The sword is what we use in the kitchen. My mum is still uncomfortable with a hand held knife and I rarely brave using this thing. I remember my mum hiding this when my brothers used to fight.. it’s a weird, beautiful sometimes scary world…
This story risks the interpretation of the questioning what is civilised. But, once you gather the story behind these fights which would make my entire body simultaneously freeze and shake, it would make more than a little sense. I remember running to the kitchen, closing the door and holding it shut with my back praying the fight wouldn’t get to this part of the house. Hearing the sounds and wishing that I could block them out.
I looked down at the new top I was wearing; it was navy blue, finely ribbed and polo necked. I must have been about 7 or 8 years old and thinking “if I hadn’t asked for this top this wouldn’t be happening”. I must have struggled for that new item of clothing and then in my childish naivety blamed myself. I blamed my own body for needing clothes. Because as a child you don’t have the answers. You don’t know why people get angry and fight. I don’t remember where my mother was..
I look at the “da” and wonder how much damage it can do. In the context of 1971, this was one of the weapons we had in the face of the technologically advanced West Pakistani military. For years before the War, West Pakistani undercover military agents had arrived in Bengal to map out and familiarise themselves with the region, under the guise of being peaceful religious people. For years before the war, my grandfather housed and fed them out of charity in the village mosque, unaware of what was to come.