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A House – A Short Story from Uzbekistan

A House – A Short Story from Uzbekistan
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Jumanazar Yuldash

Uzbek writerJumanazar Yuldash was born in 1997 in Khiva district, Kharezm, Uzbekistan. He graduated from Philology and Uzbek Language faculty of Urgench State University. His stories were published on the pages of national press. His works were included in several collections such as ‘Song of the Rivers’ (Jilgʻalar qoʻshigʻi), ‘Common hearts’ (Mushtarak dillar), and ‘Garden of Creativity’ (Ijod gulshani). He was a participant of the Zaamin seminar (2018). Winner of the creative festival ‘Spring of Uzbekistan II’ (Oʻzbekiston bahori) in Khiva, 2019. Author of the collection of short stories titled ‘Petrichor’ (Yomgʻirdan soʻng)

A House

A house was picturesque. Its gate, mail box and even chimney on the roof were overwhelming desire for people. Especially, reddish-brown dye which was chosen to fit its appearance and the shimmering-in-the-sunlight windows used to beautify it more. The passengers who happened to pass by the house couldn’t help astonishing. This house used to be an extraordinary ornament of the city. When it was warm, birds like pigeons, doves, swallows and magpies usually made this house a shelter. For birds and people, or let’s say for every creature, it became a home of kindness and love. Thanks to the unknown strength, they always desired to go towards the house, considering it as a cure for their sorrows and tortures.

Since it was located in a convenient place for passengers to see like a museum artifact, most of the times people would stop and gather to see the house and they would make a crowd in a jiffy. Instead of expelling, the house owner would see them off kindly.

Seeing their gazes filled with various feelings, the owner would be delighted with his house. He used to stare at the crowd right from the upstairs. When they left, he would give a deep sigh and wander through the rooms of the house. He used to love wandering inside his house and it had already become the meaning of his life.

The rooms of the house: a kitchen and a bedroom had no door. Except these two rooms, the house owner considered another three rooms as his lovely and mostly-addressed rooms. There was a well-designed TV in the first room. The second room had very old books with decaying pages. And in the third one, there was a desk which was intended for writing or calculating purposes. The house owner would use all three rooms actively and he would never let his visitors leave without showing rooms one by one. As a result of the thick black curtains hung over the doors, all three rooms were completely dark. If someone went in he would watch the rooms with the eyes full of desire, but instead, he would try to create an excuse to leave the room as soon as possible. Sometimes their excuses would set the owner’s teeth on the edge and he would reply by expelling them being filled with anger. The expelled guests would never visit the house again. Thus, people used to be astonished from the view of the house and envy the owner of the house.

One day someone passed the street where the house was located, but no one knew who he was. The stranger appeared like a ghost among the people. He stared at the house for a long time. The people around the house stood gazing at him as if the stranger was going to utter something as significant as the last sentence of the jury. He spoke with a very loud and content voice:

“I do not see the house as a symbol of beauty”, and went on his way. 

A complaining noise rose among people. Some people followed that ghost-like man and some others asked him the reason why he said so. A few people who left there went deep on thinking being somehow frightened and stood staring at the beauty of the house for a moment. After a while, they went on their ways too, one by one.

“He told the truth”, said someone among the crowd, “we are all idiots”.

“Yes, right. He was right” people told from each and every side and then they all passed away. There was almost no one left. But only a man was standing there till the end. He had left there having been stuck by the eye-catching beauty of the house.

“Alas”, he said sadly.

He too followed the footprints of the others, broken-hearted.

House-TashkentThe owner of the house hopefully gazed at the people leaving him and his establishment. But they did not even look back once. The owner went down and observed his house standing in front of it. For him, it was not a house, but a priceless pearl. But why people rejected this house? The owner was unable to understand the reason.

No one came to see the house the next day and the other days too. If someone happened to pass by the house, he would catch just a glimpse of it without paying attention. No one looked at the house with astonishment as they always did before. Thus it became unoccupied, except his owner no one would visit anymore. Even the birds ceased to shelter it.

The owner of the house would stand staring at the people from the balcony on the first floor. His wings of hope were broken. He regretted that he was expending his energy and time watching people come and go. In his opinion, it was just useless.

“My house is a pearl for me, but for others it does not need to be a pearl too”, he thought although he did not believe that he was right.

He walked through the rooms. It was a wonder that now to his eyes the house seemed to be a shabby which smelling badly. It seemed that the house had completely lost its magic attractiveness.

The owner of the house exhaustedly entered his bedroom and took a nap on his bed.

When he woke up he noticed that the whole room was terrible: the candle had fallen down and broken, the walls had lost their dye, a leg of the bed had been broken so it was leaning to one side. The owner walked through the other rooms and the same dangerous scene he had seen there too. That was a result of unknown reasons.

All his body was veiled with tremble and panic. His sleepy mind was incapable of deciding where to go or what to do. Finally he went out urgently as if there was an earthquake.

As soon as he went out he looked at his house again. Its gate had fallen, mailbox had been damaged, bricks of the chimney and the reddish-brown dye of the walls had gone off, the windows had been broken therefore it looked like a monster in front of him.

It made a dreadful voice as if it suddenly revived: “I am your enemy!”

The owner failed to recognize whether he really heard it or was it just a mist. Frightening and trembling he did his best to get rid of the voice.

He run and run and run…

He was running far away from his own house. Now it was impossible to say the house his house. Everything was over for him.

After a long running, he intended to lean on the fence that was built on the edge of the asphalt road. The lamps of the houses on the other edge of the road were switching off and on.

Running away from the danger, the owner arrived at the abandoned place far from his house. That abandoned place was then the only thing to console his soul.

Kneeling on the earth, he punched the soil and wept until exhaustion. Crying and crying he realized that his hand touched something like a pond. Then he looked upon this pond to see his reflection.

The surface of the pond was showing the image of that magic and picturesque house.


Translated from Uzbek into English by Shokhrukh Usmonov       




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