Travelling around Georgia was exciting and when the day to leave Tbilisi dawned upon us, I was disappointed. The time we spent there was so intensive that we didn’t have many opportunities to support the Georgian economy with shopping sprees. However, when it was time to leave, I had one thing on my mind: panduri, a traditional Georgian musical instrument.

I asked around and local people told me that the best chances of getting a panduri were at the Dry Bridge Flea Market. Without further ado, I set out for the hunt.

All the treasure! All the trash!

The flea market was packed with all possible curiosities and I felt dizzy from looking left and right all the time. I wandered through the market, stopping at nearly every stall, inhaling the dusty smell of merchandise.

Finally, I stumbled upon traditional musical instruments! One of panduris caught my eye straight away. A sleek, wooden beauty that looked unusually fresh. I haggled over the price (got some extra skills in this area during my trips to Crimea) and after a few minutes, the baby was mine.

Armed with the panduri, I was walking back to the coffee shop to meet the rest of the travelling party, when I heard a woman shout, “Dievoshka, dievoshka!”

These words froze my steps

I looked around as I felt that the words were aimed at me. The fat lady that was waving in my direction had a teenage boy standing at her side. The women stared at me and motioned to come closer.

Intrigued, I came over. Without bothering to say “Hello”, the woman told me to give my panduri to the boy. My first thought was How strange… My second thought was What if he takes off with my panduri? And my last thought was Oh, what the hell…

I handed the panduri over to the teenager who looked at me with his big, brown eyes. Then he took the instrument, started tuning it and the lady nodded her head in approval reassuring me that he was a professional.

Goodbye panduri, welcome new life

I wasn’t very convinced by her words, especially that she spoke in Russian and I don’t know this language. It didn’t matter though because I thoroughly enjoyed what was happening.

The boy told me that I should watch what he was doing, so then I’d be able to do the same when I get back home. At this point, a thought struck me, Something is happening.

I readied the camera just in time as he started playing.

My eyes goggled as my panduri started sending the sweetest sounds into the world. The boy’s quick fingers hitting the strings mesmerised me to the point that I wouldn’t care if he actually did run away with the panduri.

My ears were melting with pleasure, my heartbeats were full of joy and when I thought it couldn’t get any better, he started singing…

His voice went straight through my flesh and bones, deeply into my soul and it was to stay there forever.

Now, I finally get a chance to share this treasure with you!

Great THANK YOU to Dimi Gol for editing the material! <3