My original story recounts how I learned to overcome a lifetime of self-imposed repression. It is about the nature of beauty and the determination of our humanness, to find our essence and learn to live happily regardless of where we live or what obstacles we face.
Each chapter of the book is a memory and an experience.
It has aspects of fun; growing up with Baba; my wonderful father and a large family of characters that span a century. The story takes the readers from Qazvin, an ancient capital of the Persian Empire, to remote mountain villages, to the glittering capital of Tehran with its cafés, dance clubs, fancy boutiques and lush parks, to a villa on the Caspian Sea, as well as to the “tin town” of Halaby Abad in Southern Tehran and to the rice paddies where women do backbreaking work for next to nothing in wages. In doing so, I deftly handle a minefield of politics, from the regime of the Shah to the foreign interests of British and Americans, to street marches and protests, to the installation of the Ayatollah Khomeini and the Islamic Republic.
Sexual politics and women’s rights are addressed throughout the memoir from the Persian custom of khastegari, to the stripping of women’s rights under the Islamic Republic.
And it has elements of sorrow; my struggle with being burned as a child, my beloved uncle is murdered by the Revolutionary Guards of Islamic Republic and my marriage to a man of the Bahai faith is illegal.
I take my readers through a labyrinth of being guided by many spiritual teachers including my Sufi great aunt and the Sufi love poets, Hafiz and Rumi. At the centre of the labyrinth, I find the peace I have sought. As I make my way back to the beginning, I hope my story inspires readers to rise again and again. I know that it is only in the darkness that we can see bright stars!
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