N E Y Z E N
(A play in two acts)
In the contest that‟s been arranged by the Ministry of Culture in1998, for the thth75 year of the Republic, and the 60 birthday of Ataturk, this play has been
chosen for the Achievement Award, in the branch of playwright, by the
Members of the Selection Committee; Prof. Dr. Nurhan Karadag, Doc. Dr.
Selda Ondul, Prof. Dr. Sevda Sener, Sitki Tekmen and Prof. Dr. Aysegul
NEYZEN TEVFIK IS A UNIVERSAL HERO!
I first got to know Neyzen Tevfik from the stories being told about him that almost became
Most of them were a sample of a man who‟s using his mind for this work and who is trying to find cover for his short comings…
Yet when I have read some of his poems and the writings about him, Neyzen Tevfik started to
appear as another reality in front of me…
Another point interested me also was, when I deeply started to study his life story… Regardless
the period he was in, he could have launched vicious attacks towards the administration, and with unbelievable/unbearable swearing, he could have made this sector subject to fire of harassment, which he viewed as a target board…
As a result… Being arrested for couple of times (To say House Arrest would be more likely) and beaten once, in his lifetime… And an escape to abroad that would take seven years…
However outside of this, even with his swearing to the administration, he is a man successful at being treaded with honor…
Thousands of people of every class‟s coming to his funeral ceremony indicates that… Even the deputies to whom he had cursed at came to his funeral…
How could such a thing happen?
You see, my play Neyzen was created, when I searched the reasons… My Neyzen is a universal
hero… Just like Don Kisot, Raskolnikov, Oblomov, Prince Hamlet, Bekci Murtaza, Ince Mehmed,
Irazca and others…
Because he is the founder of the method to express his reactions to the administrations even in the most oppressing periods, and a hero of a play which practices that…
Briefly then, he has given examples of a person that can show his/her reaction by way of talking back to the obstacles, oppressions, arrests, tortures, and murders… Furthermore by protecting himself… I consider introducing Neyzen Tevfik to our people an important duty especially in
these days we live in…
To summarize, I consider Neyzen to meet our people these days to be an important duty,
for his reaction to the directions, moreover to express in a way to protect himself even during the times of the most oppressing days of humankind…
THE ONE MAN PLAY OF TUNCER CUCENOGLU: NEYZEN
Doc.Dr. Hülya Nutku
Neyzen Tevfik is a name we all know… He is just a common person who‟s known among the people, by his marginal lifestyle, interesting character and with his witty personality. Besides his
life philosophy among the intellectuals and humanist side, he is a unique artist by his mastery based on his improvisation at blowing nay/reed flute…
As often as I‟ve heard the name Neyzen Tevfik, I first got to know him in Munir Suleyman
Capanoglu‟s work titled; Neyzen Tevfik (His life, his works, his witty remarks, his unknown sides), dated in 1953. Munir Suleyman got to know Neyzen Tevfik due to his frequent visits to their home, who happened to be his father‟s friend… In this book, he expresses the deep admiration for this interesting man who, only after he gets over his stubbornness towards dawn, and when he feels like it, blows his nay in the drink and musical festivities… Munir Suleyman, who says that Ahmet Rasim also had watched most of these morning festivities, quotes his
memories covering this friendship; how his love for Neyzen had first started in his childhood, then in the following years that respect and loyalty turning into a closeness and friendship for the next 30 years…
As much as with his brilliance, opening a new era, his unique personality of his own, his philosophy and strength that had gone over the limit of art, Neyzen Tevfik is also being told to us by his disorganized, vagrant, an interesting personality besides firm opinions. He also quotes the intelligence samples regarding Neyzen, in his work. (Munir Suleyman Capanoglu, Neyzen Tevfik,
Ozkar Yayinevi, Istanbul, 1953)
It is interesting that before most of our people read anything about Neyzen today, they recall portray of a man coming through the street with deep wrinkles on his face caused through the years, who had cute curly white hair, careless of his appearance and a nay in his hand. We may not have a knowledge regarding mysterious atmosphere he created when he blew his nay, but we know that Neyzen Tevfik is in the roots of most people‟s love and interest for nay today.
