Smell of paradise

Diloram-IskhokovaThe day of the 12th of November 2015 was an unforgettable day. It was the day, we had waited for 21 years, when Murod Juraev was freed. I heard his getting out of jail 2 days for that, but I spent those subsequent two days in great doubts. I could not to go to Chirchik that morning. However, after lunch, I could see him at the “Dustlik” market. If Murod’s spouse Kholbika had not brought him to me, it would have been difficult to recognise him. Murod aka had never been with any flesh: he had always been slim and thin. But now, I could not use the word “thin” to the man standing opposite to me. He had lost all his teeth. I saw an old man with some skin covered his bones. We embraced in silence and I could not help crying. Murod aka’s spouse also cried with us. Then three of us consoled each other. We spent maximum 5-10 minutes asking about health, state of affairs at home and then I saw them off and went back home myself. I used to telephone Murod aka’s wife once or twice a week to ask about the state of affairs while he had to stay in jail. Now, I ring them once a month. Like everybody else, I also have my own private affairs. Every day one has a different problem, a different issue, and simply temporal affairs. One day I had a phone call from Bakhodir from the US.

He said – “My dear sister, tomorrow, our brother Murod is said to go to Tashkent to take medical examinations and get some surgery treatment if required. Please, get him consulted by good doctors; take him to those doctors who you knowwell. I will cover all the costs”.

To be quite honest, I got shy in front of both Bakhodir and Murod aka. Staying in America, Bakhodir is aware of Murod aka getting his passport and was going to Tashkent, while I know nothing about this and am busy with trifles of life as usual. I immediately called Murod aka and asked to come directly to our house next morning. And when they came, we spent the whole night talking. I was constantly asking him questions. No matter how hard I tried not to mention the 21 years sufferings to Murod aka, our conversation had to get back to this issue again and again. Over these 21 years, every time when his spouse went to see him in jail, she would come back and call me at first instance. For the last few years, she would start from our house and would return to our house from the jail. Therefore, I was always aware of the condition of Murod aka. But I wanted to hear everything from first hand and I wanted him to tell me about the tortures applied to him in more detail. I wanted to hear from him the reason why they did not let him for the past 21 years. Murod aka refused to answer these questions, and told me that after some medical treatment, when he recovers a little, he wanted to write a book about 21 years he had spent in jail. I asked my brother, who did not want to talk about jail, a question about freedom:

– Brother Murod, it is now 4 months you have been free. What kind of changes have you noticed in Mubarak? Were you glad or sad when you saw your hometown?

– I got more sad than glad. There is no gas supplies, no water, no electricity. On top of this, there are no jobs to be taken. In addition, they are not paying me my pension.

The word “pension” opened my grief box as well. I told him that the district social protection department have not been paying my pension, because my documentation has allegedly been lost.

At this point, Kholbika, who was asleep a few steps away, woke up and said – “Are you both still awake?” and went back to sleep. This woman used to turn over all nights like she were on thorns, in quite anxiety all nights, deeply sighing at frequent awakening, now she could immediately fall asleep. And felt very glad for that. I wanted to tell her husband that she had suffered no less than him for the past 21 years. Especially, I wanted to tell him her condition during the first days after her trip to the jail: she would gaze into one point, sit for hours like that, and cry in silence… I wanted to tell him that for these 21 years his wife did not eat well, did not wear proper clothing and a little golden ring had been her utmost dream. But I said nothing. For all these years, sister Kholbika concealed all the troubles from her husband. Never told him her grieves and dreams. She always said to him the all was well. Now, brother Murod may have been told that “not everything was all right”.

We talked for some hours. We discussed the migrant problem in Europe all through to the smell of paradise from the bottom of the throats of our grandchildren. And it got to the point to tell the readers what brother Murod said and wanted me to tell the readers.

Below is quoted from what Murod Juraev said.

When I was in jail, especially during the first few years, I always used to ask my wife whether this or that man had called or not. I hoped that my friends and companions would call or drop in to see how my family were. I used to get disappointed when I learnt that they would not call even once a year. As the years passed, indifference replaced this disappointment and I stopped expecting any news about them.

But some people, who I never knew always asked the state of affairs of my family. Some young man Bakhodir Choriyev is now like a close family member to my family. He cared much about my family while I was away. I have never seen him before, and now we talk on the phone a lot. I find him a very brave and straightforward man. If he can get on with his political activities again, even if I cannot do anything, I hope to help him with some advice. While visiting me at jail, my wife would say that someone Tojiboeva telephoned, someone Abdurahmon had visited them, and she had met with some Surat Ikromov, some Ataeva had called, she had seen some ambassador. This would improve my mood and hope would return to my soul. I am very grateful to these people. When I got back home, I found and read hundreds of letters. I know nobody who had written to me. These are the people, who are not indifferent to human fates and human rights. There are scientists, writers, common people and even a Nobel Prize winner among them. I intent to find time, write to each of them, and express my gratitude for their support during our hard days. I thank everybody who fought for my freedom, who waited for and wished my being freed.”

On the following day, Murod aka went to a surgery treatment. The surgery operation was successful. Thank God, Murod’s health is much better now. He is not in Mubarak town, and probably is enjoying the smell of paradise from the bottom of the neck of his grandchildren.

Diloram Iskhakova.

Tashkent. Uzbekistan

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