Saturday, March 31, 2012

People behind the scenes…II…

This is my second post devoted to people behind the scenes.

I had the post with the same title that I wrote back in 2007. Its 2012 now and I have the same “feelings” about the topic.

In March when I had a short visit to Sheki on our way back we stopped to see if there was anything we wanted to buy from those who sell what they make at home…I belong to that part of people that are should I say less paranoiac about “safety” of home made food stuff sold here and there while you travel around the regions. Probably its life time immunity earned by numerous tea drinking sessions that I have enjoyed while traveling back and forth to Sheki and not only. Therefore keen to experiment we took what seemed interesting and tempting and continued our way.

I asked the seller and probably his son if I could take their photo. They were quite surprised by the question especially when I said that I would post it in internet. Father started smiling and almost laughing. His smile was open and kind.

This post is devoted to all those who with honest work of their hands earn their piece of bread and bring something special and something else to homes of others. To that circle when one helps the other, when skills of one complete the skills of other, to the world where everyone needs someone else…

P.S. When you travel to Azerbaijan you will meet on your path many people with the same open and kind smile....


Sunday, March 25, 2012

March in Azerbaijan...

Although I wasn’t able to write as often as I would wish to that does not mean that March has passed unnoticed…Quite often I felt the urge to write and today is the day )

This post is devoted to the month of March, how special it is for Azerbaijan.

Those who know Azerbaijan would know that the month starts with us celebrating the 8th of March, so called "Women's Day". Nowadays one can find many people who argue that the holiday quite lost its essence by now and that it is not "applicable" any longer and that it is not national enough. But then you should see the sea of flowers, chocolates, perfumes that cause endless smiles and happy atmosphere. You would say I am biased and conformist. In fact I am confused. I want for women to have rights to make their own choices and have the most equal rights they chose to have but I also want them to have a luxury of feeling feminine with some "special" rights such as men holding doors for them and letting pass first. With these confused thoughts I am among those who accept wishes on the date and try to understand those who are unhappy with imperfections of the holiday.

Later in the month when everyone longs for spring even stronger with every week we anticipate our one of the most cherished holidays Novruz.

During previous years I would have posts in March that I would devote to Tuesdays of wind, water, fire and earth that precede Novruz holiday. Zoroastrian by history and nature Novruz is the holiday we have inherited from our ancestors and I love the holiday for its multidimensional beauty and wisdom.

Just like any other place in the world Azerbaijan lived through different stages of history and development. On that path it accumulated traditions, culture and beliefs that got changed and adapted by winds of change and novelties. Country observes holidays of Islam, celebrates New Year decorating New Year tree (many of the readers would read it as X-mas tree) and has holidays like 8th of March and Novruz not mentioning the holidays to celebrate Independence and other. Over the centuries the country has been and is very tolerant to all beliefs, religions and cultures. More than 70 years it was a part of Soviet Union. I can almost compare this membership to put it softly to undesired friendship or even union where one is constantly making compromises and somewhat obeying while the other is becoming more and more demanding and impudent. I am glad that we are out of this union and don’t have to ask permissions and have excuses to celebrate holidays like Novruz (celebrating Novruz was prohibited for some time during Soviet Union).

Before I am too carried away with all these thoughts let me wish to all of you happy spring and that you don’t miss it and actually enjoy every new flower and sun ray of nature.

For colourful pictures of Novruz please see my earlier post here.

And let me post some more of those that I have taken recently.

Photo taken in exhibition devoted to 8th of March in Museum Center, in Baku. We went to see it with my little sunny bunny. Piece in the center is "Wish tree" by my spouse Teymur Rustamov.
This year we had a strong winter. In March mountains in Sheki were still in snow...
Traditionally everyone in Sheki prepares their gardens to welcome spring...
One of traditional Novruz sweets. Gogal. Resembling the shape of sun it has got lots of spices and flavours and is one of my favourites. These were prepared by my mom and my sister and I were helping her out.
Traditionally you would have children knocking on your door and leaving their caps and hats asking for some sweets. You are not supposed to see the kids. Once you put something sweet and tasty and close the door they would come and pick up the hats...