My latest piece is a personal story about a magical bookstore in my old neighborhood in Tehran first published on Medium. I would like to invite you to take a trip down memory lane with me.
It was a very pleasant surprise when I learned that my old neighborhood in Iran has started a Facebook page. I immediately rushed to the website and began clicking through the numerous pictures. Every click hit me with a barrage of bittersweet adolescence memories: elementary school, playing in the streets, friendships, juvenile fights, and first crushes. I could hear the shouts of frustrated mothers demanding their kids to return home for supper, taste the sweet and sour half ripened white berries my classmates and I would mercilessly pick from trees, and even smell the neighborhood’s air — polluted with a scent of car exhaust and burnt oil.
I grew up on Sohrevardi in northeast Tehran. Named after Shahab al-din Sohrevardi, a 12th century Iranian sufi philosopher, the neighborhood bares little resemblance to the mild manner of its mystic namesake. It is a hustling and bustling residential district, full of tall apartment buildings and peppered with plenty of businesses, restaurants, banks, cafes, and mom and pop stores.
Reliving my childhood one picture at a time, I came across an image that gave me a pause. It’s a grainy, slightly out of focused photo of an unassuming storefront with a tree blocking half the view. A simple sign reads, “Kamal-ol-Molk* Bookstore.” Read more…