Furthermore, through being told among the people more than what had been written about him, he is as the owner of witticisms that extended to our day, as today‟s Nasrettin Hoca… Obviously because of this, he has an identity of marginal amongst the people yet, on the other hand an artist and intellectual man…
Later on I came across to the book named, The memories of a Dinosaur (Mina Urgan, The
Memories of a Dinosaur, Yapi Kredi Yayinlari, Istanbul, March 1998, pages. 229-32) of a talented scientist Mina Urgan, who recently did lots of pressures in the name of Neyzen Tevfik. For a person whom she met just by coincidence, Mine Urgan tells the fascinating side of his blowing the nay as improvisation. Urgan has first seen him at a 3-4 tabled place called “Yavrunun Teahouse at Sehsadebasi. It‟s being said that, he had the wrinkles and lines of a hundred years old even though he was in his sixties when he met this penniless Neyzen, who was born in 1879 in Bodrum, and was careless about his apparel, and while still as a kid leaving home to saying “I‟m going to buy some lemon” and never returned. These facial lines prompted both Aliye Berger and Abidin Dino to draw his portraits. Neyzen Tevfik who happens to be the
master of stoning the political and social events, has united his ability of delicate sensitivity and sharp humor in his personality. Mina Urgan who has said of him as the man who made the ones around him cry by blowing his nay, then he would make them burst into laughter with his jokes, also has quotes of him being a man with seizure disorder, meaning because of his desire to drink crazily, he had admitted to Bakirkoy (Mental Hospital) from time to time for alcohol treatment and asked help from Dr. Fahri Celal. Mina Urgan who tells of seeing him sitting on his balcony mat in Cihangir and watching the harbor of Istanbul by blowing his nay, also in her memories gives place to her feelings at the time of hearing the news of his death in 1953. The writer Tuncer Cucenoglu had wanted to perform this interesting character who is known top us all, by giving it life again in a one man play in front of history. A successful play had come into existence. Then in the contest by the Ministry of Culture in 14 branches at the Republic‟s th75 anniversary, it had won the Achievement Award in play division. All my friends in theatre circle, who had read this play that was written between July and September of 1998, have stated
to find the text successful and praised the writer who resurrected this interesting theatrical character who is carrying the colors of Neyzen‟s personality. As the writer stated, this one man play of two parts, its subject in Istanbul or any other place, as the time frame with its past and present structure seems to have find its place in the theaters it deserves among the theatre lovers. Neyzen Tevfik with his personality, marginal character, unique attitude and his life philosophy filled with witty remarks, has been a source of inspiration to a lot of people. As much as there are those criticize in literature, story, experiment or those who reference to him in their articles, he has also been an inspirational source for those of portrait artists and graphics with Neyzen‟s life experiences, his face gland with deep lines (These lines contemporaries Asik Veysel to me time to
time) carrying the trace of bitterness and tiredness, and his white curly hair. His mastery at playing nay and his adding his identity, style and improvisation talent to it, has supplied the musicians with possibilities of new interpretations!
The rhymes of the words “wine” and “nay” (“mey” and “ney”) has formed the two inseparable
elements in his life. This homeless man born in Bodrum, who had been the color of the drinking tables, carries the attitude of a philosopher who succeeded to look at life from a distance with a witty person point of view. By acting from this angle of his, Tuncer Cucenoglu has evaluated Tevfik‟s life in all phases, by taking up from the moment at Neyzen‟s getting up from his cascade during his funeral and returning back from the point where interpreting his life and the happenings.
While the writer is giving instructions for surroundings, he quotes of a table with various liquor bottles and a class on it, in a bar overlooking the stage and a giant liquor bottle. While these take place in the middle of the stage, additionally a black background identifying it and a coffin that‟s placed quite higher in front of it is its center.
