Book 8, part 2. The Rites of Love (2006)
There was a game called Rucheyok, for example. Young people lined up in pairs, one couple after the other, took each other’s
hands and raised them high, forming an arch overhead. To start with, boys were paired with boys, girls with girls. The first pair — or anyone left without a partner — would go to the end of the ‘stream’ and, bending over, pass under the arch of raised arms to the head of the line.
Those passing through the ‘stream’ were not supposed to lookup. They were to slap somebody’s arm at random, thereby selecting him or her as a temporary partner. Whoever was selected followed suit, and the two of them then stood at the head of the line of couples. Those left without a partner went to the end of the line and chose a new partner in a similar fashion.
The game was simple, but think about it, Vladimir: upon clasping hands for the first time, the young people could convey a great many feelings for each other without words: recognition, gratitude and love, or, on the other hand, revulsion. As the game went on, the couples switched, and it was easy to compare which pair of hands held the most pleasant feeling for you.