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Short Story

Cost of a dream

Published : Saturday, 13 January, 2018 at 12:00 AM Count : 121
Towhid Islam Khan

Baba Noyon, this time you have to get a chance in a public university. Already you have wasted one year of your life. If you were serious enough, you could have had a chance last year. Your father has a big dream; he believes that one day you will be an officer and make us proud. Since your father's retirement, he is being physically weak day by day. We cannot bear your cost anymore. After you get a degree from any public university, you will never have to look back and you will also be able to support us. Baba Noyon…
   These words are constant hearing to Noyon after he has returned from village to a small rented room at the last corner of a narrow road in an old area of Dhaka. Every time he remembers these unforgettable verses, he can imagine his mother's face and tears in her eyes about to touch the soil of the mother earth.
He had heard in his childhood that his mother was the prettiest girl in the village. Laughter, brightness, and wit were the words synonymous with her character. Now, all seems like myth to Noyon. His mother has lost her bright tone, both of skin and of brain. Her eyes have lost the glow or the power to convince, hair has fallen and become gray; and some dark circles has set their permanent position around her two brown eyes.
Noyon, whose full name-Niazuddin Mohammad Noyon, was the only son of his parents. He had shown brilliance in his Matriculation and Intermediate examinations, but somehow the almighty God was not so generous to him later on and he had to face the cruel side of irreversible fate. He came to the city with a big heart-lots of new thoughts and dreams lulled him every now and then. He had visited the city whenever he had time. What most fascinated him was the public library; he had never seen such a big library with tons of books.
With such fancy mood, he started to sit for the admission test in the renowned universities, one after another. He wasn't much worried about the results, rather he was worried to the thought that what would happen if he gets chance in every university. It was impossible for him to choose one among many universities. If it was possible, then he would have had admitted in all the universities.
The Mastermind, who knows beyond the limits of homo sapience, had surprised Noyon when the results of the admission test started to come out. Noyon began to awake from sleep which brought him lucid dreams. What most surprised him was the fact that his name wasn't written even in the waiting list of any university. Reality stroke him so hard that he was unable to think, dream, concentrate on anything, and study for almost three months.
Since man is blessed with enormous power to forget things and adapt to any situation, Noyon was able to cope up with life and soon he began to weave a new dream.  This time he was very careful before spending a minute; he wanted to spend every second of his life on study. It seemed like he was married to book, not one, but many. He challenged fate like Oedipus and prepared for the battle to defeat its cruel grasp. Meanwhile, he never was hesitated to sacrifice human needs like food, sleep, and bath.   
Though his preparation was great and he did everything in his power, the tests were not satisfactory in most of the cases which he could guess by himself without anyone's assistance. Still, he hadn't lost heart and kept reading for the final battle-the last admission test of the public university, for that year, and for him the very last time. This was his only hope and he knew that he won't lose this time.
At about 11:30pm. Noyon has stopped reading because of headache and the last words of his mother which are unstoppably repeated inside his head. He is trying to forget everything and quickly revise the important pages, but neither can he forget those words, nor can he concentrate on study. So, he has decided to take a walk and drink tea outside the place where he lives. He steps slowly on the stairs which is uneven and not very comfortable to walk on. When he comes on the road, he finds it quiet, dark, and slightly wet because of the rain in the evening. He keeps walking for few minutes on the narrow streets. Then he goes to a tea stall which is known as 'Moti Miya Cha Ghor'.
Moti Miya is a very generous person who treats his customers' with a big laughter. Usually his tea stall is famous for the local boys who can smoke cigars and hang out within a group sitting hour after hour. It remains crowded during the evening. Some boys don't leave even after 1 a.m. Today this place is less crowded from the evening; there are hardly any boys in the back side of the tea stall. In the evening, there was few, but now it's almost empty. Perhaps the local boys has gone to sleep early today since the rain has cooled the weather; or perhaps they are involved with the murder that took place around 8 p.m. in this area which Noyon is unaware of.  
   Noyon drinks his third cup of tea with little sugar; after each cup, he takes a little break. Moti Miya is busy with calculating the whole day's trading. A big blue police van has stopped in front of the tea stall. It has appeared so quietly that Moti or Noyon hasn't heard the sound few seconds before. There are four policemen in the back of the van and one officer beside the driver in the front. Before Noyon could understand anything, those four in the back has caught him the way as if they have found the real murderer. They are pulling him like the way people pull the skin of a chicken to separate it from its body after its head is separated from the throat. Noyon bursts into tears and is screaming like a wolf. He is crying and saying senselessly, "Sir, sir, what have I done? Let me go sir…I have an exam tomorrow morning. Please sir, let me go…I have to attend it. This is my only hope sir. Please sir, please, let me go…"
One of the policemen is pushing him so hard and another is biting his lips in anger and saying, "Bastard, you don't know what you have done, huh! We will tell you that in the court…you have shot the commissioner twice right on his head and you don't know that. We will make you remember everything." These last few words have made Noyon entirely dumb, and he has lost his energy to utter a word. Already they have pulled Noyon inside the van and headed towards the station.
At that moment, it wasn't necessary to tell Noyon that he is in a big trouble and he has no one in the city to speak for him. He wasn't much bothered about that. After all, he wasn't worried about anything at all except the fact that he remembered a face with two brown eyes, saying-Baba Noyon…

The writer is a student of Department of English, East West University

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