Written for Friday Fictioneers. Friday Fictioneers is a Flash fiction community curated by the wonderful Rochelle Wisoff. In response to the photo prompt tinged with a subcontinental feel by Shaktiki Sharma here’s…
The old man first sees him on the front stairs. Later that day the boy wanders the halls of the Zamindar Bari. At noon the old man eats rice and mashed potato, the boy sitting beside him.
“Do you remember the Durga-pujas; rangoli, kasha, conch, crimson vermilion and the people?”
A faint laughter echoes from somewhere. The old man listens and for a moment almost hears the ululation of invisible women of the house.
Cicadas start to sing as evening gathers in the moss covered inner courtyard. The boy has disappeared.
On their journey to elsewhere, they sometimes return home.
P.S. 1: Zamindaris were abolished soon after the independence of India. All around Bangladesh these majestic palaces sit in various states of disrepair, their former occupants scattered through out the subcontinent. Starting from the partition to 1971 war of liberation, Hindus of Bangladesh are in a slow exodus to India. Their homes and estates taken over by the state and given away to someone else. A survey recently stated No Hindus will be left in 30 years in Bangladesh. As a Hindu and as a Bangladeshi I feel worried about the future.
P.S. 2: There are three Bangla words used here: Zamindar Bari: the palace of the Zamindars, Durga Puja: an annual Hindu festival in the Indian subcontinent that reveres the goddess Durga, Kasha: a brass musical instrument like cymbal, Rangoli: that’s what the picture below is called…