Just finished the book Not Without My Daughter, by Betty Mahmoody. Read the book once years ago, but it was such a good read that I wanted to go for the trip again. Plus the fact that I've already forgotten the whole story apart from the gist of it (an American woman married an Iranian, trapped in Iran with small daughter against their will, went through a bad time before successfully went through a perilous journey out of the country).
And yes, the story is still as good a reading as I remembered it.
'Taraf', in Iran, is somewhat like the Malay proverb, 'ajak-ajak ayam', i.e. when you make an invitation that you do not really mean.
I may have made a mistake in thinking a friend's invitation to lunch as the real thing when he, on the other hand might've meant it only as 'taraf'. So what I did was to take him up on the invitation, and of course he had to say please come when I asked whether I could, considering I was in town and already on my way. When I saw how our arrival may have inconvenienced our hosts, the little twinges of that feeling called 'somewhat guilty' played upon my mind.
How do one ascertain whether an invitation is just 'taraf', or a bona fide call by the utterer?
Nonetheless it was certainly a pleasurable visit and all seemed well. Still I feel a need to clear this matter. We Malays have it ingrained to avoid from menyusahkan orang lain (being an inconvenience to others), so when one felt like one has done exactly that, an apology should be the order of the day. Hmm.. but only if and when it feels right to do so.