Book 8, part 2. The Rites of Love (2006)
The time came when people started to realise the need of searching for their soulmates. Earlier they had been taught that the lovers themselves should find each other by the whim of fate. Of course that is true, but then Man may also control his own destiny Or at least give fate a hint as to what Man desires of it.1
And so people in different towns began to organise special events to facilitate two soulmates getting to know each other. And they even applied some of the rites of the Vedruss period, with just a smidgen of adaptation to fit modern situations.
Every autumn, after the tasks of summer are completed, large gatherings take place in various towns, attended by young and old — anybody who has not yet been blessed with a happy home.
These are mainly your readers, Vladimir — those among them who have been endeavouring to build a domain to start up a happy family line.
These gatherings might go on in various towns over a period of two or three months. Your readers spread word of them ahead of time. And they come from different places and countries. Some might come for a week, some for a month. And your readers in particular have a significant advantage over others desiring to create a happy home. All the participants in these gatherings have a single goal — a conscious awareness and concept of how to build a happy life for their future family
“Wait, Anastasia, how is it that my readers specifically had a significant advantage? After all, many married couples apart from my readers have such a single goal in mind. There are often married couples, for example, among performing artists. But the majority of them get divorced, some several times over. They all have the same goal and aspiration, but there is no happy life for them.”
“You and I are talking about different goals, Vladimir. One’s profession cannot be — and should not be — a goal of life for a Man. In such cases, the Man would be debasing himself.
“Think about it — take a salesperson, for example. Is it in the nature of a son or a daughter of God to consider one’s life goal to be simply selling things? Or driving a vehicle, or doing laundry, or going back and forth to a factory all the time to perform the same task over and over again?”
“Wait, Anastasia, you named off what may be necessary professions, but they’re still not very prestigious. There are, however, some fairly prestigious professions — or, rather, professions everybody holds in high regard. For example, everybody knows about surgeons and cosmonauts, military commanders and marshals, or presidents of countries.”
“But their significance, Vladimir, lies simply in the fact that they have created a bigger illusion of importance and significance than others. Who knows? Possibly someone has tempted one of them — a commander or a president, let’s say — by the illusory significance of these particular professions or positions just so as not to allow his own spirit to develop — a spirit which is capable of accomplishing the acts of the Universe. The deeds such people have accomplished are not interesting to God. But when a Man builds his own corner of Paradise on the Earth and founds the happiest family line you can imagine, his deeds not only resemble those of God’s — he actually becomes a god himself.
‘And the readers who came to these gatherings had a noble goal, the same for both women and men. Their advantage was that both men and women were creating through their dreams a way of life for their future families. When they met together, they had a subject of common interest to talk about.”
You know, after all, Vladimir, how often in modern families there is rarely a single topic of conversation of interest to both marriage partners. They have nothing in common, no common aspirations. Two people get married and live together in the same dwelling, but each of them thinks and dreams only of what is of interest to them individually. People like that become strangers to each other, and their cohabitation ends up in nothing but irritation.
The people who come to the gatherings are not married, but even those unacquainted with each other feel closer than many marriage partners.
They go on excursions together and organise fashion shows in which first women — and then men — of all ages take part. The clothes modelled at these shows have either been bought in stores or sewn by the women themselves.
The evenings are spent in playing wedding games in town squares or somewhere in one of the glades. One of them is Rucheyok, which I told you about before.
And there is no feeling of embarrassment, no concealing that they are seeking to find themselves a life companion. And women who are left to deal with life with children and no husband bring their children along to these nuptial gatherings. And they reveal the purpose of the trip to the children. The children’s thought and participation help them a great deal in their search. Here, I shall show you a scene from one of these gatherings.
Look, a summer theatre in the open air. A full audience, comprised of adults and children of various ages.
See how they are introducing themselves from the stage. Those who are bold enough get up on stage, where they are each given five to ten minutes to talk about themselves and answer questions. Sometimes they introduce themselves in a humorous fashion, or sing and dance a chastushka-govorushka. They have fall freedom in their choice of repertoire. Take a look.
A girl who looked to be in her mid-twenties came out on stage. She sported a fashionable hairdo and a skin-tight outfit. She had barely taken two steps in the direction of the microphone when she did a somersault and burst out laughing. After that she took a turn around the stage, strutting the catwalk like a professional model. Straightening her hairdo, she approached the microphone and purred teasingly:
“Hey, guys! Is this chick hot, or what?”
From the audience rang out peals of laughter and loud applause, and the girl went on talking about herself in a humorous vein.
