1. Mocking at Locking-down!
Influential people and poseurs, in our country, place boards inscribed with professional tags like ‘PRESS’, ‘DOCTOR’, ‘ADVOCATE’, etc. behind the windshield of their cars. They do this with calculated designs in mind. Displaying their real or assumed professional identity, they can avoid unnecessary police interrogation in the street or can enjoy the prerogative of using untrodden and prohibited tracks to avoid traffic jams.
Mr. Nasir was going to the terminal point of the city, the airport. He had only one hour at hand. Within this time it was virtually impossible to sail through the vast ocean of traffic and swarming crowd in Agrabad Commercial Area and Chattogram Export Processing Zone.
He brain-stormed and contemplated. After surveying the cartography of his problem-solving cognitive domains, this pandemic-day Buddha jumped out of his sofa with a loud, near-20K dB sound, “Eureka, Eureka!”
His wife, consumed with ‘I don’t have any faith in my hubby’s conjugal fidelity’-attitude, meteor-like appeared before him from the kitchen wielding her lethal weapon, khunti.
“Which Rekha are you talking about so loudly in this holy times of Ramadan, you shameless old man?”
“It’s not any blossomed beauty or tinsel-town Rekha, my intelligent Home Minister. I said, ‘Eureka’ meaning ‘I’ve got it’. I’m celebrating my meditation-produced solution to the heavyweight problem of going to the airport on time.”
“Thank God, you aren’t philandering then”, with these words, the relieved better-half assumed her full-queenship in the kitchen.
The king prepared a paper-board and bidding adieu to the queen, boarded the car. The driver, confused and skeptical, gave his unsolicited verdict that they wouldn’t be able to make it to the airport in time. The de-stressed Mr. Nasir just nonchalantly commanded his driver to place the board behind the windshield ala mode the VIPs and drive. The driver complied.
At a busy intersection, an arrogant traffic police aggressively approached the car but a glimpse of the inscription melted down his anger and he quickly made way for them. Mr. Nasir’s triumphal march met another opposition within the next five minutes – at Agrabad area, a troop of patrol police halted the car and asked why they were driving during this lockdown times. Mr. Nasir, wearing a grave but gloomy look, drew their attention to the board non-verbally. The enigmatic writing on the board almost froze the cops! With unbelievable haste and apparent respect, they let him go. At EPZ area, other vehicles, made way for Mr. Nasir’s car as if they had seen a ghost car!
They kept receiving this preferential and reverential treatment at every point and consequently reached the destination much ahead of the scheduled time.
Amazed and pleased, the driver asked, “Which magic words have you written on the paper, sir?”
“You see, if you have substance inside your head, you can even manage to run on water”, said Mr. Nasir gloatingly.
“I can’t disagree with you, sir. But what are the miracle-words?”, the driver impatiently tried to penetrate the secret success-code of his boss.
Smugly, Mr. Nasir revealed, “Ex-Covid patient driving a new one home.”
2. Missing You!
Mr. Jewel is a widely recognized henpecked husband. Sultana, his ruling better-half, has proved how onomastically prescient her parents were – she ruthlessly rules over her lone subject. Not that the ruled, persecuted and wretched husband doesn’t have any grudge against this reverse-order gender dominance but Sultana’s sovereign presence magically mutes all his sweet dreams of revolt.
Mr. Jewel’s nuptial jewel is in the habit of paying regular visits to her parents’ residence. During these visits, she holds tete-a-tete with her chief advisor, her mother. After each summit, Sultana comes back better equipped with newer and harsher techniques to transform Mr. Jewel into a more seasoned uxorious husband.
The helpless man, reduced almost to the status of a domestic pet, naturally enjoys these brief spells to the fullest. One day, as part of her august routine visit, Sultana went to her parent’s. But unfortunately, she got trapped there because of the suddenly enforced country-wide lockdown. In the absence of the queen, Mr. Jewel who was now enjoying compulsory Covid holidays, took immense pleasure in fantasizing himself as the king. Basking in the glory of his new-found freedom, the worse-half of the lady hung a picture of his better-half on the wall. No, this was not a post-death memorial photograph to commemorate the beloved wife.
The silenced and aggrieved conjugal domestic animal patiently accumulated some stone chips from here and there. Now, he started to throw the stones, one after another, at her majesty’s photo. Diligently, he kept aiming and pelting stones at the picture but unfortunately the timid husband kept missing the target. Yet the persevering man continued to harvest cathartic pleasure by his litho-missiles. In the midst of his Robert Brucian pursuit, he received a Keatsian ‘forlorn’- type call from his wife.
“What are you doing, my sweet sugar man”, Sultana unusually asked in a honeyed voice. The Covid-generated, lockdown-induced separation, it seemed, had triggered some palpable emotions in her.
“Missing you repeatedly and very miserably, darling”, the phlegmatic husband replied in a faked tone!
3. The Palmist’s Prophecy!
Once, not long ago, a chiromancer, after deciphering the complex web of lines crisscrossing the landscape of my palm, predicted –
“A time will soon come in your life when you won’t need to toil anymore – no commuting, no work, no office. You’ll just regally cross your legs, relax at home, surf Facebook, sit akimbo for yoga, relish your food, and sleep at your sweet will.”
What a charismatic Cheiro or Nostradamus I have found in the man! In the wake of the august advent of the Microbial Marco Polo, Covid-19, the government have imposed a countrywide lockdown and the promised times have befallen me so soon!