An unscheduled visit to the ancestral place (Part-I)The bus reached its destination. The middle-aged man got down from the bus. He quietly tried to grasp everything with his eyes. After all this is his ancestral place! But he could not find anything remarkable at the first sight. In the winter noon, the crowded bus terminus of a small district town did not provide anything wonderful.. An old rickshaw-puller came near him and asked him where he wanted to go.
The man came to Dhaka with the Indian delegation to attend a SAARC Conference on youth development. When he managed to get a break of one day in between, he took an instant decision and went to visit his ancestral place. He didn't even ask his father if any of his relatives still lived there. So when the rickshaw-puller asked him where to go, he could not tell anything at the first instance. However, after thinking, he told the rickshaw- puller to take him to Palong High school. The rickshaw puller looked at him fully perplexed and asked if he wanted to visit Shariatpur High School. The man answered affirmatively. The man started his journey in his ancestral place. In another ten minutes, the rickshaw-puller stood before a very old dilapidated building and said in local dialect, "Karta ('Sir' in local dialect), we have reached." The man got down and looked towards the school. Is it the same school where most of his relatives from paternal side studied before independence? With tremendous hesitation, he entered the building.
After much pondering, the man reached near the Head Master's Chamber. An old Maulvi was sitting inside. He asked him in local Bengali "What do you want"? After much hesitation, the middle-aged man replied "Actually my grandfather and all his brothers studied in this school. My grandfather's elder brother got the district scholarship in undivided Faridpur from this school. My grandfather and his young brother also taught in this school. My father passed the Matriculation from this school in 1948." The Maulvi was disinterested and asked: "So what can I do for you"? The man hesitantly replied: "Nothing, Sir. I only want to see the school". Fortunately, hearing the conversation, a man came out from the adjacent Teachers' Room and told the middle-aged man "I am Naresh K, I am a teacher in this school. Whom are you talking about"? The middle-aged man said: "My grandfather's elder brother was Late Kalipada K. He got the district scholarship from this school before the First World War and later reached the top managerial position of Rangoon Port Trust". The teacher recognized instantly. He said to the middle-aged man: "Now I understand. I know about your family very well. My mother is your father's distant cousin and is younger to your father by some years. All your family members studied in this school and some even taught here during its best days. But now the school is well past its glory. The school is now over; please come to our home.".The middle-aged man again looked at the shabby structure of this more than a century old school, and hiding his utter disappointment followed Naresh K. to his home.
(......To be continued)