Baku: Old Friends, Old City

 

Baku, my hometown, is named the City of Winds — the name derives from the ancient Persian name of Badkube which literally means “pounding winds.” Two winds are common to Baku: the gentle southern Gilavar and the rough Northern Khazri. The locals believe in the constant struggle of the Good and the Bad, the positive energy of Gilavar always balancing out the negativity of Khazri.

For me, September in Baku is always linked to new beginnings: that is when we used to lock up our summer house by the beach and move back to the city. The beaches will be becoming deserted, my summer friends will be growing up and changing without me by their side, and I will be going back to school feeling extremely guilty about not completing my assigned summer reading list (full of boring Soviet-propaganda books) and instead, spending all of my nights reading French and Italian classics — mostly with a torchlight under the covers (because strangely, my parents believed that children should be asleep at night, not reading and taking notes).

Those days are long gone — the older I get, the more my body depends on a good night sleep. Even though I do occasionally have a night when I end up reading until dawn (thank you, Kerouac, for one of my latest), I tend to think of those summer nights as a thing of the past.

I treasure my September memories and my relationships with the people from that part of my life. Every time I visit Baku (which I mostly do in March and September), I make sure to meet up with my old friends — all of us changed over the years but we still have a lot in common and tremendously enjoy each other’s company.

One windy afternoon in September last year A., an old school friend I’ve known for 25 years, and I went for a little walk around our beloved Old City in Baku. With my camera. Care to join us, darlings?

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