Beyond The Blue Sky, The Blue Sea, And The Blue Lotus

Writer: Rummana Choudhury Category: প্রবন্ধ (Essay) Edition: Dhaboman - Fall 2018

There are so many questions which you cannot answer. If only you had a pair of wings and you could fly away from all this chaos and confusion whenever you become overwhelmed. Maybe the serenity in your soul could once again be regained. As Emily Dickinson had once said, " If I should die/ and you should live/ and time should gurgle on/ and morn should beam/ and noon should burn/ as it has usual done.../ it makes the parting tranquil/ and keeps the soul serene..." She also meant that the human soul should always keep it’s door open so that it is ever ready to "welcome the ecstatic experience." Was here a hidden meaning in what she had said in her contemplative moments? Or was she just using a figurative speech to express her own personal emotions?
      Real life experiences often amaze you. You sometimes do not find the answers to many queries, in black and white. You transit between a state of dreams and illusions. There are shadows looming up outside some well defined boundaries. The human mind is often confused between good and evil, joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure. 

Your mind travels through the many stages of civilization and it’s inter- related social, cultural, economic, psychological and physiological adaptations and innovations. Experiences which can be ecstatic or otherwise may be blocked or suppressed many a time due to barricaded doors, or doors which look open but are not.

     You become so unhappy sometimes. You had promised yourself that no matter what, you would not let the tears come. But there are somethings in life which often goes beyond your control. You try to remember happier times. The joy and taste of victory in December of 1971. You were only fifteen when the West Pakistani soldiers bulldozed and ravaged East Pakistan which ultimately gained independence through the mental and physical efforts of freedom fighters, each and every Bangalee and the cooperation of the Indian armed forces and civilians. The Crimson sun rising in an independent country and the exhilarating, invigorating, fragrance of new dreams and aspirations. The blooming and enhancement of a new, priceless language, Bangla and the unhindered progress and development of a newly born culture, literature and heritage. You remember the jubilation of the newly independent people, the songs and the melodies of a country rebuilding and restoring itself from the devastating ruins of war, rape and violence. 

     You remember with acute nostalgia the distinctive fragrance of the Kanta and Prophecy perfumes from Kolkata flooding the newly independent markets of Bangladesh. Those were the days indeed! You, like many others of your age and background explored the various fields and arenas around you. You started to listen to World Music on Bangladesh Betar and later joined in hosting it. You joined the black and white television programming of this new country. You hosted the cultural delegations coming from China, Korea, India and other countries at the Shilpakala Academy and Bongobhabon. You experimented with listening and training in classical dancing and singing. You started playing sports in college and university and competed in debates, recitations and extempore speeches. Your dreams multiplied in leaps and bounds and you were unstoppable. Now, as the refreshing autumn air cools your heart and fans the glowing charcoals of your spent out dreams you breathe deeply and try to face the reality of what has been and what could have been.

   The elephants were nonchalantly taking a bath on one TV channel while  the Unity March in Paris, France was happening on the CNN and BBC channels. It was the eleventh of January, 2015. Solidarity was being expressed by one million people from all over the world against terrorism. Against the tragedy of Charlie Hebdo where 17 people were killed in three days of terror and violence, forty countries were participating with their leaders' presence. All across Europe other solidarity marches were taking place for national unity. This rally was being attended by the Spanish president, Israeli, Palestinian, African leaders, along with PM David Cameron from the UK, amongst other world leaders. There were 5,500 policemen on the streets where unity was being displayed on the 

face of violence. Paris looked like it was the capital of the world. No one had ever seen such a March of solidarity in this city before. You wonder and feel isolated, yet United.
      You looked at all this chaos and confusion and become saturated. People were becoming confused with each passing day. Comic figures were made with cartoons based on Mohammed, the Last Prophet of Islam (pbuh ). You were told it was a freedom of expression. Freedom of Love? Or freedom of Hate? You felt claustrophobic. You felt like sprouting wings and flying up in the air. The clean fresh air up above the sky brought you tremendous relief. You felt like moving away from Muslim fanaticism, from the greedy politics of world leaders and from foreign policies distorted beyond recognition. Some try to understand, some did not bother, while others did not comprehend the truth at all. You feel you had enough and needed a permanent escape. Was it possible in the real sense of the term? 
      At this point of your life, when the invincible sun is setting with its regular pace and timing, you falter unexpectedly. Is it the weakness in your limbs or the deterioration of your brain cells? Or is it the simple fact that the autumn of your life is gradually grasping you physically and mentally? You no longer feel any excitement or anticipation pulsating through your blood stream. Adrenalin no longer exists for you. You gaze up at the bright red, orange , gold and coffee coloured autumn leaves all around you and feel time waits for no one. Nor can anyone make it wait. Life goes on no matter what. With or without you. You might be able to keep up with its pace or fall behind. Now, either ways it does not matter to you. The lyrics of your favourite poetry fade in the background. The dreams of your bygone days are floating up in the blue sky creating its own tales. Some are familiar, some are not. You have ultimately distanced yourself from all your hopes and expectations. No one cares for you anymore. You are absolutely free from everyone. Then why is it so hard to let go?
      You play with the foaming waves of the lively sea. There is a pool of tears stinging your eyes but you cannot cry. There seems to be a huge chunk of ice inside your heart. But it does not melt. You want to move forward but invisible ropes bind your feet and you cannot go forward. You feel like relaxing but you cannot. You feel you have very limited time left. There are so much unfinished work left but you feel you do not know how to complete them. Have you hurt anyone beyond repair? Is there still time to make amends? You feel you are drowning amidst uncontrollable waves. There was something floating on the foaming waves. You look closely and cannot believe your eyes! A pair of blue lotus! Reminded you of Humayun Ahmad's Himu and the blue lotus in his hand. You think lotuses in reality could only be pink and white. You gaze at the pair of blue lotuses with total disbelief! The blue sky, the blue sea and the blue lotuses start unfolding their own tales...

      Rummana Chowdhury has authored thirty six books and is a social and cultural activist in Toronto. She writes short stories, poetry, columns and analytical articles