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Chapter 1

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chapter 1


    – Vegetarian or normal?

    – Pardon? Umm… Yes, vegetarian, thank you…

    – Sorry, vegetarian has run out, will you have normal?

    Well, as usual – good intentions…

    – What is the meat?

    – Chicken.

    Ok, I’ll have chicken – I am hungry at the moment.

    Behind the window the sunset flares in the background noise of a weekend market – voices, yelling and screaming, faces, music, conversations fragments – a usual meddling chaos reigns in the head.

    …- Bloody hell, Maya, the edition is overdue, and your article is not here! I am fed up to my back teeth! – again and again this screaming in the phone…

    – I’m on my way!

    Cell phone in the handbag, I am parking, flying through the hall, nervously pushing the button in the lift and waiting – 10…9…8… How long can it go on for?… The office of the editor-in-chief, the face of a new secretary that reminds of the colors of the traffic-lights and lets me know with its disdainful pout – HE is not here. Well, it means I know who is circling round my desk… exactly…

    – But it was you, who sent me to the restaurant opening, you, Vsevolod Vladimirovich! This is why I had no time to edit it. I told you in the morning, that if I go to this event, I won’t have time to finish the article. I told you…

    – Maya, openings of restaurants, presentations…yes, it makes you sick, I know, I am in this for fifteen years, and it’s up to my eyeballs already – he desperately shook his head and passed his finger over his throat. – But this is our piece of bread, and you know it as well as I do, so why these problems? We earn our bread, then butter for it, then you will go somewhere to Argentina for your story about the Amazons… and whatever, why do you always have problems with me?? Don’t you like your job?

    Do I like my job? This question emerges more and more often, and every time it becomes more sensitive, I do want to finish with the journalism forever, but there is always a “but”, and again and again early in the morning I run from my home into the city drabness to come back from the high speed juicer late at night. The graduates of our journalist department could only dream of this job, I was also dreaming about it while a student, but now I understand less and less why I need it… Here is our editor-in-chief of a prestigious newspaper – all his life has passed in this crazy whirlwind of the late deadlines, hysterical advertisers, fuggy editors’ offices full of stale cigarette smoke, meatballs and drinks from the canteen, eccentric and always chasing staff, impetuous disappearance into nothingness of everything that has just been the most important issue just a couple of seconds ago. And what’s now? He is only forty, but looks like a sucked out lemon, his weight is up to a hundred kilograms, the eyes are eaten away by nicotine, he is always torn and a wreck – a walking chunk of irritation and dissatisfaction. He is now standing in front of me (though he thinks it’s me who is standing in front of him – a typical egocentric homo faber), spitting with anger, and there is no chance to explain to him anything at all. Like a wound up mechanism, that does not hear you and maybe does not even see you. When he is yelling to you, his eyes are scaringly empty and senseless. Once, he must have been inspired with journalism… Do I want the same fate?…

    – Are you listening to me at all?? What are staring like a muttonhead at proofs? Standing, dreaming… Well, what is it, I am talking to her like to a person, and she… Move, do it, everybody is waiting for you, without your article half a page is out the window, what will I fill it with – your dreams? Just hold on, I’ll make you sit for a week with making titles – then we’ll see what you will sing…

    – I don’t give a shit about your half page – I am coming up to the window and gaze down, the anthill goes on with its life without stopping.

    – What?? How dare you?

    I am not even casting a sly look his way, what’s there to look at… it’s clear that he is ballooned and blue in the face with anger. For a second there is a burst of anxiety, I did not think it over and was not ready how I was going to live… from the corners of the office the colleagues were looking like the skunks from their holes, some with fear, some with indignation. And at the same time such a feeling of joy has awakened… as if wind has risen and started blowing into my back thus urging me towards the nature of life.