Following his death, first his hand then his face and finally Neyzen himself appears from the coffin in the background. The play starts with his confusion to the crowed gathered and not to make of anything to what‟s happening. Everyone, the Governor of Istanbul, his assistants, administrating directors, University teachers and students, the critics, teachers of literature, musicians, street artists, educated or uneducated everyone is gathered there. Even businessman, ministers and deputies… Cucenoglu here quotes that Neyzen‟s famous quatrain, the rhymed quatrain by the words “deputy” (“Mebus”) and “cuckold” (“Deyyus”).
The unemployed, drunkards, dope addict, alcoholics and bums are there also. We are face to face with the panorama of society with all of its divisions/class; that‟s Neyzen‟s funeral. Here the writer introduces Neyzen to us by his witty attitude; the one who does not take the reality of death seriously even when faced with death, which happens to be the only inescapable truth of life. Although what we may consider as his getting out of his coffin and to watch his own funeral to make the audience uncomfortable, is actually done this way to give us a sense of both his criticizing attitude from distant, and his witty viewpoint of life. In actuality, Neyzen is everywhere. His home is everywhere. He is almost a man of all the tables, homes, teahouses, Mevlevi lodges (Mevlevi Dervishes’ lodges) and bars, who has come from the streets. My State
Theatre Head Director friend Erhan Gokgucu is right in his thought when he says, that he could
come out of through the bins, garbage, scraps and dusts.
During the course of his seventy plus years of life, Neyzen who had never taken the reality of death seriously, as in his second quatrain, with that part of his giving priority to his faith, soul and the holly fire of his heart, and from that point he starts to share the time period from his birth, his life experiences and his death, briefly to introduce a life time and the things he lived through. He is the son of Boluian mother and Bafraian father, where he was born in Bodrum during their exile there in the era of Sultan Abdulhamit. Neyzen learned quite a lot from his father, who happens to be the head teacher of his school. His father was a well-educated man, yet he also learns to be suspicious from his father who had been under constant scrutiny and pressure.
Just before he was going to start school at the age of eight, as a result of one of the dervishes blowing the nay that had come to Tepecik Kahvehane (Coffee-house) where he had gone with his father, he was mesmerized and by making a nay for himself, he tries to learn it. A schoolboy then, Neyzen‟s bastinado (a punishment inflicted by beating the soles of the feet)
crazed teacher Mehmet starts to get in his nightmares. Then his nightmares increase with the religious fanatics who pass through the streets with cut off heads on their stakes, also getting in his nightmares. Later his father‟s was being sent to exile was added as a result of informer‟s reports, his attacks increase and he‟s forced to quit school. Now all of his life is nay. When he
reached the age of fourteen, his mother suggests him to go out, therefore not to cut himself off from the outside world. The sound of nay coming from the market‟s barbershop when he goes to the market place almost mesmerizes him… As a result, he starts taking lessons from barber
Kazim Bey. Whereas his father who wants him to go to school, his nay to be burned in the stove is the biggest nightmare for Tevfik. After this incident his attacks increase and some days he faints up to three times a day. In order to find a solution to his problem, he comes to Istanbul with his mother. The Jewish Doctor Pepo‟s suggestion to him is, to keep Neyzen from beatings and pressures. Upon their return, Neyzen‟s father has been sent to Izmir. Neyzen is happy to see
that there is sea in Izmir. He goes to Mevlevi lodge and finds Seyh (Sheikh) Nurettin. Growing thalmost as an enemy of despotism, in the years going into the 20 century he takes up nay lessons
and attends meetings. This goes on for three years. Later on his being accepted to Istanbul and Fatih Medresseh (Theological School attached to Masque)… With that he doesn‟t blow nay for a long period of time, but one night in order to avoid being attacked for blowing nay, he runs away and stays under a bridge. Then the period to meet Mehmet Akif, getting to know the poets and
the artists begins. Now he goes to these types of meetings to blow his nay.
Just as his getting punished by the bastinado because of his reaction towards the despotism, Neyzen then is being followed by a man. And because of this he feels abstracted from the society time to time. By calling his mother to Istanbul, he says good-bye to her and goes to Egypt. Cucenoglu divides the first part of the play to the adventures from Neyzen‟s childhood, up to his
going to Egypt.
He spends four years in Egypt, and then by escaping from Cairo, he starts living in Bektasi Tekkesi, also named “Kaygusuz Sultan Magarasi” (Careless Sultan Cave).
