Late pigeons

Bakhtiyor Raximovich Sharipov
Late pigeons

BAKHTIYOR SHARIPOV

Late pigeons

(a story)

“NAVRO’Z”

Publishing House

Tashkent – 2018

A story of vivid and sorrowful love

…The pigeons, spinning and dancing around the dome of Bibikhanum Mosque, don’t rest for a second, rolling like acrobats in pairs, one after another, and again they land on the dome. The next pair begin their dance. Their greyish and turquoise feathers, the emerald and sapphire ones on their wings and necks, sparkle in the rays of the sun, blazing the eyes.

But, Otabek, who saw Raykhona here for the first time, where he used to observe the pigeons’ dance with pleasure, not far from the stalls of bread in the bazaar, lost his calmness and his whole body was wrapped up with the fire of love, and he became crazy of her…

Now, “Majnun, who wanders in the lonely deserts, being thirsty, wants to drink, and drink and drink from the spring of Layli’s love…. Majnun consents to any difficulty of being thirsty, but being alone, without Layli, was driving him mad and sorrowful. Majnun desired Layli from the bottom of his heart, and his love was not far from him. His lips were thirsty of love, wanting to get drunk from their meeting. Everything was forgotten, everything was covered with astonishing easiness around, and there were only Layli with Majnun,left alone, in the universe.”

May this story, of vivid and sorrowful love of Bakhtiyor Sharipov, be blessed to all of us!

Yakhyo Togha

A member of Uzbekistan Writers’ Association

ISBN 978-9943-381-98-8

FOREWORD

Abdulla Kodiriy, a tremendous writer once wrote: “Since we entered into a new epoch, we follow the novelties of this new epoch in any direction, and thus we change in writing of stories, novels and epics, we feel the responsibility of introducing modern epoch “Takhirs and Zukhras”, “Chor Darveshs”, “Farkhads and Shirins” and “Bakhromgurs” to our people.”

This story tells about two hearts full of pure love, who struggled to reach their dreams decisively and born after independence of our country. And along with this, we have to mention that there have been a lot of illegal cases, eyewash conditions due to activities of dishonest and self-seeking people, who care for their welfare before those of others in society, being engrossed in gathering wealth with no respect to constitutional rights and human safety, guaranteed by law.

Otabek’s love, his other half, becomes a victim of this sanctimony in the story. Raykhona, with her name resembling her beautiful body, had a lot of dreams and plans in life.

Raykhona was a beauty of Samarkand, the only child of Masturakhon, her mother and Mansurjon, her father, a beloved daughter-in-law of Kimyokhon and Yusufbek, from Tashkent. Exploiting DAMAS as a public transport, a minivan model of car which doesn’t correspond to passenger transportation safety requirements, was the only factor of putting an end to not only Raykhona’s life but to many other innocent people in the late 20 years. This was the result of unlawful situations in the sector, executive negligence, indifference and irresponsibility for their duties.

After having realized that Raykhona, his wife, was the victim of this injustice and feeling responsibility before her soul Otabek decides to fight by himself against this unlawfulness in order prevail justice.

In the end of the story exploiting DAMAS as a public transport, which doesn’t correspond to passenger transportation safety requirements, becomes banned countrywide and justice triumphs.

…Otabek deliriously woke up. The pillow was wet from his sorrowful tears, but his heart was somehow calm and there was brightness in it. He said a prayer for the sole of his beloved reading from the holy Koran ayats and prayed....

The author

June 26, 2018

Every bird flies with its pair in the sky,

Pigeon with pigeon, and crow with crow.

1

Otabek was interested in learning the Japanese language from his childhood. He studied in the world languages university, studied tourism and got the profession of a guide-translator. He translates the works of famous Uzbek writers into Japanese, and delivers them to the Japanese departments of colleges, touristic companies and travelers on request and demand. Recently he has worked for two months in Japan by invitation of Tokyo Oriental Studies Center.

There were few tourists visiting Central Asia in Soviet Union period, and most of them even weren’t aware of existence of a country named Uzbekistan. And those who came to visit were accompanied by a translator from Moscow.

During the years of independence Uzbekistan became well known worldwide, and the number of tourists visiting increased. Most of these tourists are interested in historical masterpieces being preserved through ages in the cities of Bukhara, Samarkand and Khiva, and some of them are fond of ecotourism, bio tourism and the tourism of pilgrimage.

