Category: Turkey

December 1st, 2003 by Ali Tandal

The hodja was talking with tremendous speed. He was sitting cross legged on a thin cushion, waving the upper part of his body to and fro in harmony with his words as he spoke.

His eyes were fixed on those of the six boys sitting in front of him in two rows, aged between eleven and fifteen, crossed legged as himself, on a worn out wool carpet two meters by six. The only window in the room near to the ceiling was covered with a thick cloth, and the damp patches on the white washed walls suggested that they were below the level of the pavement. All six of the pupils and the hodja wore similar outfits. A long robe covering the whole body; white shirt tightly buttoned up to the neck; baggy trousers; a turban girded on the head, and white socks. The shoes were left by the side of the cracked wooden door.

The long black beard of the hodja was stained with saliva from his foaming mouth which had gushed words nonstop for the last fifteen minutes. The day’s subject was impious women whose sins were enough to get them boiled in the hot waters of hell’s cauldron in the after life. “They show their hair to you, they walk around with bare legs, they call you to sin. The Devil boils the cauldron, the Devil orders them, the Devil orders them, the Devil orders them, to drag you in, to drag you in, to drag you in….”

The door creaked open, letting in the tall figure of a man. The hodja paused suddenly and jumped to his feet in respect. The six turbaned heads turned around to see the new comer. The man picked up a black robe which was hanging from a peg on the wall beside the door. It matched the size of his big body and he wore it over his expensive navy blue suit decorated with a red silk necktie, then he fished out a green scull cap from its pocket and covered his bald head. He stroked his short trimmed white beard as he walked towards the hodja, his penetrating black eyes scanning the young boys. Read more of this article »

Posted in Fiction, Turkey