in happiness hugging our Saza tightly. I imagine this is the exact happiness a grandmother receives when her grand-daughter goes to visit. After lunch is served, Pura Parwin takes a seat with us, our conversation becomes a very long one. Her words are full of wisdom, optimism and she is a source of inspiration. I see the pure love Saza and her share with one another. She is not just a restaurant owner, who cooks clean, tasty home-made food, but an individual who plays a critical role in the lives of so many of her customers.
I don’t think I have ever been this comfortable being anywhere in Erbil. It felt so much like home. So comfortable. So cozy. Pura Parwin represents a strong woman who has built something out of nothing, a true entrepreneur. Many who had her situation may have resorted to begging on the streets, but no, this woman commited herself to work; enough work to pay for her son’s education as well.
I love the little details in this place. I look at the books that keep this elder woman company in her lonely nights. I wonder how it is for her, once she closes down for the day and pulls down the curtains. I see the little cupboard where she keeps her clothes, the little medicine cabinet….I worry for her. A few nights after I visited Pura Parwin I was in bed under two blankets, I could hear the wind and rain against my bedroom window. I immediately thought how she felt right then, remembering what she had said to me “the TV and my books keep me company till I fall asleep.”
Did I mention Pura Parwin drives? Except now her little red car has stopped working, and instead it’s used as a store room for the extra bits and pieces she has. I love the simplicity in her life, the way she lives. I don’t know how to explain this: She is lonely, but at the same time every visitor has become her family.
I learn a lot from her experience and story, however, I have some views which I prefer to keep to myself. You might also observe them once you visit!
I wish I could give you an exact address, you enter it into your GPS and find your way to Pura Parwin, but the reality is we are in Erbil and giving an address is a living nightmare. Let alone receiving directions from me! In short, the little restaurant is located on the opposite side to Majidi Mall in Hawleri Nwe. If you want to visit it is best to call and get directions once you have crossed Majidi Mall: 0750 390 9506 or 0750 376 4078
Lots of love from
My Nest in Kurdistan