When he went to Ferrah Theater to watch the play Sabah-i Hurriyet, he learns the play had been
banned, and of the banners to be Union and Advancers, who have been saying to bring freedom. For him there is no other way but to over drink and ooze off. He‟d go to a bar on a horse and make jokes there. Even though he makes people laugh with his witticisms, from time to time he would ask for help from Mazhar Osman at Bakirkoy with the suggestion of his buddy Akif. Now Neyzen is a person who curses and a marginal person who doesn‟t take anything for seriously. He says, he attained his personal freedom by the officially registered madness/insanity report that he received.
Neyzen who devoted his life to be the people‟s eyes and ears, expresses their pains and sorrows whether by witty remarks, by his swearing or by his quatrains any chance he gets. Sometimes he blows his nay, yet other times he just rebels by running away. From now on his fatigued body needs to rest. You see, just after Cucenoglu lays out that life, he ends the play as closing the cover on the coffin that Neyzen had returned. At the finale of the play, both the reality of the cross-section of life and the reality of death as much as the life itself is given together. At the same time, as much as this is a funeral ceremony, the ones who witness life and of the period that passes by like a freeze-frame, a life‟s passing by with its bitter and sweet angles is given to us.
In reality he has achieved to be the darling of wide crowd of people by his interesting lifestyle, his fears, his love and hates, life philosophy, his addiction to drink, his objective attitude in evaluating life, his mastery at blowing the nay and with his artistic qualities. This interesting
character who has finished the school of life, has passed the education from art, poem, Bektashisim and Mevlevi lodges‟ full love. In our social life that‟s filled with the examples of self-interests, the material gains being hold forefront and intolerance, Neyzen appears to us as an interesting example that must to be considered.
When we give the definition of freedom, we say, “Where someone‟s freedom begins another
one‟s freedom ends”. There, the writer Tuncer Cucenoglu who processes the life‟s lesson that Neyzen; the lover of freedom gave us, presents both of Neyzen‟s becoming people‟s beloved/hero and how alone he was in his life and struggles he had given all by himself, it in a witty humanistic understanding.
Above all, he is doing a great contribution by trying to present the freedom lover Neyzen to the younger generation by way of theatre, at the Republic‟s 75the anniversary.
(The play, act 2)
A male actor can play it.
Front of a black curtain…
A coffin, on a quite high place…
Perhaps a giant liquor bottle…
In the middle overlooking in a place, a bar stool and table …
Variety of liquor bottles and a class on the table…
Time : Past and Present.
Place : Istanbul or anywhere.
(First of all, a hand that lifts the coffin’s lid appears from inside … Slowly he gets out of the coffin, and walks toward the spectators… By looking confusedly left and right, he comes to the middle)
NEYZEN Dear God… What kind of crowd is this? It‟s full of people…
Look at it! It‟s not just this side full of people… Tea-houses… Coffee-houses… Everywhere is
full of people… The bus… Bus… Stopped… The people who got off are coming here… The streetcar stopped… People are getting off, the ones got off… The ones got off are coming here… The cars… One, two, three, four… The ones getting out of the cars… Hey look, that‟s the
Governor of Istanbul. He‟s got up from sick bed and come here… His assistants are next to him… The ones among them are Office Directors, elite officers…
Take a look here, the ones on the side is the University chorus… Professors, docents (associate professors), assistants and students…
There the teachers of literature have gathered in that corner… Famous writers, poets, novelists, storytellers, critics, almost all of them have come… The move and theatre artists? There, there they are…
These? These are the musicians… From the street musicians to composers, educated to
uneducated, they are all here.
Who am I seeing? Even the deputies are here… The former ministers, former deputies… My God! They‟ve even come… Whereas I had written this quatrain for some of them:
To whomever I asked of you, they did not give me an answer,
Some have said a thief, some have said low life, and some have said cuckold,
In order to find the identity, I phoned the party,
They said, according to our records, he’s a prisoner!
