Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home


Father for a day


All my nineteen years of life I have argued with my parents; if I didn't argue or not go against them, I probably would be doing almost nothing with my life besides studys. So as usual, I set off without my parents' consent to a tiny village called Mohadippur in Netrokona district. My destination was to visit a BRAC primary school I had worked with almost two years ago. After spending almost an hour in the school loitering around with the kids, I decided to take a walk around the area to see how much the place had changed. The place had changed alright, and a new double-roomed hut made out of tin with “Atim Khana” written on top of it really caught my eyes.

On knocking a lady caretaker came out while I introduced myself. I went inside and was kind of stunned; the place was literally empty! Not single piece of furniture was there except two chairs and a table with TV on top. The stark bareness of the room hit me; it didn't seem like any children would choose to live there, but then again, the world didn't give them a choice. Books and clay toys were scattered around the first room and I could hear noise from the adjunct room. Rehana, the caretaker informed me that the orphanage initiated just 4 months ago and housed five, five-year-old orphans. She also told me that all five of them were sleeping at that moment.

A decidedly noble person named Mr. Anwar Hossain, living abroad, was paying for the costs of the orphanage. While I was chatting with the caretaker, I suddenly noticed a small head leaning out of a door with two big round curious eyes starring at me. Rehana called him towards us, and the boy starkly came up and complained in a very cute sharp tone that he couldn't sleep. Normally, most village kids are very shy but this boy was not the least bit reticent; he willingly started talking with me and even addressed me as tui, which I found very amusing.

Boy: My name is Rumi. What's your name?
Me: Adnan Fakir
R: Why is your name Fakir? Do you beg?

Me (bewildered and amused): Not really, but I will gladly take anything you give me.

Without replying Rumi started playing with the clay toys with his tiny rough hands; I guessed did not want to give me anything. Wearing not-so-clean shorts and his hair in a messed up state, he seemed remarkably mature compared to other five year olds. Rehana told me she was getting them ready to join primary school next year. She was teaching them some things early so that they can join the school at a higher grade. I went up to Rumi and started playing with him. Till now he did not laugh, but simply bore a nonchalant expression with his words. After a while he said that he wanted to go outside. Rehana had to stay and look after the other kids, so I volunteered. I swiftly took him on my shoulders and while he grabbed my hair with his tiny hands for balance, we headed out for a walk, with Rumi pointing to wherever he wanted to go. After a while, we had a conversation that I will never forget.

R: Do you know Allah?
Me: I believe in Him.
R: Allah likes my dad a lot, that's why He took my dad to Him. Is your dad with you?
Me: Yes
R (with a smile): That means Allah likes my dad more than your dad.

Me (trying to laugh and keep the atmosphere jolly): I am sure He loves your dad a lot; and your mom?

R (nonchalant again, but almost gloomy): I don't know.

Me (trying to distract him from the topic): Do you like chocolate?

Rumi did not answer and after a while he abruptly continued.

R: Will you be my dad for today?

Me: Of course, and as my first duty as your dad, I am going to buy lots of chocolates and you are going to have to eat them all!

It was a weird feeling. No one ever touched me so deeply and in such a short time ever before. While I was trying to make him happy and smile, every time I looked at him, I was struggling not to break down or cry. I kept him on my shoulders all the time and I bought him lots of chocolate, toys and books, pencils etc for his and his four brothers' future studies. I played a lot of jokes with him, lots of pranks and monkey businesses, and even tried tickling him to make him laugh. Normally all kids die with laughter when I do all these in front of them but not Rumi. He didn't retort either; he kept looking around with those big round eyes of his almost as though he was searching for his father. Suddenly, seeing a haystack right beside us, he jumped (as much as he could) into the hay stack from my shoulder and started cuddling himself to it. I took the chance and pretended to slip and fall into the mud, crawled up to him on all four and quickly started tickling him. To this he finally started laughing and didn't stop. Well, I might have looked like a stupid but at least he laughed! Rumi and I lay on the haystack for while and finally I asked him.

Me: Don't you miss your dad?

R: You are my dad, right?

I simply smiled. I felt like I was the saddest and the happiest person alive. Rumi said that he was sleepy and wanted to go back, so I put him back on my shoulders and hiked back to the orphanage. There I put him to bed and to sleep. Rehana later told me that Rumi never saw his mom, and his dad died when he was just four years old. I couldn't hold back my tears anymore.

A father's love is something so extraordinary and so powerful that I can in no way put it in words. We children can only feel it, and all we can say to our fathers' is just “Thank you” with a hug and a kiss; and on Father's Day, I wish the same to my father and all fathers. Parents' are the most wonderful gift from God that we always take for granted. As shy as you may be, on father's day be sure to let your father know how much you love him.

At the same time, what about all the kids who do not have fathers? I am sure that if we look around we will find hundreds of orphans within our vicinity. If we simply have the will and try we can help at least some of the children who never knew what a father's love is. One of the ways would be if each area such as the New DOHS or Old DOHS etc. committees collect even tk.50 from each of the households per month, the committees will definitely be able to open a good orphanage and help many children.