Otabek guides Japanese travelers who came to see ancient monuments of historical cities of Uzbekistan, tells the incidents, myths and legends about them.

Whenever Otabek comes to Samarkand he takes tourists to Siyab Bazaar, not far from a mosque called “Bibikhanum” amongst local people. He lets tourists go through the bazar and watches beautiful Galaosiyo bread laid in the stalls. Then he buys two loaves of bread and eats a piece with appetite observing the pigeons roaring and dancing over the dome of the mosque…

Pigeons…Otabek likes watching these birds fly in the sky. Even once he heard a friend of his bought one for decent amount and went there to see the bird. But the birds flying over the dome of Bibikhanum Mosque were somehow different from those of tamed ones…

So what is the difference? Their greyish and turquoise feathers, the emerald and sapphire ones on their wings and necks, sparkle in the rays of the sun, blazing the eyes. They do not rest for a second, they turn over like acrobats, and dance one after another and again land on the dome. The next pair of birds begin their dance and so on. Otabek never gets tired of watching them, he continues watching until the tourists finish their shopping and getting acquainted with oriental type of bazaar and come out. The Japanese also look at the pigeons and get admired, they start taking photos. Along with this, Otabek still wonders about the difference between these birds and domestic ones…

When Otabek guided his next group of tourists to Samarkand, as usual he sent them to Siyab Bazaar to do shopping and went to Galaosiyo bread stalls, bought bread and ate a piece of it eagerly and started watching the pigeons flying and landing on the dome of the mosque. After a while the tourist gathered in the agreed place.

“Is everybody here?”– Otabek said, and turned his head to the bread stalls unintentionally. Looked …. and ….turned aside as if his face was set on fire … After a while, he again looked back at the same place. There was a girl, with a friendly face among the women, and she was selling bread to customers. “Oh my God, the stall is full of bread, but everybody is waiting in a queue to buy from her” – he thought and started walking there involuntarily…

After recovering he saw the girl leaning towards him with two loaves of bread and smiling. Not knowing what to do he simultaneously put his hand in his pocket and gave the money to her. The girl took the required amount from the bunch and returned the rest.

“Please, keep the change!” – he said. “I don’t need the change,” – the girl replied, raising her eyebrows and continued: “Give it to gypsies over there, and they will pray for you…”

Otabek put the change in his pocket. At that moment he didn’t want to go away from there and wished that moment last forever.

“Have you heard the legend about bread?” – asked Otabek from the girl, not taking his eyes off the girl.

“You do want to tell a story?! Girls, listen here, your brother wants to tell a legend!” – said the girl joyfully.

“So… there was a king of Khorezm, called Mohammed Rakhimkhon Feruz, have you heard of him?”

“We know, so what?”

“This girl knows everything, you can’t beat her, the history expert!” – said the saleswomen of bread, without giving way to another – “She studies in a university and she knows five languages!”.

“That’s great! And I know two and will remain in debt for three other languages!”

“Do not confuse us! Your legend is over?! Then you are free, you keep us away from our business!” – said the girl again raising her eyebrows.

“All right! All right! I start the legend. That king – Mohammed Rakhimkhon Feruz had a good habit. He used to wander in the city with his statesmen and get informed about his citizens. One fine day the king went to the city with his courtiers. He had his special adviser – Hassan with him as well. Walking in a street the king’s eyes were stuck in a small house. A woman was baking bread in tandyr with a fabric coating in her hands.

Feruz stopped his horse for a while. In accordance with the traditions, at that time when a king passed by a herald would cry and beat the drums, all citizens would come outside from their houses leaving their household business, and as a sign of respect they would bow. And that woman in that small hose was still baking bread forgetting the world around her.

Realizing this the king became upset and said to his adviser Hassan:

“Look at that woman! How come that she is not aware of my presence. Is she deafmute, or doesn’t she know that the king passes by?”

“That woman is baking bread, oh my king!” – said the adviser.

Feruz became angry and said: “Which one is greater – the king or bread?”

Hassan said: “Of course, bread, my king! The country can live without a king, but without bread – never!”

Mohammed Rakhimkhon was impressed by this and continued on his way…”

 

After finishing his story Otabek realized that all the women and girls selling bread had been listening to him attentively.

