Saturdays were full of pleasure and joy. On most Saturdays we would visit our younger grandparents, chotdada,chotdida and nawdadu, nawdida. Saturdays were what people would call it gourerhath, a mart that happened to take place twice in a week, on Wednesday and Saturday. Nevertheless the idea of a mart was not evident to my understanding yet and the only interesting part was to be able to visit the rest of the family. My uncle had a bicycle and it had a light attached to it. I used to find it fascinating for the reason that whenever the back wheel would spin the light would illuminate. It was the most difficult event that I had had a really hard time to understand as a kid.
To this day Chotdada is one of my favorite raconteurs. I have watched and listened to many theaters, audio plays, audio books and creepy-pastas since but none of them have been as good. I remember listening to ‘Nakshi Kanthar Math’ for the first time from him. It is a story written in a poetic rhythm by Jasimuddin. The book was later translated by Mary Milford as “The Field of the Embroidered Quilt”. I can still visualize every single word of it. That noon one room of our home had become Saju’s village and one of the others had turned into Rupai’s and the room we were in had become the field, the field of embroidered quilt.
The verse is a tragic folk tale written in simple language and centers around Rupai and Saju (Sona). Rupai is a young peasant Rupa, who falls in love with a girl named Saju in his neighboring village. They get married. But after a quarrel and fight with some peasants of another village Rupa leaves home and flees far away. Saju, the young wife becomes alone. She waits every day with expectant that her husband will return to her, but nothing happens. She becomes tired, all her hope becomes false. Many days pass and Saju begins to prepare a Nakshi Kantha. In that Nakshi Kantha she sewed all the incidents and tragedies. More days pass and Rupa does not return. Finally Saju dies. Before her death she requests her mother to put the Nakshi Kantha on her grave. Her mother does accordingly. And since then the name of the field becomes Nakshi Kanthar Math. Some days after Saju’s death, villagers find a young man is lying dead on the grave of Saju and that Nakshi Kantha is in his hands. Villagers identify that man as Rupa.
I remember, for a period of time I had thought my aunt didn’t invite me at her wedding and had only taken my brother and parents since she got married before I was born. I guess, it’s wonderful how our younger selves or we as children do not discern creation and we are downright unaware of the hardness and transience of life and its swiftly evolving intermediate mores. Like being lost in the utmost blissfuless and whimsical world of the Of Monsters and Men’s album My Head Is An Animal.
I had never really loved reading as a kid. I was more into listening, perhaps. My parents would outright disrelish this vice of mine and it would put me in innumerable troubles all the times. I was always taught about categorical and hypothetical imperative in a most indirect way possible which I had a hard time to grasp. I guess, the pseudo in me had become really apparent for this reason. Thus when I had eventually (which was really later) started putting an amount of time in reading I realized the flaws i had been sustaining for all those years and things I hadn’t got to experience and explore as a kid.
We have a copy of the book ‘Nakshi Kanthar Maath’. My brother had bought it some years later. The pages have become yellowish now and they just smell as good as the old days.
“Time just gets away from us.”