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 75. A second-year student

Students are filled to the brim with joy after they enter an institute. And they enter it themselves, without anyone patronizing them or paying bribes in cash. In that case the emotional state is different. In that case one feels satisfaction; and in the first case emotional palette is broader and richer. There is joy and pride and dreams... dreams... Transformation of a former secondary school student into a real student is hard. And then the first (winter) examinations are over, and the second (spring) examinations are passed, and the students start immediately saying that they are second year students, sophomores. And why should one feel shy? So we were not shy. I am talking about Vagram Agadzhanyan and me. A day before we passed the last exam of the spring examinations session. I, the second-year student, had my stuff packed to go home to Kedrovskiy opencast mine; and in a week my parents and I were supposed to fly to the capital of Kirgizia, Frunze, to see the places my parents had been offered to work and live at. And for sure, we wanted to see a three-room apartment in Frunze my parents had been proposed. Even though in Kedrovka my parents lived in a wonderful two-room stalinka apartment, (an architectural style developed when Stalin was in power (1941 - 1953); in housing construction its main characteristic was high-ceilinged spacious apartments), the perspective to move to a city in the South was very tempting. I did my best to stimulate my parents to moving. Though it looked like they themselves were for that then, but decided to go there first and see everything themselves. For me that was a wonderful perspective to spend my vacations in the South and stay for a week at the Issyk Kul lake. The inviting side had promised such a program. So, I do not remember what for, I, already the second-year student, went out of my place in Kirovskiy district. It seemed that I was hanging around Kirovskiy district without any particular goal and met also a second-year student and my group mate Vagram Agadzhanyan in Sevastopolskaya street. He shared an apartment with Tolik Lopatin in Sevastopolskaya st., right above a grocery. Vagram, like me, went out to loaf about the city because of idleness. He was sincerely happy to see me. Well, and it could not be any other way, when a second-year student met another one, and they had not seen each other since the previous night, when they were celebrating passing of the last examination and missed each other a lot.

We gave each other a hug and a hearty kiss. I do not know myself how, but our legs brought us to a canteen called Lutch in Kosmonavta Leonova street, at its very beginning. The canteen was famous for its wonderful buffet and even a better choice of alcoholic drinks. After a brief argument about the amount, we agreed to be more modest in what we do than in what we want to do and chose from the variety White Rymnikskoye; we bought a bottle, which we immediately decided to taste. The Rymnikskoye was terrific. The whine color harmonized with a sunny warm day, and the bouquet harmony was so impeccable that those two elements completely satisfied us and intensified our feelings so much, that we wondered what would happen, if from the broad choice of the buffet we would buy three bottles more. We knew that the second year students never hesitated, and if they made up their mind about something, they did that for sure. To be logical we also bought a Zolotoy Yakor chocolate bar and went to the bank of the river Tom' in order to have a swim. At that time we did not think much about whether that was healthy or not and wore swimming trunks practically all the time. We had a nice chat. Vagram was convincing me that none of Issyk Kul could be compared to the lake Sevan, and I argued that that was all according. For instance, for me the lake Issyk Kul was much better, because I was going to see it and have my own opinion about it in a couple of weeks, and it was none so sure when I would come to the lake Sevan or if I would ever touch Sevan water at all. Vagram was angry and insisted that I was wrong, very much wrong. In order not to worsen the situation and reach a compromise we made a stop at one of benches in a

birch grove, along which we were walking to the Tom', and we sat on it and finished another bottle of Rymnikskoye. And I was proposing toasts to Sevan, and Vagram - to Issyk Kul. With that we restored the second-year students' friendliness to each other and resumed our trip to the riverside. By the water, somewhere not far from the Morphology building we met a group of girls and asked for their permission to join them in order to take sun and air bathes together with them. If we were not the second-year students, we could put it in a simpler way to sunbathe together, but as real sophomores we just could not say that. We were in high spirits, and we sincerely believed that Sevan and Issyk Kul were the best lakes in the world, and we offered to the girls to have a drink because of that.

The girls supported the idea, and four of us sip after sip accompanied by jokes and funny stories gradually, but persistently finished the other bottles of Rymnikskoye we had left, and a chocolate bar turned to be useful. From time to time we dipped into water and splashed by the bank. It is not clear why, but my attention was attracted to a river bus, which went along the Tom', and at that moment it was still, as if tied up to one place. And there Rymnikskoye told me: And what if you dive from that river bus into the Tom'; can you do a thing like that?

