The day was a Thursday, the twenty-third of August, 2012. It was eight o’clock in the evening. I walked out of my room in one of Tehran’s three star hotels, entered the elevator, and went down to reception. I expected to meet my friend and colleague Amir in the lobby;
I didn’t expect to meet officers of Iranian security service in the lobby on that evening 5 years ago. My imprisonment, solitary confinement, espionage for CIA accusations, possibility of death sentence, six months in prison, my business ruined—all those things that came as a huge surprise, and shock for both my body and mind, seem like a dream now.
Did it all really happen? Did I really survive?
Perhaps it is good that we people have selective memory—that we can forget or at least learn to live in the present (a tough ‘skill’ to learn indeed), not letting the demons of the past to steal from us the most precious thing we’ve been granted — the present moment.
Significant? Or insignificant?
Many things have happened during those five years … and though I’d call them the best years of my life, and feel extremely grateful for the opportunity to do all the things I’ve done during the time, in the sphere of business, literature, charity, sport, traveling, spirituality, I want to confess that the last five years were far from easy….
With my new vision of the world and of my own life (and its insignificance), with the marks that the prison cell had left on my heart, those marks only a very sensitive person could recognize, I’d often found myself a complete outsider among people, not really able to fit into the society, the way it functions, thinks and lives.
Though I may seem an easy person to get along, someone who doesn’t struggle to talk to anyone, or go anywhere, you should know that below the surface—on the profound level of my heart and soul, I have quite often felt misunderstood, or even lonely among people.
Free to exist
Nevertheless, in both high and low moments, it’s good to travel in time for a second, at least in mind, reminding myself where I’d been five years ago—and compare it to the place where I am now—in a normal flat, being free to walk, to write, to take shower. Free to choose my food, to meet people, to go outside. Free to enjoy and suffer. Free to exist. Free to feel misunderstood. 🙂
If you are reading this article, you likely find yourself in the same boat. You are free.
Live neither in the past, nor from the past, but never forget that those things I described in previous paragraph should never be taken for granted. Don’t think about what you do not have (and some others do)—enjoy what you do have. Billions of people are not as lucky as you.
Five years. A lot of time for an individual? A grain of sand for the Universe? Who knows…. Happy anniversary to all of you!
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