'To His Memory Do I Deposit This Wreath’
is the cruellest month. The very mention of the month impels
me with the spontaneity and force of reflex action to pluck
from my memory a rooted sorrow which I am absolutely unable
to raze out. In this month our Shafique ended his terrestrial
sojourn for keeps and went to the undiscovered country from
where no traveller returns. Since then bad dreams 'abuse the
curtained sleep' of parents, siblings and peers. How come a
boy whose heart always throbbed with enthusiasm can embark on
to take such an unacceptable and pre-mature flight from the
corporeal cage when he knew that he had 'miles to go before
he sleeps and promises to keep'? This is anti-thetical to the
personality of the vibrant Shafique who dyed his will in his
noble ambition. What cosmic lure allured him to decocoon his
soul from it's carnal apparel? What prompted him to take French
leave and to encase himself in the subterranean dwelling? The
might and magnitude of that lure unfix my hair and make my seated
heart knock at my ribs. But it could not intimidate the intrepid
Shafique. Why? May be he had a rendezvous with Death and he
did not fail it. He was true to his pledged word. Or it may
be so that he wanted to erase the written troubles of the brain
which weighed heavy upon his heart. He merely cleansed the over-stuffed
bosom. A big question mark. 'In the dance of life he could have
spoken the parable of highest things but his grandest parable
has remained unspoken in his limbs'
a budding Journalist with sky-kissing potential, may be he discovered
that this is the virtual yahooland and no human can live for
a long spell here and consequently took the initiative to bid
good bye to this planet on the surface of which 'odious little
vermins' are swarming. He had a penchant for writing reports
based on the problems of the campus that this university was
his un-cri-de-la-coeur is manifest in the reports published
in different newspapers including the News Today. His verve
for journalism is unquestionable. To speak a' la mode T S Eliot,
his university life may be measured in the coffee spoons of
campus reports. He was endowed with the journalistic gift and
commitment of unmasking the flamboyant demagogues, upstart nouveaux
riches and perverted politicians-with his eagle eyes he could
have seen through the masquerade, stratagems and machinations
of the persons who look like the innocent flower but hide the
serpent under it. So, why on earth should he leave his dreams
untranslated into reality? Why did he carry an evergreen wreath
of life to the silent isle, grave island? To be the king of
all that he surveys in his celestial abode? Why did he break
loose a loving embrace? For a vita nouveau? To be the Keatsian
lover painted on the urn on whose face there is a perpetual
fountain of vernal beauty? To be beyond temporal and spatial
effect? Why become a fugitive in the prime of life? May be he
wanted to be the prophet of practising the difficult art of
going earlier. Shafique, why did not you resemble the rope maker?
Is it because they lengthen out their cord and thereby go backward?
I surmise he believed that one must discontinue being feasted
upon when one tastes best.
when sour apples are there that wait until the last day of Autumn,
Why did he depart so speedily? Why should he burden us with
the hypothetical 'if' with reference to his potential and compel
us to have cathartic experience by unloading the cargo of his
memories ,which no sweet antidote can delete? Isn't it precocious
for him to become the subject of 'In retrospect' without drinking
the cup of life to the lees? By every standard it is unhygienic
to go the way of all fleshes at 23 in this age of 60+ global
life expectancy and total body transplantation when septuagenarians
are fuming for the extension of their retirement age and octogenarians
writing memoirs and reminiscences by making journey down the
memory lane. Certainly he did not desire to become ripe, yellow
and shrivelled. May be some poison worm gnawed at his heart.
Yes, it is the silent assasin Hepatitis that embittered to him
his best honey and the diligence of his best bees. He may be
bombarded with questions as he has become an ethereal being
and part of the Omnipresent but no answer will come even though
we bang our heads against brick wall. But as human beings, not
automata, we keep on apostrophising, commanding the ocean waves
like king Canute despite knowing that he is no more governed
by the laws of biology and physics. Shafique is beyond the Cartesian
'Ergo Cogito Sum' But incorporeally he exists -not by Pythagorean
transmigration but by the perfume of his deeds and behaviour,
-in the minds of his acquaintances.
He is not
unwept, unsung and unhonoured. He is never to be gone with the
wind. He has delved so deep into the minds of near and dear
ones that he will always be at an antipodal position-diametrically
opposite to Lethe. He may transcend the jurisdiction of the
Heraclitean flux theory-but he will continue to be in the dynamics
of life. He blooms in our memory with many hued virtues. To
whom has ever there fallen such rosy apples from the tree as
have fallen to him? He is dead only in the Hobbesian sense (Life
is nothing but a motion of the limbs-Leviathan) but a boy with
Promethean spirit can never die. This is no posthumous cosmetic
rhapsody. I am speaking out my heart-Shafique can never die.
His frail frame may be cast in soft mould but not his will.
Some thing invulnerable, unburiable is with him that would rend
rocks asunder-invulnerable is Shafique in his good reputation.
He has out-smarted Thanatos, burst the shackles of the tomb.
His memories remind us of Nietzche
there are graves, there are resurrections'
*Lecturer, Department of English, University of Chittagong.