And I decided that I can do a thing like that. The girls and Vagram were doing everything possible to reason me out of that idea, yet I swam. I do not remember now how, but I climbed on the river bus, waved to my fans and jumped from the rail into the water. The height was not big, about two meters to the water, but the depth was also somewhat about one meter. The river bus ran aground. I remember I managed to jerk my head backwards, and that was why I did not hit the bottom straight down, but tangentially.

When I stood up in the water I felt neither pain nor anything, something just was blocking my view. I washed that down with water thinking that that was sand from the bottom. I did not realize then, that that was blood. From the bank Vagram was half running, half-swimming towards me. I remember the rest of the events fragmentarily. I remember our new acquaintances were howling when looking at me. Vagram put two handkerchiefs on me, one on my head and another on my nose; then he collected our stuff and dragged me upward. Then I remember I was lying on a sofa in the Morphology building. I was trying to get up, but was not allowed to stand up; then I remember Zhenka Romashov was X-raying me. Then I remember how I was put the stitches in at the surgery of the clinic #9 of Kirovskiy district, and how the surgeon was telling me that, if that was not for Rymnikskoje, I would have felt much worse. Then I was sleeping, but heard a whistle and woke up. I was already in a ward, and Vagram and Ilgam Gasanov were peeping into it and asking how I was. If to be honest, I felt weak and slightly nauseous, but as a second-year student I could not admit that to my friends; even more to that I suddenly remembered that I had to be at home, in Kedrovka, on that day, and if I did not come, my parents would be worried. I told the guys about all that and also that I did not want to stay at the clinic. And there my group mates told me that I had a big wound on my head, on the upper part of my forehead, there were seven stitches put in there, that my nose bones were broken and there was an avulsed wound on the bridge of my nose and there were stitches put in it as well and in addition to that I had brain concussion.

Nevertheless, I told the guys that, if they did not take me out of there, I would run away anyway. The guys left. The found Yevgeniy Romashov and told him everything; Zhenya was on duty that day at the X-ray lab of the #9 clinic; so he had everything settled with a doctor on duty, and even arranged that I was driven to my place. However the guys strongly objected that I was left at my place alone, so Vagram insisted that I was taken to his apartment; anyway Tolik Lopatin was away participating in some competitions. And Ilgam lived in that apartment too, he rented a four meters room (a storage room with a window turned into a room). So at that point the whole story could be finished, but one more event took place on that day. A bus to Kedrovskiy opencast mine was leaving from a market place in Rudnichniy district, and half-way to Kedrovka a highway was crossed by a railway bed. There was no bar there.

There were posts on both sides with signal light and retroreflectors crosswise. A train went along the railway once or twice a year, the branch was obviously abandoned. Though it happened so that on one of the last days of June, 1967, exactly on the day I had to arrive to Kedrovka and approximately at the same time a train ran into a bus, which ignored the blinking of the signal light. The accident was horrible; about twenty people died right at the accident scene, and about as many people were driven to hospitals.

At night everybody, including my parents, learned about the accident in Kedrovka. While my mother was dashing around the apartment, my batya (father) went to Kirovskiy district to look for me. It was not for nothing that my batya was a KGB officer in his early years. At about twelve o'clock he came to the apartment in Sevastopolskaya street. Vagram and Ilgam were tending me. They made chicken broth and were feeding me with it. I was already full, but because of their zeal, they made me drink one more cup. My batya saw his son in bandages and cheered up that Thanks God, he was alive. Vagram honestly told everything, though among the second-year students it was allowed to slightly deviate from truth, about what had happened to him. Surprisingly batya reacted to all that adequately. He asked Vagram and Ilgam to keep an eye on me and left, but promised to be back in half an hour. Yes, to his credit, in half and hour he came back with a bottle of cognac, and while he was away Zhenya Romashov came to check on me. Batya thanked the guys for helping me and said that during the war they had never abandoned their comrades. He opened the bottle and all of them drank cognac to my good health. I also was given about thirty grams of cognac to drink, because while batya was absent he took a taxi, went to the apartment I rented, paid the landlord and collected my stuff. And after that he came to Sevastopolskaya street to pick me up. After the cognac and batya's praise the guys were ready to carry me to the taxi, but there I revolted, as the cognac had its effect on me as well, so I went downstairs and got into the taxi by myself. Then that was a car made Volga GAZ-21. That was how I finished my first year and became a full-fledged second-ear student. I went to Frunze already without bandages, but with plasters on my head and nose.

20 October, 2011

© Copyright: Oleg Syedyshev, 2012
Publishing licence #21206220659

Translated by Viktoria Potykinato content