Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pink City of Yerevan

Once upon a time Yerevan was called “The Pink Capital of Armenia” . The roots of the story go back to the times of Soviet Union governance, during which the Armenian government began to exploit Artik’s tuff mines. There are many colors of tuff but the Erevan city hall decided to cover the buildings in Yerevan with pink tuff. With its symmetric and one-color-tint appearance, the city was admiring both citizens and tourists from all over the world thus taking “The Pink Capital” name.
Now….Now Yerevan has lost its former beauty and appearance. Now many modern buildings or even whole districts are built all over the city. We can not deny that they are nice, of course they are nice and also have better conveniences and comfortableness for their habitants, but, anyway, they destroy the architectural balance of the city. The high buildings are built right next to short ones and the colors of the buildings are dramatically different from each other, therefore creating asymmetry and color imbalance in the city.

All these changes have made Yerevan a city which combines old along with new and tells the tourists and the world that it is thriving rapidly, but does not forget about its old traditions. With most of the city built during Soviet rule, much of the city is an excellent example of good Soviet architecture with an Armenian twist – almost all with pink stone facades, including most of the grand Republic Square. The center is very compact and easily walkable, with endless dining and entertainment options.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


“Paron, your papers! Excuse me Paron!” was yelling a young man running after him.
Mr. Khachikyan was startled when someone touched his elbow. Walking on Tumanyan Street with his head down, he hadn't been aware that he'd dropped his file under his arm. He tried to lip-read what the man was telling him. He took the papers and nodded his head in gratitude.

Once a well known and respected professor of Physics at Yerevan State University, is now just a regular old man walking alone. He had lost his hearing almost entirely.
He would have never imagined himself to feel this alone. His house was always cheerful and full of fellow professors and students. His wife would always be prepared to have guests at their house on any day. That is why he avoided staying at home. He felt lonely and gloomy. All his days were the same. The routine was killing him slowly. And since he had started losing his hearing, he felt life to be colorless and tasteless.
He didn’t have any place to go, he was just walking aimlessly. The streets of Yerevan had become his only sanctuary, where he felt comfortable and familiar. Consumed in his own world, Mr. Khachikyan was remembering his children who had all left Armenia. They didn’t telephone him anymore, but he got letters from them now and then with pictures of his grandchildren. He refused to leave the country and go live with any of them. The “pink city of Yerevan” has always been his home.
It started to rain heavily. Not having an umbrella, he stood at the gate of a building to be sheltered. He felt something was pulling at his trousers. He looked down to see a stray puppy. it was looking directly into his eyes as if it knew him.
He bent over, neglecting the pain in his knees, to pet the puppy. “Hey little fella, are you also alone?”

The puppy seemed to enjoy being petted; it rolled over on his back and let Mr. Khachikyan scratch its tummy. Standing up, the professor had a big smile on his face.
“Let’s get you something to drink,” he said and walked into a grocery store.
Wagging his tail in joy, the puppy waited for him at the entrance. As if he knew that the old man was going to feed him. When it stopped raining, Mr. Khachikyan was getting ready to go his way. But the puppy had already made up his mind; he was walking playfully next to him.
Without a second thought, Mr. Khachikyan took the puppy into his arms mumbling something into its ear.
As he was walking home, the colors became brighter although the sun was hiding behind the clouds.

"I know, I'll call you Rainbow!"

We are few but we are called Armenians

We are very big fans of Paruyr Sevak, who is one of the greatest Armenian poets of this century, and perhaps the most popular among Armenians all over the world.
Here we post one of his works about
He used posetry to explore the Armenian identity and spirit on a spiritual and emotional level. The new touch brought into light of Armenian literature by Paruyr Sevak reflected the changing culture in the face of newly emerging and re-emerging concepts, ideas, spiritual values an social norms, undergoing within the Armenian people during that time period.
His significant contributions to Armenian culture and betterment of Armenian literature was unique in its own way, which shaped the hearts and minds of many Armenian generations who were there with him, as well of those who came later, after his martyrdom.

A Mother's Hands

These very hands, a mother’s hands,
These old and new hands.

Whatever do you want to say
That haven’t been done by these hands?
When I got married
How gracefully these hands had danced,
And with whatever dreams these hands had danced.

