Meghna and the Fascinating Lamp
Faridur Reza Sagar was born on February 22, 1955. The children's fiction writer has won many awards, including the Bangla Academy Award, the Agrani Bank Literary Award and the Euro Children's Literature Award. He is best known for his famous compilation of the Choto Kaku series.
Faridur Reza Sagar
Meghna was thinking about only one thing since yesterday; about learning a little magic! There was only one reason behind the thought - her math teacher has scolded her. Meghna thinks she is not responsible for being scolded like that. Besides, how could it have been that out of all the sums she had practiced not a single one was asked of her during the exam?
And that is why Meghna is contemplating “if I was a magician then everything I thought of would come true.” And then she would have been always ready with all the answers and would have become the top student in her class. Let it go, there is no use in becoming the best in everything. She turns on the TV set with the remote close by her hands. What is this? The cable line is out of order! No matter how much the buttons are pressed, no shows can be viewed. Irony of it; it seems as if whenever she wants to watch TV or mum allows her to, the cable line is out of order. Meghna is angered. She throws the remote to the corner of the sofa. It was so close to the corner that it bounced off and hit the ground with a loud thud. And how strange is that! The TV starts to work instantly.
Yes! I am speaking to you Meghna. Do you know…
Extremely surprised, Meghna looks at the TV once more. A bright green turban, very loose payejama-panjabi, very big, big nagra on each foot, and his attire is vibrant with yellow-red colors randomly adorning his body. Meghna at first was thinking it to be a show on the TV. Even then, after hearing her own name coming from the man, Meghna gathered as much courage she could muster and said,
Are you speaking to me?
Is there anyone else named Meghna around you?
Well… no… but…?
Why are you surprised? I am talking from within the television. Is it very unbelievable to you?
I can hear you talking to me. How can it be impossible then?
Very nice answer. You are very smart. Come then, come into our world without any fear.
But what are you saying? I am on the outside of the TV.
You watch the television whenever you get time. You even do shows here. Then how are you outside of the television?
But what am I supposed to do now?
You have to do nothing. Just say open says me!
What? Are you Aladdin?
I'll introduce myself later. Just say it loudly
o-pe-n s-ay-s m-eeee
Yelled out Meghna. And what just happened here! It was as if a huge wave just swept her away towards the screen of the television.
Welcome to our world.
Meghna looked very carefully all around her. It was just like as she had imagined it to be. She had arrived in Aladdin's realm.
You have guessed it right. You have come to Aladdin.
Ok. If you are Aladdin, then where is your lamp?
Tell me… do you want the lamp or the genie? If you want the lamp then there will be no genie. Want the genie, and you won't get the lamp.
I want them both.
That's exactly why I need someone as clever as you.
What do you mean?
I have lost the lamp.
What are you saying!? Such a priceless object! How did you lose it?
I didn't lose it. Here, look, the lamp is right here. Bu the genie does not appear after rubbing it like in the old days.
Why will it not happen; let me see!
Meghna rubs the lamp on the ground a few times.
Nothing's happening. This definitely is not the lamp.
This is the real lamp.
If it is the real thing, then why is the genie not here?
Summoning the genie by rubbing the lamp is a story of the far away past. The genie does not appear like that anymore.
What do we have to do then?
Do you know what a robot is?
Yes, I know.
A robot will appear if you rub the lamp now, not the genie.
But even that is not appearing.
It will be here. See that machine over there
That is a computer.
Not a computer. That is a Domputer. It's the next version of the computers that you use. It has to be turned on. The secret to how the robot is supposed to come out of the lamp lies in there!
You know everything, then why are you not...
Would I have brought you here if I had known everything?
Meghna starts to look all around her again. Everything is very amusing to her. Yet, she is feeling slightly afraid as well. But somehow there is a very strong feeling of adventure regarding the entire incident. Meghna goes and sits in front of the computer.
There is a car-like engine in place of the keyboard. The screen is that of a television. Suddenly Meghna is reminded of seeing a similar machine in a science-fiction movie just a few days back. How did they turn on the machine again? First to the right… then a bit upwards… there you go; everything is coming back to memory slowly.
It was not only the burst of light on the screen, but a very scary voice floated out as well.
Who dares to wake me up at such an awful time?
At least Meghna thought so herself that someone was speaking to her from the screen in that grave voice! There was hint of scorn in the voice as well.
Meghna screams out being afraid.
Meghna, what are you doing in the television?
Who else is speaking now?
Looking about, Meghna notices her mother standing by the sofa in the living room.
Maa, have I suddenly come to Aladdin inside the TV?
Have you lost your mind? Why all this nonsense?
No Maa, look I am truly inside the television.
Will you stop talking?
You've brought the robot into the Domputer. Now think of how you are going to bring it out using the lamp. And you there madam, please don't say anything now. We are very busy with some very delicate work.
Aladdin hurries Meghna along with scorn in his voice as well.
Maa, will you please get me out of this TV? This Aladdin was…
No, no you can't go anywhere now.
Are you really Aladdin or a kidnapper?
Maa, please Maa get me out of here.
But how? How did you get into the TV?
Meghna notices right that instance the remote is lying under the sofa. Meghna remembers how the pictures came floating in on the TV screen just as the remote had hit the floor. It might just be in the remote
Maa, pick the remote up.
Mum picks it up.
The remote falls from her hands and splits into two. Mum puts the remote back together. And just as she flicked the remote on, Meghna tumbles back onto the sofa with a loud bang.
The television is showing cartoons about Aladdin, his lamp and the genie.
Translated by Hasan Ameen Salahuddin
(R) thedailystar.net 2011