The employed are here so are the unemployed… Drunks… Dopers… The addicts… Bums…
What should be said for the businessman? There he is… He‟s just hanging there… He has put on dark glasses… What a wired situation is this? With all its classes the whole society is here… All
of them collected themselves, they‟ve straighten their clothes and come… All of them, all of them have come for my funeral, that will take place shortly… Did I have so much who loved me? It‟s interesting isn‟t it, for a person to attend his own funeral? Wouldn‟t you like to observe over your own funeral?
I‟m lucky, I‟m observing… What‟s that, a man is crying… I‟ve never seen his face before… Someone I don‟t know is crying for me… But everybody is crying… That man is laughing… I don‟t know him either… And a man I don‟t even know laughs at my funeral… Then there are those who are talking… I wonder what are they talking about? Death! If you were born, you will die! This is an inescapable truth… No one has ever escaped from this end… Besides I‟ve never taken the reality of death seriously up until today… The thing I laughed at the most were the death announcements in the newspapers… Pages worth of announcements: “So and so passed away to eternity”… He‟s home is eternity … The son of a bitch ate and drank, then like he
passed away to a summer home! It‟s not eternity for everyone! Plus there‟s an statement as “kicking the bucket”! Is kicking the bucket same as dying? I bet these two are different… Kicking the bucket or dying, in any case, this way at the end I‟m experiencing this life‟s most important reality… Because I finished my life-span… Actually what is the so-called life span? A
barrel full of water… This water will end whether you use it little by little or if you empty it at once… It took me seventy-three years to finish my water… Now my life is passing through my
eyes like a freeze-frame… What kind of life have I lived?
My faith regarding the book is my philosophy;
I worship the sound of my soul;
My faith prostrates every moment,
To my heart’s holly fire!
Where was I born? In Bodrum… In spring… And my mom and dad? One is Bafraian the other Boluian… Don‟t ask me, “what do a Bafraian father and Boluian mother do in Bodrum”!
My dad was a teacher. And the ruler of that period was Sultan Abdulhamit… It‟s been two years
since the Council of Ministers were broken up, in other words the mouths were shot and the
tongues were shorten… My dad on the other hand was an oppose… Meaning in today‟s term, inconveniency… His last place to exile is Bodrum… When he was informed to the palace,
they‟ve sent him to Bodrum… So that‟s why I was born in Bodrum… Tevfik was whispered in my ears for three times, and it has become my name…Than it was forgotten that my name was Tevfik… And later I had become known as Neyzen mostly… At the time I was born, my father
is the head teacher at Bodrum Rusdiye School… He‟s a teacher who understands from music, a witty person, loves art and well-educated… He has a strong memory… Because he has read the
Koran from beginning to end twice in one night and he even got a license from Seyhulislam Hafiz Necip Efendi.
Yet my father is not like one of those strict headed schoolteachers or bigot mullahs of that era… Anyway because he was not like that, surroundings of our house are full of detectives. Who came in, who came out, my father was constantly being watched…
Fear is the dominant factor in our home… Did a package arrive? There is always suspicion against a possible trap. Did we come across to stranger when our door is knocked? A discontentment takes over our heart. I first learned what fear meant at my father‟s house… And again it was my father‟s house where I learned the need to look suspiciously to everyone… As far as I understood, someone was trying to harm my father… Who were they? Why was it? I
didn‟t know, but I was living the fear and pain of that in my little heart, continually everyday…
My mother, but especially my father was trying not to make this situation obvious to me… I loved them, and I loved them very much… Because against all these negatives, they were trying
to raise me with love…
In those days there was a magazine that Young Turks had published; Mizan (Balance/Scale)… It
was a magazine published by handful patriots who were fighting to overthrow the new regime… My dad must of known that I couldn‟t be suspected, so he would come with me all the way to the corner, then would ask me to go get a Mizan from the son of City Doctor Kerpeli… I guess
Municipality was doing the distribution… Then we would walk home almost running; and my dad would read the magazine that he grabbed from my hand with great excitement…
Our home was by the beach… And the road to my father‟s school was also by the seashore… So I would face the sea wherever I turned my head…
Sea is endless… Sea is freedom… The sound of the sea is the best silence… The sea is an eternity that I could welcome and relax, even when the fear of someone‟s harming my dad had peaked… I love the sea… I love the sea a lot… One day my dad held me by my hand and took me to Tepecik café… I was eight years old and I was going to start school in a month…
Suddenly ragged dressed two strangers entered the café. One of them said: STRANGER Hello…
NEYZEN And sat down… So the other one… My father asked…
HASAN FEHMI Where are you coming from and going to?
