The conflict of interests,he says to his mind.

They never knew that it only takes a smile to crush down the storm that rages

inside.Everyday isn’t the same and it wouldn’t be.He keeps asking

himself,what would happen today?

Same as ever.Routine.

Your routine is determined.Sort of a straight line.And there is never a hinge on a straight line.
Couldn’t I break it down?Bring on some changes?

Like what?

Nothing outside the routine?

No.

Why not?

Fly a kite perhaps?

Fly a kite!Who on these days would fly a kite?And who even makes a kite anymore?
There are people.They do.You just didn’t notice.Ever noticed the slum at the back of your mess?There are a number of kite makers there.They sell around 20-30 kites a day to the kids there.In a month.they earn one-thirtieth of what you make a month
You can’t possibly sell that many kites a day!

You can.There are way more people in this world than you see.Way more than you know.Way more than you would believe. And the world goes on?

Yeah.The world goes on.Shouldn’t we be going to your office?No time for petty monologue.

2.

To the Soliloquies

He calls out for an empty rickshaw.And steps on the cigarette butt.Getting on the rickshaw,he asks the rickshaw puller to take the road round the back of his building.He sees a number of kites above the sky of the slum.Also some unmasked laughter and excitement.
Reaching office,he gets on the lift.The view that opens to the city is simply heart rendering.So much vastness.I never realized,he says to himself. How would you?So much invested in the rat race! What rat race?I make a living here!
Is that really?

Is it not?

Remember Rhea?

What about her?

You silly,you would never acknowledge it!The love you had for her!

It wasn’t love.Sort of a momentary infatuation.I fancied her,she fancied someone else,our choices never converged.As it is in most cases.Why are you hammering me down for this?
Remember Kintsugi?The Japanese concept of healing which you used to talk with your friends when they were sad or depressed? Kintsugi is related with matters,not person.
You have forgotten yourself.You used to talk about the philosophy underlying it.That to repair a soul,one must hold on to something precious.Similar to Kintsugi.Where you repair broken potteries with dusted gold lacquer. Everything changes.We have to adapt.

You haven’t adapt.You have given in.For a person who used to inspire others,this is really worse.Way too worse.

To the Soliloquies

I don’t want to talk about it.I have work to do.

3

The lift opens and he steps into the office.

Going through the documents,modifying them,rechecking them and stapling

lunch time,he heads to the common space which the office calls ‘a cafeteria’.A

fancy name for a place so vague,so unclean.He takes out his phone and

them for further checks,he does the same for a dozens of similar dossiers.At

makes a call to home.

Maa!How are you?

Fine.Tui kemon achish baba?Onekdin toh dekhi na!Ashbi kobe?

Ashbo maa.Chuti pelei ashbo.

Baba re!Tore chara barita khali khali lage!

Ashbo maa.Chinta koro na.Accha rakhi ekhon,kaj ase.

Valo thakish,baba.

(How are you son?I haven’t seen you for many days!When will you come? I will come Maa.As soon as I can manage a leave. The home feels empty without you,dear.
Don’t worry,I will come.I will hang now,I’ve got works to do.

Stay fine,dear.)

He has already lost the definition of home.They say,home is where the root is.The people he had to leave behind for the living is too hard to keep off the mind.Maybe,the western culture of learning to stand on your own feet at teenage is a good thing.You don’t get to feel too bad for your family.

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That’s a wrong idea.None is immune from love of their closed ones.Love has nothing to do with geography.
Don’t teach me.You are just a part inside my head!

But no less,remember that!And whatever is inside your head is what you have known this long,seen this long.And you have grown contempt too.Silly us,how much we have changed!
I need to go home this Eid.I haven’t seen baba,maa,apu,bubu over a long time.Do you think I will get a leave this time?
You might.The boss is in a good mood.He got a pay raise he asked for.The board of Directors likes him very much.
Lucky him.I am going to talk to him today.

He walks brusquely towards the office of MD.

4

To the Soliloquies

May I come in,sir?

Yes,come in.How are you?

Fine,sir.And congratulations,sir.

Oh,thank you!Is there anything you would like to say?

Sir,I want a week’s leave for Eid.I haven’t been home for last two years. I can grant a five days leave.Would that do?
My home is quite far,sir.It takes around sixteen hours just to reach home.A week would be more helpful,sir.
Okay,I’ll see what I can do.Meet me just before leaving.And another thing. Yes,sir?
Take care of yourself.

I will,sir.

The rest of the day passes over anticipation.Just before leaving the office,he meets his boss.
Sir,the thing about my leave?

5

To the Soliloquies

You will be doing Eid with your family!Have a nice Eid.Just remember to add your application of leave to the office email. Thank you,sir.Thank you very much.
Enjoy your Eid.And as I said before,do take care of yourself.

I will,sir.

I will,sir.

Out of the office,he finds it already dusk.The shadowy city seems more surreal than ever.He gets on a rickshaw and heads to his mess.In front of his mess,he sees a new painting on the wall opposite.He knew the painting.’Love Is In The Bin’ by Banksy.Love is in the bin?
Why do I find everything so intriguing today?

He walks back to his cubicle.And starts to arrange his things.Finally,I’ll be at home soon.A smile plays through his whole face.
People say he blabbers to himself most of the times.The kid’s bright anyway.And that matters more,thinks the boss.He keeps on watching him from the door of his office.He calls him out again.
Give my regards to your parents.Have a safe journey home.

Back in the college days,he kept tabs on contemporary art and related things.The students these days!They have made the whole city their canvas.There were always some people.But we could never do so.We never felt like stepping out of the campus and do something different.Making a difference used to be a sort of taboo.We were to study,make a living and provide for a family.Anything outside that would hurt our chances at these goals.But sometimes luck favored in ways unprecedented.There was a Mohin,who came from not so well off family.He is now head of a

6

To the Soliloquies

company.There is that other side of coin too.Shahin couldn’t manage to break the circle.He has to look after his family with his meager income from the small shop that he owns.He also remembers Tuhin.His words mostly,not his face though.
One day,people from Ministry of Health came to make them aware about STDs,cancer and the necessary remedies.Tuhin gave a quick look at the leaflets and threw them away.It is good thing,I had said.They have done good job about these diseases.Why did you throw it away?
Do you know that diseases have class?Similar to us.In most cases,you will see the diseases attacking the people of the same class.I won’t have cancer.They are for the rich people.I will have something like typhoid,diarrhea. Where is Tuhin these days?,he wonders.

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Everyday when he goes to bed,he thinks about home.Every time he goes back home,he feels disoriented.And slightly helpless too.Just like his father.Whenever his father used to come back,he didn’t know what to do with this much joy and pleasure.And when it was time for him to leave,he would ask that why he had to go back?He smiled and ruffled my hair. I do this for you all,dear.
But we miss you badly.

You will know,son.When you grow up,you will know.

Yes,I will grow up and then I will go with you.So,you won’t be alone.

To the Soliloquies

borrowed time.This Eid,I will buy him a punjabi.He loves them a lot.And a saree for maa.I’ll also call up apu,bubu to come over.One fine family reunion it would be.
Boarding the bus next morning,he looks out through the window.The route is ever same.Only the landscapes have changed.The high rise buildings are creating their arrogant mark on the bluish sky.After about ten hour,he reaches a river.Sagorika.The river which he loved most. In its early days,it was his one dream place.In childhood,he used to come here running away from school.At teens,the story changed slightly.Rhea and he would talk about things around here.Their other friends would also join them.The river gives the feel of home.His home was still quite far.But it was the only river for miles around. His mother gave a loud cry seeing him.The home,he looks around.His father greets him.And tells him his sisters would arrive shortly.He gets fresh and starts to talk with his parents.They can barely hide their emotions.And suddenly his mother tells him,something has fallen into her eyes.And that it is itchy and hurriedly headed towards the kitchen. Nobody wants to show their tears.They are precious.

He would laugh hearing his son.

How naive I was!,he thought.Now we have just swapped places.He waits and I visit.Life betrayed and we don’t even have the time we wanted.Only some

7

I know.See,father is feeling a bit restless?He can’t make up excuse because maa has already used up that one!
I need to wash my face,son.I’m coming in one minute,son.

