THE DAY THE WORLD COLLAPSED The story
Translated by Alexandra Nadezhdina
To the victims of nuclear tests and ecological catastrophes.
THE BOOK IS THE MOST PATIENT TEACHER
There are three global tasks standing before the mankind today. They are: defence of peace, safeguarding spirituality and nature protection. These are the fundamental conditions for our further existence. Each of them is incomplete without another. The future of not only Kazakhstan but whole the world depends on these three elements.
We will be ever facing Hamlet’s question «To be or not to be» concerning tomorrow’s mankind, if we do not listen to the voice of prudence.
The technical development of the world has progressed leaps and bounds. Thereby the man became a spendthrift wasting natural resources. His creative energy is spent in vain, and he loses the ability to embrace the richest ocean of the culture and the thought, collected by the previous generations drop by drop.
Unfortunately, we are far from realising this fully. The intellectual and ideological vacuum leads people to avoiding reality and casts them down into the abyss of spiritual, moral and physical decadency.
The third millennium demands our pledge to establishing harmony at our common home – the Planet Earth.
The only meaning of the book is its pristine, lofty, sacred and exalted one which has served as man’s most powerful weapon in protecting culture and spirituality.
It is the book that brings knowledge and culture to the mankind.
The book keeps the mystery of the human race’s being.
The book is the fruit of human thought dowered with the breath of time and space.
The mankind has entrusted its sacred insights and soul revelations to the book. It is the book only that can teach marching ahead, avoiding cataclysms and climbing up the apogees of humanity.
The book is the most patient teacher.
It is the book only that can unmistakably teach us good from evil, truth from falsity.There is nothing dearer to an intellectual than the book!
The 200-volume Library of Magazine «AMANAT» published by Abay International Club is dedicated to the 10th Anniversary of the Independent Kazakstan. We are bequeathing our only and most complete will to the youth as the future of our country. It is the Book.
I do support this noble action of the Abay Club.
I am genuinely glad of this endeavour by Mr. Rollan Seisenbaev, a prominent writer, – the foundation of the Magazine «AMANAT» and 200-volume Library of the Magazine. I am sure that true patriots of the country will support and assist his aspirations to serve the culture and the spirituality of the Fatherland.
I wish the attentive and grateful reader to the new edition.
I congratulate Kazakstanis upon issuing the first volumes of the «AMANAT Magazine Library – Literature, Art, History, Philosophy, Education and Religions of the peoples of the world».Love the book, protect it, and be devoted to it.
The President of the Republic of Kazakstan
14 March 2001Astana
And then he heard a distant familiar voice.
«I can’t breathe… Son…»
He muttered in his sleep:
«Father, Father, don’t go away, Father. I beg you. I loved you so much. I love you so. We must talk. We have so much to talk about now.»
«Can you hear how our eternal land trembles, my son?»
«I can’t hear, I feel nothing… I live far from my native land; I live in Moscow. All 1 can see from my window are the serrated blocks of newly erected concrete buildings stretching to the horizon.»
«It heaves and shifts, it moans and weeps. Are you, the living, not aware of this?»
«Do you think the earth can weep?…»
«Have the living become totally deaf? The moans which tear at the depths of one’s soul, the weeping which rends the Universe, have they fallen on deaf ears? Once again atomic experiments are being carried out in your homeland! Once again a Satanic fire gnaws at the inner bowels of the earth! And the earth! The earth rages once more in search of mercy and protection. Have you forgotten how, many years ago, a hydrogen bomb was exploded in the Genghiz Hills?»
«I remember, Father, I remember… I can never forget that day of hell. My dreams are pervaded with the discordant, multi-voiced horror of that day. I wake up in the middle of the night in a sweat, with unseeing eyes…»
«Even now I often tremble at the sound of underground explosions! Suffering and pain! Suffering and pain! In the interests of science! In the interests of the national economy! One hundred and fifty kilotons! The atom! The atom!»
«Father,» I shouted. «Father, are you alive? Weren’t you buried in the old Kazakh cemetery near the pine forest on the steep bank of the Irtysh?»
Silence. Quiet. Nothingness.
IN THE INTERESTS OF SCIENCE.
IN THE INTERESTS OF THE NATIONAL ECONOMY.
TO DEVELOP MILITARY TECHNOLOGY.
In Semipalatinsk the earth trembled, the windows shattered and in a shepherd’s hut at the foot of the Genghiztau a young woman trembled in the pangs of birth. The child, a boy, did not wish to leave his mother’s womb, did not want to set foot in this turbulent, grinding world. More than its mother, the foetus seemed to sense what would be happening on the earth at the moment of his birth. The soundless, gaping mouth, the distorted face, the wild eyes intently followed the actions of the old neighbour who had taken charge of the birth – catching sight of this expression the old mid-wife gave a cry of surprise – just then, a two kilogram baby boy emerged onto the soft felt mat…
«The day when the world collapsed…» I muttered the long-forgotten but suddenly remembered lines from my childish poem and a misty, grey cloud concealed my father’s face and concealed his grave…
«Father, where are you?» I called hesitantly, but my voice disappeared into the threatening silence, a void enveloped my soul and with a shiver, I awoke.It was quiet… the only sound was the dripping of a tap somewhere in the-kitchen. I drew back the curtains and saw the twilight of a Moscow dawn, creeping in through the window.
This is called «jogging», running at a trot, «fleeing from a heart attack». I ran in the direction of Sokolniki Park. A tram noisily clattered by. It was damp, cold and the streets were empty. My head was like a lead weight, my legs like cotton wool… No, today I would not get anywhere. I found myself amongst some trees. I stopped and slowly began to sway doing my exercises. The listlessness and apathy I felt would not leave me even after a cold shower and a coffee as strong as coal-tar. Only when I sat down at my desk, did something begin to stir inside me – my fatigue disappeared and my thoughts and words became clear.
The sharp, long-distance call made me start. I picked up the receiver and heard a distant, familiar voice – the voice of my mother.
«Aman, esenbisin, balam?… Hello, son…»
I glanced at the clock. It was six in the morning. In Semipalatinsk it was already nine. Well, at least I wake up at the same time as my countrymen…
«Son, on the fourth of August it will be five years since your father’s death. But I’ve invited friends and relatives over on the day after. I think this way it will be more convenient for everybody.»
«OK, Mum, don’t worry, I’ll be there.»
«We’ll be expecting you, son… I hope I haven’t disturbed you, son. You’re probably as busy as always, aren’t you? Don’t overdo it, I beg you. Don’t forget that your father’s heart did not hold out, so do be careful, be careful…»
«Don’t worry, Mum, don’t worry, I hear you. I’m fine.»
I rang off; there was a short ring. I made a note on the desk calendar – 5th AUGUST, ANNIVERSARY OF FATHER’S DEATH. There was still one and a half weeks till the fifth. I sat down at the desk again, but of course, it was all gone. The words, as fluffy as cotton wool, would not rest on the white paper, and thoughts, what thoughts – where are they? I always breathe heavily, but today – what’s happening to me today?…
«It’s a bad day today,» I explained to myself.
It’s a bad day. I pushed aside the fountain-pen, crossed my hands and put my head on the table, on these hands of mine.
I closed my eyes.
«Father, if it is not given to the living to comprehend the pain of the earth, then how do the dead sense it?»
«The dead are wiser than you, the living…»
I moved forward. I wanted to hold my father for a while, but at that moment I sensed the yawning gulf between us – he in the other world and I in this one… I wanted so much to help him get out of the grave, that I reached out to him with both hands.«Be careful, you could fall and kill yourself,» warned my father who was wrapped up in a torn white shroud.