When you’re young, you are not scared of the rain, snow and not even a bear. Maybe, that’s why we decided to go from Khevsureti to Tusheti, when it was no time for that.
The time wasn’t good, because Spring’s moody weather hasn’t ended yet and someone had told us that if we went from Khevsureti to Tusheti right now, we would definitely come across a bear.
We still went.
Others didn’t come, but me and Irakli Tsintsadze still went.
My childhood friend, Irakli Tsintsadze, had two names from his childhood, sometime we called him Vazha. So me and Vazha-Irakli still went.
We were planning to go to Shatili first and then get to Antsukhi Pass through Ardoti. But when we got to the Datvijvari Pass we changed the direction and turned out in Khakhabo the next day.
At that time, people sill lived in Khakhabo and when they saw as freezing, they immediately gave us a great room in one of the Khevsurian house. Tired from the road, we settled down with pleasure.
The village had some beer for sharing and every morning they brought us Khevsurian beer, made on the previous day. They would knock on our door poilitely and brought that magical beer, bowl of ghee and Khinkali.
We would politely say thank you. Then we would say the first toast with Khevsurian beer and took the first Khinkali.
From the first bite of Khinkali, we would pour the ghee into it and it felt like flying.
We found out there that we could fly withour leaving the room. Perhpas, anyone would fly if they had the same beer, ghee and Khinkali.
Durgin that several days, spent in Khakhabo without leaving our room, we traveled in space (very freely), one thing that brought us back to earth was chess, which we found in the room on our first day.
After mandatory toasts, we would set up a board and start the chess game. Loser would perform a song. In case of winning I could lay down, put my hands under my head and listen to the son of the defeated. However, usually I sang along with Vazha-Irakli. It’s hard not to sing after that beer, ghee and Khinkali.
When I had to sing, he would also sing along with me. Even when it was raining or snowing outside, the music was always pouring out from our room. In Georgia being a student, meant being careless (before that a poet was considered as careless). But Khevsurians weren’t surprised because they know not only Georgian literature, but the World’s literature as well and they love books more than horses.
We saw horses, on the same day when the sun came out. I wanted to ride the horse so much that I didn’t even think about if I was able to do that well (and didn’t even find the owner of the horse to ask for permission). I jumped on one of them.
The beer and the sun was so pleasing that I don’t even remember, when I gave up riding the horse or the horse gave up on me, it left me somewhere and I fell asleep there.
I don’t know how much I slept, but I woke up on a meadow, similar to the one I saw when I experienced clinical death after many years. That great light (at the end of the tunnel) looked like this Khevsurian sun, which I saw right after opening my eyes. My face got so sunburned, that I think Irakli found me with the help of my glowing face.
After those many years, when the clinical death came to me (unexpectedly) and I went to that place (or I was taken), where I had to make a choice (or they had to make it for me), I remembered Khakhabo. Perhaps I remembered Khakhabo because my brain decided to make a choice in Heaven’s advantage (not Hell). My subconscious remembered that Khakhabo was what I associated with Heaven. Maybe it was because of my young age, that I believed (for quite long time) Khakhabo was exactly the image of what was happening in Heaven. The things that Khevsurians hosted me and Irakli with – beer and Khinkali from the morning and then chess and books before a good night’s sleep.
Even though Irakli Tsintsadze was very smart from his childhood, and he used to win frequently, this was the only situation, when I the lost chess game didn’t anger me. When you’re already in Heaven it doesn’t matter if you win or lose.
However then, during the clinical death (as I mentioned before), I saw not only doors of Heaven, but Hell as well. But let’s keep this story for another time...