Carry on my "Wayward Son"
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I thought I'd never ever quote a song, even a favorite of mine, in the title of a photograph. But the story behind this photograph is so befitting to the title of the rock classic by Kansas [ lyrics | listen online ] that I had to make an exception.Saidul (or Chai-dul/ছাইদুল as he calls himself) was hanging on the bow of his dad's small fishing trawler as it sat, idly, on the shores of the Bay of Bengal at Kuakata. I crept up silently, hoping for some acoustical cover from the raging sea just meters from our position so that I can capture his daredevil feats in all their candid glory. However, this little fella did have his ear lobes damaged by hours of traffic and sound pollution like us, the farm animals. The tiniest crack of the twiglet made him take notice and I had to press my shutter :(
After some casual conversation, we soon became...err..."friends"(?), one out of pure curiosity and another to secure a good story, both of us had our own purposes to advocate :)
I asked him, "Boy, which class are you in? Do you go to school often? Do you *like going there?"
His reply stunned me. Although he did confirm that his family had been trying to send him to school, he mentioned that the effort was somewhat "forced". This was a bit of surprise as in a developing/underdeveloped nation like Bangladesh few dare to skip the academics these days, even in the deepest of the rustic neighborhoods unemployment runs rampant and a good education is vital for securing a future.
So I asked him again, " Why " ? "Don't you like going to school? What do you like then?".
He replied in one word the "Sea".
Saidul wants to become a sailor/fisherman like his dad. He wants to brave the waves, the winds and the harsh realities of the deep waters where no one can hear you scream (*yes, no one can hear you scream in space too, but only Caucasians dream of becoming Astronauts). Institutional education is too restricting for him, he doesn't want to spend pensive time in the pages of the books that say that the sea is "Blue" or there are "fishes aplenty in the Bay of Bengal".
I applauded his opinions. Besides our brains, our bureaucrats and our politicians, we needed soon-to-be-steady seahands like him. Otherwise, how will bearded poets and novelists write page long memoirs idolizing his bravery?
Tsk tsk, the sad thing is his foolish dreams would disappear soon. Saidul's romanticism perversely reminded me of "Moby Dick", only in this case he was not after a menacing sperm whale, it was his own elusive dreams.
Brace yourself kiddo. The transformation in the future is going to be a painful one.
Also by Naser Imran Hossain
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