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In memory of Natyacharya Selim Al Deen

Benevolence of hundred moonlights

Swakrito  Noman

Swakrito Noman

Sun, 14 Jan 24

At that time, I was a rural journalist. I did not bow down to anyone in the world. I used to roam around with the UNO, OC and engage in discussions with politicians. I used to wander with them. In exchange for reporting news, I took money from them.

I used to receive offerings from thieves and robbers. And I wrote poetry, along with short stories. Occasionally, I also wrote plays. I provided direction for those plays on various national days. I often traveled from village to village with a theater troupe, presenting plays.

I used to edit a monthly literary magazine. I used to criticize Rabindranath's writings and used to level Nazrul as an inconspicuous poet. I would read the poems of Jibanananda and often cry. I thought, after Jibanananda, I am the best poet in the Bengali literature. There is no second person in the world of poetry as great as me.

One day, I got acquainted with Selim Al Deen. A few months after the acquaintance, one day I came to Dhaka. Holding a Nokia phone set in my hand. However, I bought the phone taking a loan for goat farming from Sonali Bank. I got thrilled to see and thinking, I have a phone in my hand!

I am such an important person! I have the accent in my language, I smoke ordinary Sunmoon cigarette, call Benson 'Venson,' call tea 'sa,' and call Dhaka 'Daka.' Anyone looking at my clothes and appearance will say, 'I have come up from an infamous suburb. The exception lies only in my eyes. In those eyes, there were dreams of conquering the world.

I called Selim Al Deen from the Saidabad Bus Terminal after getting off the bus. I said, 'Bro, I have arrived in Dhaka. I want to meet you for a while.' He remained silent for a few moments.

He remained silent for a few moments. With a serious tone, he said, 'Come to the theater in the afternoon; I will be there.' I replied, 'Okay, Boss. I'll call you when I get there. Suddenly, he just got upset and said, 'You scoundrel, why did you call me Boss?' Am I a mafia don? And if you call me Boss next time, you will be in trouble.’

I got scared. I don't understand where the problem lies in calling someone 'boss.' How will I understand? I don't understand civilization, don't understand sophistication, don't understand even decency. I don't know how to address whom.

However, feeling upset, I called poet Siddharth Sankar Dhar and told him about the incident of being scolded by Selim Al Deen for addressing him as 'boss.' Siddharth said, 'Why did you call him boss? Call him Sir, Sir.' He assured, 'No problem, you meet with Sir in the afternoon; everything will be fine.'

I could have been a distinct stupid. I could have been a criminal. I could have been a rural journalist. Anything. Even, I could have managed a living by receiving offerings from thieves and robbers.

I could have roamed from one local politician to another for a few hundred Taka, engaging in flattery, participating in political maneuvering. I could have engaged in corrupt practices. Even, I could have gone abroad to earn a living as a migrant worker in a Middle Eastern country.

No, I haven't become like that. Selim Al Deen didn't allow it. He could take on human responsibilities. He could place his hand on the heads of his disciples. He knew how to provide comfort in any difficult situation.

In this tiny life, I haven't come across many individuals like Selim Al Deen. I am still searching for a hand on my head – a mentor's hand, a hand of protection, a hand of blessings, a hand of solace, a hand of courage. I haven't found it yet.

People who can take over the responsibilities of humanity seem to be scarce now. Throughout my life, I have only found the touch of two hands on my head – one from a birth-giver, the other from a rebirth-giver. One is a father, the other a mentor.

Today is the death anniversary of Natyacharya Selim Al Deen. He always remains in my memories, but today is a particular day to remember him.

Remembering is my duty as I am not ungrateful. I express my devotion to you, Guru. I know, I have a place under your divine feet forever.

Author: Novelist

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