There he stands my Grandfather Akbar Tork, age four or five. He is wearing a three piece suite and has a gold watch chain hanging from his pocket.
The picture is just over a century old. His own grandfather my ancestor had escaped a massacre that had wiped out many in a Qashqai tribe, he my ancestor that is had gone into shock and walked hundreds of miles towards south when he was 14, and by the time he was a man he had become a successful local business man. When surnames were registered he still had a strong Qashqai Turkish accent and he was given the name Tork (as in Turkish). His sons became successful men too. One (Abbas Mirza) had become Governor’s adviser in the city of Bushir, the other son Reza became the head of customs and excise. Being well to do Abbas Mirza had married a girl from an aristocratic family (eslambolchi) but in the height of his success he was killed by a sniper as he was taking a boat ride. The picture that you see is before Abbas Mirza’s death. In fact somewhere I have an earlier picture of him holding his son Akbar then a toddler. Akbar also worked for customs and excise, he married in his early twenties but one day he came home coughing blood. His family suspected murder but there was nothing to prove. Akbar left two sons, one who was still unborn and the other my father who was then aged three.
When my father became an orphan, his inheritance was plundered. His mother married again but one of the conditions of the new husband was that he would not care for the three year old child but would take in the new baby.
My father had a brutal childhood. He was grossly neglected. He started working aged 11, and studied during evenings.
He became a successful manager working for the Iranian oil company and he was prosperous enough to fund our private school in UK, but he too had a life full of ups and downs.
Then Iran had a revolution in 1979, and our fate changed again, but that is saved for another blog.