memoir

How Life Gets Puzzled!

Md. Noman 

In the heart of the city, very near to the shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal (R), only few hotel rooms are alive, as lights are on. Chattering, laughing, jostling among some pleasure-seeking young guys continue on the 3rd floor in a five-storied hotel which literally leaves the marks of liveliness of a bright sunny day and go on till the dead of night. Silence has already enveloped every nook and corner of the city and expedited its balmy presence charioted by the tick-tock of the clock when a pin-drop may appear as noisy as drum-beatings and mosquitoes seem to whiz-pass like Japanese jets flocked in the World War II. I have yet kept me standing on the balcony, all alone, alone in the sea of tranquility, observing the nature’s invisible silence rolling down the city streets, gazing at the bare sidewalks of life that remain peopled with different classes at day light, especially in rush hours. The light posts seem to be bent as if they were exhausted for daylong work brooding over the rat-race of the Eliot’s ‘hollow man’. The snoring city has no sign of hustle-bustle of the busy roads that can meddle with my unbridled tempestuous thoughts. Almost nine-hour-journey and vast distance that we covered today, Chittagong to Sylhet by train, has taken away the energy to count the staircase for descending to the ground floor. So, we are rather satisfied with what we had had during launch in the train.
I didn’t notice when, for how long Borhan had been beside me watching. As soon as I took notice of him, he started teasing me saying that I had fallen in love with the girl during our trip. The very word ‘love’, particularly for my tender age, has floated me away and I can only remember those happenings in the train where we had a nice awfully busy time in the train. Our business only involved a girl with rare expressiveness that we had ever seen. The girl was a fellow-traveler, who might not had crossed her teen, in the same compartment having moderate, graceful beauty that nature has bestowed on her with. Her non-pareil self-expression had non-plused me like anything else. She was fortunate enough, had she been without company of a middle-aged gentle lady, if our supposition doesn’t fail, she is her mom, I don’t know what would have left for us to tease her in every possible way which a dare-devil can devise. Reza had thrown a half-bitten guava directing her which severely hit her thumb, while she was enjoying the natural scenic views through the window that nature has helmed with her soothing, balmy hands, Ali, dodging every one’s eyes, ogled her for several occasions. I didn’t lag behind in doing so and tried to give her romantic gesture but no sign of acceptance or rejection came out from her part. Strangely enough, she, too, didn’t show her boredom towards our childish, tireless, incessant efforts of annoyance. As soon as her mom served with lunch, we started having ours but more fun waited for her when we found four spoons instead of five and were scrambling for them. Riaj, not finding one for his own, gave a brave display of being a true Bangli who prefers doing the noble acts of eating with hands to using neither forks nor knives. After having lunch, when almost all passengers were having nap, though very few of them were browsing on their favourite magazines, while others were in deep obsession with their music players, as usually, we, the five imps, were stick to creating nuisance.
Joy, one of my on-tour bosom friends, who has never done least justice to his name as he is inherently meditative, reserved; enjoys things to his own nature; laughs where his heart contends to be gleeful; rejects what turns out to be odds and hazardous. But that night in the hotel, he showed not a least degree of patience at all. While Reza and Ali were playing cards, yawning on and on, almost dozing turning the game of card into insipid, dull, tame, unexciting, unchallenging one that may be well termed as ‘wrestle with the air’, he, like a globe tracker who is on search of something novel, was loitering around, in and out of the room. Perhaps, he was in a dilemma, trying to trace out what on earth got his mind unsettled. He’s breathing nothing but sigh of grief, agonies of defoliated heart. On the other episode of humans’ tragi-comedy, while both Reza and Ali were foxing their game-mates with bundles of tricks and tact from their treasure, all on a sudden, Reza began to shout excitedly; got his mobile out and playing hide and seek with Ali. From the very first impression, I guessed that there might have some secrets kept under the cover of darkness for so long. Ali could not help running after him so that he might swim ashore to unmask the veiled mystery beforehand. After having a good amount of scuffle and tussle, however, he managed to get its reach. And with a gaping astonishment, we couldn’t believe our eyes that it was the girl’s picture stealthily taken in the train with whom we had journeyed shortly today. Truly, the picture was so lively that almost sucked forth my heart, even, a single kiss contained much vigour and youthfulness which could immortalize me.
In the meantime, Morpheus started lulling us with his magic wand to sleep.

Ali had already stretched him full length. So did Reza. While I was preparing to bid goodbye to night, the absence of Joy jolted me like an engine that shakes at the start. I hurried to the next room which is allotted for me and Joy but found none there. Surprisingly, a sobbing floated into my ear, and I pricked up them to find out where from it came in. I rushed to the balcony, and with great amazement, saw him sniveling in suppressed agony, tears rolling down the cheek, biting his lips in utter frustration, at times, shrugging his shoulders in a peculiar way I couldn’t make out head or tail of it. Never did my entire life provide me with so much strange, inexplicable, queer gesture. Nor was I so perplexed before. I stood being nothing more than a statue. I flopped down by him and put my hand on his back to console, but in vain, gave him several shake, was trying to get the reasons behind that sad episode. The more I asked him, the more he shed-off tears. The face I knew for years looked exceptionally alien to me. I was in a point to draw an end to that fateful moment. Finding no other way out to solve the puzzle, I preferred waiting till the day break. In the morning, when I got up, I saw a small piece of folded paper dropped for us which reads “sorry to leave you asleep”.

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