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 78. Prince of Imereti

They say to know somebody really well one should eat a pood of salt with the person; this is full-weight sixteen kilograms. By that time I already knew that man in regular circumstances and, if he is himself an average one, consumes about five kilos of salt. Nevertheless there are some unique examples. For instance, let's take Mikhail Mikhailovitch, my aunt's husband; he alone ate perhaps the very pood during a year. He came home for lunch; a plate with the first course was placed in front of him, and he even without tasting the dish, took a salt shaker and zealously shook it over his soup. Then he took a pepper shaker and also was shaking it till the food color turned black and then enjoyed the meal. It should be pointed out that he did all of that without looking, because he was reading a newspaper at the very same time.

He did the same with the second course. And if asked later: "How was your lunch?", he would say: "Delicious". And there is another category of people, who consume regular amount of salt, but their understanding of friendship will never allow them to say that a dish is put too much salt in, if everybody around praises the very same salted dish. This is exactly the way Dima Mkheidze was like in his youth. Now I want to repent, though we should have repented together

with Ilgam Gasanov. The matter is that sometimes we played mean tricks and organized mischief; I cannot put it any other way. Having known this peculiarity, or to put it right, a streak of Dimka's character, we sometimes put spoonfuls of salt into Dimka's soup or his second course, when three of us had lunch at some canteen or even at a restaurant, sure enough we did that so that he did not see, and started eating. We were eating and praising the food, eating and praising. So Ditto was assenting to what we were saying. Of course, we played those mean tricks not all the time, well, maybe once a week, for sure. Ilgam and I had a tradition; once a month, on the day we received our stipend we went for lunch to the "Siberia" restaurant, and we went their by taxi, both ways. That cost one ruble to go one way from the Kirovskiy district entertainment center to the drama theatre. So, once Dimitriy joined us. Ilgam and I objected, as our tradition, in which everything was determined once and forever, was broken. Once a month two of us and the order was every time the same as well: beetroot salad with herring, mixed meat solyanka (a spicy soup of vegetables and meat or fish) and Siberian specialty with mashed potatoes, a misted over bottle of "Stolitchnaya" vodka and a bottle of mineral water "Borzhomi". Even though Dimka was our friend, but the tradition was broken. Dimka insisted, so Ilgam and I consented, but between two of us decided, that we would come as usual the next day. Well, we decided not to change the tradition, at least its part that concerned the menu, as solyanka was really delicious only in "Siberia", and Siberian specialty was terrific. We loved the restaurant with its plush curtains with tassels, cabins and atmosphere of old times.

Just imagine, there was a palm tree and a rubber plant there. Well, we arrived to the restaurant excited by the meal we were going to have. When appetizers were served, beetroot salad with Picton herring, we did not become alerted when Ditto suddenly started suggesting us going to a bathroom to have our hands washed, even though vodka was already poured into jiggers. So we went to wash our hands, and it happened so, we just could not understand how, that we returned later than Dimka, and Dimka was even reproaching us, saying why it took us that long. The plates with solyanka were already on the table. We agreed to start, like professor Preobrazhenskiy advised, with solyanka. After "Stolichnaya" we did not taste right away that solyanka was pure salt. We put our spoons down, and Ilgam said: "We were right that we refused to break our tradition", and asked me, if that would be better to beat him right away or after the meal, though who could eat that! And Ditto was laughing loudly; there were even tears in his eyes. He was laughing and was not at all afraid of us. He only asked us to remember that he had never showed to us that there had been too much salt in his food, so he on purpose arranged the revenge on the day, which was important to us. I have always said that Dimka was a true prince. It turned out that he had had an agreement with a waiter beforehand, and when he completely enjoyed his revenge, he called the waiter and asked him to bring different solyanka for us to
enjoy the meal and the lunch. We drank to friendship and swore to help each other and be together on good and bad days. That time the tradition was broken. Usually we came to the restaurant at two o'clock
and left it at four after having a good meal; on that day we left when it was closing. Ilgam and I were not discussing our plans of beating, and were repenting and confessing to Dimka that we had been such scums.
Dimka was satisfied. He even paid the bill for the whole evening at the restaurant. In a word, he was a prince of Imereti.

20 October, 2011

© Copyright: Oleg Syedyshev, 2012
Publishing licence #21206220673

Translated by Viktoria Potykinato content