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The Feelings and Emotions We Had During the 44-Day War in Artsakh: Interview with the Author of the Book "On This Side of the Window"

The book ''On This Side of the Window'', which contains small stories about the recent 44-day war in Artsakh , has recently appeared in the ''Bukinist'' store. ''Armedia'' IAA talked to Veronika Avetisyan, the author of the book.


Veronika Avetisyan was born in 1991 in the Akhaltsikhe region of Georgia. She has been living in Yerevan since childhood.  She graduated from the Faculty of Romance and Germanic Philology (YSU), has a master's degree. About 6 years Veronika worked at the ''Zvartnots'' airport (Yerevan, Armenia), for the last three years she has been working as an English teacher at the Skyeng distance school, and also prepares materials for English learners in the Skyteach blog. She also makes vlogs for English learners and posts them on her YouTube channel.


-Recently Your book ''On This Side of the Window'' was published. What is it about?

The book describes the feelings and emotions that we experienced during the 44-day war. The key topics are patriotism, love, loyalty, human values and human relations. The book is based on real stories and real people.

Through the characters of Arman and Nare, the book presents the real Armenian – who has experienced and felt every minute of the war. In the story ''April for Living'' we become witnesses of the events that deeply changed Nare’s attitude towards the war and the motherland. It was the days of the April War (ed. - 4-day war in Artsakh, in April 2016) that left their mark on the lives of Arman and Nare.

Four years later, we see Nare as a more mature and patriotic character who lives through the horrors of war, but does not give up. Next to Nare is Arman - the embodiment of the struggling Armenian. They want to go hand in hand and are ready to build their future even on the ruins, making Armenia strong and powerful.


-How did You come up with the idea for Your book?

It was December 11th. I was on the verge of despair; I could not see a way out of this whole vague and obscure situation. My sister and I decided to visit the families of the dead soldiers. I called Narine – her husband was martyred in the war – and said that we would like to visit them and help with something.

She replied: ''You can come just  for a talk.''  With this sentence alone, Narine managed to sober me up, give me strength. On December 13, we went to Narine's place and met her wonderful family. Impressed by the events of this day, I came home and just wrote down everything that I saw and felt. Then I visited ''Flower garden with tricolor'' (ed. – the Yerablur Military Pantheon, where the dead are buried) and so on. And later I wrote about the experiences that I had during the war.


-Why have You titled Your Book ''On This Side of the Window''?

During peaceful days, many of us have been living a life ''outside the window.''  We looked at the ''enviable'' photos of other people on Instagram, spoke about travelling, the everyday life of couples in love, thus forgetting that life is inside. Many of us, obsessed with the lives of others, have completely forgotten about ourselves.  Unfortunately, we realized it only after the war. The book urges the reader to go ''inside''- as life is inside, not outside. And this ''inside'' is full of feelings, full of people and full of love.


-What was the most difficult thing for You while writing the book? What feelings do You have in general?

Each sentence caused me great pain and sorrow, because I went through every single day of the war. While writing the book it seemed to me that I was watching a documentary.  In any case, I can single out the ''Flower garden with tricolor''; while writing, it seemed to me that I ''have died''.

When I visited Yerablur for the first time after the war, I froze. I just didn't shed a single tear. I came home and wrote ''Flower garden with tricolor'', which became for me a way of expressing my sorrow and pain.


- What would You like to say to the readers of the book?

Keep in your heart all the pain and bitterness that you experienced during the war, let them remind you every day that you must be strong and you must continue to live in your homeland -in sake of our boys, who will forever soar in the sky and light our way...


''Armedia'' IAA presents an extract from the book ''On This Side of the Window'' below:


Dark coffee with love

The engine of the car worked again, as always Arman lit the cigarette, took a big puff and blew it.

While the car was warming up, Arman was thinking about the past, the past where he had been mistaken or maybe had not done what he could.

He took another deep breath, and not having finished the first cigarette, he took the second one out of the box, lit it and continued smoking while living the strong pains of his soul.

In general, the war has changed Arman a lot , -no enthusiasm, no fire in his eyes any more, although he does his best to hide it from me. However, I see more than his face shows. But every time Arman gives me strength and hope that everything will be fine, every time I slip on the shiny ice, he does not let me fall.

Finally, the car warmed up and Arman did not manage to light the third cigarette when he received a message: ''I'm already at home''. After dousing the second cigarette and throwing it away, he got in the car and moved forward.

Throughout the war, Arman missed only one thing: the dark coffee with love made by me. I do not know what he particularly loves about that coffee. As for me, it is ordinary coffee - a teaspoon of coffee, a glass of water boiled on the most ordinary gas stove. But when you ask Arman, he says a completely different recipe. ''One teaspoon of strong coffee, one and a half teaspoon of tenderness, two teaspoons of patience and one cup of love.'' Where is the water left? No idea, he does not say...

Less than fifteen minutes later, Arman was already in our yard, waiting for me or the dark coffee with love made by me. I did not make him wait long, although I know that he is ready to wait for me endlessly.

The war taught us to appreciate every second, not to make a person wait artificially and not to delay anything. Otherwise, one day life may ''delay'' or even ''cancel'' you.

I don't know if the reason is coffee with love or our love itself, but every time we meet, we, as a whole, seem to be reborn. And everything takes on a different shade, everything gets a new meaning, every tree and flower wakes up, everything is lightened.

Love and being loved is a very beautiful and indescribable thing. But I have never thought that even in that beauty I would sometimes feel guilty for having the opportunity to love and be loved. I want to love and be happy in silence, and to be loved secretly so that I do not hurt anyone.

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