“Hey, the way I look, you know, that’s not even my greatest asset. I graduated from the Family Domain Academy with top honours. That means I’m tops at cooking, too. And I can rid your body of any ailment, you name it, and, hey, I can make one really coo-ool bed! And I can give you children that’ll grow up big and strong...
“I’m not after anyone in particular, but here’s a contest for you guys. But like they say, ‘this ain’t no cakewalk’. The contestants can do whatever they like to show what stuff they’re made of. And the winner is... the one I fall in love with!”
After this a young boy came up the microphone and said:
“Hi! I’m Dima. That’s what they call me. And I’m eleven. Well, maybe not quite eleven yet, but I shall be very soon — this December... My Mama’s name is Svetlana, or Svetlana Nikolaevna. She’s a great restaurant cook. That is, she used to work in a restaurant, but now she doesn’t... At first she cried when she stopped working there, but now she does fine catering for a whole bunch of rich people. She put an advert in the paper and they ring her up on the telephone...
“I’m in school. Mama says I’m not a very bright student, but I know I’m doing okay It’s just that I really don’t need fives — threes are perfectly good enough for me...
“My Mama and I are here to look for her future husband and my future Papa. Then we’ll have a jolly friendly family... My Mama’s a really nice person. She’s pretty, even though there’s no way she can lose weight. She’s still pretty!... Mama and I have been spending lots of evenings talking about how we’ll live as a complete family. Right now we’re in a one-room flat for which we have a monthly rent to meet. But when we’re a whole family we’ll treat ourselves to a house and plant a garden...
“Mama’s already been given land, and we lived there in a tent for a whole month this summer. It was really neat!...
“She — my Mama, that is — she didn’t come up here with me on the stage, she’s shy. But I’ve been tellin’ her: you’ve got to show yourself! If you don’t show yourself, then why did we come all this way and waste a whole lot of money which we’ve been saving for a house?...
“Hey, there, Mama! C’mon up onto the stage!” the boy called out into the audience.
But nobody made a move toward the stage. Then the audience started clapping in unison, urging the boy’s mother to go up to the stage.
Finally, a short, slightly plumpish woman of about thirty could be seen making her way to the stage. She stood beside her son, her cheeks flushed a bright red with embarrassment. She put her arms around the boy’s shoulders and gave him a big hug, but couldn’t bring herself to speak. Then the boy, in a very businesslike manner, took a crumpled piece of paper out of his trouser pocket, unfolded it and began to read what was written on it:
“My Mama and I live in the Briansk Oblast, in the city of Novozybkov. There used to be a lot of radiation there, but now there’s not so much, and there’s going to be even less in the future. Here at the gathering we’re listed under number 2015. If anybody wants to, they can write to us. That’s all.”
The boy’s mother took him by the hand and they started heading over to the stage exit under noisy applause from the audience. But when they got to the edge of the stage, the boy suddenly released himself from his mother’s grasp and quickly, almost running, went back to the microphone.
“I forgot to say — I mean, I didn’t write it down, that’s why I forgot. My Mama can play the guitar and sing really cool songs with it, even though they’re sad. And my Mama can draw, too. She’s drawn a house and a garden... And I, too, can help build a family. And even help build a house... When the elections were held in our town, I got hired to put up campaign posters. And we’re gonna be having elections again soon.”
Once more the audience thundered their applause, and the boy headed back to his mother. She took his hand, and they came down off the stage and took their seats in the audience.
Then four men got up from their seats at the same time and headed for the stage. The first looked around fortyish, and he walked with a bit of a limp. But the other three beat him to it, and he ended up last in the queue for the microphone. One by one, the men went up to the mike and said something about themselves, but they didn’t make any public proposals of marriage. That simply wasn’t done at gatherings like this. People were supposed to write notes. But the fact that they went up on stage was a good indication of their desire to get better acquainted with the mother and her son. When it came the lame man’s turn at the mike, he said:
“My name’s Ivan. I have my own flat in Moscow. I’ll soon be forty years old. I’m a former paratrooper, discharged as an invalid by a medical review board three years ago. I make something on the side in multi-level marketing, but I’m tired of it. I’ve still got a pup tent, an axe and a mess-kit, which my buddies gave me. Right now my dream is to set up this tent in Briansk Oblast around the town of Novo2ybkov Next to your tent, Dima. I’ll be glad to work in return for a place to deploy my tent. I’ve been trained in bunker construction, and can put up a log house, only I’m not sure how to get an orchard or vegetable garden going.”
“I know, I can show you!” cried out Dima, jumping up from his seat.
A day or two later Svetlana Nikolaevna, her son Dima and the former paratrooper Ivan left the gathering.
‘Anastasia,” I pleaded, “tell me, please, how did life turn out afterward for these three people?”