A miracle in Tashkent

It was lunchtime at Chorsu Bazaar, and the wooden benches of the choykhona were filling up with hungry families. The room was dark from the smoke of cigarettes and shashlyk. I took a space opposite an older middle-aged couple, sitting with a boy of about six. 

As I started my bread and coffee, the woman began chatting with me. When she learned where I am from, she switched from Russian to perfect English; she explained that she used to work at a railway institute, teaching English to Uzbek engineers. Between the woman and her husband, the boy was playing with a toy helicopter, too shy to look at me.

“How old is your grandson?”, I asked them.

“He isn’t our grandson – he’s our son”, the woman replied. “In my fifty-fourth year, Allah gave us a miracle.”

We kept talking. The boy relaxed when I took some photos of him, and showed me his helicopter. 

As I said goodbye to the family, he said, in Russian: “When you see Steven Seagal, say hi from me!” I promised I would.

Jonathan Campion is a writer, a translator from Russian and Ukrainian, and a book editor. He has travelled in Eurasia since 2005. Read about his work here, and contact him here.

More from Uzbekistan 

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