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Sufia Hossain
Age 18



Recalling the past is fun and sometimes gives pleasure. Last February, while I was preparing myself for a forthcoming examination, it was decided unexpectedly that we would visit the Wari Christian cemetery and sail across the Buriganga River in Bangladesh on the occasion of my friend’s birthdays.

The cemetery was situated at the heart of old Dhaka, not far from my friend’s house. It was hardly a ten-minute walk. I still remember the day. The sky was cloudy. Light and darkness silhouetted my vision. The day seemed to me a preternatural length as I traveled to his house. After a hearty breakfast at his place (which delighted my starved soul) we set out for the cemetery.

I must mention that we were at the far end of the winter and according to Shelly, my friend, spring was not far away. There was silence in the air. It seemed as though the world was still sleeping in its mother’s womb. When we reached the cemetery, we found the guard in his gray establishment taking a catnap. His face was partly enveloped in a shawl, and as I cast a deep glance at him, he looked quite aged. We pushed the dark steel gates open and entered into a realm where the souls were taking a nap too.

We could hardly believe our eyes. There were graves of various sizes and shapes lying in terraces. We were a bit confused from where to start looking and so we began to walk on the edge of the graves.

The graves were supposed to have epitaphs and so they had. I was really taken away by the words written on the epitaphs. There were two epitaphs that made me feel so great that I wrote them down in my diary. One was "In death we are not separated". Another one written on the tombstone of a small child who lived for a few months and then went into eternal sleep read: "Who picked the flowers? Was it God"?

I was reluctant to believe that Tennyson had an epitaph too. On one tombstone I discovered it was written, "Days go out but memories remain like drops of dew in silver rain". This was the quotation I had long, long before found in a quotation book extracted from a poem of Tennyson’s.

I was really astonished by the existence of several ancient graves in the cemetery. One of the graves deeply drew my attention. It was the grave of Captain Henry Cromwell who died in 1726. He served in the 31st infantry of the East India Company from 1711 to 1726. In its tetrahedral-shaped monument it looked quite airy and spacious in spite of being dusty and aged. Various types of floral motifs were carved on the walls, and I was certain that it would look magnificent on a moonlit night. There was also another grave of a high official of the East India Company. His identity had been erased from the tombstone, and so he shall remain as dead in the archives of history.

By noon the blue sky had turned gray. The cold wind invited dark clouds and penetrating rain and we had to leave the cemetery. When we reached his home, I was welcomed by my friend’s mother. She scolded us for returning wet. By the time lunch was served the sky was almost clear.

After lunch we went out to the bank of the river Buriganga. We could smell moist earth. It seemed as though it was the most suitable time of the year for the Daisies to arise from their eternal sleep and become the traveler’s delight.

We hired a boat to row us down the river to the other side of the bank. The river was still unable to recover from the chill of the dark clouds. We remained calm throughout, but the waves filled our hearts with awe as the boatman tried to row faster.

We were able to see dark shabby travelers carrying fish and other goods to port. There were small boats too rowing back to their villages with the last catch of the evening. When we landed ashore, it seemed as though we had discovered a new continent. There were lowlands and vast fields that came into our view. I was really fascinated by Mother Nature. The people were quite innocent in their cheap cloths. Leafless shrubbery drew my attention but soon I was attracted by the color of the horizon as the sun was ready to set. The horizon reminded me of Rabindranath tagore, a prize winning novelist who once wrote, "Soon I began to realize the mystery that life is; a life of good and evil, of joy and sorrow, of light and shade that is waiting for me in the wide beyond".


Sufia Hossain is from Bangladesh. She has been living in New York City for five years. She is currently a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Her major is Textile Development and Marketing.


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