Confession of a hair-brush!
I must confess and solemnly stand witness to the fact that I was not born through a natural process of birth, but was made to exist like millions of non-living objects in this world. The Lord of the Universe did not infuse in me the spirit of life to make me lively with a pulsating heart. I came into existence from cheap plastic mould with a given round shape with many sprouting teeth standing symmetrically on my base.
French philosopher Rene Descartes once pronounced "Cogito ergo sum (I think, therefore, I am)." Paradoxically, without being imbued with thinking or reasoning power, I exist materialistically by the efforts of others who made me to my shape. Since I am a non-living object, I don't need any teeth or jaws of Heidelberg man for proper mastication of food with, to contain my hunger which is visibly absent in me. My teeth though do not come to any direct use to me, but they are designed to play a role to make humans look composed and tidy.
Do you now guess who I am? I am none other than a plastic hair-brush apparently of much insignificant value to be a subject of any discourse or research. With tender touch I caress the unkempt human hairs to look beautiful and in right order. I don't know the genealogical root of my existence in the moving civilized world. Perhaps a man of profound ingenuity, whose ancestors once lived in cave with a bunch of long scruffy and ugly hair, invented me.
Studies suggest that it took long enduring time to take out the ancestors of modern men from the dark caves to the light of civilization. A bunch of long haphazard hairs and beards of humans were gradually shortened with the wind of changes and were made in order with my ancestor's untiring endeavour of gently sliding on human head what you call it combing or brushing round and round in a day and night.
I accept those sporting a skin-head to their convenience or conviction. I am made of plastic with a given shape but my other fellow compatriot combs or hair-brushes are made in different shapes and moulds carrying different price-tag and value. I am the least expensive one to serve the purpose of less expensive and least fashionable men.
Though insignificant in terms of price, my importance in value consideration is no less. I do the same work as other expensive ones do, but I am mostly available for purchase on street-vendors' trolley and not in posh shopping malls. Fashionable ladies seldom use me, but surely men having already ran out of fuel of youth and who are left with some thin grey hairs drifting on their scalp use me to make them look modestly modern.
Knowing fully well that legendary figure Sampson in baldness walking into the twilight of life will no more attract Delilah and a grandfather Romeo with only a few thin grey hair hideously hanging in the pate in the inevitable journey of ageing will least fascinate and charm the turned grandmother Juliet of once Shakespearian spinster; some old Romeos' posing to have still stayed young indulge in making futile exercise to keep them wafting in delight with a few left over grey hairs in order, with my gentle caring.
Caught with the fever of Narcissuses syndrome, the ageing Romeos often stand on their trembling feet in front of a mirror to view their own disgusting images of sagging skin from different angles and gently brush their pate with my (hair-brush) tender touch. I don't even feel that I am sliding my teeth through the hair in a lost forest and instead rather ploughing vainly an arid land without vegetation in the heads of ageing men. With the gentle teeth having lost their sharpness and agility after a prolong use, I have served one Mohabbat Jaan B-Yakub (MJB) long twelve years who loved and treated me as indispensible object of his daily necessities.
Having been totally dilapidated and losing quite a good number of teeth to the cause of my unrelenting catering to the service of MJB, I am transformed into an state of so hideously deformed, good for taking a refuge into the trash-hold once for all. But my incapacity to serve the purpose any more could not shake the foundation of my deep bonding with MJB by an inch who perhaps saw in me the imaginary spirit of living being of tender feelings which I am far from being, for the obvious reason. Without throwing me into the trash-bin MJB preserved my remaining in his mini museum of all such insignificant things like me for his posterity to see and ponder over in future how a humanly relation could be developed with a non-living object of least significance.
I (hair-brush) recall, at this point, a reputed Bengali literary figure Subodh Gosh's classic short-story 'Ajantrik' (non-mechanical) which portrays an episode wherein the principal character of the story Bimal--- the owner and driver of a junk Ford motor taxi with a given loving name Jagaddal developed a tender relation with the vehicle of purely mechanical nature with all human emotions. The story narrates how a human being with humanely feelings and emotions aptly develop an emotional bonding with a life-less object of mechanical nature and share all the pains of distress at time the vehicle gets in trouble with losing mobility in the busy traffic.
Bimal left no stones unturned to refurbish and overhaul the vehicle in order, with everything he had, to keep it running in the street and attract passengers. In the competition with other new model Taxi Jeep, Bimal's Jagaddal loses the ground and languishes in the taxi stand without passengers. In one occasion, Bimal's fellow cab driver Piyara Singh with a new model Taxi, taunted Bimal and said "Why do you still give more efforts after it Bimal Babu?
Now you send your boori (old lady) into pension. With fury and rage, Bimal quickly retorted "yes, then I keep a new model voluptuous prostitute (new cab) like that of yours to entice the passengers! At the passage of time, having naturally died down, Jagaddal's carcass took refuge in the garage. In brief, the story ended with a tragic episode when a Marwari trader along with mechanics from the nearby junk-yard came to buy the carcass of Jagaddal and dismantle the parts of the vehicle by the loud striking sound of the giant hammer to total disarray and frustration of Bimal.
Out of deep anguish and grief, Bimal drank two bottles of Mohua (alcohol) and fell half-asleep during the exercise of dismantling the parts and morbidly saw in his imagination a harrowing shadow of digging a grave for his age-old trusted friend Jagaddal with the frightening sound of pick-shovels breaking the silence of retreating hour of night before the break of dawn.
Emotional attachments with small and insignificant non-living objects like me (hair-brush) are deeply ingrained in the characters of all those humans of mind whirling in the world of imagination who can well differentiate between price and value of things, while cynics cannot and fail to comprehend the truth. Oscar Wilde said "a cynic is one who knows the price of everything and value of nothing."
Amid revealing this story of my confession I (hair-brush) fall in deep lingering slumber under the cocoon of comfort of the niche at MJB's house to see in my sweet dreams how my caring and ageing friend MJB still vainly struggles with his lost forest with the help of my successor---a new hair-brush of youthful charm and beauty to keep a few wafting thin hairs in order, before they are also blown away with the wind of changes.
The Writer is a former Civil Servant