Sunday, October 3, 2010

Welcome to Russian Dormitory - Chronology of Mini-perestroika Part 2

Perestroika of my neighbour's room has only begun. I donated my green broom to participate in it.

All in violent and determined action, peeling, knocking, moving...most of all, hoping...

Shafiq was lucky, his brother Najib or Jam from Netherlands flew all the way to Kaliningrad. They were in a serious mood while examining the condition of the wall. They finally decided to spill water on it to dampen it, it was much easier to peel them off.

There were at least four layers of wallpapers pasted over a time span of a couple of decades. In my room, I only peeled one layer away, Shafiq diligently scrapped all. I took four hours, he took 2 full days.

Its still Shafiq, the lone-ranger renovator. Brother must be taking a nap somewhere. He was either filling the holes on the wall or pulling out the nails.

The next day, the Kabul brothers were working in tandem again!

Tailor the desired length for the wall is an effective way to paste the wallpaper.

This is all you need. The university even provided us with the glue. All you need to do is mix it with water.

Older brother helping the baby brother.

Being tall or very tall is definitely a plus point in the labour of wallpaper pasting.

A meticulous cleaner, totally not seen before eyes of friends. Knocked my door in great haste to capture this sight. The seemingly pampered boy

Another Afghanistan resident in Kaliningrad, Kalil, helping to fit the carpet. His guest appearance is by all means helpful.

A room almost at the end of its perestroika, look on with great potential ahead. Watch out for the next blog to see its transformation.

Shafiq is my neighbour next door at room 313. I live in 311. He comes from Kabul, Afghanistan, studying Computer Science. Barely speaks Russian now, he is also attending Russian lessons.

As I was too busy to take pictures of my own perestroika, I got his permission to chronicle the process of renovating his room.

While some students accepted wholesale what was left of the room, people like me and Shafiq had no choice but to renovate it ourselves. I finished mine about two weeks earlier, and he started much later, waiting for the older brother from Netherlands to visit him and give a helping hand.

Firstly, it started with peeling off the wallpaper. Secondly, smoothened the surface of the wall. Thirdly, cut the desired length of wallpaper for the room. This has proven to be a faster but somehow messy way. Within a few hours, they completed pasting the wallpapers.

What they did was exactly what I went through, with help of my good neighbors from China, we did the wallpapers in a days' time. All I did was to either pass them the brush or pail of glue, and swept and mopped the floor thereafter. I was lucky indeed.

For a room that is almost cost-free, and the freedom to decorate and renovate in any way you like, I experience Russian perestroika with great anticipation. In life, so many things are readily made for us, so comfortable and yet became so soon mundane and routine, we seem to lose the space to maneuver, in way that we would like it to be. Hence, despite the sweat and labor, I relished this unique brand of perestroika, even it is only to reform a physical aspect of our lives - a reasonably comfortable room.

Shafiq with his new room is seemingly in great mood, as I could hear his singing that has become more frequent, and today he even performed playing flute together at the corridor with Sajjad.

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