“Thank you very much! Whoever respects bread will be respected in return!” – were the words of appraisal for the legend.

“What is your name?” – asked Otabek leaving the stalls.

“Do you always ask the name of the girls you meet?” – whispered the girl, trying not be heard by the surrounding people.

“N-n-no, I just….” – the boy replied with difficulty that he couldn’t say that was in his heart. “I just wanted to get acquainted. My name is Otabek, and I am from Tashkent, I am guest in your city. Do they scoff at the guests in your city?” – the boy straightened.

“Take the bread please, our girls sell bread not themselves, am I right Raykhon?” – all the girls burst into laugh. Otabek again peeked at the girl, her cheeks were flushing red and embarrassed. She didn’t say a word and turned to her friends to reprimand them. And Otabek also walked away towards Japanese tourists…

2

The sultanate created by Timur the Great in the 15th century was recognized worldwide by rulers of that time, international relations and trade affairs were organized well. In course of time his heirs fought with each other for the sultanate, and destroyed a lot. As a result such a big kingdom fell. The rulers and kings who came afterwards divided Turkistan into three khanates and reigned independently as they could. In the middle of the 19th century the Russian Czar conquered Central Asian three khanates with the motive of railway construction and seized the whole Turkistan. People, living here, became slaves because of dissociated rulers and landowners.

The red commissars, who came to the top of the government, disarticulated Turkistan, and turned Uzbek lands into cotton growing fields till the late 1990’s, they directed the subterranean and over ground treasures to the Kremlin. The real sons of the country were killed and banned with various excuses. The red structure, built on falsehood,recessed by itself and the 14 republics within the union declared their independence.

After 500 years of Timur the Great’s sultanate Uzbek people gained their independence again…

Whenever Otabek guides Japanese tourists to the historical sightseeing places in Samarkand first of all he takes them to the mausoleum where the first president of the Republic of Uzbekistan – Islam Karimov rests, located just next to Khazrati Khizr Mosque. He tells about Islom Karimov’s deeds he did for the independence of our homeland.

Thanks to independence and freedom we reached our real spiritual roots, raised our heads and achieved the right to determine our destiny ourselves. Our economic sectors were modernized with advanced technologies within the past years, foreign investments were introduced. Entrepreneurs and landowners layers appeared, generation of national subject bibliography was created. All attempts were aimed at raising the living standards of our people, preserving public health, attracting the youth to sports, and keeping them away from joining hazardous and harmful, unfamiliar trends.

Our trampled and destined to be forgotten values, spiritual heritage, legacy of our scholars, who gave light to the world, were restored.

The president of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev stated that Islom Karimov’s name, who got our country and people through difficulties and hard times after achievement of freedom, must be on a par with the names of famous statesmen like George Washington, Charles de Gaulle, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Otabek was brought up in a family of educated people in Zarqaynar Makhalla of the Old City of Tashkent. The minarets of Hazrati Imam Complex, enriching the beauty of the city, can easily be observed from their house. He is the only child in the family, he studied in Uzbekistan National University Foreign Languages Department for both BA and MA degrees, and now doing his PhD regarding the history of Japan. He serves as a guide for Japanese travelers when he has free time from education. His father – Yusufbek – is a colonel of interior affairs. His mother – Kimyokhon – is from the genus of Kiyamiddin Ishan. Yusfbek, loyal to his family, respects Kimyokhon as required, and perhaps because of this the manners and behavior of this family can be examples for many.

Otabek was making his future plans in his room when his mother Kimyokhon appeared and said:

“Son, next week our neighbor has a wedding party, you know that I hope. They always participate in our ceremonies. A good family.”

“Mommy, I have guests from Japan. I guess I can’t attend the wedding…”

“Do not do so, son! You know neighborhood and they left an invitation as well. You are travelling much recently. Oh, these Japanese tourists! What would be if they do not come during wedding time?! Look at the mirror, you look pale. You could sit at home and do your translations instead! Now you are not young boy, you should stop wandering from city to city…”

“All right, mommy! I am planning so, there is a little left to finish my thesis.”

“We have discussed with your father and planning to marry you next year. Look at me! You look pale and drawn, I hope you are not ill. Or you have fallen in love with a Japanese girl?! Do not think of this even, you are my only child, be aware!” – said Kimyokhon, joking to her son.

