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Soul in Sangak
The lady would not leave until we took one of her two pieces of bread


Tamara Nakhjavani
August 4, 2005

Have you ever wondered why it feels so amazing to listen to soulful music like Faramarz Aslani’s “Castle of Loneliness” or Farhad’s many songs which make you want to cry and scream at the same time?

I have always wondered what it means for something to be “soulful.”

I heard soulfulness in an opera song in my car after years of watching it performed in opera houses. When I was younger and living in New York, I met a friend who felt opera so intensely in his soul; it always made him cry. Going to the opera, I always tried to feel what he felt but never could quite get it. But one day, I was driving home when I listened to an opera song and there it was, that inner feeling, the sense of awe, the tears slowly forming in my eyes.

I found soulfulness in Iran when I went back after 13 years of being on my own. I remember one day, my mom and I were desperately looking for a bread bakery that sold Noon Sangak, my favorite bread. As we were walking up and down the street, my mom asked a strange woman who had two Sangaks in her hands where the bakery was. My mom told her that I was leaving Iran that night and really wanted to eat some. The lady told us where the bakery was but would not leave until we took one of her two pieces of bread. She said that she would not feel good eating the bread unless I had tasted it before I left.

I saw soulfulness in a bazaar in Isfahan, watching an old man working with his hands trying to make an art piece. It wasn’t the art piece that got to me. It was the look in his eyes, the sense of serenity harmonized with his hands patiently working in the shade of a quiet summer day. It was that aura that I found soulful.

Perhaps, you find soulfulness in your loved ones’ eyes when they look at you, or in the laughter of your baby, or maybe, even maybe in the quiet solitude of your home.

Wherever you find it, in my opinion, feeling the soul of something within your soul is what makes life so beautiful.

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Tamara Nakhjavani


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