We shared a last hug, before I walked far enough to see only a trace of her outline moving away. As I walked through the gate, the people around blurred into a sea of vivid colors. Wiping away my tears I pulled my luggage across the cramped hallways, swearing to not look back.
That was the day I left. There was a time in my life when I couldn't wait for that day to arrive. I'm a city girl at heart and there were just not enough skyscrapers or options for me in my hometown. I left my previous life in search of a real home. It is a pity though that I realize, now, where exactly that home was, and the answer was always in front of me.
'Come with me mother. It will be all you ever wanted.' I said while discussing my plans to move out.
'For one, I want this place you speak of to promise me a feeling. A feeling of calm that settles over like a blanket; just a quiet assurance telling me I belong in that place. Second, I want a place where lives are to be lived, not viewed; one strong enough to resist the blow of a stack of green papers. Now tell me dear, will you give me all this?'
And I only remember her firm gaze through the tinted glasses. Her words never mattered to me before, and yet, now, I fail to drive these thoughts out of my head.
Rain continued to pour down, dampening the soil. The smell of rain, blended with smoke from car exhausts was as repulsive as the sight. Hailstones hit the ground with severity; water flowed along the well-trodden roads, where a sequence of modern and recently constructed ten-story buildings stood silently. I watched the folks run across the sidewalks. With a rush of emotion that came upon me like a misguided step into quicksand, I recoiled into the quilt. But there was something about it that made me sit up with grief. This was not the one I was tucked into every other night, rather an alien and ungainly cloth with a futile purpose. Everything, from the stitches to the utter emptiness of the white velvet laces, was a shame. My previous quilt had been a collage of vivid colours, dashes of crimson smudged onto greens; intricate patterns of gentle blues of the ocean mingling with the orange hues of a clownfish; an implicit tribute to my home. For the very first time I regretted not having it by my side.
I stared at the old photograph in my hand, the only one I had of my grandfather. I could almost see his smile transcend the images; almost hear his chuckles again. But things were different when I left. I had seen the tears he was trying so desperately to hide. I doubt if he knew that, and I doubt if he saw mine. But I remember I had not spoken to him, and I don't know if it was out of fear or sheer embarrassment. I was never as strong as he wanted me to be, and I realize that now, miles away from home. Homewhere I had been friends with a street urchin, recalled the name of the local store cashier, went to my favourite shoe cobbler across the street; where I knew all the shortcuts, took rickshaw rides with my friends. Everyone from the cranky neighbours to the folks at home made me what I am. The novelty of looking at skyscrapers and memorizing the different street names were not supposed to be a problem. But now all this is hanging heavy at my heart. I guess I made a long journey… only to realize what home actually was, and more importantly where it was. But this is where I live now, a place far from home.
By Shehzeen Samarah Hussain
There was a time when my mothered used to tell me stories, about heroic deeds my father performed in his life, to help me sleep. It doesn't work like that anymore… I now find it inspiring to listen to every microscopic detail of the stories that my mother tells me. It makes me ache for the delight that I miss every moment of my life because of my father's absence.
Being an extraordinary army officer, my father maintained a disciplined life with a dominating driving force. He got married at a time when his country, Bangladesh, was in the brink of losing the freedom to talk freely in the language they inherited from their ancestors. In his heart my father cherished the feeling of freedom to talk in Bangla. The ruthlessness of the Pakistanis on the innocent Bangladeshis was enough to grab the attention of my father to decide to fight for his country.
His tendency towards winning every battle inspired courage to the other fighters. Neither splinters nor the newly married wife who loved the company of her proud husband could stop him from fighting- my father was above all these… dedicated to a life that would earn the people of Bangladesh a free land. At last, my mother's wish came true and she was happier to find my father alive and home than she was to have the freedom that was bought with blood.
