As the month of February reaches our doorstep, we get ready to embark upon the wonderful journey of Amar Ekushey Grantha Mela— bringing to us not only the sweet smell of freshly printed pages but also filling our hearts with the wonder that is literature. Bangladesh has a dramatic history when it comes to its language and is also the only country in the world who celebrates the roots of its mother tongue through a month long book festival. This year will mark the 45th year of Boi Mela — and to honor the occasion, Star Weekend, for the entire month, will pay tribute to some of our countries own fabled characters-- personalities who not only gave us unconditional joy when we read about them but also show us some unorthodox ways to celebrate life.
The personality in discussion this week came to existence through prominent writer Humayun Ahmed's short story 'Shada Gari'. The story was about a man who rode around in his father's white car searching for people who looked happy. Later, this personality wowed us with his presence in more books such as Daruchini Dip, Rupali Dip, Megher Chaya and others. People who grew up reading Humayun's wonderful works of literature know this fictional character as the beloved Shubhro.
Shubhro was Humayun Ahmed's attempt at writing about the purest human being—the ultimate boy next door. Though Shubhro was not a cult character much like Humayun's other famous creations such as Himu or Misir Ali— he had his own share of readers and fans. Shubhro was the go-to character when readers needed to be at peace. When one thinks of Shubhro, one thinks of him as the friend we go to when all else fails. Much like in the book Ei Shubhro Ei—with using just the simplest words, he can portray life as the grand theatrical show it is.
Shubhro's back-story differs from book to book. In some, Shubhro is the almost blind son of Iajuddin and Rehana, while in others he is the son of a prostitute adopted by Motahar Shaheb and Jahanara. Whatever his back-story may be, the core of Shubhro's character has always remained the same – a flawless personality who can do no wrong.
Shubhro's back-story differs from book to book. In some, Shubhro is the almost blind son of Iajuddin and Rehana, while in others he is the son of a prostitute adopted by Motahar Shaheb and Jahanara. Whatever his back-story may be, the core of Shubhro's character has always remained the same – a flawless personality who can do no wrong. In Humayun's books, Shubhro is portrayed as somewhat of a prince. In one of the books, one of his friends describes him with the words, 'His eyes are as big as his heart.”
Although Shubhro might seem to be the perfect human being, readers don't see him with any romantic interest throughout his tales—though in a lot of portrayals we see female characters falling head over heels for him. Interestingly, most times, we see him pushing these women away in the gentlest manner. The reason for this can be up for many interpretations— maybe because of his insecurity of glaucoma or maybe his distant nature to be the observer rather than the protagonist. In most of Humayun's writings, we don't see Shubhro as the knight in shining amour but as the person who brings everything together through his own emotional sacrifice. The only person Shubhro has a real connection with is his mother— giving us a glimpse of an ideal mother-son relationship.
Though Shubhro's creator died in 2012, Shubhro tends to live on through the pages and hearts of the readers. In Bangla literature, Shubhro will forever be our ideal human being, the character with heavy glasses and a soft heart, who shows us perfection in humanity.