The plane, circling in the air, began to descend. After a while, a green forest became visible, giving a special beauty to the village, the fast-flowing river Akstafa, shrubs that grew taller than a person, and thick reeds. Life went on as usual. The shepherds grazing the herds of cattle, protecting themselves from the fiery rays of the sun, were having a sweet conversation among themselves under the trees. The reeds that grew in the river seemed to be asleep, the sheep and lambs, giving rest for respite, barely breathed in the shade.
The sun burned the whole circle with brilliant rays. Sometimes the birds, having caught fish, flew into the bushes, fed their chicks. Sparrows scurried about with joy, having landed on golden ears of wheat, caterpillars, hiding in nests under the ground, eagerly awaited the eclipse of the sun.
The village children swam passionately in the river. Their noise engulfed everything around. Either they played traps in the water, or they competed with each other to see who could hold out the longest without air. Suddenly the thunder of an airplane was heard.
The kids who had just shouted at the top became silent. Everyone looked in surprise at the plane flying very low. Indeed, the plane, descending, flew over them in the direction of the forest. Then, flying past the valley, leaving behind the gray hills, he headed inside the village.
Having worked for many years in various positions, considered one of the respected aksakals, the school director Hasan Muellim (teacher), without taking his eyes off the plane, was in thought. Suddenly he started up and said to Tarlan, who was standing next to his life companion:
– Maybe they are bringing Rahim ?! – A little closed, straightened his jacket, which had fallen from his shoulder, but the trembling of his hands intensified. Recovering himself, he continued. After all, a brother who was treated in Moscow said that if he did not recover, in his last breath, let them take him on an airplane to fly over his native village, to see the homeland to its fullest, where he enjoyed its water, where he will feel a pleasant breath.
Standing in silence, Tarlan, after the words of her husband, seemed to wake up from a dream, in longing and despondency, she realized that the tragedy had already happened. In my heart I felt that grief was approaching, and not a joyful sight. So, a scientist familiar to all with his discoveries in the field of medicine, a wonderful person who does not spare knowledge and skills in the name of the people, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor Rahim Abbas oglu Yusifov, who loves people more than his life, leaves the world in which he lived and whom he loves. His healing hands gave life to many patients, healed them. And such a person can die ?!
Tarlan wanted to forget these disturbing thoughts in her head, but could not. As if the event that I feared will happen. At this time, Hasan, too, was with disturbing dreams. He was stunned by the news of the painful suffering of his younger brother with cancer, but now Hasan was tormented by a feeling of fear and anxiety. Internally, he seemed to be on fire, his head was torn from the body. My throat was as if rubbed with hot pepper, I was breathing with difficulty. The wounds of the Second World War ached, the trembling of hands and feet did not stop. Rahim had not yet turned fifty, his heart was tormented by the ingratitude of his wife and children.
“I was expecting Rahim’s return recovered, Tarlan,” Hasan said and looked at his wife.
Then, condemning to myself:
-No! My heart tells me that this is not good. Probably, our son Elchin with his uncle is flying over his native village to fulfill his uncle’s last dreams. Let him look at the landscape of his native nature, – he said and could not stand it, went inside. The youngest son Yusif, supporting his father with his hand, took him to the bed and instructed:
– Don’t worry, dad! Maybe some plane has arrived and will fly away. My uncle was treated by prominent Moscow scientists, probably this will help him. With God’s help, my uncle will return safe and sound to Baku, and then to the village.
The father with sadness in his heart, caressing his son’s head, plunged into thought and said nothing.
A pair of eyes sadly looked down from the plane. Lying in bed in a helpless state, anticipating his death in advance, resting his elbow on the pillow, nevertheless with some hope he examined the forest, river, valleys and hills, dusty roads, paths, reeds, admired the landscape to his heart’s content.
destroyed a small bridge, to create a new bridge, people were forced to act in the village in a different way. Unwittingly, the eyes paused on the line of natural gas, which stretched into the village through the river through pipes. I remembered that he himself drew this line to the village. Having raised this issue before the relevant authorities, he achieved a successful solution to it.
Residents of the village, using gas, with respect and gratitude remembered the professor, seeing him, people expressed gratitude. At that moment the thought came to him – to create a bridge in the village is a very important matter. If I stand on my feet, I will achieve a solution to this question, too, he thought.
He also recalled the day when he almost drowned in the river. He was six years old. The brothers Hasan and Nariman, friends Hamid, Majid, Sabir, Afik were also nearby. In a deeper place of the river Agstafa, called “dakhna”, they swam, and then lying on the sandy bank, they took the sun’s rays. He wanted to swim in the river. With a splash he dived into the water. Suddenly I felt that I had hit a twist. The water drowned him, no matter how hard he tried, he could not save himself.
His hands no longer listened to his will, water was making its way into his mouth. It is good that Sabir saw him in time and quickly rushed to the aid of the drowning man. Grabbing his hands, he lifted him up, somehow pulled him to the shore. Lying face down on the sand, water flowed from his mouth. Upon returning home, Father Abbas scolded him severely. Instructed not a step further to the water. His gaze was presented with a pleasant image of his father’s face, his friendly eyes. As true as his instructions were, a lot of his father’s labor in raising him. Always full of a call to science and knowledge, advice that nurtured the will to overcome any difficulties, endurance and patience inherited from his father, supported him in a short and meaningful life. He did not lose heart in front of difficulties, connected learning with medicine, deeply observed the properties of plants.
As a result of research, having repeatedly tested the experiments carried out in this area by the famous physician Ali Ali Ibn Sina and other thinkers, he introduced many innovations into science.
