Goreme – Cappadocia Region
With the scant knowledge that I have of Turkish literature, I don’t think there exists a collection of fantasy fiction based in Cappadocia. In fact, I find it unbelievable that there could exist none. There is so much unimaginable beauty in this place carefully laced in history that it would take nothing for imagination to take flight. For example, imagine that there is a treasure buried somewhere either in the Pigeon Valley or the churches of Goreme. Tribes from all over the world would travel to the center of Turkey to reach Cappadocia. On the way, the Salt Lake would bestow powers on those who are able to cross it and drown those who aren’t. While for shelter people would stop with their animals at the Caravan Sarayi (Caravan palace) and they would plot murders there, and even a fight could break out. But then, there would be horses ready, and they would take off kicking the sand behind them only to go and hide in the innumerable caves at Goreme (literally meaning a place which you cannot see; called so because it’s very easy to hide here). Finally, there would be a strategic battle for the treasure, and it would be found inside some cave. Why isn’t there anything like that? If there is, translate it for me, please?
Today, I met a carpet weaver. She didn’t know English and I didn’t know Turkish. She was weaving a carpet. I sat next to her, and she taught me how to do the Turkish double knot. She then let me cut off the excess wool, and held my hand to show me how to use her tools. Finally, she braided my hair with beet red wool. When it was time for me to leave, she gave me the warmest hug I have received in recent times. A hug that said more because our words couldn’t say anything. Turkish tradition dictates that the art of carper weaving is a woman’s forte. If a woman can weave a carpet, she is self-reliant. Marriage proposals in the interiors of Turkey are decided this way. Similarly, pottery in Turkey is considered a man’s domain. If a man can make a perfect pot, he is capable enough to take on a wife. To tourists and the “technologically advanced” countries carpet weaving and pottery might seem like vocations for dreamers and artists. However, I believe that these vocations add more to life than anything else ever does. After coming to Turkey, I have come to believe that we should not make apartments anymore. Apartments are an abomination on the quality of life. An apartment is not a house – it is an apology for all that could not be. Houses should have slant roofs, potted plants on the doorstep, a verandah, and enough place for the children to play and adults to hold hands.
In the evening, I went to Goreme village, hired a bicycle, and rode around the lanes. The village had tiny cafes, flowers sprawled all over, women making and selling jewellery on the sidewalk, and small twinkling lights starting to come out as the sun was going down. I also saw the most lovely Beetle parked outside a cafe. After a while I sat down at a cafe and had orange tea. I don’t think I have mentioned but the Turkish people do not have their food inside closed doors. The restaurants have their furniture outside, and everyone eats under the vast sky. It’s extremely welcoming. All this is just in memory because I was so engrossed in riding around the village that I forgot to take pictures.
Today was a perfect day. It had caves, a fairy-tale, horses, village, bicycle, and at night, that solitary road going down the hill where I could see fading orange lights.
Today has re-affirmed my faith in dreams. Everything I have been dreaming about is true.