Sunday, July 21, 2024

One day this city drew me

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I was at home all day yesterday. The day before that too. Just went out and wandered around a bit in the evening. There is not much place to roam in Dhaka. A choked city. I went to the safe table at Gulshan 2 yesterday. My university friend Fatima was also there. Fatema is the director of Jhankar Lalitkala Academy. Always cheerful cheerful person. Grief cannot touch easily. Returned home with only papaya juice at the safe table. Did some shopping at Unimart on arrival.

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Shopping is good for the mind. I bought unnecessary things to relieve my depression. Went to SKS shopping center the day before that. Nicely arranged shopping complex. near my house Kamal Bhai took it. There, I sat at a friend’s shop and had mudri and milk tea in the country style. Being alone means depression. Loneliness eats away at people. ends I was calling two or three friends yesterday. A friend of forty years. But no one answered the phone. Not answering the phone is the culture here. He never said why he couldn’t answer the phone. So nothing is known if there is a problem. If you ever ask, you will say that it was busy.

I didn’t go to the book fair this time. I don’t know why. But I came to Dhaka for the book fair. Come every year. What an emotion, what a love I came to the country. The pull of books comes from a passion for literature. I left home, mother, brother and sister for writing. I changed the date three times in a row before coming here. I was so sick. Changing tickets has become a rule. It is my destiny to give damages. I can never profit. I went to Canada in 2003. Then every year after 2021, I came to book fair. Couldn’t come in 2021 because of the pandemic.

Last year, during the book fair, I suffered from cold fever for twenty days in two installments. Fever and cough due to heavy dust and car fumes. I went to the doctor twice. I have gone out with that fear now. I regret not being able to go to the book fair every day. I locked myself in the house. I don’t even go anywhere. Avoid for various reasons. Not that I’m anxious to get back to Canada. What if you don’t return! I want to return to Barisal.

But I don’t understand where the shelter is, where the love is. I am so indecisive! As calm as I seem on the outside, I am not at all. Great restlessness inside. restless mind I don’t know what the instability is, why the instability. It would be good to know. Maybe the family wants to return to the child. In the end, they are by their side. Whenever I call, they pick up the phone. Ark will lift, Aritri will lift, Jasmine will lift.

He woke up late that day. I looked at the clock and it was half past two. It felt so bad. I was suffering. I was thinking of going to the hospital. Who will I say at night! I called Rima, she didn’t pick up. I messaged two or three people. Among them was friend Khokon Bhai. But no one saw the message. Looked so helpless!

That’s when I felt how difficult it is to be alone. I also enjoy solitude. I have no escape from this contradiction. Actually I don’t feel comfortable anywhere. Don’t want to disturb others. Your freedom is lost. Even when I go to Barisal, I stay in a hotel. Dhaka was my favorite city. One day this city drew me. But why Dhaka doesn’t pull me anymore. Since many years. It is not that Dhaka has improved so much. As the city developed, people became more stone. Who wants to live in such a merciless rocky city! So I went to Barisal with covered feet.

I don’t go anywhere even for a day after leaving the book fair, I came from Kolkata for a week during the book fair. Going again to Bangkok and Singapore. Although the body is not very tight. I went to the doctor one day. What will go! Allah knows. Ticket booking, hotel booking is done. The unsettled mind says not only here, but there and elsewhere. I don’t know where the satisfaction is. I want to leave the book fair, my books, dear readers.

(Footnote: No matter how much people change, I still have some good friends, good relatives, very good, whom I run to.)

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