It’s December and I am happy with my hot chocolate, cozy blanket and my small apartment, and why shouldn’t I be: it’s winter and it’s home. But at the very same time when I am sipping my hot chocolate, in a land far, far north from here, a mother is dressing up her son in two pair of gloves, thermal underpants, three pair of socks, three layer of clothing covered with a 1500 dollar overcoat. Yes, our very own Russia or oymyakon (precisely) where temperature goes as below as -60 degree Celsius.
Nobody leaves their home unless they absolutely have to, a place where it takes 3 days just to dig a grave, to bury your loved ones (god bless, if they die in winter). Why would anyone want to live in a place like this? Haven’t they heard about the paradise, which lies outside the boundaries of oymyakon. A world full of corruption, hatred, crime and hunger but free of permafrost.
Why not just migrate like birds do, migrate to a warm place and feel for once the nakedness on your skin. A privilege of walking the streets with just your boxers on, a privilege of driving a car on a proper concrete road, a privilege of skinny dipping.
Economically the place survives on the few weeks of farming season that nature graces them with. A coal mine that provides them with two meals a day and still they spent their winters in a debt, as with an average income of 600 dollar, it’s not easy to afford a 1500 dollar overcoat.
Life comes to a standstill when you are living in a place below the freezing point of water. Your whole body freeze but the antidote is in you. Your heart.
What binds the people of oymyakon together is not the huge economic perks, food, beautiful ladies and certainly not the weather.
“It’s Home.” said a 40 year old Amilya dressing her son under five layers of thick clothing.
“It’s my home, every day I feel like I belong here just like my parents did. It may take hours to get dressed but this is where I want to be. After all home is where the heart is, home is where we belong.”