After the monochrome tones of my life in London, I felt like I had landed in a Technicolor movie set, just as Iran had been in my childhood

It was the most unexpected sound and the last thing I had imagined I might hear in this bastion of western civilisation. Rising through the silence of the medieval room, the Muslim call to prayer rang out, instantly transporting me back to my childhood, to Iran. To days punctuated by the call that rose up over rooftops, drifted across the school playground, washed over us as we played and skipped and studied. It was so familiar and yet such a surprise that it tore clean through me, wrenching at my heart.

I was in a room in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence’s town hall, attending a meditation session my neighbour had invited me to. I’d been in Florence for just one month, arriving with nothing but a suitcase, a book proposal and the address of a friend’s flat. For the first time in my adult life, I had no job, no salary and no flat of my own. Burnt out by my high-octane job and depressed, unanchored from friends and family, I felt like a piece of flotsam washed up in the Renaissance gutters.

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Source: The Guardian

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