Foto reporter

How the Russians have solved the problem of contemporary literature

Indeed, after several classics of universal literature, it is difficult to produce something remarkable. And yet, the great Soviet Union could not remain indifferent, especially after returning to the former name: Russia.

At first glance, it seems to be a Bible or a very valuable old book.

Some indications appear on the spine but they are in Russian. The figure 3 could say to us that we are in front of the third volume and we regret not to have the first two. Still, it's not about the volume three, but three litres; it can easily read. Foto reporter

The title is clearly visible on the front cover: Cabernet. Attractive, isn’t it? However, the author's name does not appear.

Foto reporter Barely the fourth cover dispels the mystery. Here, we learn how to use it. The secret is a tiny spigot, as barrels have. If you press the right button, three litres of wine will leak. Now, can you could regret do not have the first two volumes as well, but you can "read" the same "volume" in multiple copies.

Perhaps, I should say how I made this discovery. The day before yesterday it was the 1st of May and, though I was doing problems due to the intense bustle of K.K.E (Greek Communist Party) and it was expecting of them to take advantage of this day, curiosity weighed more in balance and we decided, my wife and I, to visit the Athens’ downtown. Since last week, their posters covered the pillars of all streets. Well, except of a small area on the avenue “28 October”, where the cars of sanitary engineering were gathering the garbage - sign that the new type of vandals went over there - the city was almost deserted. Being holiday, the Greeks leave from the city or stay in their houses. It happens so every Sunday, and today the city has been more desolate than ever. (Is the First of May a feast? For whom?)

In the end, I reached up on the seafront. It was a very beautiful day and it was a pity to miss the chance. There, we met a Romanian man from Suceava, working in Athens for twenty years. He is very talkative and communicative. He knows Russian language and it seems to be a sympathiser of our former “friends”. From him we learned that there is a supermarket, where there are Russian products, caviar among them, at affordable prices. He offered to lead us. Yesterday, May 2, was the Day of Youth. Our grandson, John, said that it is the day of “youngish fellow”. It’s me, Cristache Gheorghiu, the youngish fellow, who has just completed three quarters of a century. As we scheduled since the day before yesterday to go toward the store with Russian products, we did it. There is not just a supermarket, but even a small one. Its name is Moscow (MOCKBA) and is located at the number 220, on one of the many avenues with the name Venizelou. On which of them? In the Kallitea district, which leads to seaside (even in this district there are two streets with the same name). On this street there is also a statue of Eleftherios Venizelos, with glasses. The man was a revolutionary and eminent politician, elected Prime Minister several times between 1910-1920 and between 1928-1932 and the Greeks trained bears a deep respect. More difficult was to find the shop. Our friend used to excuse himself with the statement that he did not walk there for over ten years, but I think he never was; he only has learnt about its existence from anyone else. Funny is that, at his questions in Greek language, but with Russian pronunciation of the name of the store – Mascvá – the pedestrians used to shrug of the shoulders. No one had heard of such a thing, or did not want to answer. My English was the only useful. The gentleman that I asked gave me the exact answer. At the store, they did not have caviar, but I found red caviar, which I bought. It enjoyed me, because I could honour my birthday with something special. Not only I like them even more than black caviar, but also I have calculated that it passed 55 years since I ate “eggs of Manchuria”, as we call them.

At the shop “Moscow” I purchased "the book", about which I talked from the beginning. It contains a red wine, sweet, very good. There are also other varieties of wine, because-eh? a literature like that of the Russian that cannot be limited at a single book.

Cristache Gheorghiu
Athens, 3 May 2012