Liliya Iskhakova

Страна : Чехия

Я – аспирантка Казанского Федерального Университета (кафедры общей и этнической социологии), мама двоих детей в декретном отпуске. Сейчас также занимаюсь изданием детской иллюстрированной книги на татарском языке “Приключения Бану” (“Бану маҗаралары”). Для этого я организовала краудфандинговую кампанию и собрала необходимые средства, чему очень рада. Чаще пишу на татарском языке. Тема родного языка для меня очень важна. Иногда пишу на английском языке.


Country : Czech

I’m a graduate student at Kazan Federal University (department of sociology) and a mother of two small children on a maternity leave. At the moment I am also working on publishing an illustrated children’s book titled “Banu’s adventures” (“Banu macaralari”) in Tatar language. For that I have organized a crowdfunding campaign and managed to gather the necessary amount of money, which makes me very happy. I write in Tatar language more frequently. The theme of native language is very important for me. Sometimes I write in English language as well.


Отрывок из рассказа “Numbers”

1973, March

There are 7 of us in the family: 4 girls and 3 boys. I am number 4 – precisely in the middle. There were 3 before me and 3 after me, and I am neither among the oldest nor among the youngest. Stuck right in the middle. How stupid. My whole life revolves around this ridiculous condition. Everybody gets more food than I do. Older kids get more because they are bigger than I am, and younger kids get more because they are smaller. Everybody gets newer clothes too. Older kids get new clothes and pass it on to younger ones, and I’m the last one in the middle, and after me the clothes are no longer passable, they are worn out, so mama and papa have to buy new clothes for the younger kids right after me. I am that turning point, after which everything changes. And I don’t like it. At all. Neighbors in our village call me “Gabdrahman’s angry daughter”. Well, I really am angry, but who in the world cares?

My name is Gulkamal and I love my hair. It’s probably the only thing I really possess in this world, meaning I can actually decide what to do with it. This year, finally, I’ve learned how to braid it on my own. I take our one and only wooden comb (of course, only when it is my turn to take it), divide my hair in two, exactly through the middle of my skull, and then I braid one side. After that I braid the other one. I can’t believe I will not get my hair cut short again this year. It feels so good to do at least one thing as I wish: have long hair. Mama says that if one of us gets lice, then we all will be in trouble, so I really have to take care of it. Mama says she won’t have time to sit over each one of our heads; she’ll take the scissors and deal with them as she usually does.

Our mama is always busy, but I still love her. She does everything for us: she cooks our favorite potatoes, cleans up everywhere, takes care of our tiny farm, works in the garden all the time, knits warm shawls, hand-washes the laundry and does plenty more other things. I have no idea how she does all of it. Sometimes I wonder if she ever sleeps, because I’ve never seen her go to bed or take a nap. I’m not sure if I want to grow up, because I don’t want to be like my mama. I don’t think I can do all that she does. And girls eventually have to turn into wives and moms. So I think I’d rather stay like this. Maybe I’ll change my mind later.

Every day I pray to God: I pray that mama doesn’t bring another baby to live with us, because if she does there will be 10 people in our family and that is just too many. Plus, I don’t want to take care of another baby. In fact, I hate babies. They cause so much trouble. Once, when I was babysitting our number 7 (he was around 6 months old back then), I fell asleep myself trying to rock him into sleep in his crib. So he crawled out of his crib hanging off of our house’s ceiling and fell on the wooden floor. My God was I horrified to wake up to that ugly picture and the loudest baby cry ever! I couldn’t calm him down, but then mama came running into the house. She couldn’t calm him down either. It was just a never-ending baby cry. In the end he was absolutely fine, but I was in lots of trouble: I got punished and I got lectured by everyone in the family. So, God, please, please, please, do not send us another baby, there are enough of us already.

Sometimes I wonder why I wasn’t born as a boy. Boys don’t need to know any stuff like cooking food, cleaning things, washing or ironing the laundry, knitting or sewing clothes, milking the cow… They don’t have to bear children, either. What do boys do? They just cause problems and eat. Well, sometimes they help with slaughtering cows and sheep but that doesn’t happen often, definitely not every day. In fact, I don’t even know what is it that they do all day? They just leave in the morning and then only come back to eat.

When mama needs to go to work for the kolkhoz[1] in the fields, she gives all of us special tasks, telling us exactly who has to mop the floor, who is peeling the potatoes, who is taking care of the baby brother, who is shoveling the snow or bringing ten buckets of fresh spring water to the house. My task is always the same: I am “the shopper”.

Every day mama puts some money in my pocket and I go to our village’s little shop and wait till they deliver bread there. If you don’t wait for it to be delivered you might as well not get any of it. When I was in the first and then the second grade, there was no bread in our shop at all. That’s because there was no bakery anywhere near. Mama used to cook all of our bread back then. Later, at the end of the second grade (and this year I’m in the third), a bakery was built in a village 12 kilometers away from ours. Since then they’ve been delivering it to sell in our village as well, and since then we’ve been buying it.

I’m the youngest shopper around here, which is why the shopkeeper usually serves me first. I don’t need to wait in a line. I fill my bag up with 4 or 5 loafs of fresh bread and bring it back home. Someone somewhere has decided that each person in our village should get half a loaf of bread per day.  And as there are 9 of us in the family, we are assigned 4.5 loafs of bread. But our shopkeeper doesn’t want to cut that 5th loaf into halves and instead gives us 4 loafs on one day and 5 loafs on the other day. I don’t know why she does that. Maybe she’s afraid that she’ll not be able to cut it in two equally? But I love the days when I get 5 loafs. I always ask her to keep the black bread for us, because I don’t want the white bread. A couple of times I bought white bread instead of black and those days eventually became the “hunger days”. The older children in the family, especially the boys, ate up all the bread because it was too delicious, leaving nothing for the younger girls. Since then I’ve never made that mistake again.


[1] A collective farm of the former U.S.S.R.

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