Sadia Afroz

ID no: 21216082

In Hazaribagh, the not –so- favored suburb of Dhaka stood the proud house of Taiyeb Rahman, the Tajmahal. Built with years of hardworking pennies, the house was Mr. Rahman’s pride and joy. I was seven -years -old when I learned that the house belonged to my grandfather and not me. Illogical to a seven year old, I was lost in thought how a house I was born in was not mine. I cried to my grandmother for hours and complained how my father was bad for saying that to me. My grandfather always called the house ‘Bairatnagar’ which in English translates as ‘Big City’. In the suburban areas load shedding was quite frequent. So every time the electricity ran out which mostly used to happen at night, he would exclaim ‘Bairatnagar Ondhokar’ (Dark big city). It had not occurred to me why he would always call the house with such a name. The antiquated look in addition to the enormous garden yard shrouded by huge mango and coconut trees would make the outsiders slightly concerned to enter the house. However, for the family it was a hidden paradise. I can still smell the gentle breeze. More importantly, what really made the house a living paradise was the unconditional unity of the Rahman family. The weekends were the best of its kind. Barbeque parties, endless evening dilly-dallies on the rooftop and the political conversations of the five brothers was what a perfect weekend was composed of. The Rahman brothers had integrity, nothing less than the tale of the farmer and his three sons. I grew up learning the definition of adoration from the profound connection my uncles shared.

My memory still stretches to the warm after school noon with the fragrance of fresh sunflower petals from the garden and the fine smells of the fish curry prepping in the kitchen. The fondness of the Rahman daughter-in laws would clearly manifest in the kitchen. On special occasions the kitchen belonged to the men of the house and on those days, the only role the rest of us would play was the entertaining part of enjoying the food. As a whole, the Rahman family was an exemplary family to the rest of the neighborhood. Anybody could easily sense the respect crawling on the rugged archaic walls as soon as they entered the house. It was perfectly clear to me what I ought to do to preserve this picturesque family and that was to forever reside in this house with my family until the end of time.

Nevertheless, a clear sky was ne’er everlasting. My knowledge of death was tenuous and so it was a matter of great disturbance to learn about the death of my grandfather which eventually brought the gloomy clouds in. I was wandering in the magical clouds which soon disappeared due to the mere concern of inheritance. Wealth and fortune soon took over the firmness of the Rahman family and they failed to recognize that love is a family’s most precious legacy. As a thirteen year old, I could not understand the sufferings manifested due to greed being stronger than compassion. The strong rift among the brothers raked in the dull gray winter. The once so shining city lost its light. The only thing thus remained was the dust of the demolished walls and the grave of the man that once said “Bairatnagar Ondhokar”.