Just a couple of days ago, a blast rocked one of the most beautiful and highly visited parts of Istanbul and unfortunately it took about ten people’s lives. I was actually passing through a nearby neighborhood at that exact moment and quite obviously I heard the blast loud and clear. It took just a few minutes for all the news outlets to start covering that horrific incident. While I was reading through the news articles and watching the whole thing unfold in the media, I started thinking about Istanbul, this magnificent jewel of a city and its broken heart.
A few years ago as I was sitting in the plane that was taking me to Istanbul for the first time, I was eagerly looking out of the plane window, hoping to catch a first glimpse of Istanbul and satisfy all my excitement. I remember the feeling and the beauty of it all. There was something waiting here, something unlike anything I had ever seen or experienced. I could feel its presence but back then I didn’t know what it was.
As an Iranian (from Tabriz to be precise), my whole idea of a big city was Tehran. But if that was big, this must be huge, I thought to myself. A rare experience it was, seeing Istanbul for the first time. Believe me when I say you feel as small as nothing when you find yourself in the overwhelming diversity of people and culture and music and drinking and dancing and on and on and on goes the list of everything that is unique to this place. You can take any shape that you want and you will fit into Istanbul. You can commit all the sins and do all the goods in this place, it’s just a matter of choice.
After living in Istanbul for a few years and swimming in its ocean of blessing and luck, I almost know what that presence was that I was feeling when I first came here. And no blasts or terror attacks, no greedy politician or businessman or anything you can think of can change it. It has always been here and it will remain so. Producing, creating, sheltering and mesmerizing any lucky human being that lays eyes upon its magnificence.