29 May 2009
Today, I’m going to touch up on a couple topics I’ve mentioned before. I’m going to kind of combine the two, and we’ll see how it works out.
I’ve written to you all about my little host brother, Rustəm, a really good kid. I’ve talked about his creativity and letter writing, and I’ve also said a thing or two about the simplicity of village living.
Well, this village, where generations of Mahmudovs (my host family’s last name) have lived, is the perfect place for a kid like Rustəm. I thought to write about this after hearing him carelessly sing to himself in the hallway and playing badminton with him after lunch. He enjoys my company as a playmate, but he beautifully goes off into his own world as well, and what a setting for such behavior.
I’m pleased as punch to see him nearly every day, wandering about the trees and rivers, running around aimlessly, sometimes with friends, sometimes alone. He loves when I ask what he’s up to, so he can show me. An example is when he rigged something up with rocks that would hold a vine back so he could swing farther on it. Like I said, he’s very creative, and all he needs is what’s laid out for him around Qumlaq.
Sure, this is a small village, smaller than any community I’ve lived in, but its simplicity is satisfying. I wrote before about how people just walk around town, and when I ask them what they’re up to, they say, “Nothing.” I wouldn’t say “nothing” implies “We’re being worthless,” though. Rustəm may say “nothing” when I ask what he’s doing, but, in reality, he’s enjoying his childhood, emulating, according to my Azerbaijani teacher, Sevil Müəllimi, how his father, Firuz, acted as a child.
So there may not be a bunch of bells and whistles to entertain us around Qumlaq village, but I can say that people – in partucular, young people – are content with what they have. When I see folks cheerfully greeting their neightbors or Rustəm curiously wandering around, that comes to light, and it inspires me.