BOOKMARK A novel dedicated to all the women who loved and lost during the tumultuous Iranian Revolution
The Iranian Revolution left a deep impression on the minds of people, both Iranians and others, and has understandably come to trigger several creative thoughts. Keeping it as a backdrop for her debut book, “Urma”, writer Deeba Salim Irfan has drawn from her personal experiences to narrate a tale of love, revolution, detachment, acceptance with a slight twist. Launched recently in Delhi, “Urma”is an Iranian woman's pursuit for her lost life. Deeba, an Indian by origin, spent a large part of her childhood in Iran, which coincided with the eventful years in the country. Deeba says her memories and experiences pushed her to do the “inevitable”.
“My parents lived in Iran for 11 years and I saw the revolution as a child. I would go and stay with them often. I remember having falooda in the streets of Tehran, I remember bags of pistachios placed on our doorstep by former patients of my father, who was a doctor. Although my parents kept sending me back to India, I would still go there often. So it was a very different experience for me, compared to the people who lived there. The images leave a mark on you; all the English schools were closed. We could not wear what we wanted to. But importantly, the women there had strength, they believed in themselves and their inherent strength kept them going,” she explains.
Amalgamating fragments of her past, Deeba has carved a realistic piece of fiction. The story revolves around the life of Urma, an Iranian woman who stays strong as her life follows an unexpectedly twisted path with the onset of the revolution. Deeba reveals that the complex character has stemmed from a time when the beautiful city of Tehran was called the Paris of the East, and talk of Iran would not bring to mind the dark and scary images it does now. “Urma loved and lost, her emotions of love were suppressed with the approaching revolution and her family circumstances changed. Her life, thereafter is clouded with uncertainty and she has no choice but to accept life as it is, and then her life changes shockingly yet again and she is left in a dilemma and a whirlpool of mixed emotions. This is a universal theme, and I feel for all those Urmas out there.”