In our lives… Rakija

Text by Dušan Paučković

I was an intern at National Television, part of the crew that went to small remote village in Serbian countryside. We wanted to record a story about everyday life in rural areas. Just next to dusty, semi macadam road, we spotted an estate. In front of the old one-storey cottage our leader, a producer Dragan, saw a man sitting with his wife having a shoot of rakija. Dragan introduced himself and us, a crew, explaining the purpose of our visit. Being a good host, Miodrag invited us to join. Soon as Miodrag poured us small glass of crystal clear rakija made of plumb, his wife Dana served selection of cheese, domestic ham, sausages and bacon as well as basket of homemade bread. We all made a toast expressing joy that we are meeting each other. Miodrag poured another shoot quoting traditional saying: „All of us humans walk on two legs“! Rakija ran smoothly through our throats making everyone feeling warm.

„If you feel warm, it means that rakija is good. Best rakija never stacks in a throat nor later feels in the breath. If you feel warmth, it means that master did a good job“. Miodrag said.

Second toast was followed by the third. Dragan began to feel dizzy. He took a slice of sausage and a piece of bread to reduce influence of alcohol. When Miodrag asked if they’d like another shoot Dragan refused by laughing and saying:

„No! No! If we continue like this, we’ll end up falling asleep in the hay stack. Can we film you“?

„Of course, whatever you like. I’m glad to help“! he replied.

Our colleague, journalist Jasna explained that she wants to ask him about everyday life of villagers. How does their day look from the morning up to the evening. Camerman Andrija found a spot on the porch where they can film the report. His assistant Nenad and soundman Ilija helped him in making preparations for filming.

Andrija announced: „One, two, three. Camera is rolling“! 

Jasna rapped: „Good day to all of our viewers! We are in the village Stojkinci at the estate of our host Mr. Miodrag Ivanovic“.

Miodrag: „You are all welcome“!

Jasna: „We are glad to find you. Please tell us and our viewers more about your everyday routines. How does your usual day look like“?

Miodrag: „It depends on who you ask. Life in the village is quite different then life in the city. Here we get up at 5 a.m. My Dana, my wife, wakes me with delicious breakfast she makes. Before breakfast I brush my teeth and toothpaste does not taste well to me. So I wash it away with a shoot of loza[1]. After that I enjoy my breakfast. You know, breakfast is the most important meal during the day. It gives you strength“.

Jasna: „What do you usually have for breakfast“?

Miodrag: „Cheese, eggs and milk. But it depends. Sometimes Dana makes eggs-fried bread[2]. Sometimes she makes proja[3] or gibanica[4] or kačamak[5]. Then we have a shoot of rakija and I’m off to the field. There, under a tree I leave a bottle of water and bottle of rakija and then I work couple of hours in the field. Then I take a break. I sit in tree shade and have a bit of water to refresh myself. It gets quite hot under the sun. I take a snug of rakija. It makes you sweat less. I go back to work until lunch time. For a lunch break sometimes I go home to have a lunch with my Dana or, sometimes, I go to my friend and neighbour Mile. Sometimes Mile comes to us. While having a lunch we drink rakija…“

„Hold on“! – Jasna interrupted. „It seems that you are drinking rakija all day long!“

„So“? Miodrag was curious.

„Well, you cannot talk about drinking all day long. You see, this will be broadcasted at National Television. Children may watch! Could you switch rakija with something else, something more educational“?

„Like what“? Miodrag hummed.

„Is there something else you like to do“?

„I like reading“.

„Great! Replace rakija with books and we’ll start again“.

„OK“.

„One, two, three… We’re rolling“!

„I love reading“ – Miodrag begins. – „When I wake up in the morning, first I brush my teeth and then I have breakfast. As I dislike the taste of toothpaste, I take a book and read a page while the taste of toothpaste settles in my mouth. Then after a breakfast I read couple of chapters in the book before I go to the field to work. I bring a book with me. Under a tree, next to my field, I leave a book and a bottle of water. When I make a break after couple of hours of working to cultivate my field I refresh myself with a little water and then I read few chapters of the book. Refreshed, I continue to work until lunch time. I often have lunch with my friend and neighbour Mile, so either I go to his home or he comes to our home. We love reading together and discussing what we have read. Often after lunch we stay together to exchange thoughts and experiences. At some point our wives get headaches from our love for books. So we change locations and go to local ‘library’ to discuss books with our friends Pera, Mike and Steve, who also love to read books. Mile and I prefer domestic books whereas three of them also like foreign ones, mainly by Russian authors. When Mira, ‘the librarian’ announces that ‘library’ is closing, we sometimes go at Pera’s house. He has a ‘printing office’ so sometimes beside reading we are also printing our thoughts and ideas for new books“.

We all cheered to Miodrag’s adaptation of his story!


[1] Rakija made of grape

[2] French toast

[3] Proja is corn flour pastry often with cheese. 

[4] Gibanica is Serbian style pie. Filling may be of cheese or spinach.

[5] Kačamak is kind of porridge made of yellow or white corn flour and young cheese.

