Archive for April 9, 2009

Bleak Realities in “Hurramabad”



Our Internet is down at home, our heat is turned off, and my bike was stolen.  This is MY reality in Almaty, well, the first two are true.  Thankfully, the third concerning   my Cannondale bike being stolen was in my early morning dream this morning. How happy I was to wake up and realize that I’m getting more sleep to be able to dream despite a colder apartment and “loss” of a bike.  All central heating will be turned off throughout the city this week, spring has finally arrived!!!


Quick summary of my dream before I write some quotes from the book “Hurramabad” that is dealing with Tajikistan realities, published in 2001 by Glas New Russian Writing. [Hurramabad actually means the name of a mythical city of joy and happiness where there is always an abundance of fresh water and shade.]


My Dream:  Supposedly I had just attended a play somewhere in Minneapolis, in an old neighborhood I was familiar with and had biked to it.  [Perhaps I am thinking about a play because of the upcoming KELT production titled “David and Lisa”] After the play, for whatever reason I was taking my bike apart to fit into my car for better traveling. [dreams are like that, why do I have my car there if I biked?] Anyway, I went into the washroom for 30 seconds and passed a swarthy looking man in the hall who was just exiting.  My bike was supposed to be in the entryway upon my return but it was gone!!!  I ran out into the street and shouted “Come back with my bike!” “Someone stole my bike!”  That is when I woke up realizing that this book by Andrei Volos titled “Hurramabad” has had a bad effect on me. It’s dismal clarity about life in Tajikistan is like the American version of Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath” but much worse!!!


When I was in Denver, I met an American woman from Boston who was at my presentation about Kazakhstan who had lived in Tajikistan for about a year before the revolution, I believe 1993 or 1994.  I know the Tajiks have a lot of sad history and currently their country has about as dismal a present, what of its future?  Apparently, Volos, who is a Russian wrote this kind of masculine book telling of his being uprooted from Tajikistan in the fictional stories he presents.  The titles of his vignettes are the following:  1) The Ascent; 2) A Local Man; 3) Sammy 4) A Decent Stone for a Father’s Grave; 5) First on the List; 6) The House by the River; 7) A Foreigner.

(to be continued)

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