CALENDAR CALLING (মলাট লাগানো)

Years and years ago when Baba brought new calendars home, my excitement would know no bounds. With much alacrity, Baba would unpin the previous year’s calendar hanging from the wall and gently install the new one in its place. In this annual ritual of bidding farewell to the bygone years and ushering in the changed faces of the familiar months, Baba would look at me with a glint in his eyes. Bundled in a dossier ready to be discarded, I would patiently wait for him to hand me over the only tangible remnant of the passing year. I never let him dump old calendars into the bin, how disrespectful?

I preserved them.

Back in school, we were required to cover all our textbooks and copies with brown paper (মলাট লাগানো). But, I absolutely abhorred the colour. Instead, I devised a plan. I covered all my schoolbooks in layers of whites. The silken, glossy white backs of each and every sheet of the ‘thrown-away’ calendar clothed my new schoolbooks. How very elegant and regal my notebooks looked among a pile of ugly brown copies. (Please pardon the racist undertone)

Every time I opened any one of these wrapped ‘copies’ to take notes in class, my eyes would either meet a winter-less December, a frivolous Friday or a dissolved date. Letters and numbers peeking out from under the sides of the cover unlocked a treasure trunk of memories. December was tense. Was it a fun Friday, I’d struggle to remember. And I’d save the ‘dissolved date’ for a later recollection.

Yesterday, Baba came into my room to hang the 2015 wall calendar. Murmurs of a lost tradition whispered into my ears. I could not understand. I did not see. Baba displaced what was now a dead reign. He rolled it first and trashed it next.

I did not protest. My mouth was shut. He went away. No mercy.

New year. New calendar. New chapters.

If only I could save a fragment of the old. If only I could save the date from dissolving so soon. If only I did not let it slip away like this. If only I could wrap and preserve.

For a later recollection, perhaps?

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