Today I got a call from a relative, living in Kyzylorda region.
She has a disabled husband, three children, she has several jobs, doing her best to make both ends meet.
She said she needed help, her voice pleading.
‘What happened?’ I asked her.
– My elder daughter is getting married. We need to have a wedding, and a proper one, the way it should be.
– So how much is it to have a wedding now?
– One million tenge.
– A million?!
– Well, yeah. A nice cafe, two hundred guests. The whole street is neighbors and relatives. I took as much as I could from my friends. But this is not enough. I wanted to take a loan from the bank, but I did not pay back the previous one for TV and furniture. Got rejected. Now I don’t just ask everyone to give me the money, I want to borrow it. At interest.
– So how long will it take you to pay back the loan?
– Well, I hope to get some part as wedding gifts. As for the rest, I think, I will pay off for, like, five years.
– So you’re saying that in order to let two hundred people eat beshbarmak, drink vodka and toast you, you are going to slave away at your three jobs?
– Why, of course!
– It seems to me, in your position your daughter should just register and that’s it. Or have a modest wedding for twenty–thirty guests.
– Are you kidding?! Do you want me to disgrace myself in front of the entire district? How will I look the people in the eyes?
– The people will understand.
– Times are hard for everybody, and everybody is getting by. All people having weddings. I myself go to all of them. How can I not invite them now?
– It’s some kind of arms race! Or rather, a show off contest! You are dusting each other’s eyes, try to outdo your neighbor in the wedding splendor, thus falling under sway. Who needs this? What does your daughter say?
– Well, she wants everything the way all people have. Are we worse than them?
– This is crazy!
– Listen. If you can help – do so. If you don’t want to, just tell me. Why are you reading morals here? – the relative flared and hung up.
The busy tone…