Trying to adjust myself into a small and narrow Russian plane seat, revoltingly uncomfortable one, while a balding man in front of me starts pushing his seat backwards right on my knees straight away after getting aboard. I respond by pushing it back, but it doesn’t disturb his comfort a bit. Even the captain’s announcement about keeping the seats upright before taking off is not able to deserve his attention...
By now I must be flying over Kazakhstan or perhaps farther. The crew are not too keen to inform their passengers what’s going on out there.
I have lost the count of my flights back and forth. Usually seeing wet eyes of my beloved ones before leaving my lovely homeland makes me feel guilty as I feel right now. This morning Mum’s eyes saw me off as far as I disappeared behind a building. She’s the one who makes me truly re-think my prolonged stay in London: is there any point of living without her beside me, without her caring touch and loving pair of eyes?..
Until my last breath in Dushanbe before getting aboard I could smell corruption and dirty money: beggars in uniform have spread their web widely throughout the city, desperate taxi drivers mistaking me for a foreigner and trying their best to fool me around, common people speaking of additional (let them be illegal) ways of earning. Money is the main topic to talk about, to take a toast for, and to think thoroughly of. Liberties? Democracy? Oh please, we can survive without them, but not without money!
At Dushanbe airport my eyes caught a border guard aggressively following a man into a toilet. He closed the door behind himself, but I opened it after a while and saw him grabbing a bunch of banknotes taken out of the passenger’s inside pocket. He put them into his own pocket and left the toilet hastily, but happy…
Two guys sitting beside me are tilting towards my laptop and looking at each other with something close to horror in their eyes before saying: look at this weirdo who was reading a Tajik paper, before asking the stewardess for something in Russian, but now he’s typing something in a strange language.
An impolite rude Russian stewardess is distributing immigration cards among us. She is doing it in a way that makes me assume we killed her father or gang-banged her yesterday. The guys beside me need her help to fill in their forms that contain a couple of simplest questions. It takes them about half an hour to accomplish a ‘mission impossible’. Still, they cannot believe in their own incredible success and ask the stewardess to check the application forms for them. She looks at the papers arrogantly and throws them back on their dining tables and goes on checking everybody else’s immigration cards. It makes me drop my poor head in my hands in despair.
Before getting on board three guys were thrown out of the queue down to its tail by a Tajik border guard just in order to make a way for a Russian-looking man and whoever else did not look like a typical Tajik. The same happens when these miserable guys enter their own country. Border guards prefer to check in and out “dear guests” first and then poor owners of the country, before emptying their Russian-stricken pockets once more.
In Moscow the picture looks identical: first Russians and non-Tajiks, then Tajiks. It happens mechanically as if it’s the only way to get through airport doors. These Tajiks lack the feeling of being home. They are neither hosts nor guests at any airport of the world. Their pathetic guilty looks and obvious complex of inferiority make others feel superior, just the way the Russian behave in London.
Certainly, not everything was painted in black. Dushanbe embraced me with its beautiful rainy and sunny spring weather and Nowruzi festive mood. However, a dearest person’s demise ruined it up to the end of my stay. Seeing my adorable family and fantastic friends had been my pink dream for almost two years and I succeeded to do so. This trip re-connected me to the realities of my homeland, and as far as I can feel now, recharged my exhausted mind to strive for more changes, to believe in our power to build a brighter future, despite the fact that most of our hopes have been ruined so far.
By the way, Mr Rahman had mistaken when he’d said Islam Karimov looked like his gone father. When I saw him on the 21st of March waving to his people with a self-satisfied look I was amazed how strikingly similar to Brezhnev he looked. His stature, his smile, his brows and his waving hand painfully reminded me the old late man. And of course, the similarity does not except their mindsets.