The merry voices of fishermen coming back from a hard day of being under the Sun for hours, was mixed with the voices of hundreds of people returning home in those huge boats called Vapur.
Everybody looked tired but happy, since their workday had finished and they were free to relax and forget about their problems for a while.
The coffee shops were full of men talking and laughing as if they were the happiest people on Earth. Everything looked in order everywhere you looked.
The Bosphorus Bridge was packed with cars going both directions, loaded with people wishing to get home as soon as possible so they could share a delicious meal with their loved ones.
I was really tired after a very active day in Istanbul. Exhausted but delighted with the magic of that city and its wonderful people.
I found a nice-looking place where many men were already enjoying their kahve ve Çay (coffee and Tea). They all look cheerful and relaxed.
My knowledge of Turk language is very VERY basic, but I was able to understand and speak a little with the people who were always kind and very helpful to me.
I was lucky to meet some young people there who spoke English, so I was able to make new friends. I told them that I was impressed that everybody looked so happy, that I couldn´t see many sad or angry faces like in other big cities around the world.
I was especially impressed with a group of elderly men who were sitting around a small round table drinking a whitish beverage (Rakı).
One of my new friends agreed, after a long plea, to help me with the translation of some questions. I just wanted to know how those men manage to look so happy, while many old people in other countries spend their time complaining about their illnesses and problems.
We approached those merry gentlemen and they kindly invited us to share their table.
After observing them and trying to grasp some words of their conversations for a while, my friend translated my question:
- I am glad to see you are very happy here tonight. What is your secret to keep this happiness going?
One of them looked at me in silence for a while and, with a friendly smile, told me that they were living that moment only. They were not living a happy life all the time, in fact, he mentioned thathe was suffering a very painful illness that could take his life in a few months. The gentleman besides him had lost two of his sons who joined the rebels in Syria and were shot dead some time later. A very short man on the right, talked for a long while about a chain of disasters presently affecting his life and, in the end, every man in that table was living a tragic time at that precise moment. The truth is, I felt the most blessed person on Earth, after comparing their lives to mine.
After a couple of hours of hearing the tragic testimonies of those gentlemen I just ask them how could they live with a smile in their faces with all those terrible conditions they were going through.
One of them, probably the oldest one, told me there is an old Turkish proverb that rules their lives:
Her karanlik gecenin bir nurlu sabahı vardir.
Every dark night has a radiant morning.
– “You can have a difficult day and end up alone in the middle of a dark night, but all that will be over and a new radiant morning will definitely arrive. If your mind remains in the darkness you will not survive, if you leave all that behind and focus on the new day before you, then things will be alright”.
“No matter what happens, keep in mind that Every dark night has a radiant morning ahead.”
That was a wonderful night in the company of very strong men who were living hard lives but ended their day with a bright smile in their faces, looking forward for a bright new morning.
That Proverb is empowered with ancient wisdom that is still in force.
Those gentlemen will always be in my mind. Their example will remain in my heart.
Çok teşekkürler Turkiye! (Thank you very much Turkey!)