Tuesday, 17 March 2009

There is a f***** truck in front!

"I want to live like common people,
I want to do whatever common people do,
I want to sleep with common people,
I want to sleep with common people,
like you."

Pulp, “Common People”

Sorry, did I just use the F word? That is just too embarrassing. I hope none of my decent friends heard me!

I live in a wealthy commuter village. I learnt that concept in my stupid business school. Don’t ask me about that part, it was most probably a waste of time. Oh well, at least I know what to call this place. The majority of mothers stay at home with children, and husbands work for banks. Children are beautifully dressed, and are very cute. I don’t remember Azeri children looking this angelic. Whether it is the blond hair, or the Boden clothes but they definitely look like they just came off those old-fashioned postcards here.

I am well aware that I might appear snobbish in this posting. And being snobbish is not cool and is socially unacceptable. Also, more importantly, I am a Scary Azeri. How dare I be snobbish around here! That will annoy some properly snobbish people, who will think to themselves: - Look at her! She came out of some weird 3rd world country, and she is acting all snobbish! Ha! Azeri Master Race, my arse!- they will think.

And yet….…

About Chushkas.

I used to think in my younger days that if I leave Baku I will not suffer from chushkas around me. But of course, I was wrong. Because, such is a reality of life: Chushkas are everywhere.
Called by different names, but meaning practically the same. Rednecks or trailer trash in the States.. Common people here. Plebei in Russia. Chushkas in Azerbaijan.
I don’t know where the word originated from. I once heard it meant a pig in Ukrainian. However, having checked with my Ukrainian friend, I discovered it might not be the case.
Wherever it comes from, it is not an Azeri word. But we like borrowing words from all over the world, sticking Azeri-sounding endings and claiming them to be authentically ours.

Don’t bother googling it either, as some really weird stuff comes up.
And I have to say- I have a very strong dislike of these guys.

Back home, male chushkas drove me mad all my younger years. They are aggressive and bold. They come to the city and attempt to impose their own rules. They harass the city girls. They are ignorant and backwards in so many ways, it is frightening.
They spit on pavements, right under your pretty summer sandals. They stick chewing gum all over bus seats. They whistle behind you as you walk proudly by, and could even quickly grab your jopa and disappear in the busy crowd of similar- looking Azeri guys. Well before you know whose hand it was. Basically, not a pleasant experience. Unless, of course having your a*** grabbed by some horny local youth is your thing.

When I moved to the UK, I first thought I got rid of chushkas forever.

At the very beginning, everyone here seemed quite civilised. And there are some pretty civilised rules, like no dog poo on pavements. And you never notice anyone not picking it up. Whenever I see a nice old English lady walking her dog, she looks pretty innocent to me. But guess what, there is still dog crap everywhere.

So…time passed. And I have developed a strong dislike of the British chushkas now. I am quite fortunate I can live in this nice commuter village, and raise my child here. We don’t have as many chushkas here as somewhere else within the country. But yet, they infiltrate. Everywhere, like cockroaches, they creep into nice neighbourhoods and walk around proudly, shouting and swearing, spitting, drinking and chushkiying around, basically.

But I am still fascinated by what exactly makes them into what they are.
I mean, what exposes them so fast? Is it their clothes? Their manners? The constant chewing of a gum with their lower lip dangling in a relaxed fashion? Shouting at their badly behaved children? Tracksuit bottoms?

But hold on a minute! Let’s just analyse this.

I love chewing gum. And a sugar free version is good for my teeth.
My child can be naughty. And trust me, so can her posh friends.
I can (very rarely, of course!) raise my voice too.
So the question is: Does this make me a chushka? Or the fact I occasionally enjoy a dinner on my lap in front of the TV? And guess what. I might swear every now and again.

The last time I swore despite the fact my three year old was in the back of the car, was a few months ago. I was driving, and my visiting mom was in the front seat. The child was humming a song in the back. I felt peaceful and happy as was on my way to Costco. At a large and busy roundabout, an enormous truck was maneuvering and blocking my view. I sat patiently, waiting. And all of a sudden, I heard this car beeping me from behind.

I mean, come on! There is a f***** truck in front of me! Which is precisely what came out of my mouth, before I could control myself.

My child, in my unbiased opinion, is quite bright. It was obvious from her confident manner that she had clearly heard the word before:

- What did you just say, mummy?- she asked
- Nothing
- You said f*****ing truck?
- No- I said- not at all….I…..
And my mother came to the rescue:

- Mummy said sparkling, sweetie. A sparkling truck! Did you not see it???


  1. Can we have a picture of a "chushka" for this blog post? (Love your drawings!)

  2. I am chushka! I yell at my poor 6-year old way too much and I swear way too often too. Thank you for posting this... makes you think.

    Once I was driving in alittle French town when a permed frail Babushka at the wheel of some old 1hp didn't stop at the Stop sign and missed me by a centimeter. I yelled: "OLD B..ch" and one minute later realized how bad it was to use this word in front of my 4-year old. I said: look, what I have done is wrong, you should not call people names even if they deserve. My blond angel replied: Mummy, don't worry, you could have called her much worse than that." "How" - I asked, embarassed. "Old stinky" is much worse" - he said

  3. Good to know that it isn't a pecularly British phenomenon. I just want to know this about them: "When did sports wear become leisure wear?"

  4. love your blogs! keep on writing them!

    ''chushkas are everywhere''


  5. I know what you mean...i came to U.K for my higher education to escape the Chushkas of my town in India....

    But of course they are everywhere ...i have learnt not bother and co-exist with them.