Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Kushal, from Mrutyuburo and Toronto

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Syed Iqbal

On September 8, Samakal’s Friday program ‘Kaler Kheya’ published my first book Kushal ar Mrtyuburo. Even after 41 books have been published, I still have great affection for the first book. After being published in Shishu Academy three times, thousands of copies have been published.

This year I gave the book to ‘Prthma’ on the request of renowned writer Anisul Haque and his wife Marina. When the first edition came out, Dr Hayat Mamud wrote two pages in the then only weekly ‘Bichitra’. When Sunil Gangopadhyay read the book, he told his friend Gazi Shahabuddin, editor of Tanthi newspaper, that he wanted to talk to the boy on the phone.

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He asked to be contacted on the phone – the door of my Ballyganj residence will always be open for you. Poet Asad Chowdhury regretfully said repeatedly – why books like Kushal and Mrutyuburo have not been translated into English yet! I have written one page in modern tense, you can read it if you want. For the convenience of reading, I have given the composition to print directly >>>>>>>

After the independence of the country, great literary magazines will be published in Chittagong; The editor-poet bandhu took me with him and wandered behind a then young famous writer for a story. The writer has been traveling for eight days now and then. One evening at Sadhu’s sweets shop, at the writer-poet chat, I said to the editor, ‘I write a story!’ On the way back home on foot, I sat down on the road crying because of humiliation. Kabibandhu Swapan Dutta patted his back and said, ‘You have one night and one day in your hands. Write the story and bring it to the chat tomorrow evening.’

I have spent six months in Calcutta, the city of dreams that I read in that first Bengali story-novel in my life. Anjali also had a light love affair with a Sharmila Tagore lookalike brunette girl. I wrote my first love story in the metro lobby at 4:30. On hearing the news, the famous young writer also sent the story to the editor out of arrogance. The editor was in trouble. Whose story will be printed? At that time, dramatist Mumtaz Uddin Ahmad was the head of Bengali department in Chittagong Government College. He was given two stories without name-gotra, read and tell which one will be printed.

After three days he called the editor. The story that Mumtaz Uddin Ahmed was panchamukh in praise of was, ‘In the lobby of the Metro at 4:30’. That’s my start. My first book – Kushal Aar Mrtyuburo. Then I worked at 35 Topkhana Road BTPI Advertising Company Art Section. The art director was artist Abdul Muktadir. He is the cousin of Professor Munir Chowdhury and the husband of actress Ferdausi Majumder’s elder sister. I became a man under his rule. His younger son’s name is Kushal. He often came to office sitting on the back of his father’s motorbike. He seemed unworldly. Curly hair, big eyes, seemed unworldly. He is very interested in knowing about the world of the sea floor, submerged plants, fish, octopus, sharks, whales. It’s okay with me.

I used to unlock the cupboards in the studio and take out the ‘Under the Sea’ editions of Life magazine and give them to him. Kushal used to turn the pages and look at the pictures for hours without saying anything. Almost all of Munir Chowdhury’s relatives went to Cox’s Bazar beach during a long Eid holiday. Kabir Chowdhury’s family, Ramenduda (Ramendu Majumdar), Ferdausi Bhabhi (Ferdausi Majumdar), Tripa Majumdar and many others.

Two days later Shilpi Muktadi’s brother left Dhaka and joined everyone. The next day, in the sunny morning, they all went out for a walk on the beach, the children were gathering oysters near the water, when suddenly a huge wave came up and washed away only Kushal in front of everyone’s eyes. Muktadi’s brother and many others jumped into the water to save Kushal. It was not possible. No one knew where Kushal was lost in the raging waters. Kushal was found dead with live fish in the fishing trawler’s net at 3 pm. How did Muktadi’s brother become an introvert after returning to Dhaka?

Toronto, Canada

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