Main Uddin Ahmed
Ma, mom, please come here.Dad, are you calling me? Ranu entered. Mr Chowdhury, reading newspaper, looked at smiling and said: Yes my dear daughter, me called you. To talk is, I have to deliver a speech at a meeting tomorrow. Please write a speech for me.Ranu wondered and asked: Shall I?
Yes, just a simple speech.
Ranu agreed and said: I shall give you the main points of the speech.Mr Chowdhury said: No-no, please write the whole speech. Me a man of British time, do not feel well in standard Bengali, office life passed on English, so…The daughter smiled and said: OK, I will write it for you.
Mr Chowdhury laughed shyly and said: Write short-cut from 1952 to till date. Begin with Language Movement.Ranu's eyes enlarged and she asked: Language Movement?Chowdhury replied: Yes.She repeated: Language Movement?
Mr Chowdhury became astonished and uttered: Yes, tomorrow is February 21, I will preside over the meeting to be organized in memory of Language Martyrs. The speech should be the best one. Me is going to preside over a meeting of thousands of people. So, what kind of speech it should be, think over it.
Chowdhury suddenly stopped seeing his daughter feeling uneasy.Ranu's mother called: Oh, please come quickly, foods turning cold.Yes, coming-Chowdhury gone to another room.
Ranu lost the balance of her body and mind. Somehow she reached her room, closed the door and dropped her body on the bed to sit on.It seemed to her that the whole world is shouting: "Language Movement- Language Movement". The words are resounding and hitting her. As if it will destroy her ear-screen.
Her head began moving and she started hearing sounds of stormy blows.She lied down on the bed. Everything moving. The existence becoming unstable and the words are sounding and resounding: "Language-Movement- Bengali-Language-Shaheed-Bengali-Shaheed Shaheed…"
Only a few years ago, the residence of Zahed Chowdhury- a famous personality of the town- got a fancy touch of new decoration-walls owned new oil paintings, artistically cut dazzling papers made roofs bright and attractive. No great festival-guests will arrive to see Chowdhury's daughter Ranu - marriage purpose. Not even a simple affair.
It is about Chowdhury's daughter. A proud daughter-college student and none wants to limit her beauty by description.All say the same:- Wao, Ranu, a girl of real beauty, sophisticated and only of her kind.Bridegroom's party arrived. Ranu's girlfriends are dancing and enjoying unending happiness. They kept nothing aside to make Ranu more and more beautiful.
The bridegroom just crossed university, a very handsome boy-Shahed Alam.Very green young man Shahed saw Ranu, became charmed and commented: Perfect!Not too much negotiation needed. If not so close but Ranu's and Shahed's fathers knew each other. Within a short time they liked each other very much.
Date of marriage ceremony was fixed-23rd February.After settling everything Mr Chowdhury requested Shahed to informally come again on the day after tomorrow.Shahed could not avoid the request. Ranu's two beautiful eyes attracted him. He came, talked very little but enjoyed the moments pleasantly.
Ranu could not take back her eyes from the face of Shahed. She felt the desire to talk a lot but when Shahed looked at her she lowered her eyes. Shahed followed it and laughed mysteriously.Ranu's mind whispered: Naughty boy, don't escape.
Next few days Shahed was busy with printing of invitation cards and inviting relations and friends…could not go to Ranu's house.Ranu frequently went to the window and expected the arrival of Shahed with no logic.
Shahed also felt desire to see Ranu even for a while but could not make time and take decision.This day, when Ranu remembered Shahed, she felt something unusual and painful. A dumb feeling darkened her mind and she thought: Why Shahed not coming? Why me feeling him too much today!
A gloom beyond expression netted her. She could not get the explanation of her heart's hiding state.Suddenly Ranu heard air-tearing slogans: "My Language- Bengali Bengali, Your Language- Bengali Bengali, State Language- Bengali Bengali,; We want blood of…"
A tremor shocked the heart of Ranu. She realized that the building is also trembling with the slogans. While thinking to go to the window quick gunshots silenced all the voices. She controlled her from going to the window.Suddenly door was knocked and swift sounds came: "Please open the door, open the door, help us, let us live, please open…"
Ranu ran to the door-opened it. Two people entered with a wounded man and wanted a glass of water.Ranu moved like electricity, brought water, gave the glass to a man and looked at the wounded person.She could not realize whether that was dream or real and was about to collapse. She sat down beside the man and in a low voice asked: Who, Shahed?
Shahed caught a hand of Ranu with his two hands and tried to smile. But he could not… turned silent forever.Ranu stood up, shouted "No-no-no" and lost her consciousness.
( *The story was written using the theme of Language Movement which is the root of International Mother Language Day (Amar Ekushey) and was published in Bengali language in 'Pankaj'-a souvenir of Rangdhanu Sahitya O Sangskritik Ghosthi of Chatkhil, Noakhali in 1975. The translation was done by the writer.)
The writer is Assistant Editor,
The Asian Age
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