Whatever do you want to say
That haven’t been done by these very hands?
The light was not put off till dawn
By these very hands,
When the first baby was born,
It was fed the righteous milk by these very hands.

Whatever do you want to say
That haven’t been done by these very hands?
They are like pillars
Directed to the heavens,
These very hands
Avoiding the pillar of her house
Till her son returns from the battle front.

Whatever do you want to say
That haven’t been done by these very hands?
These very hands
Even though a granny’s hands,
These very hands, having lost their power,
They have regained power
When being with her grandson....

Let us today, as children do,
Kiss these very hands
Which gave birth into this world
And also fed us,
Which in this world they have won usAnd also kept us,
That have never felt full of us
These very hands,
That have wiped the dust
And also did the washing up
Always judging, always working
These very hands.

Paruyr Sevak Quote:

"We are few but we are called Armenians
We do not put ourselves above anyone
Simply we also admit that we, only we have Mount Ararat
And that it is right here on the clear Sevan
that the sky could make its exact duplicate
Simply David has indeed fought right here
Simply the Narek was written right here
Simply we know how to build from the rock, a monastery
How to make fish from stone, how to make man from clay
To learn to become the student of the beautiful,
the kind, the noble, and the good...."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Red coat and violin (part 2)

... Without thinking the young man steps into the pond to help Alice gather her papers. He hadn’t realized that he had gone knee-deep into the cold water. After getting all the pages, he turned to her and extended his hand.

Karen Shahgaldyan, at your service!”
She couldn’t help smiling and shakes his hand gracefully.
“Can I offer you a cup of coffee as a thank you for your heroic act?”
“Your smile is enough to express thanks. But looking at the circumstances now, a cup of tea isn’t a bad idea. I’m really cold, you know?”

“I didn’t know that such gentleman still existed in this city. On a daily basis I have to deal with people don’t care about much except their fancy cars and which casino to go to every night.”
“Don’t give up, there are still nice people in this country” he said. “So why is a pretty lady like you sitting here alone at a café?”
“Once in a while I like to come here, sit and just look around. It feels like I’ve lost touch with the real people of Yerevan and their normal day to day activities. It gets tiring to be with high class, pretentious people who all they talk about is material things.” She glanced at her watch and was quiet.
“Anything the matter?”
“Ummm, I need to go now. I don’t like to keep people waiting”, she said getting up and left in a hurry not giving him a chance to say anything.
She crosses the street and disappears.

...“Excuse me, there’s no price tag on this red coat. Would you tell me how much it costs?”
Alice takes a deep breath and walks from behind the counter. “Oh, that’s a great choice, we just got this new winter collection from France” ….

Back at the café, the young man pays the bill and walks to the corner of the street. He sits into the limousine and tells the driver, “take me home Arthur, I need to change before the concert”.

As the black limousine drove away, on the billboard next to it was: “Karen Shahgaldyan, last three concerts in Yerevan”

Monday, November 10, 2008

Red coat and violin (part 1)

It’s a fine autumn afternoon. The streets of Yerevan have turned yellow with the falling leaves. The breeze was lifting the leaves off the ground and playing with them as if they were on a small carousel wheel.

There weren’t many people sitting outside. The weather was cold, but the sun felt so warm on her skin that Alice was content. She had a certain grace with her movements, with her classy garments and style. That’s what made her stand out in the crowd.
She was looking at passerbies while drinking her cup of coffee. Next to the café was a pond, a little boy was throwing bread crumbs for the ducks. His grandma was telling him to be careful and not get nearer to the water.

A group of young ladies were walking their babies and discussing yesterday’s episode from “Vervaratsner”. That was the talk of half the population of Yerevan. But Alice didn’t care about such kind of serials. She was looking at their outfit with a smirk on her face

A very old man was mumbling something to his dog while holding it close to his chest. That’s funny, thought Alice, if he’s walking the dog, how come he’s carrying him?

She turned back to her Cosmopolitan magazine and continued leafing through the winter fashion pictures. It showed that she was up to date with fashion news and had a taste in clothing. Her red coat matched her shoes and bag.
She noticed a young man walking alone who had obviously noticed Alice and was starring at her. She rolled her eyes in dissatisfaction and puffed: “Jeans and sneakers, nothing interesting.”

