Thursday, December 16, 2004

Attar of Persia

Yipee! Another batch of perfume samples yesterday. So far the standouts are Douce Amere by Serge Lutens and Jasmal by Creed. There is something very strange and yet pleasingly familiar about Douce. It smells like attar, vanilla, burnt sugar, frangipani all at once. Remarkable. But the dry-down had a slight quease inducing quality to it. Will apply again to see if this recurs. Jasmal is just a wonderful, vibrant jasmine. Just the kind that blooms in my mother's little balcony garden.

Yesterday I was sending out emails to the Yalda party being thrown by N and I. And I realised once more what an unabashed Persophile I am. My fascination with Iran began when I started learning Urdu and read of the raptures of Ghalib for the Persian language. How he thought his Urdu Dewan was never good enough, and held his Persian poetry in higher esteem. Strangely, Ghalib is virtually unknown in the Persian-speaking world, and in South Asia..well, he is iconic in Urdu poetry. And then I read about Iran. About the Safavids, Qajars, Reza Shah, his son, and then the Islamic Revolution. Gosh, this year is the 25th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. An entire generation grew up to adulthood in the Islamic Republic. Wonder how long they'll have to wait......The hope of change runs deep in me, don't know what fuels this optimism, probably the fact that I've had so many Iranian friends here, all young, intelligent, dynamic. Probably this is the generation to reform, after the baton has passed on to them.
But I digress. I was talking about how much I love Persian aesthetics, the fragility, the sophistication of it. The fine artefacts, carpets, attar, pottery . The food, so appealing and subtle. The literary and poetic traditions. Music. Architecture. And most of all, the refinement of day-to-day exchange, that elusive quality called tehzeeb. I am always amazed anew when I encounter the politeness of Iranians, their civility. Which is not to say that they are incapable of terrible wrongs, the last 25 years are ample proof of attempted collective harakiri. But I have faith that a nation so civilized cannot fool itself much longer. Check out this website for a little bit of Iran savoured in the hearts of the Iranian diaspora -


Anonymous camobel said...

Quite worthwhile material, thank you for the post.

2:01 AM  

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