After the liberation war, the struggle didn't end as he found it extremely difficult to go back to west-Pakistan to retain his job; but it did not hold him back when he tried different ways to earn money for his family. Eventually he ended up with an isolated life in Australia to bring a financial stability to his family. Many factors came into play during the 35 years of his life after the liberation war, but nothing could change the way he lived.
He showed his righteous attitude, yet again, to the rest of the world in 28th of January, 2007. A man stood up one last time for justice. Every action resembled the person who fought in the liberation war so long ago, nothing forgotten. He never lived like a parasite, but rather one who possessed a unique characteristic in today's drunk society: an integrity blended with stubborn bravery.
Pushing aside all ominous thoughts and possibilities of fighting against terrorism, he roared at the thieves running away after robbing the All India Restaurant. He did not care if anyone passing by helped or not; but no one came anyway. And there he was fatally bleeding and for the first time ever fighting against fate.
It's not possible to know what was in his mind when he was lying on the road of Australia- a country that stood in pride as a peaceful country. I don't think my father was helpless at that time but he was leaving a quest for everyone to follow- a mission where all men can join to explore as well as expand the horizon of justice. His body betrayed him of his command but his soul is still working with all the good people of the world.
By Kamrul Hasan Shaon
From a Buick 8
You can't talk about the horror genre and not mention Stephen, the King of thrills. Whether he's talking about psychotic clowns or gypsy curses or dogs leaping out of photographs, this guy speaks the language of fear.
While he is certainly known for the bizarre elements in his stories, it is the 'real' things that add to the chill factor. His characters are ordinary people thrown into extraordinary circumstances, and the randomness of how they came to be in these situations underlines the message that it could just be you that this weirdness is happening to.
The weirdness in this novel comes in the form of a sentient car, a theme King used previously in Christine. This story is more subtle and understated, though. A young gas station attendant reports a strange car abandoned by a mysterious stranger who disappears. The State Troopers come and haul it away, and a closer look reveals that this car is just wrong. It's a make that no one has seen before, the ignition key isn't even a key, the engine is wired to nothing at all, the dashboard is fake, and so on and so forth. Not knowing what to do with the car, and not wanting to attract attention to it for fear that it's a hoax and they will be ridiculed for it (and also sensing that it isn't entirely safe, either), they stash it in Shed B.
Strange things begin to happen to people in the vicinity of the car. One of the first people to bring in the car disappears. The Troopers' dog is found poisoned. No one really knows how the car is involved in all of this, and neither are the readers told about it.
Curtis Wilcox, the other attending officer who had answered the distress call from the gas station, becomes obsessed by the weird car. Several years later, Wilcox is killed in a car accident, caused by the same man who had called him to the gas station to get the Buick. Curt's son Ned, in a search for some answers as to why his father had to die, starts hanging around Troop D House, where he is loosely adopted by his father's former colleagues, and when he discovers their hidden cargo in Shed B, they decide to tell him the story of how they found the Buick. The novel thus alternates between past and present in chapters titled 'then' and 'now'.
As stated in the blurb, "From a Buick 8 is a novel about our fascination with deadly things, about our insistence on answers when there are none, about terror and courage in the face of the unknowable."
Subtle it may be, but it has plenty of King's 'shock factor' elements so that the tension is maintained throughout the story. The character names are similar to those you might come across in his Dark Tower series, and both the Buick and the enigmatic driver who brings it remind one of the creepy bad guys from Hearts in Atlantis. This is probably one of King's more mature works, and makes a very satisfying read.
By Sabrina F Ahmad
Across the mesmerizing Milky Way
ONCE when I was going to school I saw a signboard saying clean Dhaka, green Dhaka. I realized that they are saying wrong things. How can Dhaka be clean even though people of Dhaka throw things? How can Dhaka be clean even though people of Dhaka throw things like rubbish on the roads and how can Dhaka be green even for cutting trees and causing pollution? I was curious enough to know why?
By Symphony Chakma
| Issues | The Daily Star Home|
© 2009 The Daily Star