I was born and brought up in Sirajganj. During my early years, I had to shift schools many times, as we were regularly on the move due to my father’s government job. I studied at a school in Benapole from class seven to nine, when my father was posted as a customs superintendent at the land port. Later my father was transferred to Sirajganj.
During that time, I got admitted to Sirajganj Hoimobala School, and later Gyandayini High School, from where I completed my SSC exams. I remember many friends from Hoimobala, including Bacchu, Duke, Dollar, Rubel, Taposh. It was a co-ed school, and I had Shirin and Sheuly as friends. We had a senior named Tuku, who I used to call Tuku’di.
I have many fond memories of my school days. When I was in Sirajganj, I used to walk to school with my sisters. We had great fun during those walks. There was a footpath in front of our school, where I once fell and broke my writing slate, and burst out crying.
Chanachur and olive pickles were sold near our school. The potato chops were for 50 paisa a piece which only some kids could afford. My friends and I could afford jut chanachur and pickles.
I was very mischievous in my school days, and often skipped classes to go near the rail tracks and watch in awe as trains rushed by. Sometimes we went to the Jamuna banks, while at other times we visited cinema halls. Our teachers often managed to catch us in the act and wanted to punish us. But since my elder siblings were in the same school, they spoke out in our favour to spare us a beating.
Once, there was jatrapala in the Sirajganj town. Anwar Hossain, Anwara and a large cast from Dhaka came to stage “Nawab Sirajuddoula”. The presence of such important artistes caused ticket prices to soar. The cheapest ticket, for a seat on the floor, cost twenty taka. I convinced my father to
give me the twenty taka and enjoyed the play from the floor.
Those were the days…