“And thus they have low economy!” the geography teacher finished the paragraph …. I had dug my head in copy to take notes so did most of the students in the class! At a glance one would suppose our class is the most studious class of the school and the teacher is the best one…. But believe me we are not, most of us get sleepy in this particular class, we are just eager to get pass marks on the answers scripts and also escape humiliation from parents and the teacher in front of us is the not the best but just better than the other one.
I heard a slow whisper. It was not the teacher’s voice. It whispered with my name….. I raised my head; curiosity withheld me it was the physics lab-assistant! (Many boys had a crush on her but not me!!)But why call out my name. The teacher spotted me out. This has never happened I never got called out for anything in the middle of the class. I stood up. She said that my brother has come to pick me up as my grandpa’s ill!
Grandpa!!! What the hell! How did he….. He isn’t supposed to be……
I took my bag and slowly followed her out of the room; she led me downstairs where I saw my bro. I was shaking in my boots all the way. I asked him “What happened to whom??” but he didn’t say a word.
The woman instructed me to go to my class teacher who was taking class in the third floor to inform him that I was leaving the school. I went to him to the third floor and with my half choked voice told him that my brother has come to… he came out half hearing that and I pointed towards my bro. My bro said in a loud voice (so that he can be heard from the 3rd floor) that he had to pick me up because our grandpa’s ill! He said it’s ok and I can go if my bro writes a letter saying that he is here to pick me up (we never go out of formalities!) I came down slowly and saw that my bro is already in the school office getting started on the letter. I came in and stood beside him. His hand was visibly shaky. He finished the four lined letter and came out and fortunately the cycle keeper was there so I didn’t have to wait to take out my bicycle. I got up on my cycle so did my bro and paddled towards our home.
“Now can you tell me what exactly happened!!?” I finally said.
“Chorda’s dead!” he said and I waited for him to complete the sentence. “You are not supposed to tell this anybody at home. They have informed mom and told her to take dad and leave…..we are going to Amta!”
I didn’t say anything more……..
Two days earlier:
“But I have holiday on this day so I can manage this!!” I said “NO ! not in time……” my dad choked a little “I said no and that’s final we should be together at this point of time…..” I couldn’t say anything more.
Our trip to Amta was cancelled due to my bro had to join college at that time. I wouldn’t have cared but I had a exam at tuition which I didn’t wanna give and I thought that I will gap it off by this tour!!
Any-ways I went to my bro and said “why do you have to join college so soon! Can’t you just help me miss the exams!!?”
He gave me his sarcastic eye look “You know I can’t do that! And you also know chorda’s condition….”
“Ya I know, but…”
He had been ill for many days now he had been admitted in a hospital a while ago and was discharged but had a stroke just the night he came back…..so he had to be carried again to the hospital. He had been unconscious since. Doctors have stated his condition to be critical.
We reached home, put our cycles and entered into the room, it was a mess. My mom made an excuse that my grandpa’s ill.
“We had to leave before they come back.” My mom said in a whisper.
I quickly changed and took some clothes to wear over there as I didn’t want to be in my grandpa’s pajamas again! I took my wallet and the school bag which was now stuffed with my clothes (me & bro always carry a bag). In the meantime my cousin came back she has got the news (my chorda was her elder brother). She saw us going out, fought her tears and wished us a safe journey and told us to take care of my dad.
We came out of the house and waited for an auto rickshaw. Hopefully we got one. We reached the station soon and boarded the train and we were off to Amta.
I just couldn’t get my head straight… one hour ago I was reading Bangladesh’s economy and the next thing you know my cousin’s dead and I’m rushing to my grandpa’s house to save my dad from another cardiac arrest!
We got on the train and started towards our destination. “The wind started to blow faster…” my bro said facing the window. We (me & my bro) consider bad weather to be great. It’s just so much fun! “Ya I noticed …”I replied. “Why do all these bad things happen in this kind of good weathers!?” then he started to give the list of the times when there had been bad things in our lives in good weather. I turned away…..
One day earlier:
“His health just got worse …..But he came in conscious last night…..he was asking for me…” I heard the whispering of my dad to mom….
“You don’t worry …. Everything will be fine ….. He will be ok…” my mom replied
I was hearing from the back of the door …. After hearing this I couldn’t stand there I came back upstairs.
I kept thinking how things didn’t go just fine…
“Do you know that girl…” my bro suddenly said.
“Do I wanna know her?” I said checking my stuff in my bag… and also kind of showing no interest in hitting at this point of time.
“NO! Absolutely not ewww! ” He explained with a disgusted tone “but she has been staring at us from the time we got up on the train!!”
“Oh really? Are we that much of a looker! ” I felt the need to look up… “You were right…. I really really don’t wanna know her! ” no matter how bad I need a girlfriend I still got taste!
“Let’s go ask her if we are supposed to know her or not!” my bro almost got up! I held him back, “have you lost your mind look by her side she has got parents!! And we are with dad!! ”
“Come ’n they look like her grandparents!!” he added, and they really did look like grandparents maybe they were her grandparents!
We looked at our dad once … he was a bench away and had his head hung down…..
“Leave it …I don’t wanna get in trouble with that man by my side!” he said and sat down with a great a thrust as if with exhaustion.
And there she was sitting there five benches away with a red woolen hood staring at us for no particular reason (at least we didn’t find any!!)
By the time we were in the train we were with dad’s phone to listen to songs to cut the boringness of the journey and to minimize eye contact with the red hooded girl, sometimes receiving calls from cousins and telling them out where about and stuff and occasionally taking about the red riding hood!!
The train halted at Howrah. We completed the first half of the journey, now we just have to board another train to reach Amta.
We alerted dad and got down; me and my bro were going side by side my dad little ahead.
I turned around a bit to see if I could find red riding hood or not (just to keep safe!) I turned back again in the front direction.
“What?” my bro asked. “Nothing Ms. Weird is just behind us and still in wonder gaze!” I answered
Over the next few minutes we found my mother, who was in the ladies compartment all this time. She confirmed from us if he had suspected about chorda or not, and then moved on.
The girl was walking side by side with us but keeping a distance (but still staring). Then on platform no. 8 she had to turn and we kept on going. She was gone to the other side, and we were going, just like nothing happened.
My chorda was the one person who cared about others greater than himself. He was the person one can depend on …no matter what. He never took life seriously and nobody took him seriously. He went where other people led him to he didn’t judge good or bad…he just went for. They say you realize something’s importance when you have lost it. Maybe that also happened this time. He was the man who taught both me and my bro cycling, and also made me realize that the cycle never stops…losing him would mean losing a large part of my family.
We reached Amta the horinam had started. We are not allowed to take part in it as the recent family death. We found out that my grandpa had really been sick and he fell unconscious and had to be carried to the hospital a day before. My dad had to be carried to the hospital as he also got too much sick thinking about what happened to chorda and receiving no good news and only short messages from cousins which were of course lies. I myself got sick of hearing the same lines in horinam. I didn’t own a phone at that time so I had informed my friends at school that I won’t be able to make it to school for the next couple of days from my mom’s phone. I didn’t get time to take any books in the rush so I had to watch the TV all the days I was there but it was hard as the horinam guys kept singing the same line over and over again and with loudspeakers! As my dad was in the hospital we didn’t find the need to stay there so came back in a few days as soon as most of the funeral rituals were over at our home.
All the said events really did occur, there may some altering of the events but they are real.