Yes, who is who, but mothers immediately understand the changes in their children.

“Mommy, I met a girl in Samarkand, and I can’t forget her…”

“You, do not fall in love with the first one you meet in the streets, OK? I have planned to marry you with the daughter of a generous family. She has never gone out of her home. Your father accepted it positively. You will marry her. I am sure you will like her. You can’t find such a beauty even in Samarkand. That’s it!”

His mother left his room with no respect to his calling her afterwards…

3

Otabek spent that week at home. He attended the weeding party of his neighbor. Although he was in the wedding party physically but was still thinking of her with sincere eyes, and of her face flushed…

Otabek doesn’t believe in love. He thinks that love exists only in movies and books. In his thoughts falling in love is just a factor for getting married. Then kids come by, life problems and so on… Falling in love is natural. For instance, a beautiful girl is adored by everybody or a smart guy can be close to hearts and etc. …

As for the girl from Samarkand, it is true that she is beautiful. So what? Otabek is also a smart boy. And he is sure she will like him. And if Otabek ask her to marry him, for sure, she will consent to. Then a wedding party, kids…

What does love have to do with this? That is the matter. Otabek was struggling with himself to prove that. Reason confirms his thoughts, but his heart would not acknowledge it…

What is love? Love is a universal miracle that happens to everybody who reaches the age of majority. The one who is sick with love can walk in the universe in a second, no matter their legs are on the earth they are always flying. They don’t care for this world’s deeds, he is Majnun and he only thinks of his Layli… But unrealized love can show its power, and the beloved become a legend. For example, in the work of a great writer Abdulla Kodiriy “The past days” – two sincere hearts -Otabek and Kumush – love each other, they could live peacefully if there were not any bloodshed, various slandering and gossiping to keep them apart from each other, even such a book couldn’t have ever been written …

4

Raykhona changed her clothes and went out to the yard of the house, entered the kitchen to help her mother. Her mother realized the change in her daughter at once and said:

“You look different, is everything all right?”

“Everything is well, mommy. Today Japanese tourists bought bread from me. They pointed at me and talked with each other in their language, I couldn’t understand them. Then their guide approached us and said: “They say that you are a beautiful girl!” and I got embarrassed…”

“These Japanese know everything. I hope they haven’t jinxed you!” – her mother said and went out to light a harmala shrub.

Raykhona couldn’t tell the truth to her mother. Her embarrassment didn’t allow her to speak out. She couldn’t stop remembering the shining eyes of the guide…

What is it – is it love? No, this is not love. At first sight… Why does his deep stare shake her heart? She doesn’t know him at all. Maybe he has a family, kids and a wife?! If so, why the boy tried to say something to her but he couldn’t…

No, this can’t be love… perhaps it is love… Raykhona tried to calm herself with these thoughts. No matter and how hard did she try to erase the incident from her mind, the good-natured figure of the boy kept appearing in front of her eyes…

***

After his neighbor’s wedding Otabek guided Japanese tourists to Samarkand. They checked in the hotel at noon and he went to Siyab Bazaar, to stall of bread. There he couldn’t find the girl among the saleswomen. He returned without a word. The next day he again went there. Raykhona was selling bread.

“Good day to you! How do you do?” – he said to the girl. But he had no more strength to utter a word more – as if someone was taking away the earth from the bottom of his legs. He felt dizzy and couldn’t say a word. If truth be told he was planning to tell everything to her meaning to get acquainted with her, to say that he liked her and others. And as a result, when he saw the girl he forgot not only himself but also all the words he was planning to say. Raykhona also recognized him from the first sight – it was him who bought bread from her. The girls, selling bread, started whispering to each other, gesturing and murmuring. Their eyes met each other, their glances found each other…

“Good day! How are you?” – Raykhona said finally. “You brought tourists to Samarkand again, or will you tell a legend more?”

“Oh, yes, I am guiding guests, they are in the hotel now.” – the boy said, feeling happy that there was a topic for conversation. “I would like to buy some bread, for my tourists to taste from the bread you’ve baked…”

And he bought a basket of her bread.

