Svetlana Molchanova

Suddenly the bus speeds up, turning left and right trying to dodge potholes. The standing passengers tilt and fall, grumbling. But the bus driver can rejoice – he did not let his fellow-colleague overtake him and reached the bus stop first.

A gaggle of adolescent girls gets on. Thin nylon stockings, short-fitted jackets, no hats. Even the sight of the girls makes me shiver. An old lady looks at them with a critical eye and mutters: “They say it will get as cold as -23 °C tonight.” The girls giggle and move to the other end.

Although there is a heating system, it is quite chilly inside the bus because the doors constantly open. Winter lasts for about five months, but Russians’ tolerance for cold is not very high, and most people would rather dress warmly than fortify themselves against low temperatures. Actually, it is usually witheringly hot in flats and houses in winter. Heat breaks no bones, the Russian proverb goes.

As we pass a church, a woman crosses herself. Another woman, wearing a hijab and sitting nearby, is engrossed in her smartphone.

A mom with a toddler gets on. One of the senior ladies offers to let the child sit on her lap. When the kid is seated, a bunch of grannies start talking to her:

“What is your name?”

“How old are you?”

“Here, have a piece of candy.”

The kid takes it, and her mother says: “Now, what should you say.” The child looks overwhelmed and bursts out crying. The grannies are anxious to put a stop to it.

“Oh, you’re such a big girl, big girls don’t cry.”

“Look what a beautiful car is passing by.”

The mother takes her child in her arms, and someone offers them a seat. She hugs and kisses her daughter. “Now, that’s okay. Everything’s all right,” she soothes the kid. But the wailing continues till the girl gets tired and can only sob.

The bus stops in front of the market and a knot of elderly people get on. They carry heavy bags filled with groceries. The prices at that market are some of the lowest in the city, so the retired often go there to buy in large quantities. Such shopping tours allow them to save some 50-100 rubles, and subsidized bus tickets make the trip even more appealing. Trifles like exhaustion and backache are never taken into account.

“Everything is soooo expensive now. A loaf of bread was 20 rubles last week, now it’s 25!!! And the sunflower oil. Here you can buy it for 75 rubles per liter, but in a store you can never find anything for less than a hundred. I remember in Soviet times a loaf of bread was 20 kopecks and a sausage was 2.20 per a kilo,” a senior lady with heavily loaded bags reminisces.

“Yes, and people went to Moscow to do grocery shopping, because here the shelves of the shops were empty. We had a meat-processing plant in the city back then, but you could never buy their products here, though in Moscow they were readily available,” a middle-aged man chipped in.

“But there was law and order,” the woman continues “and the plants were operating, everyone had a job. And now… They have closed them down and turned everything into malls.” She keeps groaning and grumbling for quite a while with no one interrupting her, but I guess everyone feels relieved when the woman finally falls silent.

The traffic has slowed to a crawl, which is unusual for this time of the day – too early for traffic jams. There is probably an accident ahead. Then, someone near the windscreen gasps:

“Just look!”

(…to be continued…)

Transadaptation Volume 4 – Material Dissent

January: A Blinding Light and Then, All Darkness – Jonay Quintero Hernández (Spain)

February: The Opportunist – Lauren Voaden (United Kingdom)

March: A Stranger in my City – Alejandra Baccino (Uruguay)

April: A South African Soundtrack – Sarah-Leah Pimentel (South Africa)

May: Full Circle – Ina Maria Vogel (Germany)

June: La Lluvia en Bogotá – Adriana Uribe (Columbia)

July: Freedom – Krisztina Janosi (Hungary)

August: A Bus Ride – Svetlana Molchanova (Russia)

September: Transcendence – Armine Asryan (Nane Sevunts) (Armenia)

October: Motherhood – Marilin Guerrero Casas (Cuba)

November: Nine Days – Gennady Bondarenko (Ukraine)

December: Open – Seyit Ali Dastan (Turkey)

Background – Context

Transadaptation Volume 3: Evanescent – Young Adulthood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2022)

Transadaptation Volume 2: Conceived – Childhood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2021)

Transadaptation Volume 1: In the Middle – Prelude to a Contemporary Transadaptation, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2020)

Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)

L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)

From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)

Emblems and stories on the international community

Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from around the world

Credits (left side, middle – top to bottom, right side)

1. Engels, Russia – The City Park – Natavilman (Shutterstock); 2. Saratov, Russia – At the hairdresser – Tramp (Shutterstock); 3. Saratov, Russia – Kirov avenue – Fire-fly (Shutterstock); 4. Saratov, Russia – The bus – trolleway (Shutterstock); 5. Saratov, Russia – Drawing on asphalt – White Fox (Shutterstock); 6. Saratov, Russia – Setting – Anastasiia R. (Unsplash); 7. Saratov, Russia – Sledding – White Fox (Shutterstock); 8. Saratov, Russia – Chernyshevsky Square – Fire-fly (Shutterstock)

Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

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