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We went on a business trip early in the morning to escape the scorching sun as much as possible. The ancient settlement of Dahrav in the Askeran region is 19 km away from the capital and 18 km from the regional center. The roads are still in poor condition here.
The scene was magnificent, and there was the impression that the villagers were few, or they had not woken up yet. From the household gardens and beehives you could understand that every family in the village had their favorite activities. And the most beautiful house in the village, which was distinguished by the portrait in the open balcony and the colorful gate, suggested that the landlord was an art lover, more particularly, a painter. Thus, looking at the closed gates, we were making assumptions until they were interrupted by a lively call from a distance: “Come and sit on my Gorshuk and open your luck”.
My first interlocutor was quite a joker, Grandfather Eduard who came up with a saddled donkey from afar. The pink saddle of Gorshuk, intended for the guests, was also offered to me. I was very surprised when I found out from the villagers that the very lively old man had isolated many years ago and lived a solitary life. As the villagers say, to their surprise, today Grandfather Eduard is obviously active, as if he lives a second life. The grandfather did not escape the conversation, but he apologized, promising a quick return and hurried away. A few minutes later he came up with a good-looking and neat appearance: a white shirt, black trousers, styled hair… My ambiguous smile, which was impossible to hide, inspired him more. I had no choice but to invite the old man to talk.
He is 81 years old. He lived in Sumgayit since 1954. He worked at the local chemical plant. He was also a well-known brigadier, and as he described himself, a superprofesional specialist, helping everyone and always willing. When the Azerbaijani authorities began the massacre of the Armenians of Sumgayit in 1988, Eduard returned to his homeland. The old man who seemed cheerful at first sight, had a bitter fate. His 18-year-old daughter was drowned in the Caspian Sea at that crucial time. Today, every moment together with his wife he feels the wistful longing for their two children. His son is in Russia, and the daughter is in Stepanakert. Yes, he misses his children but does not complain. He confesses that despite his son's persuasions on taking his parents to Russia, he does not agree anyway. Today the main activity of Grandfather Eduard is farming; at the same time he makes sure the guests of the village have good time. He said jokingly he was even ready to replace his 80-year old wife for two forty-years- old women before we said goodbye…
Grandfather Valery and grandmother Naira are also among the oldest residents of the village. We met them in the hall of their half-dilapidated house. They awakened early in the morning and were working hard in their garden. Like my previous interlocutor, they also live in the village, with the longing for their children; the difference is that their children who live far from their homeland do not even remember their parents. To my question, when the last time their children were in the village, the old parents looked at each other and trying to hold back their tears, hung their heads ... Everything was clear from their loud silence ... However, they have not been filled with evil towards the world. Accepting the stroke of bad luck they have become more ‘tempered’. They do not complain. Whom should they complain from? Should they complain from their children? The parents have never kept the feeling of revenge in their hearts. Regardless of everything, their longing, love and happiness have the name of their children. The sorrow and suffering made them closer. Supporting each other they live in love and caring for each other. Television is the inseparable friend of my interlocutors. Grandfather says he follows almost all programs in Artsakh Public TV. “There is no safer corner in the world than our home, our four walls for us”. We are connected with our land and water forever. The graves of our relatives are here, and we will not go anywhere from here, even though we do not have any place to go”, -they say frankly and add," The more we grow, the deeper the longing is.
Yes, there was a deep longing in their eyes, reflecting hope and anticipation. The half-dilapidated and almost empty house with its small household plot is a whole world for the elderly couple. They live with the hope that one day their children will open the doors of their house and their soul that have been empty for a long time.