“Kaluu . . . . o amar kalu, tui kothai harali?Tor tension e tor khalu-r diabetes bere gelo re!” and dramatic sobs followed, as Mrs. Poppy (my dearest second aunt) narrated to us the fateful incident of a ‘historic day’ in their lives. After three days of relentless searching-not to mention the family’s official mourning state- Kalu was finally located, within the premise of a nearby army hospital, tied to a primitive banyan tree due to an anonymous reason – who knew why. That ‘Kalu was missing’ spread through mundane town air with constant velocity of a typical “talk of the town”!
In fact, because Mr. Milon (my beloved uncle) was well-known in the community, the news was brought to him by a neighboring observant man. According to the man, my uncle shouldn’t give up hope and rather try to look for poor Kalu among the few ‘vagabonds’ caught red-handed while wandering and chained in the hospital premise. Surge of hope flooded in strengthening my uncle’s -already diminishing- heartbeats! Without a second’s delay, he ordered Hridoy (the cousin who never stops growing) to equip for battle. ‘Find Kalu or don’t come home –this is War!’ he declared an unceremonious ultimatum.
Poor, poor cousin of mine had no choice but to carry out the order. Like an obedient “father’s pet”, dropping his masculine shoulders, he ventured out. He missed Kalu anyway! Poorer little boy! All those times he (Kalu) refused to leave the house and rather slept coiled outside Hridoy’s room –in the balcony with bloodthirsty mosquitoes. Not to mention the time when that silent brat was impish enough to PEE in his (Hridoy) bed. Grrrrrr. A part of Hridoy could feel the old grudge resurfacing, yet the other part won. Oh, he couldn’t think anymore! Kalu’s memories hurt a lot- could he be really lost?
However, before long, his joy knew no bounds when he spotted Kalu – homesick, emaciated and spent- among a bunch of bullying vagabonds. But why did they tie him up? –Hridoy wondered in the back of his mind. On the other hand, seeing Hridoy arrive, Kalu lost his nerve – restlessly throwing his limbs here and there, trying to be free- as he moaned. That wild of a brat literally cried; big clear teardrops ran streaming down his dark jaws! Giving a 500 bucks fine, Hridoy untied him finally and walked home together.
On the way to home, Kalu showed the limitless energy of a once “caged bird” , now set free. And he would have literally outpaced Hridoy if he wasn’t holding the lead. Seeing such ecstasy, however, he was thoughtful enough to let Kalu win the race to home that day. On that same moment, Mrs. Poppy was engulfed in paranoia and thinking out loud: “O kalu. . .tui amar hate makhano bhaat chaara kokhono khaiti na. . . majer johl, biscuit, daal eguluna chilo tor priyo khabar! *sobs * O amar lokhkhi kalu..” Right when Mr.and Mrs.Milon was thinking they had seen the end of Kalu, miraculously and with a heroic style, Kalu entered and ‘who knows why’ made a bleating sound.Vaaah…vaah.
KALU WAS HOME!! Yay! Mrs. Poppy rushed to hold him in her arms and Mr. Milon’s high blood sugar level had an automatic decline. But Kalu ,reaching home safe and sound, decided it was time to poop! So he pooped and pooped continuously, day and night, just to prove he contracted diarrhoea. Naughty Kalu gave my aunt one hell of a time, yet we still hear her deep mellow voice saying : “ Kuhu ( my sis-in-law) tomar kolar chalta rekhe dio to, kalur jonno.Amar lokhkhi kalu…”
And then my mom says, sounding very pleased for Kalu sounds like a great kid : “Kalu kothai?”
Aunt replies, pride in her voice : “Ekhoni dekhte parbe oke, baire gacher shathe badha ache.Daklei chole ashe.Kaluu….”
“Vaaaaah ..vaaah” the great Kalu greets as he appears before the guests (us).
Scowling indescribably , my mom stares –as if the sky had suddenly collapsed on her head- and whines gibberishly , “ Kalu. . . CHAGOOOOOL???!!!”
And the rest of us burst into wild hilarity .We LOL while Kalu lives happily ever after! In my head, someone happily whispers , “ Really Kalu you’re one in a million!”