razia (Photo credit: hari sundaram)

English: kolkata university, I took this photo...
English: kolkata university, I took this photo on the summer of 2004 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I read fiction,I tell myself this cannot happen in real life.Really,are you sure my inner self questions me? Let us take a ride in the world of fiction and facts,and try guessing which part is fiction and which one is not.

My story is not a science fiction,rather it is about an every day family,it will have laughter,sarcasm,pain,suffering,everything associated with life of a middle class family.

My story begins in a remote village in Bengal.There was a farmer,who was blessed with six sons and two daughters.Two of his sons,opted for farming,three chose education and one was in favour of enjoying life. He believed in the phrase, “we are only going to be here for a short while, I want to enjoy my life.”

The farmer was not in favour of allowing the son to do nothing and enjoy life. He was very unhappy. He called all his sons one day and asked how to change the decision of the third son. Hafiz suggested,he should send him to learn how to fish,one by one they gave their opinion. The youngest one refrained from giving his advice. He said Abbajan let him do whatever he wants.

Riazuddin the farmer was in a quandary,he decided to examine the thoughts of his four boys for a couple of days. At the end of the second day,he made up his mind. The indecisive Reza will have to leave home and make his fortune else where.

Five years passed, no one heard from Reza.The two daughters,Samia and Razia got married.They left the father’s village and one of them Samia was only two miles away.  Razia was married off to a man,who was relatively well-off than Samia. Reazuddin was happy his daughters were married. In his heart he was still longing to see Reza.

On the seventh year ,Reazuddin felt he was going to get some good news.He was unsure what it will be but his inner self was telling him,the news was good.Meanwhile his three sons were pursuing their education.They were doing very well in the village school.Hafiz the eldest finished school.He wanted to learn a trade. His good friend told him to apply for a place in a polytechnic school. Hafiz was selected. It was a two year course. Hafiz successfully finished the course. He got a job in Feni ,a very small town in Bengal. His parents selected a girl for him from the nearby village. He married Saleha. Hafezuddin was a devoted son,he wanted to help his younger brother, he made arrangents to bring his brother ,so he would be able to finish school. Baset showed tremendous potential from a very young age. He got admission in a school . This happened to be the town where his brother lived. He didn’t have to pay tuition fees,he was getting a scholarship every year. Baset then moved to another school in a larger town. He was continuing to get scholarship. He finished high school easily and went to kolkata  university to study Intermediate and Bachelor of Arts.After completing his studies. He took a job at the Post Office.It was a government job.

All the sons of Reazuddin were doing very well. His heart ached for his son whom he sent away to live on his own. He could not enjoy the success of the rest of his sons. He was heart broken and died suddenly. Baset however was going up the ladder of success at a relatively fast pace. His brilliance caught the eye of his superiors.Around this time the ministry of defense was in need of a bright young man for a short period. They were informed about  Baset. Upon learning about him the Ministry borrowed his services for two months. Soon the Ministry found out, how good he was,and decided to keep him permanently.

Baset was moving along slowly and steadily in his job.His hard work and brilliance helped him finish law. At a very early age he had learned to read the Quran.It was his interest and his talent that helped him to learn Urdu,Persian and English.He was a Bengali,he knew his mother tongue well. His family decided since he has accomplished what he wanted. This would be a perfect time for him to get married. They didn’t have to look for a bride too far, she was the sister of Baset’s sister-in-law. The family was elated. The parents of the girl were not quite sure,they  didn’t like the idea of two daughters  married in the same family.Their eldest daughter convinced them, her brother-in- law  was a perfect match for the sister.

With strong pressure from his family,Baset gave in and got married. In the years that followed,his family’s number increased. He now had to think of their education. While he had no idea of tuition fees and all the other nitty- gritty that comes with it, he took everything in strides. He was confident everything will fall in place eventually.

Everything was falling in place.Unfortunately it was not the way he wanted. There were disappointments along the way. He was once told,  “think about the good things that come your way and be contented with it.” The eldest son was sent to a well-known university to get an engineering degree. The son was not interested at all. He spent some time in school but was only keen on having a good time with his friends. Baset then concentrated on the second son and shipped him to a commerce college. This time destiny was not cruel at all. In life we all have to face challenges, Baset was no exception. He was working in a place,where he was a minority. Yes, he was a Muslim too, but his mother tongue was different from that of his colleagues,he could feel discrimination from  all sides. He tried to ignore it and continued with his job. But soon the unfriendly atmosphere took a toll on his health. He fell ill,but showed a brave front. It was not that helpful. He became seriously ill and within a month he died. His family was devastated with this untimely loss. All his dreams remained only that. His brothers felt,had he stayed in Kolkata and came back close to his village. He would be alive. These things cannot be predicted. His family came back and learned the meaning of life and its challenges the hard way!

The challenge of humanity is manifold,if we try to remove jealousy, discrimination and hatred,this world of ours would be a tolerable place to live.

4 thoughts on “Baset

  1. Dear Ranu,

    Many thanks for this piece of writing. You shine here!

    I love the photograph of razia :-).

    The last sentence in this post is profound.

    All good wishes,


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