Esma sees jasmine vines, but Karagöz focuses on Coca-Cola consumption

When I last left you, I had just gotten word from the U.S. that a trip home as soon as possible was warranted – as my Father was being admitted to hospice care.

At that time, there had been some confusion amongst the puppets about whether it was time to begin stirring the irmik helvası, a sweet semolina dessert traditionally served after the burial of a loved one.  After we got the puppets sorted, we started them on their packing preparations for their return to, as they put it, “the new world ruled by the Sultan of Nutcrackers.”  After all, the puppets mentally reside in both present-day Turkey and the United States (in my head) as well as in their parallel universe of a 14th Century Ottoman Sultan‘s court.  As the packing party commenced, we headed downtown in a taxi, to find a way to get home as soon as possible.

 As I waited outside of the Turkish Airlines ticket office in Taksim Square to change our tickets for an earlier date, I barely noticed the hot white light around me, as strong as the foot traffic of Taksim Square was thick.  I was lost in (mental) space, and could only hear Esma the hippie puppet narrate what was in front of me – she had honed in on the jasmine vine in our line of sight.  As she extolled the virtues of this ancient and much-praised vine, Karagöz the oppositional trickster puppet, as usual, was honing in on the potential for caffeine and sugar locked in the Coca-Cola vending machine…Truth be told, I could have used some caffeine to lift me out of my funk…

Concerned for my well-being, both Esma and Karagöz cocked their heads my way, unclear about what to do with the blue milky funk surrounding all aspects of my presence.  In order to enliven me, they decided to engage in a puppet battle – just another in the unending skirmish of the very same in my overworked brain.  Those puppets, so different in character, but so similar in camel leather construction, began to duke it out.

Placing an uncharacteristically impatient hand on her hip, Esma turned to Karagöz with a superior air masquerading as mellow “Karagöz, we must, you see, focus on what is LOVELY about the natural world that remains here in this ancient city – we must applaud and if nothing else just NOTICE the ancient architecture and plantings here!”

Snorting with the fury of a cat too long on a hot tar roof, Karagöz spoke through back flips from the side of his mouth “You are a hopeless romantic – look at how this city has been decimated by modernity – we need to forget nature, forget trees, forget crumbling architecture from times past, spit on Mimar Sinan‘s grave and move along with the consumption of Coca-Cola!  Red and white everywhere – and I do not mean the Turkish flag!”

Back and forth they went, mirroring, I am pretty sure, the types of more mellow discussions that M. and I have about my love of the ancient bits to be noticed in the city of his youth – and of the decimation of that same city in a string of Western-style box stores and pizza joints.

As I heard our number being called, I followed M. into the majestically modern rounded-cement office space, trying not to trip up the steps as my two puppet accompanist of the day were engaged in a red and white tug of war that was producing an increasingly dizzy swarm of jasmine blossom remnants and Coca-Cola drops the harder they pulled.  I let the battle play out in my mind without analysis or stop attempt – and commenced observing M. bargain for the change in our tickets.

We would be on the way home to see my Dad soon.

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This entry was posted in A Karagöz puppet battle, Family Challenges, Visits from the Karagöz puppets and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Esma sees jasmine vines, but Karagöz focuses on Coca-Cola consumption

  1. Alan says:

    . . a journey into certain uncertainty.

  2. E. says:

    Indeed it was. Akin to the uncertain journey that the future of the city of Istanbul also faces given the demands (rapes and pillages) of globalization, I suppose!

  3. Pingback: Death in America, Death in Turkey: The Karagöz puppets work on cultural awareness | Slowly-by-Slowly

  4. Pingback: The puppets get worried, up Turkish tea infusions | Slowly-by-Slowly

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