STRANGER We come from faraway and we‟ll go far-off…
NEYZEN (Quietly) Who are these dad?
HASAN FEHMI (Quietly) Two dervishes (humble persons).
NEYZEN Then one of the strangers pulled something look like a flute from under his arm… And said…
STRANGER Destur! (Make way)
NEYZEN And started to blow.
(The sound of nay. Neyzen just freezes. The sound of nay continues profoundly)
As if I was mesmerized… And the fear of something happening to my father? The worry to start school? None of them remained in my head. As if my brain was emptied… My dad took me on
his lap and carried me home like that… He laid me down on my bed… He kissed on both of my
cheeks and left… The sound of the nay tinkled in my ears up until the morning… And it was like those two bright-faced strangers kept watch by my bedside…
I didn‟t even go through the worries to start school all night… Whereas not too long ago, just the night before I tossed and turned in bed with nightmares… It was that night that I first experienced the live example of the nay‟s sound to take me away from my fears. And in that
moment I made my decision… I had to learn how to blow the nay.
Whereas, what hadn‟t I learned since I reached my eight years? Cleaning, blacksmith, fishing, tinsmith, shoemaking, hunting, and many other things… Cooking, making pumps, muralist,
curving… And now nay blower huh! I still had to consult with my dad… He frowned his eyebrows when I asked.
HASAN FEHMI Now look son, the one who has many skills, can‟t fill his stomach…
You‟re already eight years old. And you‟ll be going to school. Don‟t ever forget this, you can‟t be neyzen or a man unless you finish your education. Have you memorized the lessons I gave you?
NEYZEN When I responded, “Eflatun is done… I‟ve also finished the second chapter of Gulistan. And also Ferideddin-i Attar… And Mesnevi too”, he got very happy and he left me
alone… Actually these weren‟t the only ones I knew. Just about couple of months ago, I had listen to the folk stories like Kan Kalesi (Blood Castle), Kahraman Katil (Hero Murderer), Arzu and Kamber, Tahir and Zuhre, Leyla and Mecnun from minstrels who came here. What did I do after my father left? I went out at once and gathered the necessary materials and made a nay by myself… I was producing such sound that; the teeth of the ones hearing it were
set on edge. Before too long the whole neighborhood ran to my mom and complain saying; “If that‟s nay then this is ear”… And when my father heard the situation, he grabbed me and took me to school… Because he got mad at me for the first time... He considered my not listening to
him, and on top of it disquieting the hood with strange noises as ill-mannered/impoliteness… My
taken to school was like a punishment. Because my father knew that I was afraid of going to school… We entered the classroom together with my dad. The name of the teacher was Mehmet. I haven‟t seen his face before but I have heard his reputation. Most of the students were crippled either from legs, arms or some other parts. They were usually on their asses whether in the classroom or outside… As if this was not a school, but an education center that brings up beggars…
After seeing the appearance when I got in, I grabbed my father‟s hand even tighter. Because there was one boy who was laid on his back and his legs were lifted up… And Mehmet Hodja
(Teacher) was about to attempt his tenth move on the boy‟s sole of the bare feet with his stick, made of cornelian cherry…
And the teacher‟s young apprentice was both counting on one hand and holding on to the bastinado equipment that was tied to the boy‟s feet… I looked at my father with begging eyes.
HASAN FEHMI Let your honor be prosperous this morning Mr. Hodja…
NEYZEN Hodja turned toward us… As if that man, who had been scattering forth bubbles from his mouth just a moment ago was gone, and the most merciful man of the universe had come in instead… He wiped the bubbles from his mouth…
MEHMET HODJA Let yours too Hasan Fehmi Sir.
