დოკუმენტური ფილმი
"A person sacrificed to traditions found shelter in books"
Phatman sews a blanket for a neighbor. She starts attaching a thread from the center and takes it slowly towards the edges to fix equally distributed wool. Advantage of such method of sewing a blanket has been proved over years.

Phatman Gobadze:

I have done a few, however they did not come out good, so I tried again. When I have no work to do in the field or yard, I help my neighbors, all of them.

She learned embroidery when she had to. She was 16 when she first embroidered a so called “pathway” – something every single young girl had to decorate her room with, using a thread torn from a sweater. That way she fulfilled her obligation towards traditions and protested against early marriage of her peers with shining colors.

Girls of my generation were embroidering them by all means, they even competed with each other in who would do more and who was better at craft.

Girls of Phatman’s generation were left without education. Obedience was their primary obligation. That is what Phatman could never live with.

I was born 20 years earlier – that is the distinction. I have been thinking the same way the youth currently do. One should not insult anyone, but it’s not right to force people to adjust to some traditions. I did not like many traditions and always protested against them.

She had to pay tribute to traditions at the age of 18. Per her family’s decision, she married a man she met only once before.

I just kept silent. And today it hurts me so much that I kept silent at that time. The fact that I had to quit studies was such a tragedy for me that it did not matter to me who I had to marry per others’ will. After I found out that he loved books, I made a decision.

Phatman’s husband was drafted to the army three days after their marriage and the girl was left in a completely unknown family.

You live in a different family, in an absolutely different environment, not even the books are there. My father felt very bad. He felt even worse than me when I had to marry and be sacrificed to that tradition. My father could not live with that. He fell sick on my wedding day. I remember his sad eyes when he left me here and walked away.

The journalist: Then why did he give his consent to your wedding?

Traditions! They did not know the meaning of this religion, what it required from people; they acted according to any idea that came to some old men’s mind. The religion never required to oppress anybody or force him/her, even a wife, into doing something.
The dress style of married Phatman has changed. The 18 year old girl had to wear a headscarf along with the wedding ring, per Muslim tradition.
Guram Bolkvadze:
When we first brought her home, then there was my sister-in-law living with us and I told Phatman to dress and wear a headscarf as my sister-in-law did. It does not look good when two ladies leave the home in different dress styles, there is something wrong with that in the eyes of the public.

Phatman:

They put the headscarf on my head, but I still could not wear it as they did, and I moved it to the back of my head, it was awful. I have been covering my head for two years, then Guram came back from the army and we decided to set our rules. We are the family and we should decide on our own what to do and how.

Lack of books was the most painful loss in the new environment. The family never recognized the need of educating married women.

The way of their thinking was terrible. The woman should be good at cleaning, be obedient to her husband and mother-in-law. I do not know how to say it, a daughter-in-law is perceived as a working donkey. I cannot say what this meant to me, it was more than a shock. What did change? The people cannot be ruled as marionettes. Some of them, young people, would protest by all means. They realized that it could not continue this way.

Phatman hoped that the books would return to her life along with her husband. Addiction to reading was the only thing which the couple shared. So it happened, Guram would come back from the city with the most valuable gift –books.
She was more attached to books. But we never quarreled over her reading instead of working in the stable. I can do everything from milking a cow to making cheese. So I never bothered my wife for that matter when I had free time. A person sets their own rules for his/her family. It is different outside the family though. Public opinion dominates there. Some regard it as a sin, some as an unpleasant fact – say what? A woman sits at home and a man works in the field?! It’s unheard of!

It was her mom who developed her fascination with books. From childhood, she used to read everything she would come across – be it scientific books or fiction. Even now she goes through the Bible or Muslim literature, interchanging.
I love detective novels as well as adventure novels. I also like scientific books, encyclopedias. To be more precise, I love everything. Sometimes I am angry with myself – where does this affection come from? Sometimes I think that maybe I am like the book worm Prinka from Javakhishvili’s “Jakho’s Aliens” and often ask myself that question. When I talk to people with higher education they are surprised how I know so much with my just nine-years of schooling.
She had to read secretly. People in the village used to consider household work skills far more important for single girls. This is something that differentiated her from her peers.

She must have plenty of free time, that’s why she reads books, would it not be better for her to do some work at home? – this is something I tried to avoid. I used to pay attention to public opinion, now I do not care anymore. The main thing is to find what to read, and then read what I need and spend my free time on reading and not on chatting with somebody.

43 year old Phatman manages to do domestic chores, look after cattle, collect crops and help men in gathering hay. Despite a tiresome day spent working in the village, in the evening she returns to the books stored on her shelf.
It is 1990-ies, I did not have a candle and my kerosene lamp went off. I looked out and saw a moon, a beautiful one. I read a book by the light of a moon. My first and biggest dream was to become a librarian to be able to read plenty of books.
The journalist: So this dream did not come true..

Phatman: No, it did not.

Phatman, fond of detective novels, dreamed of being an investigator. The dream was so strong that she managed to inspire one of her children to pursue the profession. Vardo became a lawyer.
When Vardo was born, both I and my husband knew that our child should study, no matter what it would cost us. When she used to tell me her stories, I was laughing quietly. God, what did I do wrong? How come she thinks exactly the same way I do, is it my crime? Why does she think that way? I still have that feeling.

Vardo Bolkvadze:

We, the girls, were more motivated to study, we wanted to be more independent. We all wanted to change our environment for some reason through our knowledge and I hope our generation will succeed.
Unlike her mother, Vardo chose her life partner herself. Tengiz is from the mountainous region of Adjara. They met at Samtskhe-Javakheti State University. The freshman Vardo attracted attention of the boy from Khulo the very first day of studies.

Many people would say – bring her home, it is weird to see a girl studying. Or something like this – get her married so as she has a patron. Such stupid words they said about my girl. She is a person, is an adult, is an individual. What do you want for yourself? Maybe it is bad for you, but it is your calling.

Vardo spends summer in her native village Mokhe together with the two year old Dimitri. She wants to pursue Masters level studies and start a job in the legal field.

My husband is never against studying. However, he is selective when it comes to jobs, there are some he finds suitable for me and some – that he does not approve. For instance, I was told that I should have studied to become a teacher. You would spend half of the day at home. That stigma is still alive. I wished to go to the Police Academy very much but I felt that they would disapprove of that, so I tried to do fewer things that they disliked.
It is raining in Mokhe. Household work is postponed until the rain is over. She continues reading from the saved page. The worn out book lacks a cover and 15 pages.

She was a lonely old woman and her children took her home. I had to say good bye and went to see her. She saw how I lit up when I saw books; she immediately realized what I wished at that moment. Take this book and read it. It is very life-like. Absolutely every person would find himself/herself in it. I have found many things in common with myself.

In heroes of “Roman Tales” by Alberto Moravia she would recognize, along with her own self, neighbors, artists, adulterers, thieves, and losers. When she is done reading, she would tell her husband that the book represents the chronicle of human beings from the disadvantaged groups.
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