The wall looks at you and you look at the walls. You look at your right, nobody. You look at your left, nobody. You know you are alone, and nobody to talk. When the night comes everybody retires to his room. Nobody cares to other’s troubles. Let it try to understand it. Cause everyone has his own. How can you talk about your troubles when his troubles has gone over his head? “Don’t poke it man, my troubles are enough for me”. Now let’s listen to people who live in the hotel rooms for a long number of years.
“These hotels put a veil on people’s defects. Covers their secrets. It’s a refuge, it’s my home. It’s the only thing I’ve got. I’ve nothing else. I am here from 1987 on almost constantly. There were times that I couldn’t. I slept outdoors. At construction sites, at ruined houses. Believe it, my violin’s case was my pillow. I spent my life here. Who would be willing to spent his life in a hotel?
I was married, I had kids and a family. Separation from your home and family and living in a hotel is so sad. But how would I know that it’s going to be like that? But it happened so I’ve got to endure it. I had a mother and a father but I was small so I didn’t see them. In fact I saw them but couldn’t remember, just vaguely. When my mother and father both deceased my mother’s half sister took us to her home and her husband was dealing with music and he taught me how to play.
At those times he played twice a week at weddings and took me with him. And also in Ramadan and Sacrifices Feasts it was a custom to play music at prisons. My auntie’s husband was also going there to play and taking me with him. While other kids enjoy themselves in fairs, on ferris wheels I as a small child, I was playing violin to convicts in prisons. That’s how my days passed. They never showed me any Feast never had any fun. Whenever I came home from job, my auntie searched me head to foot to find some money.”
The hotel owner says about him:
“He says that he’d stayed in every room of this hotel. He’d came to this hotel before me. Sometimes he reconciles with his wife and goes and then comes back again. But he always ends here. He can’t get along with his wife. Friends try to bring them together but he says, that his wife shows no respect to him. Doesn’t treat him humanly, does what she likes, doesn’t take him into consideration. And then he just leaves and get away. And the kids take their mother’s side, he says. So he doesn’t want to stay at home. They can’t get along. But they don’t divorce too. I think they are still legitimately married.”
A man says:
“There are times when I really feel cold. Of course, because the room is cold. Whatever I say is true. Anything I tell you, it’s true. I am talking about the reality, about the truth. Of course it is cold. The stove doesn’t burn. At the moment weather is mild, warm. But then, after midnight it gets colder. Early in the morning it gets much colder. Then the room is freezing cold. So I always wait for the call of prayer, to get up and go.
Because mosques are warm. So I either go there or to the coffee house. Because the stove burns there. I keep close to it and warm myself. I suffered too much and still suffering. That’s my destiny. I am contented. Thanks God. You should know for sure that life is an illusion. We came from God and we will go to God. That is for sure. Everything will end, life will end, suffering will end. Bitters and sweets will end. Even if you own the world that will end too. Yesterday passed, the day is today. And we don’t know what tomorrow is.”
Another man says:
“I give up my soul to the hotel. I walk about. You know, where it’s already known. I had a house once but it was registered on my son and he sold it. Then he’d gone bankrupt and pulled me in too. That is what the state is. The meaning of my staying in a hotel is a guarantee of my life. Because I’m registered in the book, and for 24 hours the hotel keeper is responsible from all that. That is the main reason.
And I’ve a few odds and ends, so to say. If anything is lost, you know, he keeps an eye on. And the death is every minute, on top of my head. I might pass in my bed. But the hotel keeper will be there at 9 o’clock, if don’t get up. He will knock the door and if he couldn’t get an answer, he’ll break in and see that the man is dead. So thats the meaning of giving my soul in this hotel. I want to give my soul in this hotel. That’s what my pray is from God.”
“To live in a hotel means to be lost. To be a finished man, that is what it is. Whoever says “I am not lost” is definitely lying. I’m not talking about temporary customers, people who have homes. But people who reside in hotels, and nowhere else to go. Those people are lost people. I’m living here for almost four years now. Before that I stayed at Küçükpazar. Meanwhile Küçükpazar is a neighbourhood of Fatih. I also stayed here time to time when I got off the ship. But after I landed, I am here for good. Generally sailors stay here. On the ship you don’t worry to pay a rent. You don’t pay for food and drinks or anything. It is like an open prison but thousand fold better than this.
