1/2 in Tbilisi — Interview #4 — Tinatin Khomeriki
Who are you?
My name is Tinatin Khomeriki. I am a student doing my Masters in anthropology. I used to be a psychologist, but then I decided to choose something more interesting for me and something close to culture and society. So I chose anthropology. Between those times, I used to work at different organizations. I used to be a communication psychology trainer and I also worked for a publishing house as a PR manager.
What makes you or made you do what you do?
Well, I think it’s my interest towards different people, towards culture, towards what’s happening in the world today, on the cultural and social levels. And I think my love of other people, other cultures and my curiosity.
What is your dream? Or your ambition?
When I hear the word “ambition”, it somehow connects in my mind with career and official bureaucratic stuff. To me personally, my goals and my ambitions are to live as I think I should live, follow my dreams, my interests, analyze myself and my surrounding fully, to grow up as a person, to meet a lot of people, to feel emotions both positive and negative, just strong emotions, passions and feelings. As a professional I could say something like “I would like to go to Oxford and get another diploma”. I cannot say I am only a dreamer. I am quite pragmatic. I always try to think about the structure, think about my plans, how to do, what to do next. I am trying to combine the two, so that I feel comfortable and do not get lost in life.
Could you tell us a childhood memory?
Well, there is one of my childhood memories which I remembered when I arrived for the interview, when you started speaking French because my mom used to be a French teacher… I love the language, it sounds so familiar because my mum used to teach me French and she sang some French folk songs. When you were speaking, it just brought my memories to life again and my childhood in Georgia. It was a very difficult political situation. There was a civil war, some ethnic conflict and the country was very poor. There was no electricity most of the time when I was a child, no food, no water, nothing. I do not remember my childhood as a dark thing, or as a traumatic thing, not at all. Because we were surrounded with so many nice and interesting people. Even though there was no electricity, some friends of my parents used to get together almost every day and play jazz and sing and me and my brother used to make concerts with them and dance. I remember when my mother was sitting, there was no electricity, we had a candle on the piano, she used to play for us. She used to teach us how to dance waltz and my brother was so clumsy, constantly stepping on my feet. And books also, because when there was a civil war, we were not going outside that often. There was no public transport, it was scarcely working. We used to go to each other’s houses, me and my little friends. And books were kind of helping me. They were feeding my imagination. I used to read a lot and it brought a lot of information and a lot of fantasies about going to other exotic countries, maybe to islands, some fantastic places. Then I grew up, the situation became better. It changed but it remains as a good memory and a good experience.
What do you do when you don't do anything?
I cannot say I am a big party animal, but I am quite outgoing and I like big gatherings of people and I like observing it, because I am a psychologist and an anthropologist and that is the biggest part of my job. I love watching people and connecting with them too, but observing is the most interesting thing for me.
What is the place in Tbilisi you like the most?
The places I love are connected with people I knew, with situations I had with my life stories. The best memories from my childhood are connected with Aghmashenebeli, Plekhaneov Street, because I used to go to school there and most of my friends used to live there and still live there. One of my friend’s house was kind of a magic house for me, it was very old and it had a big arch inside it, big stairs and there were paintings, like frescoes in the entrance; a cold and mysterious place. We loved playing there, hide and seek, it’s one of the great places I can remember.
Could you tell us a Georgian personality you find inspiring?
There’s a writer called Mikheil Javakhishvili, one of my favorite Georgian writers, I like his prose which is absolutely different from the prose of other authors. It’s very realistic. He used to be Russian speaking and he learned Georgian very late. He left everything and went to a village in Eastern Georgia as he thought that people living there preserved old Georgian. And so he bought a house and lived there. He learned such a good Georgian, his language is kind of a model for me. He was a very tragic person, because his mother and his sister were killed. Someone was trying to kidnap his sister and they were killed as he was young. It must have been such a big trauma for him, but he transformed the trauma in a good way. He became a deeper person and started thinking about other people’s feelings, other’s lives, other’s passions deeper which reflected on his prose. That’s why I think he is an inspiring person for me.
What inspires you?
Things I would find interesting are courage and maybe, sympathy towards other people, maybe some imagination and love. I think love is the most inspiring thing, it may sounds trivial, but anyway.
Do you see any relationship between your work and the city of Tbilisi?
The thesis I made was about the intellectual club of Georgia as a postmodern subculture. It was about a small club where a lot of people get together and play some intellectual games. Like Jeopardy if you know, when someone asks a question and you have to think of the answer soon. There are a lot of games like that, “What? Where? When?” based on everything in the world, like history, books, music, sports, politics, everything. I used to be one of the members of this group. It’s quite a big group, it consists of three hundred people maybe. Places where we meet used to change and at the moment we play in the university hall. It is connected to Tbilisi, because some cultural values and some aspects of this given subculture where kind of linked with micro culture of Tbilisi and Georgia, because it connects people from different occupations and fields. At the same table there might sit a CEO of a big company, a student, maybe an artist, different people. When they get together, it’s like a small model of Georgia. It gave me an impression about our culture seen from outside.