Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ekushe February

21st February. The world has recognized the sacrifices our countrymen have made for our mother tongue by making it INTERNATIONAL MOTHER LANGUAGE DAY. On this day every year, thousands gather at the foot of the Shahid Minar (Martyrs Monument) to pay their respects. This year, I went there for the first time in my life. Quite an experience! Standing in the line for hours till finally you get to take your shoes off and walk past the Shahid Minar. Thought about the people that died today, people who ignored the guns pointed at them and moved onwards shouting slogans till the bullets silenced them forever. The bullets failed though…the slogans survived to live forever. “Rastro Vasha Bangla Chai.” They had a cause to fight for and they fought till the very end.

Later that night we had a real good time at the party. I had the most amazing conversation with a newspaperman who told me how we need to let go of ourselves before we can figure out the truth. Before we can really create, we have to get beyond ourselves, forget our individual identities to become one with the truth. Or may be he said something very different and I didn’t really get it. The point is, I enjoyed my time talking crap as did he. There was this guy from Australia who made really good drinks. The booze ran out before anyone really got a taste. Gave us a cause to fight for. So times are a little bad and its risky to get caught out there on the streets, at this hour of the night, with something illegal. But we didn’t care. Off to the ATM, out comes the cash, jump on a CNG and race to mohakhali at half past 5 in the morn. Wake the guards up and bribe them to bring you a bottle. Back home before you knew it. We had a good time. Somebody corrected me when I pronounced Jessore instead of Joshor. “I really hate it when people pronounce Bangla words according to English spellings.” I apologized. The guy is right.
“So how come we are all talking in English the whole time although we all speak Bangla?”
“I dunno”
“Cheers mate! To you man! You are the best bartender ever!”

Amar vaiyer rokte rangano ekushe February
Ami ki vulite pari?
(How can I forget 21 February, the day daubed with my brothers’ blood)

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