Yamin Tauseef Jahangir
I looked at the person sitting in front of me. A familiar person, who has been my friend for more than eight years. I stared at his hazel eyes, and he shot back the same expression through his half-rimmed spectacles. I knew what was going on in his mind; I understood it from the very beginning when we arrived at the airport. His muscles were stiff, there was a rush of adrenaline going through his veins, but he remained unusually calm. So typical of Tanim, always managing to show as little emotion as possible to the outside world. But I knew my best friend was shaken up, nervous, sweat appeared on his forehead and he didn't bother to hide it from me. As if he wanted me to see it, he wanted me to assure him that everything will be all right, that he'll handle everything perfectly like he always did. He smiled at me, a child like smile with a lot of hope behind it. I gave a slight grin just to make him feel at ease. But we both knew there were only few minutes left before we depart from each other. My best friend was leaving home…
I can't clearly remember the first time I saw Tanim, may be we were in fourth grade. But I do remember that he happened to be very mischievous in his childhood. And it so happened that he was my neighbour. We played together in our locality but little did we interact when we were at school. Things changed when we were in sixth grade. We hung around, spent more time with our other friends and soon we became very good friends. He was never studious but he always had that intelligence, a sharp head on his young shoulders. Life took a different toll when we were in the ninth grade. Soon we realized that we have become very close friends. At times he was a pain in the neck, humiliating me, teasing me, underestimating, and now I'm really short of words. But when I say 'pain' I admit I'm exaggerating on the word! But he always helped me through thick and thin, I was really bad in maths, and it was he who used to come at my place every afternoon during my A-levels just to make my dull brain work like a concord. We are both crazy about playing pool, but hardly have I managed to beat him in the game. We have so many things in common except for he loves rap music and I am addicted to trance. Being with Tanim was living life to the fullest, a caring friend or rather I should say a caring brother. He was always up to giving advices as if he was my guardian angel. He knew when I was sad or when I needed to share things, and it was him whom I confided on the most. But now as we stand in the brink of adulthood, our thoughts, values, ethics have changed a lot. We now have to move towards different directions, to reach our goals, to accomplish what we always dreamt of or what we have desired. But the question remains, will our friendship change? The memories that we have shared, the pains that we have endured, the joy that we both cherished, the laughs, the cries, will all these change?
My thoughts were interrupted by the mechanical voice of the announcer. Passengers leaving for Canada were requested to board within fifteen minutes. I looked at Tanim, he was breathing heavily. I went and sat beside him. He raised his eyebrows, I shook my head. He rested his arm on my shoulder and said
“Ekta race to 5 pool khelbi?” (Will you play a race to 5 game of pool?). I burst out laughing. He hasn't changed; he could still crack a joke and keep all his sorrows away. I chuckled and said,
“Ami plane e arrangement kore rakhsi.” (I've made arrangements in the plane). He then smiled. Tanim then stood up, it was time. I saw uncle and aunty, Tanim's sisters were also there. His parents were strong, they knew someday he just had to go, maybe this is the right time. Tanim took their blessings, his sisters were crying silently. I saw him, may be for the first time, Tanim had tears. He quickly faked on adjusting his glasses and wiped his eyes. Soon there was an emotional sequence, but it was over in no time. Tanim turned towards me. His eyes said it all; I knew my friend will miss me more than anything else. Reeling thoughts went through my mind as I recollected all our wonderful memories, all came just like a flashbulb, and suddenly faded to grey. I saw the gratitude, the appreciation, the affection that this friend of mine had for me. It was so vividly clear in his eyes. He'll be back home soon, it's just only a matter of few months.
'Papa aar ammu ke visit korish, ami na thakle.” (Visit mom and dad when I'm not around). I forced to smile and nodded. He then hugged me, a long hug, it seemed like as if I'm loosing a part of myself, I'm loosing my brother!
The announcer spoke up for the final time. Tanim was all prepared. He picked up his hand luggage, looked at his family for the last time, bid them farewell and headed towards the boarding terminal. I kept on staring at my friend as he took small strides towards his destination. Tears brimmed into my eyes making my vision blur, and I really don't know when time went by and I found myself all alone in the airport.
N.B. This is a fiction, but the name Tanim is real. He is leaving for Canada very soon. I wish him the very best in everything he does in his life. I'm grateful to God that I've a friend like him.
(R) thedailystar.net 2006