It is only tk.600 per year and I am sure many people will want to give money for such an amazing cause. Individually even, you can contribute to any orphanage near you, even if not with money, just visit the kids and have fun with them; make them happy! You will in no ways regret it.

By Adnan M. S. Fakir

A fishy tale

very morning after waking up I flex my scales, shake my tail and air my gills before going out. You see I am a fish and a rather small one at that. And right now I have to leave for school.

My school of fish is one of the best in the lake. This year we won the Inter Watery upstream swimming contest. In school we study only one major and it covers all the necessary topics important to underwater life. For example, in Biology class we learned that us small fish are supposed to be eaten by bigger fish; some new-age theory called 'evolution'. In Psychology class we learn WHY the big fish eat us. Chemistry teaches us WHAT happens to a small fish inside a big fish's stomach. In History class we read of the exploits of famous small fish who were eventually eaten by, you guessed it--big fish. So you see, it is a fish-eat-fish world. But the most important is the practical class where we earn many credits for fieldwork. Yesterday we learned to identify an innocent looking but potentially life threatening camouflaged octopus. Of course we found out that it was not a flower only after it grabbed and ate our instructor. But that is okay. We lose instructors quite often. Last week we lost one when he tried to show us the difference between bait and a real worm. He made a mistake and bit on the bait. He was instantly jerked out of the water and we never saw him again.

Graduation is one of the three most important parts of our lives. Although the number of graduates is much less than the number of students who enrolled at the beginning. It is not because they have dropped out but because they end up meeting the same fate as their teachers. Who says homework does not kill?

The second important part is when we meet the right fish and get married. We usually have several hundred babies and live happily ever after. Or at least as long as possible.

The third important part is when someone dies of old age. It is important because so far no one has been able to achieve it.

Right now I have to leave. One of those large scale-less creatures called human has jumped in. They are very inefficient and have to carry silly breathing equipment on their backs. Usually the ones that come into the water are not dangerous, they just do some sight seeing, but you never know.

By Mood Dude

Book review

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

As we count down to the release of the much-awaited seventh book, we Potter-philes at RS decided to revisit the enchanted adventure the six books have taken us on, and catch up with Harry and his friends (and foes), who have pretty much become household names.

My personal favourite is probably book three, because that's the best things get for everyone at Hogwarts before everything starts going wrong. Yet re-reading The Philosopher's Stone, I rediscovered the very thing that made me fall in love with the Potterverse in the first place.

This book is where it all begins. This is where we first meet Harry and the Dursleys, and wonder about the mystery behind how this lightning-scarred boy came to live with the meanest relatives in the first place. As we start getting glimpses of Harry's hidden potentials, what with the incident at the zoo, Hagrid makes a dramatic entry, one that changes Harry's life forever.

What happens next is a journey undertaken by Harry, and also by thousands of children (and plenty of grown-ups too) all over the world. Together, we got on Platform Nine-and-three-quarters, together we arrived at Hogwarts, and together, we fell under the spell of the Sorting Hat, the classrooms, the feasts and of course, Quidditch.

This book is mainly concerned with building up the world of Hogwarts, and thus the focus is on introducing the characters, talking about the system inside the school, and basically creating the premises for the dramas that will be enacted in the future books. Harry befriends Ron, and later Hermione, and Neville somehow bungles his way into their queer little posse. At the same time, he strikes up an instant feud with the snotty Draco Malfoy and his crew, and falls foul of Snape. While all these mundane relationships are being formed, there is a darker event shaping up underfoot, and Rowling draws the readers into her series with little hints of mystery, which finally explodes into nerve-racking suspense and fast-paced action in the final few chapters. For a first book, this is truly a gem, and the author deserves kudos for getting hundreds of families back into the reading habit.

If you don't already have a copy of the book in your collection, you're bound to find it in any bookstore worth its salt.

By Sabrina F Ahmad


The rain clusters around;
The lust of the city.
Bold with pride, growing amidst all
In the gardens of the landlords,
In the parks among trees,
By the streets, by the drains,
Yet rare to be seen.
Let your aroma, like opium
Plague the hearts of people,
And your mindless whispers
Chant with the winds.
Let your scent reach
The bare windows of the apartments
While the girl braids her silk hair
That she so carefully keeps for her beloved;
Let your odor spread like brazen squalls
To the corners of the streets
Where the unattended little boy
Rests down his heavy body
On the rough wet bricks.
Brush through your fragrance
For the exhausted father,
His eyes glittering with dreams,
Selfless, for his family; but
Bless first the hungry mother
Numb and unnoticed in the slums
Hands rough, eyes made stiff.
Mesmerize them, nourish them with valor
Let them know
That the city yet has a noble queen.

By Adnan M. S. Fakir


home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2007 The Daily Star