Syedyshev Oleg
Syedyshev Oleg

Humorous Essays Based on students' memories

"All have died
except for those who are alive, and those whom we remember"Confucius

Essay 148. Al Qasr

You, my dear readers, perhaps thought that I would write about a famous elite hotel Al Qasr, which is in Dubai, in a resort area of Madinat Jumeirah.

Undoubtedly, the hotel is like in a fairytale. My wife and I visited it more than once; and maybe someday I will tell something interesting about it as well. Now I would like to write about events that took place forty years ago. The essay is related to the hotel only by its name, and it is translated from Arabic into Russian as steeds, not horses, but steeds.

I’ve got to tell it like it is.

There is no doubt that modern students missed a lot because of abolition of their labor on farms; that was a good school of life for them. For instance, Vitya Kiss, a guy who had little to do with farming, already in his first year during a farming assignment at a collective farm learned to drive a GAZ-53 truck (a truck produced at Gorky Automobile Plant) and was very proud of that. He still remembers with a kind word a collective farm driver Victor Metsker. Of course, uncle Vitya, as everybody addressed him, let Victor do anything even independent trips to get silage. Once Vitya overdid it, loaded too much silage into a poor truck and it simply died. Only magic hands of uncle Vitya brought it back to life. All in all after the very first farming assignment a wimpy and sickly looking Vitya Kiss, who had been relieved of attending physical training classes at his secondary school, felt himself to be a man, and later together with Volodya Kravtchenko organized a sambo (martial art) group.
However the story offered for your attention is about a farming assignment after the second year at the institute.
Vitya together with his fellow students Kolya Fokin, Yura Krashevskiy and Victor Savtchenko came to Kemerovo at the end of August. The guys came to the institute and met there a logistics manager of the institute, his name was Nikolay Semenovitch or Nikolay Savelievitch, I do not remember. However I clearly remember that he was in charge of maintenance of the university buildings and was responsible for a steed.

So the steed, even though it was born and grew up in Siberia, to be more precise, in Kemerovo, had a very impressive conformation. Believe me, he had something of Akhal-Teke. It was well fed, and a well fed horse has glossy sides. It was grazing all the time in front of the main building of the institute and attracted attention of all female students by its impressive genitals. The logistics manager and Vitya were fellow townsmen, so they knew each other pretty well. So during that meeting the logistics manager offered Vitya and his friends an “elite farming assignment” – laying-in of hay for the horse. Grass was cut by instructors (sun, fresh air, alcohol, payment), and the guys would have to put it into hay cocks. The trip was supposed to be for a week, and after it all of the guys would be relieved of September farming assignment. Only an idiot could turn down such an offer, as you understand, but not a Soviet student. A student from a parallel group forced his company on them; he was an utterly city boy. Ultimately they were given food to last for a week, brought to the place somewhere further than Zhuravly. Not far from a meadow there were two huts without electricity, on another bank of a small river there was an apiary. That was it… nature! The city boy was confused and asked: “And where shall we live?” We replied: “”Here is the place – in a hay cock”. One should’ve seen expression of his face. The rest three of us, who had grown up in private homes and loved walking trips, got a kick out of that. Daily routine was the following: in the morning after the sun dried hay on the top, it was tossed, by lunch time it was raining, so everybody was resting.

In a couple of hours the hay was tossed again, raked up into a cock, and it was raining again. It was like that for five days. We were running out of bread and had run out of vodka. We borrowed bread from neighbors, there was no vodka. We were running out of food, after rain the road was impassable, a car could not make it to us. By that time Zhenya, “the city boy” started getting accustomed. He was already not afraid of a horse with a sweep, stopped stepping on rakes and started tasting vodka. And what could he do? They not without a reason say that evil communications corrupt good manners… And the group had menacing an unpleasant perspective of walking for 15 kilometers to a village to get food. Luckily the hostess of the nearby apiary came and asked to help her add hay collected in other places to the already formed cock. The bargain was quick – a bucket of potatoes, a three liter jar of mead and four loaves of bread. The next day anticipating receiving of the payment from the apiary’s hostess we worked so hard that by the evening the new cock was ready. The whole group was also cooked, ready to be squeezed, as they say. Those who cut and cocked hay know how hard the job is. After swimming in the river the guys made themselves comfortable on a grassy plot. What a chic table they laid for themselves – hunks of homemade bread, a basin, yes an enameled basin full of honey and spring water.

After they ate, they lied down belies up and waited for sweet sweat to appear, which became visible practically in five minutes and smelled like honey. They had a quick swim in the river and ate again. As far as I know after that honey feast Vitya could not look at honey for about ten years if not more. As a bonus for the excellent work, the cock was done according to all standards, the hostess added some cereals. So they had comfortable life after that, and the mead they had in sips did its thing for two days, after that Zhenya, “the city guy” and Kolya had to go quickly to the village to get vodka, other way there would be no romanticism. Only a week later a car managed to drive to them and they were finally evacuated. The funniest thing was that that year the rest of the students were not sent on a farming assignment, and the participants of the “elite farming undertaking” were late for classes.

However their work for the benefit of the only in the whole institute beautiful steed was very appreciated by the chancellor, and the guys were not given non-attendance marks. So, that was the way how a group of decent guys had a lucky escape after another scheme.

And as for the institute’s logistics manager, Nikolay Semenovitch or Nikolay Savelievitch, every time Vitya Kiss met him, he always remembered the “elite farming assignment” and together they had a good laugh.

14 June, 2012

© Copyright: Oleg Syedyshev, 2012
Publishing licence #214040200704

Translated by Viktoria Potykinato content