Monday, December 27, 2010

Milka


Tražim posao. Na stotine poslatih prijava, tek po koji odgovor, zahvaljuju, ali su odabrali drugog kandidata. Nema načina da odem lično i izborim se za sebe. „Pošaljite CV sa fotografijom ne starijom od 6 meseci, javićemo“, klasičan odgovor ukoliko se prevare pa objave broj telefona. Neprobojan zid.
Dobijam konačno pozitivan odgovor.
Na interfonu zgrade u centru grada piše naziv firme. To je to. Penjem se na prvi sprat. Vrata mi otvara žena u ranim pedesetim godinama, prilično gojazna, naočare, kratka tršava seda kosa, izgleda kao da se nije kupala bar nedelju dana. „Dobrodošla u redakciju!“ U stanu-redakciji težak vazduh, jedva može da se diše. Žena nema naviku da provetrava, a puši bar tri paklice cigareta dnevno. To sam zaključila kasnije.
Redakciju čine jedan kompjuter na radnom stolu, gomila papira i časopisa razbacanih na sve strane i to je sve. Običan jednosoban stan sa pohabanim nameštajem. Isti nije čišćen mesecima, zaključujem to po prašini ispod fotelje, jednim lakim zahvatom ruke nakupila bih punu šaku prašine i kuđe.
Milka priča o sebi. Žali se da nije više ono što je bila, izvinjava se zbog svog izgleda, ali za sve okrivljuje ozbiljnu bolest koja je muči već više godina. Smesta sam potisnula jak osećaj gadljivosti u sebi.
Milka ima u svom timu više ljudi, ali oni ne dolaze. Komuniciramo preko interneta, od njih dobijamo izveštaje iz svih krajeva regiona, na raznim jezicima. Onda mi to prevodimo na srpski i engleski i postavljamo na stranice elektronskog časopisa. Zaprepašćena sam koliko je Milka uspešna u tome. Pretplata za njen magazin nije mala, a dobija zahteve čak iz skandinavskih zemalja. Bravo Milka!
Uskoro upoznajem još dva člana koja dolaze u redakciju kao i ja. Koleginica prevodilac i daktilografkinja. Dolazimo na posao u različito vreme. Jedva da se srećemo. I dalje uglavnom radim samo sa Milkom. Kad smo u retkim prilikama svi zajedno, Milka pomno prati situaciju, ne dozvoljava da se stvori opuštena, kolegijalna atmosfera, uvek nameće sebe tako što nam daje zanimljive informacije. Uskoro saznajem i zašto.
Paranoja. Ona je kao novinarka kritična i veoma oštra. Na njenoj meti su ljudi koji su povezani u jednom lancu moćnika, međusobno se štite, dok žestoko zloupotrebljavaju svoj službeni položaj i stiču nenormalno veliko bogatstvo. Ništa novo u ovoj državi. Samo što se ona usmerila na jednu, određenu oblast koju vrlo dobro poznaje. I dok piše žestoke novinske članke, povremeno uzdahne i kaže da je posle tog teksta gotova, da će da dođu po nju. Zapravo, svi ti ljudi su sve vreme tu negde oko nas, pomno prate svaki naš potez, čuju naše razgovore, besne kad saznaju o čemu pišemo. Već posle desetak dana rada, shvatam da oni mogu da uskoče u stan iz terase, da imaju prislušne uređaje u stanu, svaki šušanj, sumnjivi koraci u hodniku mogli su da znače da oni dolaze. I kad otvara fioke Milka to radi sa velikom dozom opreza.
Milka je u klimaksu. U toku radnog vremena nekoliko puta se smenjuju očajničko jecanje i euforično skakanje po stanu. Često daje izjave za razne medije. Ali samo mi koji radimo sa njom znamo kakvu dramu preživljava zbog toga. „Opet su me zvali sa B92, pa zar oni nemaju koga drugog da pitaju, dokle ću da dajem izjave pred kamerama? Još samo sada, a onda ćeš morati ti, spremi se, ja više ne mogu!“ Sumanuto ide po stanu sa podignutim rukama, povremeno zagnjurivši šake u tršavu kosu. Pravi napad panike.
Nije to trema, pa zaboga, ona sama je toliko godina u novinarstvu. Ona ima osećaj da je u nju uperena puška, a ne kamera. Opet će na sebe navući bes moćnika! Kamera pojačava utisak da je „oni“ posmatraju, oseća se kao da je izašla pred streljački stroj. Pita se ona sve vreme, a to mi je vrlo brzo postalo jasno, za koga JA zapravo radim? Ko je mene poslao kod nje, neće biti da je to bilo onako kako sam joj rekla, da sam pročitala oglas i došla. To važi za sve koji rade za nju.
Zato ne može da podnese kad smo zajedno, kad nas je više za nju je opasnost veća. A i ko zna o čemu pričamo dok ona nešto radi?
Dok sam radila, Milka je znala da sprema zimnicu, prži meso, peva, sve je radila, samo nije izlazila napolje. Namirnice smo joj donosili mi. Čak sam joj jednom pržila meso, jednu džombu od mesine od koje su mogle da se naprave dobre tri šnicle.
Jednom nogom sam već bila napolju. Boleo me stomak kad sam dolazila na posao, nakon njega mi je trebalo malo vremena da se smirim zbog stresova koje sam doživela tog dana, sve te suze, vikanje i dramu. Počela sam i ja da se osvrćem, počela sam da se osećam kao meta.
I dok sam držala privatni čas, Milka me u kratkom telefonskom razgovoru obavestila da više ne dolazim na posao, da ona finansijski ne može više da izdrži ni mene, ni koleginicu prevodioca. Znam, mnogo smo se zbližile i bile solidarne jedna prema drugoj. Nismo prošle test.
Nikad neću zaboraviti Milku. U neku ruku, mogla sam takva da postanem i ja. Teško je ostati priseban u ovoj zemlji, pogotovo ako vodite važne bitke. Ništa joj ne zameram. Htela sam doduše da se malo našalim i nekim gestom potvrdim da sam špijun. Ali, onda sam se setila da su mi kod nje ostale moje slušalice za diktafon. Ko zna da li su to zaista SAMO slušalice? Sigurna sam da je to dovoljno, našalila sam se.