Suddenly the wind blew through the pages of her magazine and took away some papers she had on her table. She tried to catch them, but the wind took them unto the surface of the water…

(to be continued )

Saturday, November 8, 2008


She’s running.
Fluorescent lit corridors, people, piles of papers on desks, clean marble tiles, and more people… She’s running with her high heels, not caring if she slips. She’s here. That’s the door, the final step. She busts in, hardly catching her breath and hands in the document with not a word.
Her boss looks at it in approval, “Ok. You can leave now.”
“Thank you sir” was barely audible, because she left in such a hurry.

She’s running.
Long corridors, stairs, people in suits; finally, the parking lot. She gets into her car and hurriedly drives off.
There is it, “Kindergarten # 81” . She enters the building, and after a few moments she’s running back out with a kid. He’s barely keeping up with after his mom.
She’s running.
Car, keys, doors slamming, accelerator….
The black ford is in the parking of the shopping mall. She yells, “wait in the car” and runs through the sliding doors.
She’s running.
Isles, shopping carts, grocery, cashier, and she’s running again.
The tires squeak when she comes to a stop at the garage door.
She’s running.
Grocery, her bag, keys. Did she forget anything?
Oh, yes, her son. Run back to the car to get him.
She runs into the house. There’s no time.
She feeds her son while quickly preparing dinner.
She looks at the time. Two minutes left.
Ok, she’ll make it. Runs to the living room, jumps on the sofa and turns on the TV.
“I made it” she says with a gasp. She has a big smile on her face and her eyes are glittering with satisfaction.
A mother, a respectable accountant, a beautiful woman. But especially, she’s a great big football fan…

Dedicated to Marik.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ray of hope

It’s dawn. The streets of Yerevan are sleeping. Birds are chirping and that is the only noise breaking the silence. A silhouette is visible on the bridge, he’s not moving. Looking closely, you could see a young man standing alone with a bouquet of weathered roses in his hand.
Armen is gazing at the twilight with fixed eyes and holding the roses with a firm grip. There is dried blood on his knuckles. As if not aware of the pain, he keeps on holding it tightly looking into the distance.

Everything happened so fast that Armen was still in a state of shock and confusion. How could Arevik do this to him? After all the things they shared together and the future that they were planning…
Four years ago Armen was having his first exhibition in Yervan; he was very nervous about showing his paintings to the public. He was looking at all those people who had showed up and were browsing through his work. Suddenly he spotted her in the crowded room. She was beautiful, she had a scarf wrapped around her neck and shoulders which was hiding her hair. He got closer and said the first thing that came to his mind, “I like your scarf”. Then they both started laughing. They clicked.
From that moment onward they were inseparable. A gifted painter and a young actress, they were like a perfect couple. Their relationship developed over the years and it was obvious to everyone that they made a cute couple and would eventually get married. And that’s exactly what Armen was thinking when he proposed to Arevik.
But the answer wasn’t what he was expecting. He shuddered when he remembered how Arevik had said that she needed time to think.
“Don’t worry, you both will surely end up together” said their friends. A couple of days ago Arevik called him up and said that they needed to meet, there was something important they needed to discuss. He got ready for that appointment as if it were a first date, he was anxious and nervous. He got yellow roses, which were her favorites. As he was waiting for her on the bridge holding the bouquet, his palms were sweating. She was right on time which was a bit unusual for her.
Armen’s mind was blurry; he only could remember some of the words she had uttered; “not ready…travel to see the world….experience life…” as if Arevik was talking to herself, he didn’t say a word which made her upset and she left.
He stayed there alone on the bridge, he was not aware of the time or his surroundings. Nothing made sense to him.
The first sunray hit his face when he came out of his deep thoughts and realized that it’s almost dawn. He dropped the roses and walks aimlessly.
This was a new direction for him; Armen wasn’t sure where to go and what to do now. But was certain about one thing, this was a new start, a blank canvas on the tripod.
“What beautiful roses, what a pity they’re weathered” said the janitor picking them up. “I’ll put them in water”.
It is a new day; the streets of Yerevan gradually were waking up.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Story #2: Butterfly and Biker

