No other village on earth is quite as
beautiful as Kizil-ayak, the place where I was born. Its voice is the never-ending
song of the Amu Darya River. The taste of its sweet, pure water, once experienced,
is never forgotten.
To this day, early in the morning you
can still find the prints of wild hares, hedgehogs, foxes and jackals dotting
the ground surounding the village.
When I was a young boy, I could never
quite understand what grown-ups meant by the words Kizil-ayak. Maybe it
was my relatives who were to blame: whenever they came to visit, they would
always tease me by saying:
"Well now, let's see those feet of yours!
If you're a true Kizil-ayak lad, your feet must be gold!"
In the Turkmen language the word "kizil"
stands for red, but it can also be used to connote "golden". "Ayak" is
the word for foot, but in the language of neighboring peoples it carries
the meaning of "dish", "bowl", or "goblet" The fairy tale Shah Djemshid
possessed magical golden dish "kizil-ayak" When he looked
into the dish he could see everything that was happening on the earth.
In all likelihood, the village received
its name from the wealth of its former residents. It is said that flocks
of sheep once blanketed these sands like clouds in a stormy sky. True,
all those flocks belonged to just a few wealthy landowners. And when the
people took power crossed the the into border their into own hands, Afghanistan,
th dispossessed landown-taking their flocks with ers them.
My father was one of the sixty pioheering
peasants who settled the fertile but deserted lands of Kizil-ayak. Together
they organized a cooperative farm which they named "Tyaze dunya" or "New
Many years have passed since time. Today
my village is a truly a golden goblet - to the bitter and even who abandoned
and betrayed their land.