Every person crowding the stall at Baishakhi fair was trying to take a peek at the strikingly accurate portraits sketched by a young artist.
Nine-year-old Atri Dey was showcasing his skills at the stall last Friday during a week-long fair organised by Banglar Mukh in Altafunesa playground of Bogura town.
Without any institutional training, the gifted talent was sketching away almost identical replicas of photos provided to him on smartphones or photographs.
Atri also can draw cartoon characters as well as imaginary characters in poems or stories that his mother recites or reads out to him, said his mother Taposi Dey.
During conversation with this correspondent, Taposi said her seemingly healthy son, youngest among three siblings, was diagnosed with congenital Hydronephrosis -- a rare birth defect of the kidneys -- six years ago.
Due to deformity in the narrow tube called ureter, urine from his right kidney does not flow into the bladder, resulting in Hydronephrosis or swelling of the right kidney, she explained.
In 2012, Atri underwent two expensive surgeries at Fortis Hospital and Kidney Institute in India’s Kolkata. During the surgeries, Dr Sibaji Bashu implanted a new ureter to ensure flow of urine between his right kidney and the bladder.
The family is now struggling to raise an additional Tk 2 lakh fund for Atri’s next phase of treatment -- a follow up cosmetic surgery.
Taposi, a listed singer at Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television, runs a music school in the town and her husband makes a living by tutoring students at home.
With their meagre income, it has been extremely difficult for the couple to continue with Atri’s medical expenses as they also have to provide for their two daughters -- older one a freshman studying English at Jahangirnagar University and the younger one finished her SSC examinations this year.
The financial hardship has forced them to stop sending Atri to school this year, lamented Taposi.
While speaking with this correspondent, Amir Khasru Salim, president of Bogura chapter of Himu Paribahan, a sociocultural organisation, said the stall where Atri was sketching portraits was arranged by Himu Paribahan.
“After noticing his sketching skills, I felt the urge to expose his skills in the in the public sphere. So, we arranged a two-day-long solo exhibition for him in the Baishakhi Mela,” he said.