“How are you going to take all this bread. Let me help you then!” – Raykhona said, feeling lucky to sell all her bread…

“Oh, no, I don’t want to bother you, I will manage myself.” – Otabek said with decency. Raykhona took half of the bread saying nothing. Their eyes met again, their hearts started beating more strongly. As they were passing the ancient Registan Square the sun, shining in the sky, lit sparks of love, more and more, in their hearts, but still Otabek could say nothing, and the girl was aware of that; she couldn’t tell a word, being ashamed, to an unfamiliar, unknown and a stranger that she had never met before, but still they felt that there is an invisible thread of relationship arisen between them…

“I need to say something to you” – Otabek said involuntarily as if he was afraid of reaching their destination at once. “Since the very first moment I met you I got confused in my mind. And I don’t know why. I do not believe in love actually. But for the time being I forgot everything what I was planning to say to you…So…if you agree I will write all my feelings in a letter, I thought. And it is up to you how to conclude…”

Raykhona did say nothing. Not a word. She left the bread in the hotel and ran away from the place. Her cheeks were burning in fire…

At the end of a three-day trip Otabek decided to write a letter to Raykhona finally…

“After my sincere greetings let it be known that this letter is being written by Otabek, from Tashkent. I am astonished at my present condition, at my relationship to you. When I met you I thought I would tell everything I had planned to. No, I couldn’t do so. Why, what was the reason? Is this because of my shyness, or any other feeling, I haven’t realized yet…

But it is precise that if I do not see you, I have no pleasure in my life, and it seems meaningless. If you consent to meet I will find you. Otabek.”

The next day he went to bazaar and bought two loaves of bread from Raykhona, and attached the letter under the basket secretly. Raykhona in her turn took the letter in her hands as if she was tidying the basket cloth… Otabek left to Tashkent from Samarkand on the fast train…

5

Raykhona’s heart was beating strongly with excitement and she opened the letter in a secluded place, and read it over and over. But she knows only the name of Otabek. She was shy to show the letter to her friends or talk to anybody about him. She didn’t say a word to her mother. Intuitively she consented to meet him again, and she knew that she was waiting for him to come…

 

After about ten days Otabek again came to Samarkand with tourists. The guests visited sightseeing places the whole day. Tonight, when the guests came to hotel Otabek went to bread stall. Raykhona was just starting home after having sold all her bread. He accompanied her.

“Did you take the letter?” – Otabek asked.

“I did.” – Raykhona replied sharply. Then she whispered: “Why do you put the letter in the basket before everyone, you could ask me aside and give it to my hands?”

“If you haven’t showed the letter to them yourself, then nobody saw it, I am sure.” – Otabek said and continued: “After all, this letter belongs to us. You don’t need to report to anybody…”

“OK, then. What happened, happened. I have to go.” – Raykhona let him realize that the dating ended. Where could Otabek know from that this was only caprice of the girl.

“Please, don’t go! We haven’t talked about anything yet.”

“What should we talk about?” – Raykhona stopped. “You don’t know me, and I don’t know you. What shall we talk about?”

“That’s why I am saying we have to have a talk.” – Otabek got encouraged. “Let’s us get acquainted with each other, let our parents get in touch, and if our stars converge … then…”

“Look at you!” – Raykhona couldn’t stop laughing: “You are really expert in solving problems, I see.”

Thus they got on well with each other day by day. The two desperately waiting hearts’ wishes prevailed over everything. Otabek got to know that Raykhona was also the only child in the family, that she studies as third year student in the university, that after studies she helps her neighborhood bread bakers to sell their bread in the bazaar. The next day they met near the monument of Timur the Great. Raykhona came directly to the agreed place after her lessons.

They went to a café located in the university boulevard to have some ice-cream. The Otabek accompanied Raykhona till the beginning of makhalla located not far from the Registan Square and the girl stopped him just there and said:

“I will go myself from here. You needn’t see me to home. As you know neighborhood, friends and enemies…”

“Ooops, do you have negative heroes of Abdulla Kodiriy in your makhalla? We are not credulous, as you know we are from special forces of colonel Yusufbek Yalangtush of Tashkent. I will not surrender so easily.” – Otabek said.

“You are a talkative guy! But do not lie, or you will stay with Zaynab…” – Zaynab departed with laughter.

