Documentary on One

A Love That Slowly Grows -Tehran to Thomond

A love story that begins in Iran, then moves to Pakistan, then to Canada - and finally to Limerick - A remarkable tale of love, revolution, persecution and separation.

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4.2/5 (93 ratings)

Documentary Maker: Pat Shine

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Documentary Maker: Ciaran Cassidy

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A Love That Slowly Grows -Tehran to Thomond

Sohrab and Gita were just teenagers when their families handed them over to smugglers. They were taken over mountains and deserts to escape the dangers of living in Iran as Baha'is (a minority religious group). Sohrab travelled by camel, Gita on the back of a truck. They arrived on the same day in Pakistan, refugees fleeing the death sentences of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Under cover of darkness, Sohrab Nezamabad (18) was taken to an unfamiliar part of Tehran. Saying goodbye to his family, he was handed over to smugglers who trekked across the mountains to Pakistan, carrying contraband and human cargo.

In another part of the city, Gita Islami (16) was also given to smugglers to be brought out of Iran and into Pakistan.

The journey to Pakistan was dangerous and very difficult. The smugglers travelled at night across the mountains by camel, on dirt tracks. The possibility of capture or betrayal was a constant worry. By coincidence, Sohrab and Gita arrived in Islamabad on the same day. They spent just a little time together and didn't even like each other very much at first. Gradually, Sohrab began to realise he had feelings for this girl, but never spoke to Gita about those feelings.

Sohrab would remain in Pakistan for more than a year, awaiting a decision on which country might accept him. Eventually he was told that he would be going to Ireland, a country he knew very little about. When Sohrab arrived in Ireland, he was immediately embraced by the local Baha'i community in Limerick. He attended school and college in Limerick and began his career. However, he never found love.

Ten years would pass before Sohrab confided in his friend Hooman about the girl he had met in the refugee camp. He knew almost nothing about her, but presumed she must have been married with children by then.

He told Hooman, his closest friend, that he had only spoken to her a few times before he had left Pakistan. He thought maybe she had gone to America, but he didn't know anything for sure, except that looking back, she seemed the perfect woman, and he could not imagine marrying anyone else.

Secretly, Hooman began to search for this girl among his Baha'i and academic friends. Eventually he found a woman named Gita who had been a refugee in Pakistan ten years earlier. She was living in Canada. Was she the same Gita Sohrab remembered? Was she married? Did she remember Sohrab? And what were her feelings about the young man she had known for such a brief period more than 10 years earlier?

Produced by Pat Shine with production supervision by Ciaran Cassidy.

First broadcast: August 18th 2012 @6pm

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