Müjdat Gezen

Don't forget Atatürk

24 Haziran 2024 Pazartesi

My mother would lay out her prayer rug and call me to her side. Pointing to the only photo on our wall, Atatürk, she would say, "You hear these calls to prayer? We owe them to this man." That’s how I grew up. And gradually, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk became more than just love and respect for me; he became a passion. I never forgot Atatürk.


Money Flew Away, But We Didn't

I was visiting an art gallery in Hawaii. Three original paintings by Salvador Dali were on display and for sale. I love his work; while he's not Picasso to me, Dali is unique. One painting was priced at $14,000. I had $4,500. Perran and her husband Koral were with me. I asked, "How much money do you have on you?" We were about to return to Turkey and didn’t need much cash. I thought I could pay the rest after we got back. Altogether, we had $13,000. I returned to the gallery, but the man wouldn't budge. He wouldn’t lower the price by even a thousand dollars. I couldn’t buy the painting. We returned to Istanbul. Not long after, I read in the newspapers: “Fake Dali Paintings Seized in Hawaii.” Have you ever heard such a thing? We narrowly escaped being scammed. $14,000 would have gone to waste, and I would have unknowingly hung a fake Dali on my wall. We got lucky...

We escaped that scam, but the other incident wasn't as fortunate. Our friend Yaman said, "I came all the way to Hawaii; I'm not leaving without going out with a Hawaiian girl." We were staying in the same room at the Hilton in Honolulu. He went out, and I stayed in, watching TV. He returned with two girls, brought out the whiskey, and we had a lively time. The girls left after a while. The next day, we were flying to Los Angeles. At the airport, I opened my bag to get the tickets. The $4,000 was gone. Perran and her husband flew out. We returned to the hotel and explained the situation. They apologized and put us up in the royal suite that night, but the money was gone.



Call Me in Three Days

Because of Yaman’s adventurous spirit, we almost ended up dead in Tokyo. We were strolling in Shinjuku Square in the evening when two beautiful Japanese girls approached us and invited us to a private gathering. Yaman’s English was excellent. I asked, "What are they saying?" He said there was a special meeting where people would purify themselves in a closed pool area and drink sake until morning while praying. Yaman said, "Alright, we're going." I refused. We argued a lot. The girls left empty-handed. We returned to the hotel and told the receptionist. The boy turned pale. They were part of a cult, and they believed they gained great merit by sacrificing a foreigner. We were not one but two foreigners. They would have killed us there. I said, "Yaman, you nearly got us killed." He replied, "But what an adventure it would have been." The guy was completely crazy. I wish he were alive to be crazy again; I’d be okay with that. I called him every day in his last days. He said, "Don't console me. The doctors are trying to make my death painless. Call me in three days." I called three days later. His wife answered. "He just passed away," she said. He had said three days. And three days later, he was gone...

If Only We Could Stay Children

Abdülvahit Turan, new life, a hundred coins, two nickels... Candy wrapped in professions... Fortune-telling, scratch the gold foil with your nail, and underneath it says what you scratched. Bottle caps. Almost like currency. I did my first puppet show in exchange for bottle caps. The second war had just ended. The black passive protection curtains were still in the houses. I remember the black tapes on some car headlights. I had seen someone parachuting; I was very young and couldn’t understand it. How wonderful it is to be a small child. But you want to grow up quickly. Especially when you reach puberty, you want to grow up as fast as possible. One day you grow up. Then middle age starts, followed by old age. Then the days flow like rain. You remember your childhood. You recall saying, "I wish the days would pass quickly so I could grow up." There comes a time when you say, "I wish I had stayed a child." But that’s life. You can't stop the years.

Yazarın Son Yazıları All Columns

Don't forget Atatürk 24 Haziran 2024

Günün Köşe Yazıları

Most Read News