She was, as usual, my first guru. She used to give me all sort of crazy Bengali spellings.
Like ‘kujjhatica’. And I have to write the spelling of the author. Pretty complicated to me even now. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. How I wished to kick this man when I grow up.
As usual after giving my best efforts for several hours, I used to fail spelling both. And my playing hours would tick by. Mother never allowed me play with my friends until I have finished with reading the sahaj path (that was not sahaj at all) fluently.
The only benefit was I used to read it without any effort as the entire book was memorized and I could recite it eyes shut.
I remember I used to rub the troublesome spelling with my saliva and wipe it out from existence. Then, poker-faced, I used to go to her in the kitchen. “maa, maa, bananta to aar pacchi na. Kemon kore jeno muche geche.”
My mother used to leave me. I did not waste time to kick the ragged old football in the muddy field. And I thought I am very intelligent and the idea is fool-proof.
My father, who is very mild in nature (I used to witness his karak image twice in a year, during the time of results) used to play with me and sister during studies.
If the education department of our family would have been with us, I swear, by now, I would have been an expert farmer, complete illiterate.
Once I employed the same tactics to my father. I rubbed a certain English word from my rapidex-reader and complained to him, "the word vanished, and I have nothing to study now" (I had written the table of two, my mother would have made me write the table of seventeen). My father, looked at me for length and said, “so you have nothing to do now”
No, said i.
So, what to do, you are free to play.
I jumped from the bed. Took my cricket bat (size 3), put my cap and attempted to conquer the world.
Before opening the gate, my father came to me called “shon shon”.
I went to him, innocent as an afghan hound.
He spoke in a very cold voice, “Janis ami ke?”
I was flabbergasted, I figured what to answer, before I can speak, he lightened my confusion, “mone rakhis, bhule jaas na, ami tor baba, tui jei schooler chatro, ami tar headmaster.”
I said, “jah, tomay konodin schoole dekhiee ni.”
He smiled. I went to play. I didn’t understand what he meant that time. I understand now.
Baba, maa, I love you. I miss you.