whose son are you anyway?

some 12 years ago, i had my appendix removed. in the best albanian custom it took me one month to recover, during which all my cousins, friends, their cats and gerbils came to visit and offer me wishes for a fast recovery. what i remember best is coming home from the doctor’s visit, to find a group of high school friends, all boys, waiting for my return. i remember like it was today, all five of them sitting on the long and uncomfortable sofa, my grandmother on the other side asking the famous question: “whose son are you, anyway?”

my grandmother was a formidable woman. at the time she was still in full swing, the matriach of a four sons who idolized her, for daughters-in-law who gave her respect, two daughters and their loving husbands and a slew of grandchildren, nephews, nieces, cousins, neighbours who all fell over each-other trying to show her favors. I felt pity for my friends, cowering behind the handmade figurines and trying to be one with the rug she’d made herself. oh no inquisition had nothing on my grandmother. each one of them gave their full name, their family name, their father’s name, the region of their origin and possibly the shoe size although i never heard it. my grandmother was relentless in her pursuit and would stop only once she’d made a connection with their family and somehow placed their origins on the social map she had etched in her head.

it was interesting to hear my friends answer. fascinated, i learned things i never knew about them, even if we had been through 4 years of high school and hung out together even through college. yet, here they were, reduced into little beads in the family string, colored the same, textured the same, of the same size an shape as their mommies and daddies before them, their children already taking shape after them. i think new understanding about my unjustified self-assurance and unexpected mule-ness came into their eyes, as well as a glimpse of what i’d look like when i was 72. not too bad, i always thought. i knew i’d be a beautiful old woman, just by looking at my grandmother.

i found myself doing the same thing at a cafe’ two weeks ago. i asked and asked true grandmother style, and came to my own conclusions about the people sitting next to me and in front of me. knowing their roots helped me to know them, although i am not sure what good it did in the long run. as i asked, they also asked, and came to their own conclusions. sadly, none of us was able to raise above their conclusions and try to refind the spark that had brought us together in the first place. possibly, i was willing to do that. possibly they were not willing to do that.

which is why my dear homeland has not changed and will not change, for all those 50 years of dictature, and 15 years of tragicomedy that followed, topped by two years of returning to our respective roots. the only hope i hang on to right now, is the fact that my roots are healthy, and that i know they will bear me, no matter how low i fall or how high i grow. the rest is just foliage.

14 thoughts on “whose son are you anyway?

  1. “whose son are you, anyway”?? – hehehe this is typical albanian and it won’t change no matter how many years will pass by. even here in nyc i find people asking me about my origins, where i come from, who am i related, etc etc.

  2. OK, po ta kthej ne shqip kete rradhe. Qendrimi ne memedhe te paska bere mire edhe per cilesine e te shkruarit. Kjo eshte pjese e shkeqyer, blete. Llukan / Blendi, pjese e shkelqyer per te Peshku!

    I kujt je ti mor djale

    A ka pyetje me lapidar se kjo.

    Mund ti afrohet vetem:

    Po nga te kemi?

    Shoqeri e mbyllur, tribale, me fise (soj, dere e madhe etj) me paragjykime rajonale (gjirokastritet kurrnace, leberit hajdute, skraparllinjte & kolonjaret mendjemedhenj) etj etj.

    Meqe ra llafi ketu: I premtova Edrusit diku qe do ti tregoja nje histori me Lazarat qe e kam degjuar kur isha femije. E tregonte nje minoritar komshi me emrin Vasillaq, burre i mire, por qe edhe ai me “lakra demografike”. Tregonte per nje coban nga Lazarati qe thosh here pas here “coc me ha kemba, coc me ha kemba”. Kur me ne fund i hoqi kepucet (dy-tre muaj pa hequr kepucet malukati!), pa qe kemba i kishte zene “worms”…. Kuptohet qe kaq acide-visuale ishte historia, sa me ka mbetur ne mend edhe sot. Vasillaqi ishte burre i mire, babaxhan, i mbaronte historite duke qeshur me te madhe si z. Mikober i Dikensit, duke thene “ha ha haaa… Vasillaqi, na kenaqi”… imagjino ti shkonte nje shok i goces Vasillaqit dhe ti thoshte jam djali i Zenelit, te themi, nga Lazarati…. thagme, apo jo!?

    Shqiperi, e pandryshueshme si shpejtesi e drites, megjithqe ecen me shpejtesi te breshkes.

    Falemnderit per kenaqesine qe na dhe, Blete.

    Welcome back!

  3. flm, blend. kisha bere ne plan nje variant shqip te kesaj gjithesesi, sepse m’u duk lejtmotivi i pushimeve te mia.
    emigrant, e di edhe une ate historine e kembes. me sa duket ai lazaratasi paska ber gjithate buje. legjenda urbane shqiptare godet perseri

  4. “I kuja je?” – Tingellon pikerisht si dicka nga buzet e gjyshit tim.

    “Ç’ta thonë tët atë?” – hajd mendojme te tjera tani…😀

  5. Si ta therrasin tet ate? ja dhe nje tjeter..me vjen per te qeshur kur mendoj se sidoqete jete puna , momenti njerezia e ka mendjen tek familja e personit perballe.psh nuk e di nese e mban mend tek filmi “balle per balle” njerezit qene mbledhur ne ne vdekje dhe teksa shohin te birin e te ndjerit thone duke fol me sy e shenja: eshte djali i atij .. nuk ka gje me komike se ky moment..

    Blete mireseerdhe dhe flm se me kenaqe.sidomos dy fjalite e fundit jane cool!

  6. its, the trip recharged my bateries so much that i want to take it again! the banner is a sunset from Dhermi. go to Flickr, some more pics are there.
    nga te kemi a te keqen? perseri pyetje me vlera.

  7. Reading the article: Whose son are you anyway I thought of these lines.

    Ai qe mohon nje atdhe
    e ka te pamundur te gjeje
    nje atdhe te dyte

    Branko Merxhani
    A M Kici

  8. B. mirëseuktheve!

    Me lejen tënde in advance, po të e tregoj shqip anektodën e rastit:

    Dal një ditë për të blerë dhe takoj një të njohurën time bashkë me të jatin që i kishte ardhur për vizitë. Pllaqurisem me shoqen, i jap dorën xhaxhi Gimit, dhe fap pyetja: ” E kujt je ti?”. “E S.Sh.”, i them unë. Kur të më hidhet xhaxhi Gimi në qafë, duke më ulurirë në rrëzë të veshit: “Ooooooo! Po unë S.Sh.-në e kam shok të ngushtë! Po ku je mi gocë e xhaxhit!”. Unë buzëqeshja gjithë siklet në mes të supermarkatës plotepërplot, kur xhaxhi Gimi si duket e kapi hutimin tim që vinte nga fakti se nuk e njihja fare si shok të tim eti, dhe u kujtua të pyeste: “Babai yt ka qenë kapterr, apo jo?”. “Jo,” i them unë,”inxhinier”. E pas këtyre fjalëve vendimtare, xhaxhi Gimi bëri një hap prapa, bashkë me dashurinë për mua që iu venit sa hap e mbyll sytë…

    Ja shëndet!

    p.s. po s’na the e kujt je ti Bletë?😛

  9. E forte kjo fare, ç’na kujtove gjysherit. Po nuk ishte keq si pyetje jo, mua me pelqente
    se keshtu fillonin muhabetet e njohjes…

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