Text by Dušan Paučković

Bio sam stažista na Nacionalnoj televiziji, deo ekipe koja je išla u zabačeno srpsko selo. Želeli smo da snimimo priču o svakodnevnom žuvotu u ruralnom području. Pored prašnjavog, polu-makadamskog puta, videli smo imanje. Vođa ekipe, Dragan, primetio je ispred stare jednospratne kuće čoveka kako pije rakiju sa svojom ženom. Predstavio se i objasnio je svrhu naše posete, na šta nas je dobroćudni domaćin Miodrag pozvao da im se pridružimo. Njegova supruga Dana ubrzo je iznela meze, sir i domaći hleb, a za to vreme je Miodrag nasuo po jednu časicu šljivovice koja je bila prozirnija od vode. Oduševljeni njihovim gostoprimstvom, nazdravili smo sa domaćinima. Miodrag nam je dosuo još časicu uz poruku: ,,Svi mi hodamo na dve noge“! Rakija je klizila niz grlo, nakon čega nam se toplota raspoređivala po stomaku.

  • To znači da je dobra – dodao je Miodrag. – Najbolje rakije ne zapinju u grlu, niti se kasnije osećaju u dahu. Ako osetiš toplotu u stomaku, znači da majstor zna šta radi.

Nakon druge i treće zdravice, Dragan je počeo da oseća vrtoglavicu. Pojeo je malo kobasice i domaćeg hleba da bi ublažio uticaj alkohola. Kada nas je Miodrag upitao da li želimo još jednu turu, Dragan je odgovorio kroz smeh:

  • Ne, ne. Ako ovako nastavimo prespavaćemo na senu. Možemo li da počnemo snimanje?
  • Naravno, šta god vam treba. Tu sam da pomognem.

Naša koleginica, voditeljka Jasna, objasnila mu je da želi da mu postavi pitanja o svakodnevnom životu zemljoradnika, kako njihov dan izgleda od jutra do večere. Kamerman Andrija našao je divno mesto na tremu gde smo mogli da snimamo. Njegov asistent Nenad, i tonac Ilija, pomogli su mu u montaži opreme.

  • Počinjemo snimanje za tri, dva, jedan… – odbrojavao je Andrija. – Snimamo!
  • Dobar dan želimo našim gledaocima – najavila je Jasna. – Nalazimo se u selu Stojkinci, na imanju porodice Jakšić. Naš domaćin je gospodin Miodrag Jakšić. Dobar dan.
  • Dobro došli – odgovori Miodrag.
  • Bolje vas snašli. Možete li nam reći kako izgleda vaš dan od kada ustanete, pa dok ne odete na spavanje? Radi li se mnogo?
  • Zavisi koga pitate. Život u selu se mnogo razlikuje od života u gradu. Ovde se rano ustaje, oko pet ujutro sam već budan. Prvo operem zube, pa sednem za sto. Moja žena Dana me uvek sačeka sa doručkom, mada mi je gadno da jedem zbog ukusa kaladonta u ustima. Tako da ga prvo isperem sa jednom časicom loze. Onda fino doručkujem, doručak je najbitniji obrok. On daje snage.
  • Šta jedete?
  • Sir, jaja i mleko uglavnom. Nekad prženice, nekad proju, gibanicu, domaći hleb… Zavisi kako kad. Popijem jednu rakijicu posle toga, pa odem na njivu. Tamo pronađem hlad, da ostavim flaše vode i rakije, pa uzmem da radim nekoliko sati. Na pauzi sednem u hlad, malo se polijem vodom, pa povučem još koji cug. Ume sunce baš da upeče. Sačekam taman malo, dok se ohladim, pa radim negde do ručka. Onda se vratim kući, ili odem kod prijatelja, Mileta. Nekad i on dođe kod nas. Onda tako se mi zarakijamo uz ručak…
  • Čekajte, čekajte! – prekide ga Jasna. – Ne može ovako! Mnogo pominjete rakiju, ispašće da pijete po ceo dan.
  • Pa?
  • Pa ne može tako. Ovo će se prikazivati na nacionalnoj frekvenciji, i deca će gledati. Možete li da zamenite rakiju sa nečim drugim, nečim dobrim. Što može da bude poučno za mlade ljude.
  • Uff, šta sada…? – upita Miodrag.
  • Nešto šta volite da radite.
  • Volim da čitam.
  • Odlično! Zamenite rakiju sa knjigom, pa idemo ponovo. Za tri, dva…
  • Volim da čitam – počeo je Miodrag. – Prvo ustanem, operem zube, pa sednem da jedem. Gadno mi je odmah da jedem, pa prelistam malo neku domaću knjigu. Nekoliko glava, dok ne nestane ukus paste za zube u ustima. Posle doručka volim još malo da čitam pre nego što odem na njivu. Tamo pronađem neki hlad i ostavim flašu vode i knjigu. Tako radim na njivi, dok ne napravim pauzu, da malo odmorim. Onda još malo čitam pre nego što se vratim na posao. Za ručak uglavnom jedem sa komšijom Miletom. Da l’ kod mene il’ njega, nije bitno. Volimo da čitamo zajedno i pričamo o tome šta smo pročitali. Često posle ručka komšija ostane da razmenjujemo iskustva. U nekom trenutku naše žene počne da boli glava od naše ljubavi prema knjizi, pa moramo da odemo negde drugde. Uglavnom u biblioteku. Tamo nas čeka društvo, Pera, Mika i Steva. Oni isto tako vole knjige, uglavnom domaće, mada vole da prelistaju i strane autore, uglavnom ruske. I tamo imamo književne večeri, uglavnom do deset, jedanaest uveče, dok bibliotekarka Mira ne svira fajront. Onda, šta ćemo, kud ćemo, uglavnom idemo kod Pere. On ima štampariju, tako da po celu noć pišemo i čitamo nove knjige.

 

Svi smo se iskreno nasmejali Miodragovoj priči.

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