HASAN FEHMI I brought my son Tevfik to you. We thought it‟s time for him to start school. But my son‟s flesh and blood is all mine… If he doesn‟t study or he doesn‟t behave, I will be notified… I will give his punishment. Is that understood?
MEHMET HODJA It‟s understood… However I have favor from you Hasan Fehmi Sir… I absolutely should not see your son barefooted. Because I can‟t resist it when I see bare feet. Please warn your son about this matter…
HASAN FEHMI You‟ve heard it son! Don‟t you dare take of your shoes!
NEYZEN Having said that, he departed the school. It appears that for the first time my dad‟s
inconveniency was working. Even though his life was passing by with fears, some who would fear of him could be found too… For the first time I thanked God for having an inconvenient father.
Truly, Mehmet Hodja never beat me up. But to tell the truth, I never appeared to him barefooted. Because as he had said, Mr. Hodja would just start scattering forth bubbles when he saw one of the students with barefoot… And when he use to grab his stick and start to count as he would yell: “Dear Lord, what a beautiful sight this is! What a magnificent sedative!” If the guys had to perform an ablution between their classes, they weren‟t neglecting to put a watchman by the fountain. If Mehmet Hodja was coming by, the watchman would notify by yelling “Attention” to
the boys who are performing their ablution, and they were quickly putting on their shoes… But the ones who couldn‟t find the chance on the other hand, were laid down at once and put their feet up and they were fulfilling their duty as Mehmet Hodja‟s sedatives. Yet Mehmet Hodja‟s interest in sole of bare foot wasn‟t limited to the students only… On time the teacher‟s apprentice doing his ritual pray without noticing his socks were ripped, and he became the target to Mehmet Hodja‟s searching eyes who had been looking for bare sole of feet. Hodja quickly
pinned the apprentice down, and even though he gave a sad look to his cries; “Don‟t teacher please, I‟m your apprentice”, he had done according to its worth… In fact he had done so according to its worth that, we had to study without the apprentice for exactly three weeks… The other teachers at the school were also restless about this situation… I had heard with my own ears of one teacher saying to another, “He who deserves should get the beating, not because of
having bare foot! God forbid if he sees us barefooted, he‟ll burn us as well”… According to a wide spread rumor among the boys was that, if Hodja had seen a barefoot that day and couldn‟t do what‟s necessary, then at home that night he‟d caress his feet and then beat them. However
this rumor went to his ears, Mehmet Hodja laid down all the students in line except me, and by saying “You careless! Was that you who started this rumor?”, he would caress the feet then he‟d start clubbing. Even though I‟m not one of those who got clubbed, I was forced to hear the
desperate screams and the wired sound of the bone on the stick‟s meeting upon impact…
In my dreams at night, I use to always see Mehmet Hodja chasing me with his stick in is hand… Mehmet Hodja was adorning my nightmares… As if he was my worst nightmare… As a matter
fact my mother surely would change my underwear every morning when I get up… And at the same time she would murmur “God damn you Mehmet Hodja”…
Every night when I get in bed, I use to pray to God “My God, please don‟t show me Mehmet
Hodja tonight”… But unfortunately, I use to see him every night… I use to always wait for my dad at the end of my school… His coming and holding my hand and to go home together, use to calm me down and make me come to my senses again…
Again one night we had recess… My father came and held my hand, and we got on our way to go home. Just about when we came to the market place, sounds of drums and shrill pipes could be heard from a distance…
(Sound of drums and shrill pipes from a distance)
The sounds were getting closer. My dad was trying to take me away but I resisted… I screamed to my dad, “I want to see it”. “I wanted to hear these sounds even closer”…
HASAN FEHMI Son! The sound of drum is better from a distance… Let‟s not get too close!
NEYZEN But I didn‟t listen to him… By insistently pulling from his hand and coat, we moved towards the sounds that was getting closer by runny steps… Finally, the front of the on coming crowd was seen… When they got closer, it was like the mallets of the drum that was keeping
tempo to the shrill pipe, and lutes were beating down on my head altogether…
(The sound of the drum and shrill pipe has increased to almost deafening level)