BELGRADE – On the 26th of May 2002 I celebrated by 50th birthday. There were over 100 guests and it was a ‘party to remember’ which many still remember, including myself...
On on 26th of May of 2012 I was the victim of a conspiracy which I will remember for as long as I live. But let’s start from the beginning.
That year 2002 the conditions for living and working in this land called Serbia were very different, much easier and better. People had enough money, even to go on holidays, or week-end tourism. We lived a more relaxed life. That was the possible reason for organising ‘Half a Century of Buda’.
Unfortunately, circumstances have changed and the ever tougher fight for survival threatened that the 2012 jubilee would not happen... at least not under the conditions and in the manner customary for my family. Well aware of the situation, I reconciled myself with the fact that there would be no celebration for this jubilee year. On the other hand, what was there to be happy about, if we are to believe the saying that ‘life is a great fraud... the more of it you have, the less of it remains!’ I consoled myself with this saying, accepting it as very logical.
In such a mood I went on a business trip with my half-century friend ‘Keca’ on the 24th of May, with the return to Belgrade scheduled for the following day.
As I got out of the car and collected my stuff, Keca got out to help me. As we parted ways, he said Happy Birthday, to which I dejectedly replied: My only consolation is that all of Europe will be singing to me tomorrow night (the Eurosong night).
- Don’t bother yourself... We shall all be singing for you! – Keca said, sat down in the car and drove off, leaving me perplexed on the street. Perplexed, because there was one SINGLE time I had ever heard him sing, in secondary school, when he managed to sing the basic musical scale in order to get a ‘C’ in musical education.
I climbed up into our flat and spent the rest of the afternoon doing I don’t know what, but in a poor mood. The next morning, my wife Ljilja and the children congratulated me on my birthday, and to my only question “What did you buy me?”, four voices in unison replied “a knotted pump” (our family joke for saying ‘nothing’)... and that was that.
Evening came. I was sitting in my armchair and staring at the TV screen, waiting for the Eurosong to begin. Suddenly Ljilja said:
Why don’t you go and put on something nicer, it’s your birthday, you know!
- No thanks! – I replied. What a birthday - no one is coming, and it suits me to be dressed casually.
- Weeeell, someone could drop by! – Ljilja replied.
- God forbid... I have nothing to offer them. What can I offer my guests? – I said sadly.
I had hardly finished the sentence when the bell rang. I heard voices, Whiskey, the family pet, barked merrily... I got up to see who had come and saw Keca and his wife Nataša, climbing up to the upper level.
- Where did you come from? – I asked, genuinely surprised.
- What’s the matter, old man! You thought you could celebrate your jubilee without me? – Keca said, handing me a plastic bag and adding: ''This is for Ljilja''!
You are not normal... I have to apologise, I have nothing to offer you except peanuts and pretzels – I began to plead, handing the bag to Ljilja and saying: ''This is for you''!
A moment after Keca and Nataša had sat down, the bell rang again... and so on and on, Steva and Vesna (with Miloš)... Steva gave me a fantastic caricature of me, godparents Mića and Agneza (they brought a cake), Vlada and Vojka (Ballantines), maths teacher Peđa, with Đole and a pregnant daughter-in-law Maja, Biljana and Đole.... before you could utter a word the house was full. I was quite ill of apologising for having nothing to offer them, to which Steva said relaxedly:
- Don’t bother, mate... we all had pastries before we came!
The atmosphere in the flat improved rapidly, the Eurosong competitors filled the atmosphere with their music, which no one was listening to... and so it was until our eldest son Sale arrived from the Sava centre, in which he had been singing in
Suddenly, our son Đole placed a chair before the TV and said:
Your attention, please! Dad, please sit here!
I sat down obediently, not asking why... frankly, I knew I would see something, but what – that I could not imagine in my wildest dreams.
Đole inserted a USB into the set and ... ''MSL & Five brothers production”, was followed by “Presents” and the first chords of my favourite song, Monty Python’s ''Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”… followed by Đorđe, Marko (Maja’s brother) Mihailo, Dušan, Stefan, Aleksandar, Maja, godfather Vlada and his entourage, professor Peđa, Vuk, Maša, Keva & Đakac, Zoran Lj. Nikolić, Vešo, Ljilja, Milan ‘Bumbar’, Biljana & Đole, Miloš... my eyes were filling with tears, followed by a thumping heartbeat. The emotional stimulus was unbearable and slowly neared culmination.
And the culmination came when Sale appeared dressed as a lumberjack (another of Monty Python’s sketches) with his pals in the chorus dressed in tails....
At that moment I burst like a watermelon hitting concrete and began weeping and swearing at all of those present. Mihailo also began crying, because he was sad for his dad...
The ‘Mission Impossible’ conspiracy against Buda had succeeded in full!
Later on I learnt many things which explained Keca’s statement that everybody would be singing to me, and Steva’s: ''Don’t bother, mate... we all had pastries before we came!''
The head conspirator was Ljilja, who had told everyone to eat at home because she would not be making anything... so I would not suspect anything. The material was taped surreptitiously for a full three weeks, Mihailo even skipped school so he could be taped with the others, Đole tore around town from friend to friend, adjusting to their schedules, and the last takes were shot and the material was edited during the two days I was away on business...
There was one detail which especially attracted my attention. Đole is playing a guitar, which my father had bought me in 1967 and on which I had my first solo performance in 1968 in the Youth Centre, where I sang protest songs by Donovan, who was very popular at that time. Đole had taken the guitar ''to take care of it'' about a dozen years ago, and has still not returned it...
I thank him for that, and thanks to everyone else for taking part in the conspiracy!
Five sons to their father for his birthday – Music for Buda – Always Look on the Bright Side of Life
Source: Home of the Good News