The Interview | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, October 30, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, October 30, 2009


The Interview

The interview began as soon as
I was left alone in that tiny room,
too ordinary to notice anything
except my white robe and those two bodies.

It was sunset, or that's what I thought.
The first question was easy: who's your lord?
asked they in strong voices, terrifying.
Who is my lord? Did someone create me,
or was I self-created? I searched earth
and heaven, scanned my whole life. But a creator?
How come was I earlier, and am now?
I was left a blank page. Time was short,
they echoed. I could not, nothing.
They shared a quick glance, and instantly
glued to the next: it wasn't difficult.
I had to name the path I followed.
There were so many, I forgot which one
I took, or any. Buddhism, Hinduism,
Christianity, Islam, Judaism,
Secularism, War, what? Again
I concentrated on my whole life.
It was a desert, or a market place.
Time was running out, they echoed.
But what belief? I could not answer.

They shared another quick glance, thought of my
performance, and asked the last question.
There was a man in the room, I saw.
I was supposed to recognize him.
But how can you name one whom you have
never seen in your life, never heard of,
never thought of, not even in your dream,
or nightmare? My memory was alive.
Adam, Cain, Nimrod, Pharaoh, Nero,
George, Stalin, Hitler, Bush, or I?
Your time is over, they announced.
Now it is our time. And they were gone.
Wait! I cry. Is it a miracle, then?
I remember everything now. They winch.
I have the answers. Please, let me explain.
Money. Money was my lord, my creator.
Fame. Fame was my path, my belief.
Power. I know. I was his worshipper.
They depart. Blind, deaf, armed, two more come.
Don't you hear? Can't you see? I scream. Futile.

Shahidul Islam Chowdhury is assistant professor, department of English Language and Literature, Premier University, Chittagong.

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