I took a long recess…
Well, well, I’m back. As I wrote in one of my blogs the only thing which has been occupying my mind recently was to escape from the city to a village for several days. And I managed!!! As soon as my friend mentioned about her grandma’s house in Hanqavan I was already ready to pack my things and start off. Don’t want to tell how we got there, though to mention that we changed several buses in which all people were packed like herrings in a tin, and pungent odour in the air making it heavier and foul. And those were the signs to predict that village life had a start right from that bus.
Beautiful hills with fir-trees here and there, fresh air, meditating silence suddenly interrupted by sounds of animals and popping of the bus engine which dropped us off at feet of the village. Akhundov is the Turkish name for the village as once it was inhabited by Turks, later it was renamed and got an Armenian name Pyunik, but so far people call it by its old name. It is not exactly in Hanqavan, but two villages away. A narrow street, I mean that made of stone, soil and mud and animal sediment, which led up the hill. Little cozy houses with big gardens on both sides of it. Special smell of animals usual only for villages. While I was inhaling that air eagerly my friend hold her breath, she was not used to it. Her grandma’s house was nearly the last one up the hill. By the time we reached the place all the neighbor villagers were already aware that people from Yerevan had come and they were peeping out from behind their gates and garden fences.
The image was just the same as that in my recollections. Nothing had changed since I was at a village for the last time many years ago. The same peasants, humble, kind-hearted people, always full of good humor, joy and hard work. Women get up at 6am, milk the cows, take cows and sheep to join the herd, feed chicken, geese or pigs then they work on the soil, water the plants, gather the harvest, make butter and cheese, raisins and other sweets out of just gathered fruit, and cook bread. Then they bring the animals from fields, milk the cows again, find some other work to do and finish all up when it is 1 or 2 am, and go to bed for getting up early the other day and repeating the same schedule.
Men. At this time of the year one may find them in fields gathering dry grass for animals and packing them on lorries. Other things connected with cattle driving and grazing are also on men’s shoulders. Sometimes they may not appear at their places for several days just because the work is much too much and they spend their nights in open fields.
And thus the whole year they make preparations for winter, they store food, fruit and vegetables for the village is dead in winter. The paths are covered with snow, which makes it difficult to go down to the only shop there. So the whole winter they stay in their houses and take care of the animals trying to keep the furnace burning. Surely the keen and young ones also take the harvest to markets and sell it and it is the only way of their income. And so they live.
Children. Honestly sometimes I’m jealous. They have those fields, those hills and rivers, they have those gardens full of fruit, they ride horses and enjoy the speed of the wind coming against. What else to wish? But a child from the city may say: “And I have other games, computer, a cell phone, waterworld, merry go rounds, cars after all, the hell I need that village”.Then a question: “ Who is more progressive and who is healthier?” Even children are so different, I guess they can’t find interests in each others’ worlds.
And here comes the contrast between the city and the village. Villager’s life is difficult, indeed, physical work through all of their lives. They don’t look nice, they don’t wear beautiful and fashionable things, their clothes are usually dirty and worn out, their hands are rough and ugly, their faces with sunburn and wrinkles. Instead, they always preserve real human features – helping each other, taking care, doing each others’ work if one is not capable. They are hospitable, generous, open-minded and it is all because, methinks, they are close to the nature, to the soil, and to my deep convictions people dealing with plants and soil just can’t be bad. Surely there are exceptions to the rule, but they only come to prove the rule. And I cordially respect them. Really, who would feed the city if there were no villagers? So oligarchs with stunning restaurants, remember, there’s sweat and blood of peasants in every piece of food you gulp!
Oh, and one more thing! Villagers are big gossipers, rather rumour spreaders! I mean they are aware even of a strange flee flying over their village. They know whose husband did what, whose sister said what, who went where and when and why. And while we were walking in the village all the women sitting at their gates would ask whose grandchildren we were. And then ‘ah’s and ‘oh’s and ‘vay’s would follow it. But certainly they don’t mean anything, just the village is not big and everyone knows each other and every stranger especially from the city is a discovery for them.
And there me, singing outloud all over the village. Surely they may had thought somebody is testing her voice on TV, but as far as there were only three TV channels they could had guessed that this is the “anamot” (shameless) girl from Yerevan. Though funnily our grandma gave a nickname “vesyoliy aghchik” which is translated as “a cheerful girl”. That was funny! Our grandma was cheerful as well and full of energy. I didn’t see her to sit and have rest even for some 10 minutes. She was “perpetuоmovible” as said in Spanish. My friend says that her grandma is so accustomed to that village life and always being in that mobile state she hardly lives a day in Yerevan, she just can’t not do anything, she is so active!
After all, yeah, I escaped the city, for some 5 days though. Again I’m in this big mess with its everyday problems. The same heat, same ….. don’t want to talk about it. Ok. I’m getting along, looking at life from its brighter sides.
Many thanks to my friend Ira for taking me with her and to her grandma for hospitability.
As sang in one of my beloved songs from the film “Sounds of Music”, …these are a few of my favorite things… Enjoy!
…Համբոն Գիքորին քաղաք էր տանում…
Ooh, back to my sheep again!
And how did they manage to entruck like this ?!?!
Mmmm… I wanna back massage too!
Now I’m scared of snakes , scorpions and also
Turkeys. They are scary !!!
Now what direction to go?
It’s important not to look at each other, but to look in the same direction!
Heey, who took my picture while I was trying to pick up plums?!