Spectrum of Istanbul: Mother, God, Sex, Fight

Once time I just stopped for a while on one of the overcrowded street of Istanbul and carefully was looking at ambient mob. I see a smiling street musician without […]

Once time I just stopped for a while on one of the overcrowded street of Istanbul and carefully was looking at ambient mob. I see a smiling street musician without two front teeth who is holding a small, old, wooden guitar. On the other side runing businessman with elegant suitcase in his hand and fashionable tie around his neck. In the middle of the pedestrian the begging woman who is asking for money with her loudly crying baby on her back. Then I noticed seller of Simit who is screaming “SIMIT1 TL” and trying to attract their clients. In a few seconds my way crossed thousands of faces. Working as a journalist daily proves me how many “simply unordinary” stories are around me and how many are worth to share with the world. In one month I met completely different from each other eight different people, with eight different attitude to life, different background and only one common thing being a citizen of Istanbul. Each story is like one tiny square of wonderful mosaic of Istanbul because the real beauty of city mainly consists incredible diversity of them.

Through his veins does Iranian-Turkish blood flows. The guy who does not see the limit. Not for nothing does his name mean The Old Warrior of Ottoman. His life is like a huge, explosive mixture. He looks quite dangerous but I can sense that he is a good guy with an artistic soul. In my opinion all the actors have a dose of sensitivity even under their threatening images. He is like crazy freak with a huge heart to take risks.

We meet in front of one of the clubs in crowded, noisy Taksim square. The guy is sitting on the chair in front of the main entrance door of the club. His look can make your blood curdle, especially when you catch a glimpse of his eyebrow piercing, and notice the bushy beard on his face and a lot of tattoos on his forearms. He is peering at the people crossing this street in a bit suspicious way. The man is frowning. He is tall and very-well built. From the beginning, I have no doubt that he is working as a bodyguard here. He is wearing “moro” trousers almost like a soldier, a black jacket and a funny, Rasta style t-shirt with the Bob Marley image on it.

Bahadır comes from Iran. His hometown is Tehran but his father comes from Turkey so I would say his roots are joined Iranian- Turkish “node”. I ask him whether he identifies himself more with Turkish nation or Iranian. He answers that is difficult to say in an unequivocal way. He appreciates both nations and does not want to choose between them, but he confesses that Iranian culture is more traditional and deep, and it is a bit closer to his heart. He is calling himself the “village guy”.

In the childhood he used to practise Thai box but after that he followed a completely different path in his life. In Iran he graduated from Fine Arts and Cinema Television and then he came to Turkey in order to take some extra courses on acting. He performs mostly as a stuntman who is responsible for acting extremely adventurous parts. Also, he was a real cinema star in a Turkish movie. He acted as a terrorist leader. He gets offers mostly to play in action or comedy movies. He is asking me if I would like to see a fragment of his movie. I just nod and say: “Sure why not?!”.

During our conversation he admits to regret that he has quitted sport. He is sure that he would be one of the best boxers and have much more achievements. Life has forced him to choose just one passion. He says that during castings and recording movie staff often asks him why his face is bruised. Training Thai box would significantly decrease his opportunities for getting other roles in the movies. He tells me about real Hollywood life that is completely different. He calls it: “Dirty World”. It is like never-ending, brutal fight to survive there. He does not like that. This world is not about having talents, skills or education just about having more and more connections with influential people. This is definitely enough. If you have good contacts, you can be on the top without any effort. Hollywood life is totally unfair without any rules.

Bahadır - The Bodyguard 4

I ask him about other episodes of his life and then finally we reach the topic how he has become a bodyguard. He does not conceal that his body build attracts much attraction. He has always been the “security guy” of his friends, and then the offers have rapidly increased. I ask him if working as a bodyguard is interesting or not. He laughs and says that he can see during nightlife on the street a lot of weird, strange and sometimes scaring situations. Once time, drank Turkish woman let out and she started to hit him. She was so aggressive. It was so difficult to stop her. His jacket was ripped in tiny slices. He could not do anything because it was a woman, and he would never touch the woman. But as he said that was quite dangerous. Getting killed by woman? That would be quite ironical… I am smiling.

We broached issue related with his life in Iran. Bahadır told me that living in Iran is much stricter but despite that equality of law does not exist for everybody. He restored his memory about one situation when he got stuck in prison. My eyes started to get bigger but I was trying to hide my emotions. In my mind the words are going around: Well, I am just speaking with the guy who was in jail but he started to tell the story.

Many years ago when he was living in one small neighbourhood of Tehran where everyone knows each other very well. One night his sister came back to house. Her face was full of bruises and wounds. It looked like somebody had hit her. Actually it was like that, two men attacked her when she was on the way back to their house. Bahadır ran amok. Immediately, he went to their house. He felt himself lucky because he knew the offenders. When one of the fighters opened doors he just smashed his face. “I just did this thing for what they had done to my sister, maybe in a bit harder way”– he is telling. After that men went to the hospital and police. They accused him of using violent.  He went to the jail for a few days after he was compelled to sell his cars and paid the amount to leave the prison. He had to pay 21,000,000 Iranian rial. Offenders had to pay just 800,000. “Is this fair?” he is asking. In Turkey he may feel freer. The law is more based on liberality. He cannot compare how life is in other countries other than Iran. Also, he is really upset when people judge him by his look. He has quite a lot of tattoo on his body. I asked him about his tattoo on forehand. He said for him Mother is the most important thing in life for that she is the first in order. She is living in Iran. God- he does not have a specific religion but he believes that the God exists for everyone the same., then Sex and Fight- he compares his life to the fight.

Bahadır likes doing dangerous things. I asked him how he could define dangerous things? For example, in Istanbul with -10 degrees he jumped to the swimming pool. The most important fact of this story is that he was not in the hospital. Also, he could exemplify another episode from his mad life which was reported as he was drinking a whole bottle of Raki in a few seconds… I have impression that I was speaking with the real killer…

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