{It's Tuesday night, almost 10pm}

Supernova Rockstar: hello butterfly, I like your nickname
Butterfly: thanx, yours cool too
Supernova Rockstar: why “butterfly”? do you like butterflies?
Butterfly: yeah, I like the way they change day by day
Supernova Rockstar: aha
Butterfly: one day they’r like worms, another they transform to these beautiful creatures
so are you a real rockstar? :p
Supernova Rockstar: more than real baby ;) rock is in my blood!
Butterfly: what kind of rock? Do you play any musical instrument?
Supernova Rockstar: hard rock!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Alcohol, drugs & rock’n’rol
hey where did you go, did I scare you with that?
Butterfly: no no… I dig rock music too
Supernova Rockstar: so we should hang out sometime, you know, listen to music
Butterfly: mmmmmmm
Supernova Rockstar: i’ll come pick u up on my bike
Butterfly: wow, cool! What kind of a motorcycle? so you have a pic
Supernova Rockstar: yeah. wait a sec. i'll send u but u gotta send me ur pic too 'butterfly'
Butterfly: k. But u send ur pic first

“Attachment received”

Nice! So is that really u on the bike?
Supernova Rockstar: aha. this was a couple of months ago
“Attachment received”

So which one of the 2 blonds r u? the taller one!
they’r both cute ! hehe ;)
Hey, where did u go?
Butterfly: brb
sorry I was on the phone, my friend called, we’r goin' to this party
Supernova Rockstar: k. we’ll talk later

A 14 year old teenager stood up from in front of the computer, she was talking on her phone. Her pimple full face was blushed from embarrassment. “I’m coming mom, I won’t be late”.

People around her could hear the voice on the other side of the phone

“It’s late, where are you? Young lady, you come home right now!”

The cursor on the screen was clicked on “log out”. A wheelchair was pushed back from the computer desk by old shaky hands. Suddenly the door opened, and a crack of light fell on the man’s face.

“What are you doing grandpa” said the boy. He put the tray by the bed.
If you look closer at the boy's face, you could recognize him as the motorcycle driver.

“Grandpa, it’s time for your pills”.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Story #1: Back to the roots

It was a cold winter evening; Mr. Khanjyan was sitting behind his desk. The office was lit dimly, but you could see the ivory and gold statues next to the window. He was looking at the floor, not moving a muscle while the phone was ringing off the hook. He took a deep breath, shifted his gaze to the cabinet next to his desk. It was full of photographs with famous personalities, certificates of appreciation and endless rows of trophies. The one on the far left was given to him by the president of Armenia for “the best businessman of the year”, next to it was the one of the highest achievement for the reconstruction of Gyumri, and another was given by the Ambassador of USA for maintaining the best relationships between the two countries. At that moment the secretary walked in.
“Mr. Khanjyan, everybody is waiting for you.”
“In a moment” he replied without turning his head.
He looked at the Japanese swords hung crossways on the wall. And he had a flashback about his childhood when he used to play with wooden swords with his friends in their garden. He remembered how he left their village house years ago and moved to Yerevan. Thereon his life had changed dramatically and in no time the little Ara of their village had become the respectable Mr. Khanjyan President of “Khanjyan International Co”.
There were series of sweet memories passing in front of his eyes, but suddenly there was one image that froze in his mind. He walked out of the office with a big smile on his face.
While passing by the big hall, he heard laughter. He turned his head and saw a lot of people had gathered to rejoice. They were all toasting, eating and drinking happily. It was a true celebration. He walked pass the hall and went through the back doors of the company to look for his Porsche. Ara gestured at the security attendant not to approach him. He himself unlocked his car and drove away quickly.
It was getting dark, but he knew the road very well although it had been more than a decade. In less than an hour, Ara parked the car in front of an old cottage, turned off the engine and walked to the door. he took a deep breath, walked into the dark house. There were no lights except for a shadowy beam coming from a room. Without hesitating, he walked to the light and through the door. in the middle of the room, there was a big wooden table. On the top of it was a half melted lit candle and an old women with her head hanging. She moved her head and raised her eyes at him. The smile lit her crying eyes.
“I knew you’d come. I have been praying for you. Happy Birthday son.”