His father hurriedly heads toward the washroom.

It feels too good back at home.

It always does,his mind chimes in.The places and persons close to our heart always have magical effect on us.

8

To the Soliloquies

His sisters are too bad at concealing their tears.They starts blabbering and asks about him.How he had been doing?What he has been doing lately? I’m fine.What had you been both doing?They start talking at the same time.And at a moment,they started arguing.It feels good to see them arguing.I haven’t seen them arguing many days.
This too always makes a place in your heart.You know,the little small things about your loved ones.When you were young,you used to pick up quarrels with your siblings intentionally.But see now?You don’t care when you grow up.You don’t want your dear ones to get hurt.You give in.Our love always wins. I can’t stand seeing them hurt.It’s as simple as that.
At night,they all sit together to have their dinner.They talk over many things and smile and laughter are their companions.The next few days pass with the most beautiful memories created.

Flip the coin.The father only dreads the empty room of his children.The mother thinks of the very same.She also thinks of the kitchen.It would be idle once again.The children looks at their home and tries to take in as much their mind can contemplate.
Human lives are not simple as a bird.A bird leaves its nest and makes a new nest over time.People also do the very same.They keep on creating home throughout their lives.But,unlike a bird,everywhere,a fragment of their heart gets left behind.And these pieces are hard to tame.But everybody learns to subdue their feelings.And all become immune to it over time.They all leave after a week.And he heads back to his town,the place where he works and lives.

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9

To the Soliloquies

In Bangladesh,he personifies the youngsters who fail to cross the level deemed outstanding.The personal and familial barriers rise and they give in to their dreams.Many dream projects never come to life.Words get locked into pages,paintings only hang at a wall.
But they are not failure.No,they never are.Because they are winner to a level where many fails to make a mark.They get to keep their family,the ones close to heart.And they are heroes and they are incomparable to others.Because all are differently entitled.All have different stories.Stories simply that can’t be put into mere words.They have prologue full of love,sacrifice,dreams and hopes.Chapters full of hard work and repressed emotions.Of little moments of joy and happiness.A complete set of everything life offers.And at the end of day,they are content with what they achieved. You have become quite a thinker.
You are messing with me.

down if I take a wrong step.

10

I am not.What you have are pure thoughts.Over last years,you have come to know a lot of things.The thoughts are the results. Solitude is quite a teacher.
It is.You have come way much and you will be going further.

I know.But it felt different when I first started.

You were worried that your dreams will never be fulfilled!But the thing is you don’t know how things will work out.
I am satisfied.Don’t push me into changing my ways.A lot of things will break

To the Soliloquies

You never noticed,did you?

What haven’t I noticed?

Foreign investment has come for your office.There was a notice.The company is looking forward to expansion.You might even be promoted! I never asked for a promotion.Why would I be promoted?
The notice included a number of officers who would be transferred to the new wing.You are one of them.
His boss calls him in that afternoon.

How was your Eid?

Fine,sir.

Have you received the letter?

Letter?

I sent a letter to your address.

Sorry,sir.I had a change of address.

11

What happened?

The owner had a relative who wanted the place where I stayed.So,I had to clear out.
That’s a shame.The letter doesn’t matter.The good news is you will work in the new wing from now on.And for your good working records,you have been promoted.It was great having you in my office. He comes out of the office,a little bewildered.

Next day,he goes to the new office.It is on the bank of a river.At second floor,he finds his allotted space .He looks around the cubicle and finds some familiar faces.New faces number more than the old ones. Feels good,doesn’t it?

To the Soliloquies

What?

To rise even a little.A little more closer to achieving the birds eye view.To look a little more clearly at the things going on around.

At lunch time,he looks at the buildings on the other side of the river.Mostly factories.The humdrum is much more there.The people were doing a lot more work then he was doing.The factories and the power plants all submerged into something definitive.They fuel our economy,they say.
He sees the river taking on residues and wastes from both of its sides.The conflict of interests,he says to his mind. His mind agrees.

THE END.

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