City of Tales
My parents, my oldest sisters, and even my sister who was only two years older than me were all dressed up to go see the play, Shahr-e-Ghesseh (City of Tales) in Tehran. They wouldn't take me. "No little children are allowed." I couldn't understand what made my older sister eligible and not me! I begged, I stumped my feet, and I cried, but it was no use. They wouldn't take me. Later that year, my father bought the gramophone record of the play for me and brought it home to make up for the hurt I had felt that night. Years later I watched it on television, and for years to come, its recording became a part of my nearest and dearest possessions, traveling the world with me, wherever I went. To this day, every now and then, I pull out the CD and play it to myself in the car, treating myself to a true story. The most unforgettable Iranian musical, now a part of Iranian tradition and memorabilia. There continues to live a sadness in me that Bijan Mofid had to die so young; that he didn't stay around to enjoy the fact that his creation has continued to live on for 40 years. Even when I ask young people whether they have heard Shahr-e-Ghesseh, they tell me they have. What other piece of music, art, or Iranian culture do I know that has reached so many Iranians inside and outside Iran across all ages? In writing and directing his Shahr-e-Ghesseh, Bijan Mofid created what is likely an artistic miracle in every sense of that word. My mind is brimming with memories and nostalgia about him and about Shahr-e-Ghesseh these days. Listen here.