War and Pieces

Jahanara ran her fingers through Rumi’s clothes. It was more than two months that she had not heard anything from him. She had expected that he would return soon after independence however it was almost two weeks since independence and yet no news of him.

She started folding his clothes, and before folding, she smelt each one of them. Rumi’s smell was still fresh on them. She hugged one of his shirts tightly onto her chest and started crying. Would she ever be able to hug him like this again? Would he ever come and put his head on her lap and ask her to run her fingers through his hair.

Every day in the newspaper she reads death news of guerrilla fighters who had gone to fight the Muktijuddho or the war for freedom. She even came across the names of many of Rumi’s friends. His friends, with whom he had gone to school. His friends, who had often come over to her house to play or chat with Rumi. Many of them were now just names in the list of shahid or martyrs.

Jahanara, doesn’t even want to think that Rumi’s name had been added to that list. In her denial she stopped reading the newspaper and listening to the news on radio. She doesn’t want to read Rumi’s name in the newspaper as a martyr. She doesn’t want to become the ‘proud’ mother of a shahid.

Jahanara wanted to believe that Rumi was alive and very soon he would come back home, just the way he used to come back from school and crash on the drawing room sofa.

Rumi had hung a huge poster of Che Guevara in his room that was half hanging from the wall. Jahanara went and fixed it with glue. She started picking up books, cassettes, posters that were scattered all over Rumi’s room. While picking up pieces from the floor metaphorically she also started picking up pieces of her life because even though one part of her stubbornly believed that Rumi was alive, the pragmatic part had given up.

 

P.S. Jahanara Imam wrote a book “Ekattorer Dinguli”. The book was basically her personal diary that she wrote during the muktijuddho(War for Freedom) of Bangladesh in 1971. Her elder son Rumi had become a guerrilla fighter who was eventually killed by the Pakistani Army. Bangladesh became independent on 16 December 1971. This story is a fictional account of her wait for the return of her son. I was deeply moved after reading her book and this is my tribute to the feisty lady.

barathon

I AM PARTICIPATING IN BAR-A-THON, ORGANISED BY BLOG-A-RHYTHM. THIS CHALLENGE IS TO WRITE SEVEN POSTS IN A SERIES, EVERY ALTERNATE DAY BEGINNING JUNE 17TH. THIS IS MY Fourth POST, AND TODAY’S PROMPT IS – “War and Pieces
FIRST PROMPT POST  “THE FAULT IN OUR STARES”
SECOND PROMPT POST  “LIFE OF PIE”
Third Prompt Post “Of Ice and Men”

 

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23 thoughts on “War and Pieces

  1. Rajlakshmi says:

    How her heart must have hurt! I have heard real life encounters of the war in Bangladesh. It pains me to think how many lives must have been lost. Beautiful story.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. L.E.R.T says:

    Behind every (mostly meaningless) war, there are thousands of such Jahanwaras. Makes you think about the absolute futility of these wars. Beautifully written. You have captured the anxiety and hope and denial of the mother perfectly. Cheers, Varad.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jellico84 says:

    Wow! I was right there, in her shoes. Very well written and engaging. As I read it, I looked at the table beside my computer and noted the hat I’m wearing today. It is/was my Goddaughter’s military issue hat. She was a strong and powerful force in the world, a young lady (much too young in my mind)who went off to war never to return. It’s lost her smell, but everytime I wear it, I feel her spirit with me, reminding me to be strong… as she was. Thank you for your story, Balaka.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. BellyBytes says:

    War always leaves behind shattered lives. But I also feel that only when things are totally destroyed can we re-build….( Not that I am a war monger but this is my take on why people go to war)

    Liked by 1 person

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