Pakrat Estukyan

Մենք ու մերոնք - Biz ve bizimkiler

About “us” after 44 years

Life is full of surprises. What I have experienced a few days ago took me to a journey to my 44-years-old memories. 

We gathered in the club of Getronagan High School Graduates Foundation. We were waiting for our friends to go to the house our friend Ara Gubeseryan, as we planned days ago. Ara is a bit older than us. We call him “big brother” within the school hierarchy. Garabet Karakaya, Anna Çiçekli, Haygazun Hayka, Zaven Bakırcı, Ohannes Kulak, Seta Korkor and I headed to the house, which located in a corner near the foundation. Buying two bottles of “Heiter” wine, we knocked the door.

Living with his family in a two-storey house with red bricks, Ara had a room in the basement.

Ara was one of our friends who had learned to control his excitements at an early age. We used to adopt new ideals very often and try to explore new things in cinema, poetry, novel, theater and music. Ara had a sound system, which nobody had at those times. He had a “Gerard” gramophone and a very rich classical music collection.

That night, we listened to Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra's Beethoven's 9th Symphony performance conducted by Herbert von Karajan, standing in awe. After that, we talked about the dialectical structure in Jack London's writings, especially in his Northland Stories. Then, Ara read London's “To Build a Fire” story. The night ended with Yeğişe Çarents poems.

After this first meeting, we organized similar meetings in the same place. After a while, Ara and his family moved to Kireçburnu. Then, our musical meetings continued with a view of Bosporus. However, our friends started to live abroad one by one, causing some kind of desertification both in their lives and in our circle.

40 years passed since our last meeting. And now, I am about to attend a similar meeting with my son Vartan, daughter of one of my friends, new daughter-in-law Tamar and her husband Emrecan.

This time, our destination is our academic friend Yektan Türkyılmaz's house in Büyükdere. He lives with his family and his place is a terrace, rather than a basement like Ara had.

This time, we will listen to phonograph records that our friends has been collecting for years, instead of classical music. As we listen, Yektan provides all sorts of information including recording dates and techniques and facts about the performers. For instance, the first record we listened to is a “Grung” recorded in St. Petersburg in 1898. This medieval Armenian, which many people are familiar from Gomidas, reaches our ears with an unfamiliar interpretation. Then, we plung into sea of songs recorded in the US, Turkey and USSR. We listen to Armenian, Azeri, Turkish, Kurdish and Greek songs from a century old records. Even the last LP we listened to is 50 years old. The day ends with Armenian songs which Rozi Armen sings with her French accent.

This column's motto is “us and our people” and the reader is used to read stories about “our people”. This time, I wanted to write about us; so, I beg your pardon.