I found Taslima Nasrin as one of the most sophisticated ladies as soon as I first met her. She was one of our bank clients in the early 1990s when I was manager of a bank branch. Quite frequently she used to visit our office for her banking transactions. She was an extraordinary lady with grace and dignity. She used to speak in measured words, walk in measured steps and smile in measured air. Tall and fair, she used to wear modest costumes. She had all the femininity a Bangladeshi docile lady is known for. Never ever I found her agitated. She was never found behaving like those ultraliberal and muscular ladies mimicking a man's gaits or wearing a man's dress. Nobody heard her ever utering any vulgar words. She was a perfect lady a gentleman should tip his hat to.
One day Taslima Nasrin presented me a book containing a collection of her poems and I thanked her for the courtesy. But one night lying on my bed as I read a few of her poems I had but to visualize her from a different perspective altogether. Her poems took me into a topsy-turvy world and my impression about her inner being turned just reverse, an impression diametrically different from the image of her that I formed when I first met her. Her poetic works staggered me; I was too stunned even to talk about the contents of her poems. One couldn't help but be taken aback by her unfurling of a human body in such intricacy in her words that anyone while reading her works could vividly trace and feel the contours of each and every body part or limb of a woman, or of a man, or even of a eunuch. I was baffled by her attempts to smash the taboos in our society. Her works, though bereft of literary wealth, one may find appreciable at least for their erotic element.
Since that night, she returned to my memory always haunting me as a queer specter.
Often I have to remember Taslima Nasrin. My remembrance of her is reflexive. My remembrance is not exactly what is like a gentleman remembering a lady who was a great poetess or like a young man recollecting memories about an atractive girlie. Neither was it a literary occasion I atended that evoked my memory associated with her. Rather, I remember her whenever I come across a courageous lady doing something extraordinary that atracts atention of the melee. I also respect her for her relentless fight against discrimination between men and women though I don't quite appreciate her literary voice supporting the weird bedroom grammars she introduced in her poems.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Seriously, you just cannot make this shit up. Submitted for your approval: