I was born on 19th of November and it is the pick time of cotton harvest season in my country. As a pupil, student and as a teacher I had to celebrate most of my birthday patries on the cotton fields.
Once, I remember, when I was studying in the UK one of my friends brought me bunch of cotton and that was the worst present I have ever had. It almost made me to drop off my College and go back to make some changes there about this governmnet monopoly and propoganda, but… What I could have change on my own? So, I didn’t go back. I thought wasn’t a rigth time.
I was a good cotton picker though. I used to carry on my shoulders more than 20kg, sometimes 22kg. I wanted to be good at every thing what was going around me. I was one of the best Kallashnikoff users at school during our military lessons. Yep, I had to be prepared to fight against the anamies of my country. I was always example of a great Komsomol at that time. :) Now all of that idiologies are vanished and turned into an ash.
I remember myself being paid for my cotton picking job only two or three times, because we had to pay for our food and all wages whould go for that. Sometimes it was fun. We were encouraged all the time to have fun too. They made us think that we were working for our Country. We felt quit optimistic about what we did.
I liked the nights and evening gathering so much, when we had to warm up around a fair. We used to sing romantic songs with our group mates, play guitar and sleep in local schools. All the schools used to turn into sleeping camps. We never had enough food, though and always felt hungry and fed up of macaroni and black bread.
Ah, god bless my Father! He used to bring "palav" our traditional food for all of my group mates and including few bottle of vodka. We all used to look forward for him to drive over on weekends with my Mum. They used to drive through the cotton fields and find places where we were spread out. I mean me, my brother- Mohamad and later my sister Mahzadeh.
My sister-Khanzadeh came back from cotton field, just recently. She teachs German in our local school. But Gulzadeh, my other sister, she had to bribe the local doctor to give her a medical letter, saying that she is 9 month pregnant. Because she was only 4 month pregnant! I know it is outragious.
This video made me go back to my memories and sleepless. My shoulders are in pain not because of the memories though, but because of filming all these days at IDFA. I wish there was a documentary about Uzbekistan too. But allas…
Maybe it’s time for me to go back and pay my duty back to my people.