Day time there are people around, you walk about and so. But at nights, the worries start rushing in and you begin to think. I don’t think much at the day time. I first came to Istanbul at 1981 with my father. He was selling wholesale goods to Mahmutpaşa before his bankruptcy. In 1983 after he’d gone bankrupt we were living in Kartal. Then my mother left us and my father took us to Bursa. To the village. Then he was convicted and went to prison. Then they got divorced and I stayed with my mother. After staying with her for a short while I left her home too.
It’s hard to get on well with a step father. She was married again. It’s hard to live in harmony with a step father and I didn’t approve her. When I was 14 or 15 I left home. That’s about it. You don’t get on well with someone whom you don’t know. You can’t accept. In addition there was constant violence. Beating in excess. Beating is more than enough to daunt somebody. I remember that I was beaten with a shovel because I dropped a spoon. Maybe that wasn’t the main reason, maybe he got mad at someone else.
But this does not change a thing. I remember a beating that the shovel had broken apart. Then I got away from home, but not for that I had bad habits. I mean there are so many people on the streets, from drug addicts to pushers and buyers. All kind of people. I’ve seen them, I’ve seen all. For years I lived among all those things. But somehow I always stood away from those kinds of things. Because I’ve seen so many bad, malicious people, real thugs. They were bad examples of humans. So I thought “If I use drugs, I’ll be just like them“.
And the pushers, they’re in for three days and out for four days. So I thought “If I’d be a pusher, that’s what it’s going to be“. And I stayed away from trouble, because of bad examples. What I couldn’t accomplish is to save myself from hotel rooms.”
And now another man says:
“I live here, at that hotel since 1989. That’s my life. We are like a family. This is also our house. Since 1989 I am on the sea. I’m a college graduate. I know English and the Italian. Hotels crush people. Psychologically, loneliness. In every way you can think of. You feel loneliness. You feel fear. You feel shivers. It’s horrible. Living in a hotel is a terrible thing. I’m scared of not been able to wake up in the morning.
That’s what I’m scared of. So I pray before I go to sleep. Because I might not get up. A weak man can’t stay here. He’ll die. Fighting is not easy, very hard. Believe that. Nobody would volunteer to a life like that. Me too included. Of course I would very much like to have a home, a family, a warm nest. I never regret anything. But our life will come to an end. The life will end.”
Another man says:
“Nobody should ever broke away from the family circle. It is dangerous to break away from that environment. Everybody should know that. That’s the main thing. Did I pay a price for that? For getting away? As you can see, I’m paying with my life. What else can I pay? I’m giving my life away. That’s the result. The price is my life. I’m giving my life. Yes. Every human being is born grows up, matures, marries, have a family, continues his progeny. And I’m proud of my child, my son.
From time to time, I see him. But he doesn’t see me. He is studying at the university. This is his last year. He is studying electronics. I love him. He doesn’t see me in no way. I get away from him. I try not to be seen. He just knows that he has a father. Nobody knows any other thing about me. So he knows that I’m alive, he knows that. But he doesn’t know where I am. And I don’t want him to know that. He stays at my brother’s house. My brother is married. We separated before 1989.
But let’s not get into these things. I don’t want to talk about these. Every man needs a wife and a family circle. I’m living. A living man is never hopeless. I am alive.”
And again, another man says:
“My biggest fear is to mark the end here. Because nobody comes and goes for you. It’s so hard. They will throw you to the destitute’s graveyard and that’s it. Because I don’t have anybody. If I don’t look for someone, nobody will come and look for me. After 20 or 30 years, possibly there will be no one that I knew. So you live a life as nothing, 50 years of suffering and than you go. That’s all about it. Loneliness all the way. Either at the hotel or at the streets you’re always alone.
In 1989, one day I was walking through the streets and I heard children voices from a house. They were having a breakfast or something and I felt a deep sorrow inside me. From that day on I avoid narrow streets where families live. Because I feel depressed. I have nothing. I either live in a hotel, or on the streets. Well, these are my circumstances. So in order to keep myself away from depression, I even refrain going to parks as well. That’s the real thing that I regret.
Everybody has to know his place and not be impudent. But everybody in his youth makes mistakes unwittingly. I understood that too, but it was a bit late unfortunately. It’s only from my point of view. The other side might not think it as a nice story, to say the least. I made a mistake. If you don’t see any love or affection even from your family. Then a gentle smile of someone would mean to you as big as a laughter. That’s how I perceive it. But of course you can’t expect that everybody should feel the same.”