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 94. A sight for sore eyes

It happened somehow so that an idea to publish my essays as a book occurred practically as soon as I started writing the essays. Tough I wanted to make sure, whether they would be interesting to readers. My first readers were, of course, my former fellow students, and their responses inspired me; they were like a sight for sore eyes. It was better than any pills I was taking after the cardiologic surgery I had less than a month before. I want, my dear readers, to cite the first three comments on my literary exercises.
Here is what Vitya Kubasov wrote in his first comment:

"Listen, with what pleasure I read all that!! As if my student years were back... Write more, please!!!"
(spelling and stylistics are of the author)

Svetlana Titova is a bit more verbose, though I also like her response very much:

"I've read it with great pleasure, and most importantly was imagining everything in pictures, had a good laugh; it's been a long time since I had that much fun. You are writing in quite a literary style; I do not understand, why they gave you a satisfactory grade for your composition at the entrance exams. Hope, the second series of your stories is coming soon. I've received a huge supply of positive emotions. Can't wait for the continuation!".
(spelling and stylistics are of the author)

And the third response is from Tolik Lopatin. Tolik is a very kind guy, he was teaching at the institute for some time, even though that did not last long, he has remained an instructor deep inside for his lifetime. One cannot skip a line in a song, so in order not to ruin the beauty of the original, I will cite his response in full:

Hello, buddy! I've read it; SUPER!!!! But! You are not on good terms with commas. Do not repeat one and the same word in two successive sentences. Ilgam RIZA ogly, not RZA. Otar - REFIKOVITCH. And we went to pick up grapes for three days. For 2 or three days we stole a backpack of "Ladyfingers" grapes each. And we did not sell what we could not eat, but gave out to our friends (to Tamara in particular), as that was autumn of our second year. And we made wine out of the rest of it and drank it at a New Year party. And tell that Slava Sizikov was killed by his drunk neighbor, who stabbed him at his heart. And Arkashka is an orthopedist at one of the best clinics in the world. Other than that everything is OK. I enjoyed reading it. I, like you, passed the entrance exams with two 5 and 3 for a composition. And V.V.Kopytin greeted both of us with the enrollment ahead of time. And during our skiing, Ilgam, who was barely moving, fell down; he was lying and Otar was very slowly going past him. It was then when Ilgam told him the catchphrase: "Wait a moment, why are you flying, like wind, let's go together!" Everything is FINE!!!!!!! And there is one more thing. Zhenya Romashov's life was taken by TB (or lungs cancer?). At the end of the chapter you started telling who had become what. Maybe it is worthy telling according to the same pattern about Otar and Ilgam? Are you offended by my critic?".
(spelling and stylistics are of the author)

The first three comments are the most pleasant ones; and the most important thing is that they were the first. And here is the first mention of publishing of the memoirs. Marina Gadzik (Emikh):

"I read your stories with great interest. Good job! All characters are painfully familiar, young, attractive, happy! I do not agree with Tolik, when he specifies certain events. The author has a right to embellish events and people. The only drawback is that there are not many stories, I feel like reading more. You should write a book and invite everybody (the characters and the fellow students) to its presentation. I wish you success!".
(spelling and stylistics are of the author)

And I like the next comment, because it was written by a young man, a student of now Kemerovo Medical Academy, Anton Kazantsev:

"Oleg Petrovitch! What wonderful and funny stories! I am reading them with pleasure and laughing! It is obvious you need to write a book!!! I am thrilled!".
(spelling and stylistics are of the author)

What Anton wrote especially moves me. He is a young guy, brought up on computer skills; nevertheless he has very finely caught the general positive mood of my memoirs. This is what I am saying now, six-months after the first ten essays were written. Back then, in June-July, I did not give it a lot of thought, but was just writing what my soul was asking for. And now, when rereading my essays, I see that subconsciously I was putting kindness in them from the very beginning. Yes, the episodes, described in the essays are the most different, some are stupid, some are cruel, and some are with criminal touch, though they took place. And they reflect not a negative side of student life, but a positive one.

Here is how Vitya Belkov had found my essays; we studied together at a secondary school in Kuzbass for then year. For all then years we were playing mischievous tricks and behaving like hooligans, to put it short, we were friends. I was very happy when he turned up. And his first response cannot better explain the style of my essays:

"We have not seen each other for 40 years, I feel sorry about that. However I've read your stories and pictured alive you being a mischievous, smart and troublemaking boy. I did not happen to know all characters of your stories, though while reading your stories imagined them vividly, like in real life. In spite of the fact that all of you were from different corners of our unbounded USSR, I have an impression, that all of you are brothers. I explain it by the fact that no matter, who you write about, sincere respect and love to the character run through your story, and that is worth of a lot. And as for the drawbacks, nobody is perfect. I am sure, you see them yourself. And with time you will eliminate most of them. As you are a creative, thinking and quickly self-learning person. I sincerely wish you success and satisfaction in your hard writer's work. Continue writing. And we, those, who cannot write, will read with pleasure."
(spelling and stylistics are of the author)

