Sankofa | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 14, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 14, 2017


Nadia lived some 3000 miles away from home. The mountains and oceans were the obstacles. Though she conversed with her mum a lot over the phone, it didn't serve the inexplicable pleasure of lacing her hands around her back and clutching her in a tight hug. She wasn't supposed to come back home this week, but she had to since her mum had a cardiac arrest, and she succumbed to it.

The cavalry of clouds covered the moon that night, and the neighborhood smelled of wet grass since it was raining. Nadia was settled in her bed beside the window under a thick blanket. The raindrops were trickling down the window pane on which the distant city lights flickered, and it seemed like drops of yellow lights sliding down and ramming into the base wooden framework. Like the droplets, salty tears trickled down her cheeks as her eyes couldn't hold them back for long. Her vision was blurred.

 As she ran a hand over her eyes, her gaze shifted at the acrylic painting her mum had spun out of some abandoned colors. The background was peanut butter brown, and the figure of a crimson bird dominated the frame. The painting flew her back to a sunny holiday when her mum had decided to use the isolated colors and do justice to their quality. Her fingers were smeared in brown and crimson, and they ran over the empty canvas as if they were ice skaters skating on a snow filled ground after so long.

“Why is the bird fetching an egg from its back, mum?” Nadia questioned as her mum hung the finished painting on the wall opposite to Nadia's bed.

“Do you know what this bird is called?” Mum asked Nadia instead of replying.

“No, I don't,” Nadia shrugged.

“It's called a Sankofa. The egg you see is an important lesson that it learned from the past. So it's fetching it from its back to bring it into the present in order to move on with progress,” Mum finally answered Nadia's question.

The 8 year old scene faded away like dust jiving against the wind, and Nadia's hands were caressing the photo-as if they wanted to melt in the color and bath themselves with the acrylic smell. The 8 year old painting held no significance to her until that night. As the nippy mosaic floor sent chilling sensation through her feet to every nerve of her body, she closed her eyes. In her mind, she grew a beak and used it to fetch a golden egg from her past. Inside the egg were all the things her mother had taught her. She was determined to bring it into the present and fly with her wings fluttering. 

The colors witnessed how she and the painting held a striking resemblance.


The writer is a grade 11 student of Birshreshtha Noor Mohammad Public College.

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