Гульсифат Гаффоровна Шахиди, родилась 1 января 1955 года в семье экономистов Гаффора и Масруры Саттаровых. Является журналистом, литературоведом, прозаиком. Выпускница отделения журналистики Таджикского Госуниверситета. Медалистка, Ленинская стипендиатка, кандидат филологических наук. По книгам Шахиди Гульсифат проводились Литературные и Творческие вечера в Лондоне, Москве, Нью-Йорке, Вашингтоне, Стокгольме, Кембридже, Минске, Калининграде, Суворове, Душанбе, Тель-Авиве. Член Союза писателей России и Евразийской творческой гильдии. Живёт и работает в Москве и Лондоне. Супруга известного таджикского композитора Толибхон Зиядуллаевич Шахиди (род 1946), мать троих сыновей и десятерых внуков.
После успешного окончания (красный диплом) университета начинает свою творческую деятельность в Душанбе, где работает корреспондентом Молодёжной республиканской газеты. Затем поступает в аспирантуру и успешно защищает диссертацию на тему таджикско-русских литературных связей 20-30-х годов прошлого века. На основании диссертации написала научно-популярный очерк. По окончании аспирантуры работает зав. группой синхронного перевода Парламента Республики Таджикистан. Последующие годы работает в Москве и Душанбе редактором, а затем заведующим радио и телевидения таджикского филиала МГТРК «Мир». Выпустила несколько радио и телепрограмм, сюжеты и клипы. Позже начала свою литературную деятельность. Написала и выпустила десять книг, большое количество статей, рецензий и отзывов.
‘Where have we come from? Where to shall we make the way?
What is the essence of the lives? It’s incomprehensible for us…’
FROM THE AUTHOR
Each of us, one way or another, is interested in the secrets of the Universe. Already ancient scientists wanted to penetrate into the very depths, to see the beginning of life on earth. But only in the twentieth century, some researchers confirmed the hypothesis that the Universe is the result of the Big Bang or the internal expansion of the celestial sphere, which disintegrated because of strong pressure, creating other galaxies. But few of us know that this was mentioned 1400 years ago in the Holy Quran.
I also constantly think about different worlds of the Universe. Who are we? Where are we from? Why are we endowed with intelligence? Is the tiny human brain really so perfect that it makes us see, hear, touch, and, most importantly, think and speak? Scientists spend a lot of time and effort to unravel the nature and essence of human brain activity.
The new novel “Protect Me” is just the world of my fantasies, observations and subjective conclusions. But I would like to see our Universe in its pristine purity – bright and perfect. Throughout artistic images, I want to remind everyone that our planet is very fragile, and human life is short. We must value time and spend it so that Man truly becomes the crown of nature. He should strive to preserve it for his descendants.
I write about this with hope, understanding and sincerity.
Yours Gulsifat Shahidi
NEAR A CLIFF
Oh, the miracle of the four elements, heed the news eagerly
From the secret world that does not know flattery!
You are either a beast or a man, either an angel or Ahriman in mind,
Everything what you seem is hidden in you, all combined.
When Mutriba’s daughter turned 14, her mother began to notice such a picture. At night, the girl, without waking up, got out of bed and with open eyes walked to a high cliff, sat at the edge, opposite the high mountains, and looked into the distance. Mutriba, fearing to frighten her daughter, silently followed and watched her. Such “walks” continued for about half an hour. In the morning, Mutriba asked her daughter what she had dreamed about at night. She spoke about some Blue Men.
Mutriba’s husband was a shepherd. A month before the birth of his daughter, he died trying to save a sheep falling from a cliff, and he fell with it into a deep rocky gorge. Mutriba reproached herself for calling her daughter Makhvash (‘moon-faced’). She was born so white skinned and light-haired: her face was like a bright moon.
Each time, watching her daughter’s night walks, Mutriba thought: “Maybe we should change her name?” And then another question arose in her mind: “What if Makhvash communicates somehow with her father?”
About the fact that her daughter was a sleepwalker, Mutriba was afraid even to think. She was afraid that fellow villagers would find out about her somnambulism. But nothing could be hidden from human eyes. And for that strangeness, they began to call Makhvash ‘a looney’ in the village, they learned somehow about her night walks.
Makhvash grew up as a picture of beauty, very similar to her mother. When they were seen together, they were counted as sisters. Both were reed thin, with smooth movements and easy gait. Everyone was amazed by Makhvash’s big black eyes, beautiful thick eyebrows, the whiteness of her skin. She was tall, with thick hair that was long below the knees. But in the village, they looked at her with pity: she grew up without a father, and poverty had settled long ago in that family. The girl had neither an extra dress, no shoes. But Makhvash did not notice poverty. She studied well at school, did everything at home. She was distinguished by her politeness and thoughtfulness.
And the next door, there lived a rich, cunning and greedy man named Birdie.
About people like him they say: “One eye to the Caucasus, and the other to the North.” He knew how to wink to a pretty she-customer in time and to grab out benefits predatorily from anyone. He was proud that he looked like Raj Kapoor, an Indian actor, and he combed his black hair back in the same way and left a thin mustache above his upper lip.
He was the chairman of a village cooperative stores, and he had a lot of money: he gave loans to everyone, but at interest. And although it had been prohibited by the Koran, Birdie said with a laugh that he was an atheist in financial matters. In the small mountain village, there was not a single person who liked him, but everyone depended on him. Birdie was married, but very eager for other people’s women. Holida, his wife, was a seemingly pleasant and pretty woman, but somewhat reminiscent of a crow. She cursed him for adultery and lamented in a croaking voice to the whole mahalla (a micro-district):
– ‘Why did our shepherd, a good man, fall into the cliff? Better, you had fallen in there, you shameless!’
Mutriba immediately noticed that Birdie was staring lasciviously at Makhvash. Every day, she prayed and asked God to protect her darling drop of blood against the scoundrel.
A terrible thing happened that night. Again, Makhvash got out of bed and, without waking up, went to the cliff. And Mutriba followed carefully at her heels. When the daughter sat down on the edge of the cliff, there was a rustle – it was Birdie who was sneaking up to her. He did not even have time to touch Makhvash, when her mother saw with horror: some glow appeared above the man’s head and silently carried him away into the gaping void of the cliff. The daughter felt nothing and slept while sitting up. And after a while she got up and went to the house. Mutriba quietly followed her. She could not recover for a long time, sat all wet with sweat and trembled. But she decided that only she and God would know about what had happened.