Sunday, 11 March 2012

Sifr means zero. I know that.

A while ago, back in the UK, i sat at the table with my husband, listening to him telling me about this local guy who got stuck on M25 because he ran out of petrol. Ha-ha-ha! I said. How stupid does one have to be, really?

Well, i dont really want to know the answer, because today, i managed to get stuck right in the middle of a very busy junction.

Back in the UK i drove a malenkiy Skoda fabia. In Qatar, everyone who has any sense buys as big of a car as she or he can afford. Qataris, as i have noticed, are addicted to Land Cruisers. So, i figured, that they must know what works best here, and chose a Prado- a baby Land Cruiser.

I have to say, i love my baby Prado as if she were my third child. I sing her songs and say goodnight to her. Sometimes, walking past the window, i glance out to see what she is up to. So, i still am in shock that i could have neglected her so badly. In the middle of a very busy junction, fortunately at the traffic lights, we got stuck. The car refused to move. I panicked, drivers behind me got annoyed...and only after a few helpless attempts to start the engine did i realize that there was no petrol in my baby. None.

You see, my excuse is that my old car, small as it might be, was intelligent enough to beep at me when she was running out of petrol. She would let out this unmissable, disturbing kind of noise that never failed to capture my attention. Toyota, however, is not designed that way. She never made any warning noise or flashed any warning light. Husband suggested that the problem is not that Toyota is not intelligent enough but that it might be designed for intelligent people.

He tried to scare me. The police will take away your license! They will probably fine you now! But, nothing like that happened. In fact, i have to admit, Doha road police were nice. It took them less than five minutes to arrive, and they were not even annoyed with me. Their English was not very good, and they took turns to figure out what the problem was. Very embarrassing, i tried to explain. Ran out of petrol. No petrol!

But the policemen just could not imagine anyone could be that stupid. They kept looking for a more respectable explanation to me sitting in he middle of the junction causing chaos.

Fnally, one of them laughed and used the word that sounded familiar to me (a lot of arabic words actually are the same in azeri) Ha! He said. Sifr petrol! Sifr!
Yes, yes! I shouted excitedly. Sifr petrol! Zero! Sifr!

And then, in the middle of the chaos, an even bigger car appeared at our side and Husband, like a knight in a shining armour came to rescue me. He apologized for allowing his mentally challenged wife out of the house, and went off to get me some petrol.

Cooped with the baby screaming all the way home, my older child bruising her elbow later in the afternoon, and me dripping pineapple juice from the box all over just washed floors....my day simply could not have gotten much better.

18 comments:

  1. Well, at least you had a knight in shining armor to do the rescue. If I were in a situation like that, I'd have to manage by myself how to get out of it.
    :D

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  2. What can I say, I loved reading this, but I apologize because I understand what an ordeal it was for you. Of course we have all been in embarrassing situations like this one.

    I've often noticed that once the day starts going in the wrong direction, it just keeps going and going...

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  3. I don't understand how it is possible to keep on bloging about cars and no-petrol situation when your father passed away only 6 days ago (according to your previous message). You might say that your family relations are none of my business. But you have bloged about it. I felt sorry for you and your family while reading your previous touching post, but three days later, a post about "baby Prado"? Haven't you gone to Baku?

    Sometimes silence is really golden.

    Allah Sizin ataniza rehmet elesin.
    Leyla

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    Replies
    1. Leyla,
      To be honest, i was not going to blog about my father at all. I have not told anyone in the school or compound, because this is just the way i personally find it easier to deal with. Then i felt it was ok to write it down. But it is such a deep, internal pain if that makes sense, and it is not something you can measure in one week or 40days scilence or whatever you expected would be "appropriate" mourning period....it is going to stay inside me for a very very long time. So maybe it seems weird to you, i appreciate it. But writing about petrol distracts me. It is therapeutical. But hey, thanks for support.

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    2. I have lived in the US for almost 10 years now, and I can see that the ways that Azeri and American cultures deal with grief are very different. "The American way" may be similar to British one perhaps, I don't know. What I think, without going into too much detail, is that western cultures support a somewhat healthier (less self-destructive) way of dealing with grief than we did back home in Baku. I can see how it might seem "inappropriate" to some that Scary changed topics so 'drastically' but I also understand why she did it. If I were to sum up, western culture teaches you how to survive, pull yourself together and move on after a family tragedy, while in Azerbaijan you are supposed to refuse yourself any kind of pleasure, however modest, and immerse yourself in mourning.

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    3. awesome,brilliant answer!

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  4. Come on, I was not talking about an "appropriate mourning period". My comment was not about preserving "mourning" traditions and obeying some Azeri pattern of behaviour in such situations. Never meant it. There are irreplaceble people in everyone's life, like parents. Such losses stay with you forever. Exactly because of this, because of the scale of the tragedy of loosing a parent, because of what you have written in your previous post i haven't expected a new one about some funny incident with a car, written in your trademark humorous light style, only three days later. "But hey", it's your life, your blog and it makes you feel better....
    I don't you, i don't want to imply anything about your personality. I just follow your blog for some time and that is my reaction on it. So, nothing personal. As much "non-personal" as it can be in a personal blog.
    Take care,
    Leyla

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    Replies
    1. I understand, Leyla. As i said, i appreciate it seems very strange. But as i said, people deal with things like that very differently. I remember a few months ago,a friend of mine lost a young sibling. She seemed very cool about it! From the outside. I even commented to my mother how cool i thought she acted, connsidering the scale of the tragedy. But a couple of days ago, she emailed me about my dad. And she said things in that email, or started saying things that made me realize how she kept it all to herself. She started saying something and could not even finish, as she was at work and could not hold it together. Anyway, i am not here to prove the scale of my sadness. As i said, i understand it came across a bit too soon to sound so light-hearted. But also, remember that blogs are not THAT personal. There will always be things we add on, change and make sound however we want them to sound. Thats what we, writers wannabe, do. I dont share sadness very well with strangers. One posting is more than enough.

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  5. I remembered Scary's blog about her first western funeral experience. Heading is "First ever British funeral" writen in May, 2011. Quite cleverly written on the subject.

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  6. Thanks, shafag. Now you made me want to go and read it as i cant remember what i wrote.

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  7. I understand both sides, Leyla and Scary. Also want to add that, when you are a mother of a child in a very tender age and a baby, also a wife, also someone who is trying to settle in a new compound, you would do best to keep your sanity and bury your pain deep inside.

    It is a different matter for a single person, who has a luxiory of loudly expressed soul searching and psychoanalysis. You might have some argument with husband or whoever but when you go to your child's room you have to be happy as ever. All i am trying to say is, people greeve differently, some do without sucking daylight out of lives of people that are dear to them.

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  8. Not azeri,but Azerbaijani!!!

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    Replies
    1. I always thought both were okay to use? Anyway, i like azeri. Like in scary. Azeri. Rhymes better.

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  9. Scary, may I ask a very personal question, like what your real name is???

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  10. You know ,when i tell people about your blog i often say "She has a funny name i can't remember how to type" It is not that i think there is something wrong with "Nailya", it is just a very exotic name for my south american ears,just like "Priscila" must be for you . :)

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    1. :) queen of the desert? Not that exotic. Pretty cool though.

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  11. As for me being an Azeri is having a Prado. Kind of national symbol at individual level:) i've even heard the expression "ummumilli" - national Prado. Vehicle of flower sellers who all of a sudden earned money and this freaked them out. I even wonder whether they have other dreams. )) however, nice car. Hope you enjoy it.

    All the best,
    Miss Chernobyl

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