    I have the strongest urge to wipe off the anxiety and finally look into his eyes boldly and tell him that I am a young female that wants to have a life, which includes enough sleep, eating potatoes with herrings, enjoying a good time, and bonking, at least, not only on weekends… Oops, what a show it would be… But all happened otherwise – the brains started their silly work, I thought of what to say, how to move to hide my paralyzing anxiety and to look with dignity…

    – Tea, coffee, wine? – the airhostess is looking into my eyes warm-heartedly.

    – No, thank you, just mineral water please..

    …- Maya, you are not crazy to quit Such a job, like that! Serezha, she got involved in a cult, I’m telling you – you will not fool a mother’s heart, oh, hurry, bring me valium, please… Maya, you must tell me all immediately, we will handle it together, you do not have to quit the job and go somewhere in India… You going on your own? Is somebody already waiting for you over there?… Is it Me who has paranoia? You, rascal, how dare you to talk to your mother like that? I will lock you away, until you come to your senses about this stupid fantasy… Father! Why are you silent, say at least something!!

    The father’s frowning face… has it ever been different, not this stiff, like in a deadly grimace?

    – Did you get into trouble with drugs? Are you going to bring drugs from India? I have friends in FBI, they will watch you… I will…- he stumbled, helplessly swung his arms and his face became red.

    I will – what? He didn’t know that himself. Just like an old music box, that was wound up in childhood, now expended… He is nothing but a robot! And if only he…

    India was getting closer with every minute, the contours of the editors office, yoga course, reiki course, psychological seminars, tantra training course, philosophical discussions in the kitchen up till morning and feeling sick, become more and more blurry, and it’s now not important that the search for like-minded finished with failure – I start my new life. There is something in me that knows – I will never come back.

    …- Go away, you, little bitch! I always knew that you will find somebody else, you do not care about my feelings… You never loved me. I feel sorry for the one you choose, you will walk over him, like me…

    – Do you have blankets? I want to sleep.

    – Yes, I’ll bring it in a minute.

    The shuttered windows, the plane is sleeping, dozens of opened mouths are funny to see…The blanket is a bit coarse, but it’s ok, it’ll do…

    …The doors of the editors’ office are closed. The chilly august evening is different from usual – the world has changed, and the air is tinkling with exciting and joyful anticipation, the summer fuss of Pushkin square reminds me of carton decoration, which is going to fall in a moment. Everything became half real and insignificant in comparison with something that had become free and was appealing somewhere. The sunset starts between the houses and for a moment it flares up through the buildings, as if it calls me from all the sides. Where to?

    My dreams of revolutionary journalism, that would twist backward conservative minds, blow up prejudices, burn with the spirit of new ideas, new discoveries, collapsed… It was clear from the beginning, but I believed to the last, closed my eyes not to see the obvious, which is, of course, cowardice. But how can you admit that for a while already you do not do what you really want to do? How can you open your eyes and see that you have blended with this faceless biological mass, how can you stop falling down the paved path and get away from this deadly whirlpool?..

    – Is it already Ashkhabad?

    Half asleep, I am dragging through the hall and plop down in a seat. Three hours of waiting in the transit lounge, then three more hours of flight – and in six hours I am in Delhi… Delhi… so unusual, I cannot believe – “I am flying to Delhi”, goodness!.. and which pig has invented these bare metal seats with holes in the transit lounge? Neither to sit comfortably, nor to lie down… I would hang that wanker by his balls for creating these seats…for a whole bloody hour I am trying to make myself comfortable, but only the nightmares creep into my head.

    …It was scary to cross out everything clear and stable, to precipitate into the world of unknown, to follow this anxious and persistent appeal. After I quit the job, for a month I had my walks in the forest, browsed Internet and watched what the world is breathing, was reading… I again could read a lot, but old books were not appealing any more, as for the new – I did not find any to be engrossed with. At the beginning of September I already had an international travel passport in my pocket, a ticket with an open date for a year for the flight back and a visa to India. Having said farewells to my past life, I closed the door of my home, which instantly got lost in the endless cavalcade of the events and phenomena.