Mother, Vasduha, was a very benevolent, meek person. The middle brother died in the war, received black news about him. The last letter from Mezachim was received from distant Estonia, and there was only one expression: “Here blood is shed like water.”
After that, there was no news from him. When they received the black news, the mother did not want to believe it. The news of the death of his son, who left his education at the Agricultural College unfinished, and went to the front, seemed to break the camp and soul of his mother.
Then it was 1942 and Rahim was eleven years old. Rahim heard the black news on the same day, this bitter truth remained in his memory as a concept that has no end. He carried in himself, in his heart, like a carved black stone, the news of the loss of his brother.
His older brother Hasan received higher education. Although he entered the Faculty of Oriental Studies of the University, a year later he continued his education at the Faculty of History. He graduated from a higher educational institution with a diploma with distinction. At first he worked as a teacher in a rural school, then as chairman of a collective farm, chairman of a village council, instructor in a district party committee, and director of a school. Hasan had authority in the village … his hospitality, honor and respect for his brother made Rahim very happy, a sense of pride filled his soul. When he met his brother, he said: “Let there be bread and water of this land for future use.” Because you are trying with honor and conscience for the people around you. For good actions, the head is raised, the heart is calm. Hearing good words about you, my heart becomes a mountain, I am proud of you.
Hasan’s nine children all received higher education and worked in various areas of life. A son named Elchin, a daughter named Bakia graduated from the medical institute and, like an uncle, worked as a doctor. Elchin, at the same time as a candidate of medical sciences, continued the activities of scholarship, was engaged in research in the field of science. He took his uncle to Moscow and arranged for him in a well-known clinic. Metropolitan doctors met with him, did everything to treat a cancerous tumor with harmful properties. However, that this treatment was not beneficial, he was not told anything about it, but he himself felt and understood it. After all, he was a doctor who, even by sight, determined the disease. Was it difficult to determine what kind of tumor in the gums ?! But the doctors did not say anything about it.
After that, how could you talk about progressing for the better? They only talked about going and having a rest in the village in the bosom of nature. Nice to breathe in the fresh air. Only after that it will be possible to talk about progress in a good direction. And in the present, there were only 2-3 days left until the end of life.
He could no longer speak, the pain of the tumour greatly tormented him, bothered him. If I needed to say something, I asked for a pen and paper, wrote what I wanted.
The thought was spinning in my head: what great suffering is it not to be able to speak ?!
How wonderful it is to express feelings in words, turning them into a sentence, to take them out of the depths of the heart, to be relieved by this, to be saved from the weight of words. This means that the heart can rest while voicing thoughts. Until the farmer has harvested the crop, the bricklayer has not completed the house, the woman has not given birth to a child, everything is restless. …
Until the patient knows about the processes taking place in the inner world, he is calm, but as soon as he finds out, then he falls into pessimism, becomes discouraged, becomes a prisoner of thoughts. Only a certain part, having gained strength, will, as much as possible so much fighting death. Its endurance, endurance delights others.
I remembered my favorite Arabic expression: “Patience is everywhere a medicine, but there is no medicine for patience.”
Did he repeatedly, giving hope to the seriously ill, use these words a little ?! Didn’t he know that the first thing for a doctor is to create in the patient a feeling of faith and hope for recovery. Isn’t faith life itself ?!
The elbow could not bear the weight. He leaned his head against the pillow, beckoned his waiting nephew, asked for a pen and paper. Elchin gave him what the doctor wanted. The professor asked for the last time to fly over the Motherland, which he will no longer see. The pilots respected the doctor’s wishes, lifted the plane high above the hills, circling over the mountains, headed towards the forest. Then, flying over the river, conditions were created so that the professor could see the landscape again. The professor was not satiated, looking proudly, and looking at everything with joy and was very happy.
He no longer worried that his children and his wife Maryam would be indifferent to him for going home without profit. Formerly poor, but now living in wealth, this greedy woman has always valued money higher.
Children who did not see difficulties lived in wealth. So their father’s illness, melancholy, did not bother them. The hospital was not interested in where their father was. Maryam looked down at her husband’s relatives. One day Hasan knocked on his brother’s door, and Marya, seeing that he had arrived with gifts, which she found out, looking through the peephole, opened the door. Feeling an unfriendly attitude towards his brother’s relatives, Hasan never set foot there again.
The doctor was already at the height of his fame. This man with a simple soul has helped people more than once …
These pleasant feelings inspired him, he was content with dreams. He recalled the television program “Health”, a scientific and public program, which he created, where he was the presenter. With the help of ether, he turned to the people, talking about the medicinal value of plants, about diseases and their prevention, indicated the ways of treatment.
Working as the head of the department at the medical university, he was friendly with others, lectured to students about medical science. The restless, caring days passed before his eyes, like a ribbon, when he treated patients in the Semashko hospital. He knew only that he did not live simply. Lived a clean life, with an open forehead, did no harm to anyone. From these inspired feelings I considered myself happy, I was glad.
The doctor quite enjoyed the beauty of the nature of his native land. Delight splashed out of shining eyes. Carried away by the thoughts of meeting with relatives, his face was with a smile.
As if he himself was flying in the sky, fluttering his wings. The beautiful flowers of the meadows gave rise to pleasant feelings in him. He felt the sad singing of nightingales.
Already full of joy eyes were gradually closed, hands on chest, began to fly to dreams with sails with a pleasant smile.
People surrounded the plane that had descended to the ground.
Ali Jafar oglu (Aliyev)
Translated from Russian into English by
Marjeta Shatro Rrapaj, Albania
Ali Jafar oglu is a Presidential scholarship holder of the Republic of Azerbaijan and a member of the Union of Writers of Azerbaijan, a leading advisor works at Akstafa District Education Department. E-mail: Ali.email@example.com