in my Childhood
strange and wonderful thing happened to me on April 24, 2005.
Our Public Relations Officer at lunchtime whispered to me
to stay back after office hours to enjoy an event in the lounge
of our Board Division. It was a magic show. As a close friend
of Magician Jewel Aich, very popular in Bangladesh, and quite
accustomed to seeing magic tricks at home and abroad I assumed
that there would be a grand function at the Head Office of
Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank where I work as General Manager.
But my heart sank as I found the corner of the lounge bounded
by some old, tattered and faded sofa sets. And I was told
that the magician was inside the makeshift-kind-of-tent. I
felt like quitting the function, as I apprehended it would
be a boring event, given the poor get-up. But a crowd of personnel
was already there eagerly awaiting the event, so courtesy
forced me to stay back.
pm a bespectacled old man, almost 75 years old, with a huge
pot belly and white moustache, came out of the hideout. There
was a table loaded with a lot of gizmos -- a picture frame,
a hard board with a skull drawn on, some seemingly empty jars,
a small copper pitcher, some odd-shaped trinkets, etc.
as Magician Ruhul Amin, he has been performing magic shows
for the last 50 years. There is not a school, a college or
a big office in any part of Bangladesh or the then East Pakistan
where he hasn't performed his magic. An illiterate person
from Chatkhil, Noakhali, he enjoys talking in Pidgin English
and 'shantipuri' Bangla, wearing a necktie, an old hat and
a jacket frayed at the cuffs. Like a Bedouin magician, Ruhul
roams around from one district to another lugging his boxes
of magic equipment.
carried on showing one magic trick after another I gaped at
him in awe and felt a little numb as the magic, however shabby
in style and colour, began to look very familiar. A kind of
ethereal feeling came as if a magic wand had struck a nerve
in my memory shelf; over me, my mind was transported back
to my childhood.
a student of Class III in Sunamganj Government High School.
A similar function was being held in our school auditorium
not less than 40 years back.
all the tricks magician Ruhul Amin showed at afternoon I had
seen in my school event too. As a kindergartener I had been
mystified wondering how a man could bring out a live pigeon
from an empty jar, how a man could pour out water several
times from a small copper pitcher, every time fully emptying
the magic show was over I invited the old magician to my office
chamber to exchange pleasantries. I told him that he rekindled
my boyhood memories. As I told him about my school experience
in Sunamganj, he reckoned that he was there in Sunamganj too
at the time I was referring to. I don't exactly remember the
face of my hero-like magician who had me when I was a kid.
But the remotest and the faintest layer of my memory told
me that this 75-year-old magician was perhaps the same person
in his young days who had beguiled my childish mind with the
tricks he performed with the same hands that had now become
wrinkled and tired.
feeling! It was like a toy one has lost in childhood that
suddenly one finds hidden behind the same piece of furniture.
Something so precious it stays with you for life.
(R) thedailystar.net 2005