Seventeen and Seventy, Part-1; Dr Emdad Khan, Ottawa
The other day, my better half was saying, the cooking was not that great. It suddenly reminded us about when we were 17 what we would do with food. So, we replied her, now we are 70, not 17.
We were ultra sensitive to food, over cooked, uncooked, more spices or less spices. Gave very hard time to our mom and continued even after marriage, to my better half. Now at 70, we are unbale to eat any food, just leave without noise.
Let us revisit our life at 70 and revisit when we were only 17.
At high school, we liked sports competition like Soccer and Kabaddi (Ha Du Du). Organized inter-village and inter-school competitions with trophies. One day, imagine, in our home village, another village team won or in our school another school team won!
One day after soccer match, one of our young friend, has his leg bone broke, just hanging. What a day! Panic, fear, scolding and good news, the leg healed.
We formed the sports club with village boys and school students with another vision to repair village roads. What an adventure, some labourers protested, these unpaid volunteers took their jobs! Another sets of parents came, you guys making our school children day labourers!
Used to organize equal footing Milad and allowed Hindu friends to organize Puja but participated as guests. Imagine, Hindu friends joining Muslim Milad and Muslim boys joining Hindu Puja!
Fascinated with a bicycle shop next to our school and dreamed to own a bicycle. On getting scholarship, dad bought a bicycle. Life became adventurous, one day, dismantled all the parts of the bicycle and digested scolding when had hard time to re-assemble. Another day, on way from school to home, with cycle race made an accident, hitting some kids on the street. Out of feat, ran away and next few days, used an alternate path to walk to school. After few days, for love of cycling, with lot of school friends visited the affected kids with sweets. My elder brother got so scared, he did not go to school those days and would tell mom, see, that was the reason, not learning to ride a bicycle.
As a village boy, we used to sell milk and vegetables at the village market and we had some Hindu class friends who would like to buy mike from us. One day, being late for school, just enter the house of my Hindu friend to deliver the milk. As if, some one threw stone to the bee nest. No, it was a storm, our friend’s mother got angry, how come, a Muslim boy entered a Hindu house, Ram, Ram, unclean boy, unclean house! She scolded and uttered some nasty words. Hindu friend started crying, mom you scolded our best friend and the first boy of the class. Who listens, she quickly used cow dung to purify the house. A real adventure!
One day, we were going to school office to see the clerk to enquire about our scholarship money. The head teacher office was also nearby. Suddenly, we saw a lot of students running to come down and we were only a few of us going upstairs. The head teacher used his cane to bit us all. As we were rebels, we dared to confront the head teacher, and ask why he bit us. He was surprised, and said all students are running down, why you are going up? We replied, we are innocent, going up to office only. He later told, our dad, your son is very daring!
As we moved to grade nine and ten, as the customary rule of our school, the Mathematics and English teachers used to assign us to be sub-teacher to take the classes and in some cases as well, we used to mark the test paper of our own class mates, how funny! We became very fond of doing this. We became fascinated and requested our dad, a school teacher in another high school, if we could mark his students test papers. He first hesitated and then, we said, ok, let me learn and write the answer, if you like then, we will be marking the teat paper.
After the cane biting episode, we became a lovable obedient student to the head teacher. One day, we dared to go to the head teacher, with the request to give free students ship to a needy student of our village. The Head teacher was surprised but eventually accepted. Next two years, the head teacher would consult us to select the needy students to offer free studentships.
At that time, the school teachers were dedicated. One day, few months, before high school final examination, the head teacher suddenly came to our village home. Persuaded our dad, to allow us to go to stay at his home in town for few days until, we get a sit in school hostel. He also, engaged free, our school math and physics teachers for coaching. The idea, if we get a top position in school board exam, it will enhance school name and as well the Head teacher.
Our dad was a marriage registrar. Sometimes people would come to our home, or we would go to a near by weekly bazaar or sometimes in dad’s office in his school. He had one office staff for recording. We got again fascinated and requested the office clerk, if we could do the marriage registration work ourselves. Both my dad and the office clerk were surprised. You know, we are always assertive, later years, we used to be the one of the persons doing the marriage registration.
When we were in high school, General Ayyub was president and as high school students, we used to get donated Saudi dates and American powdered milk cans. Again, we became one of chosen students of head teacher, to distribute those. In one day suddenly, school strikes started against General Ayyub. That day we got late and there was first time one student got killed by police shooting at a Chandpur high school and the boy happened to be form our village. But the rumour, it was me and just think what happened to our mom and siblings?
When, we gave the final high school examinations, got free three months, nothing to do. We approached, our village primary school, to become a school teacher. They were hesitant but on my assertion, accepted us. We taught for three months.
Before we close the story of 17, we end by describing a story of bullying. We, along with our elder brother and elder sister, used to walk for about 5 KM per day go to school from village home to Chandpur city. We were very slow to walk, would start 30 minutes before our elder siblings. Our elder brother was a bit afraid of police. When we used to see some policemen, he would just run go down of the side of the road and would hide. Another occasion, some bully boys bit our elder bother. Then he got scared, then we would always go together. Another day, those bully boys came to bit him, this time, as we were with him, we bit those boys with our wooden slates, and the bully boys got good lessons.
Net month story of 70.