Why am I writing about this in so many details? These are the stages of my inner conviction that I should continue writing essays and the essays should be published. Please, do not assume that I overestimated or overestimate my abilities in writing. I've written before about my total inability to compose something expressive, complete and of general utility some poor novel, but a novel, a narrative or at least a story. I just want to leave my mark in life. Where to print the essays is not a problem: I own a printing house with decent German equipment. As I continue writing essays, I've legalized my authorship at "Ukrpatent". And I've also set up and legalized a publishing company. Forgive me, but I've just remained to this day, the boaster I were in my young age, so this is how I named my publishing company: "Publishing company of Syedyshev Oleg Petrovitch". Well, I just could not name it "Horns and Hoofs", though I like Ostap Ibragimovitch very much (Ostap Bender is a fictional con man and antihero who first appeared in the novel The Twelve Chairs written by Ilya Ilf and Yevgeni Petrov and released in January 1928). On the other hand..., why not?... Though, it's too late now. I've already received a certificate.

And the following turns in my essays' life cheer me up a lot. Just read, what Natalya Gertfelder is writing:

"Hello, Oleg! So, thanks a lot for the given opportunity to immerse in memories about so distant and so dear student years. Back then I bloated with pride because I was a student of Kemerovo Medical Institute and I am still quite proud as well... Your stories are simple, but very true to life, you describe situations which are so familiar, that I started having doubts: "And where I was then??". However my student years were in a different time period. And the most important thing is that I told a lot of what I had read to my husband, and he is a "local" German, I mean native, not from our immigrants. So at the end of my efforts to translate "close to the original", he asked me in a plaintive voice, but persistently to make KURNIK (a chicken meat pie)!!! I had to make dough, and tonight we are going to try it and estimate the new dish from my Russian cuisine menu. I will continue reading experiencing pleasure and nostalgia. And on a day off I will try to make potatoes fried on lard according to you recipe.. (just kidding). I am not saying good bye forever, hope to write one more comment. Wish you success and good health!! My best regards to your beautiful wife. THERE WAS ONLY ONE PROBLEM WITH THE KURNIK, SORRY FOR MY LANGUAGE, BUT IT CANNOT BE SAID IN ANY OTHER WAY, THOUGH IT SOUNDS ALMOST RUDE: WE PIGGED OUT ON IT...IT'S EXTREMELY DELICIOUS. GOD GIVE YOU ALL THE BEST!!! And the story with dues is also very familiar to me. Though in my case it was 2 kopeks, but I ended up with embezzlement, the right case for Kolyma (an exile place for criminals).., though my group mates helped me out, as I also had been doing that not for myself!!!". It's not an essay now, but a real culinary book. As I remember, my mother used to have "A Book about Tasty and Healthy Food".
(spelling and stylistics are of the author)

It's not all of it. There is one more facet of essays. Here is for you to read, what our Chancellor's, A.D.Tkachev's, daughter, Yekaterina Tatianina-Tkacheva, is writing:

"Dear Oleg Petrovich! It was quite interesting to look through your series of "Humorous Essays"! In spite of the fact that I was born two years after you had graduated from the institute, I can conclude that student life has not changed a lot! When reading the essays, I had brisk images in my mind of my student years; memories came flooding back to me. Thank you very much for the pleasure I had! For me, a daughter of the former Chancellor, A.D. Tkachev, everything that has to do with life or history of our higher educational institution is very interesting.".
(spelling and stylistics are of the author)

Or a son of Miron Lvovitch Livshits, Sergey Tikhonov is writing:

"Hi, Oleg Petrovitch, I know many of them personally, heard about some of them, anyway, everything is done with talent, you made youth come back, my father would have liked it a lot (Miron Lvovitch, if you remember), but 4 years ago we buried him in St. Pete's at Smolenskoye cemetery. Thank you.".
(spelling and stylistics are of the author)

To revive children's memories about their parents, and in a good way; this is in conclusion, or as they say here: "One for the road!", comment of Sophiya (unfortunately, there is no photo):

"Hello! I read mention of my father professor Aleutskiy Nikolay Nikolayevitch with his young photo - how pleasant! He died in Arkhangelsk in 2001. It's a pity that he cannot read this. I remember Kemerovo; I was born there and used to come often to my parents departments. Everything remained vivid in memory.".
(spelling and stylistics are of the author)

I have no doubts - there will be a book. At least, like Vysotskiy (Vladimir Vysotskiy, 25 January, 1938 - 25 July, 1980, was a Soviet singer, songwriter, poet and actor, whose career had an immense and enduring effect on Russian culture) said: "...I will finish what I've undertaken to do...", we shall see when the time comes.

21 December, 2011.

© Copyright: Oleg Syedyshev, 2012
Publishing licence #213101900985

Translated by Viktoria Potykinato content