I’m looking for a job. I’ve sent hundreds of applications but got just a few responses, they thank me, but they chose another candidate. There is no way to go in person and present myself best possible way. "Send your CV with a photograph not older than 6 months, we’ll let you know" usual response if they post their phone number by any chance. Unbreakable wall. Finally, I’m getting a positive response.
Downtown building, I see the company name. That's it. I climb up to the first floor. The door opens and I see a woman in her early fifties, quite overweight, with glasses, short spiky gray hair, looks like she hasn’t had a proper bath for at least a week. "Welcome to the editorial!" Heavy air, I’m barely able to breathe in the apartment-newsroom. The woman smokes at least three packs of cigarettes a day, and doesn’t open windows very often.
Editorial board” consists of one computer on a desk, stacks of paper and magazines scattered everywhere and that's all. Just an ordinary bedroom apartment with shabby furniture. And it has not been cleaned for months.
Milka talks about herself. She says she’s no longer what she used to be, apologizes for her looks, but she blames a serious disease she is struggling with for several years for everything. I immediately suppress a strong feeling of disgust.
Milka has a lot of people in her team, but they do not come. We communicate over the Internet, we receive reports from all over the region, in different languages. Then we translate it to Serbian and English and set the page for electronic journal. I am astonished how successful Milka is! The subscription to her magazine is not cheap, and but she receives requests even from the Scandinavian countries. Well done Milka!
Soon I meet two other members who come to the office as I am. A colleague translator and a typist. We come to work at different times. We hardly meet. I still work most of the time only with Milka. When we are in rare occasions together, Milka closely monitors the situation, doesn’t allow us to create a relaxed, collegial atmosphere, and always imposes herself by giving us interesting information. Soon enough, I found out why.
Paranoia. She is very critical and sharp as a journalist. She has a very clear target - people who are connected in a chain of power, people who protect each other, and fiercely abuse their positions to gain an abnormally large fortune. What else is new in this country? She is focused on a single, specific area in economy, the one she knows very well. And as she writes some newspaper article, she occasionally sighs and says that after the text is published, “they” will come and get her. In fact, all those people are somewhere around us all the time, they carefully watch every our move, hear our conversations, they’re angry when they find out what we write about. Very soon I realize that they are capable of anything, they can jump into the apartment from the terrace, they have bugged the apartment, every little noise, and suspicious steps in the corridor could mean that they are coming. Even when opening drawers, Milka does it with great caution.
Milka is in the climax. Desperate sobbing and euphoric jumping around the apartment rotate several times a day. She often makes statements for TV stations. But only we (her colleagues) know what kind of drama happens because of it. " B92 called me again, don’t they have anyone else to ask, how much longer will I make statements in front of cameras? All right, just one more time, you better get ready, I can no longer do it, you’ll have to do it! " She’s running around the apartment like crazy. I’m witnessing a real panic attack.
It's not a stage fright. For God's sake, she has been in journalism for so many years. She feels exposed, like she’s not in front of a camera but a rifle. The camera redoubles the impression that "they" watch her, she feels like coming out before the firing squad. She actually asks herself all the time, and this became clear to me very quickly, for whom I actually work? Who sent me to her, it can’t be that it was the way I told her - I read the ad and came. Yeah, right! This applies to all who work for her. That’s the reason she can’t stand when we are all together, the more people around her – the greater the danger for her.
During working hours, Milka likes to prepare food, sing, she would do anything, just, not to go outside. We bring food to her.
I’m not working for Milka long, but I already want out. When I go to work I feel the pain in my stomach, and after it, it takes me some time to calm down and relieve the stress I experienced that day. All those tears, yelling and drama! I started to look behind me, I started to feel like I’m a target too.
Milka calls me and in a short telephone conversation tells me that she can no longer financially sustain neither me nor my colleague interpreter. I know, the two of us got too close and supportive to each other. We have not passed the test.
I will never forget Milka. In a way, I could become just like her. It's hard to stay sane in this country, especially if you fight such hard and important battles for so long. There are no hard feelings. Yet, I couldn’t help making a little joke, some gesture to confirm that I REALLY AM a spy. But then I remembered. I left my headset for voice recorder. Who knows if they are really JUST the handset? I'm sure that's enough, I made a joke.