6

Otabek shivered for a while after jokes of Raykhona because tragic life of Kumushbibi and Otabek was memorized by him as he had read the book for several times. He decided not pay attention and he thought past days are different from the modern times. These unfavorable days will not come back.

The two months, that passed by, lit the fire of love of hearts in their bodies, and it was impossible to extinguish it. In one of their dates Otabek mentioned that his parents are going to marry him.

“Go ahead! Who is stopping you?” – Raykhona said.

“I will marry you! If you consent I will send my parents to your home…”

“What else do you want sir? I am the only child in the family, they will not let me go so far…”

“Then I will steal you…” – Otabek said to Raykhona. “Do not joke, I have told about you to my parents. What do you say?”.

What could Raykhona reply? “Love is cureless, we can no longer escape from it…”

***

According to our people’s tradition when they go somewhere to seek a girl for marriage they say that they come to be “slaves”. This doesn’t mean that someone becomes a lord and the other a slave, it just emphasizes the responsibility of marriage.

We should, first of all, care about the groom’s intelligence and honesty, but not his nationality, origin or wealth. An intelligent person allows her daughter to get married to a groom, who can preserve their honor, who will be satisfied by their relatives and most important – with whom his daughter will be happy. Marriage will let the girl to the door of maternity. Imam Ghazali, in his work “Ihyau ulumiddin”, mentions Asmo binti Khorija’s advice, said to her daughter as follows: “Oh my daughter! You are leaving your nest and going to a place you know nothing about.

Be an earth for him, and he will be a sky for you. Be a house for him, and he will be a column for you. Be a maid for him, and he will be a slave for you. Do not bother him over trifles, do not demand everything from him, he will get sick and tired of you. Do not go far away from him, he will forget about you. If he is close to you, be close to him. If he goes far from you, be away from him. Keep his nose, ears and eyes safe, let him smell nice from you, let him hear good things from you and see your beauty.”

The more nicer a wife to his husband the more stronger their relations will be within a family. Girl’s education and explanation of marriage responsibility is an important step for a stable and strong family…

Although Raykhona was the only child in the family she was not spoiled. She can do any homework and she is diligent – and this feature comes from her mother Masturakhon. Her father Mansurjon is a humble person, he is very obedient and he may reply only once while his wife may ask ten questions. Long time ago he worked as an engineer in technical repairing factory, located in so called “Abramov Boulevard”, now the University Boulevard. The factory stopped its activity, moved to another place and he was left unemployed. Fortunately he is very good at his profession – a turner. He made a special room for his instruments and opened a workshop, and bought a turning machine. This profession is considered to be very rare and perhaps this is the main reason to have endless customers at his workshop – one asks to make a spare part this car, another asks something different to be turned and so on. Mansurjon’s habit is that he doesn’t negotiate with the customers, doesn’t argue with them and makes his service of best quality. He can say, due to the volume of the order: “I need at least two days to make this spare part.” or “Come back in two hours, please. Then you can take your item.” If the money that customers pay his service is more than he deserves, he returns part of it.

No matter the customers say: “Please take, it is yours, you did it as I wanted!”, he doesn’t agree.

He is used to say: “Conscientiousness is important! I am happy if you are satisfied with my work. I am sure you will share your ideas with your friends, and feel satisfaction from my work. In such a way your friend informs about me to another person and so on. As a result I will have more customers. And that kindness of you is enough for me…”

7

Most of the population, living near Siyab Bazaar in the Old City, do business in or near the bazar, as well. One buys goods and sells it there, the other prepares food at home and sells it in the bazaar. Another person buys for cheaper price from wholesale traders and sells in retailers’ stall, or delivers his goods to the women who occupied the stalls in the bazaar for retail sales. Even a youngest member of a family can bring a bucket of cold water and sell water in the hottest days of summer.

Masturakhon is a tailor, customers take the costumes and women’s clothes, that she sews, directly from her house. With the help of makhalla executives they opened a personnel record book in the knitting factory and recorded her as a craftsman.

Her neighbor Khamida is engaged in baking bread. The bread she bakes become a piece of art. There exist a lot of generations of bread bakers. Khamida is the 7th generation of bread bakers, and she has baked bread for 40 years. Thanks to their business they built beautiful houses, organized pompous wedding parties. Now her children and grandchildren are continuing her business and Khamida just controls them.

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