Today I got a call from a relative, living in Kyzylorda region.

          She has a disabled husband, three children, she has several jobs, doing her best to make both ends meet.

          She said she needed help, her voice pleading.

          ‘What happened?’ I asked her.

          – My elder daughter is getting married. We need to have a wedding, and a proper one, the way it should be.

         – So how much is it to have a wedding now?

         – One million tenge.

         – A million?!

         – Well, yeah. A nice cafe, two hundred guests. The whole street is neighbors and relatives. I took as much as I could from my friends. But this is not enough. I wanted to take a loan from the bank, but I did not pay back the previous one for TV and furniture. Got rejected. Now I don’t just ask everyone to give me the money, I want to borrow it. At interest.

        – So how long will it take you to pay back the loan?

        – Well, I hope to get some part as wedding gifts. As for the rest, I think, I will pay off for, like, five years.

        – So you’re saying that in order to let two hundred people eat beshbarmak, drink vodka and toast you, you are going to slave away at your three jobs?

        – Why, of course!

        – It seems to me, in your position your daughter should just register and that’s it. Or have a modest wedding for twenty–thirty guests.

        – Are you kidding?! Do you want me to disgrace myself in front of the entire district? How will I look the people in the eyes?

        – The people will understand.

        – Times are hard for everybody, and everybody is getting by. All people having weddings. I myself go to all of them. How can I not invite them now?

        – It’s some kind of arms race! Or rather, a show off contest! You are dusting each other’s eyes, try to outdo your neighbor in the wedding splendor, thus falling under sway. Who needs this? What does your daughter say?

       – Well, she wants everything the way all people have. Are we worse than them?

       – This is crazy!

       – Listen. If you can help – do so. If you don’t want to, just tell me. Why are you reading morals here?  – the relative flared and hung up.

       The busy tone…

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