From Fantasia with Love

41
83

(For Professor Fakrul Alam: A Belated Birthday Wish)

T. S. Marin
(This is for Professor Fakrul Alam: A Belated Birthday Wish)

Sir: What is that book you are reading?

Me: It is this sweetest fantasy novel — by a very famous German author…

Sir: Aah! Marin and her fantasies!

Me: (aside) What are you saying, sir? I nearly fell off my unicorn!

I

Before I begin fan-girling over my Fairy Godfather, to quench the curious bibliophiles (like yours truly), the book I had been carrying around that day was Cornelia Funke’s The Griffin’s Feather! Now, without further ado, I must confess with rather blushed cheeks but a brave heart that back in my undergraduate days, I was quite an oblivious fool  fortunately, not academically  and I cannot claim that I have radically improved in this genre. Why, you ask? The following anecdote is a perfect testimony of my aforementioned confession.

I started my Honours at East-West University one freezing January morning  in Spring 2009  all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed  in the Department of English. Being a prospective Lit major, of course I heard of the legends within the first week  Dr. Fakrul Alam and Kaiser Haq  our famous adjuncts we get courses with only after completing ten semesters or so. We had another Alam in the department, Manzur Alam sir. So, we used to differentiate them as Senior Alam and Junior Alam. Funny how time changes everything! By the time I started my M.A., “Junior” Alam had become the Chairperson of our Department, and the “Senior” one is now our very own Pro-VC.

In those days, I often met a professor either in very fancy designer shirts or in boisterous shades of panjabees  always carrying Norton anthologies or some other extremely fat volumes. For almost two years, my interactions with him were limited to polite greetings, and he always replied back with this loveliest of voice and a twinkling half-smile. It was during the advising week for my 7th semester I realised that the tall, baritone-voiced professor I had so far seen only in the corridor or in Shamim bhaiya’s office is none other than Professor Fakrul Alam!

One of the courses of my 7th semester was ENG 426, American Literature (Modern to Contemporary); and before the first class, I. Just. Panicked! A. I was not a big fan of American Literature back then, and I daresay I still am not, and B. all those scary and fascinating tales about DFA got the better of me. So, I collected a course outline, got all the books/ hand-outs mentioned in that holy scripture, and made sure that before entering the first class, I went through them at least once. I clearly remember that Sir discussed “A Rose for Emily” in our first class, and the first question he asked in that class was the definition of Gothic literature.

Imagine my nervousness topped with Gothic horror with a side an antebellum! Luckily, one hand shot up, and that was mine  in classic Hermione Granger manner, and I recited the definition verbatim from Wikipedia and the Glossary of Literary Terms. Needless to say, that one definition established my position as the resident nerd (which I was in most of the classes, although sir gave me one A- in Contemporary Brit Lit, a fact I never forget to bring up on any given opportunity) and a quintessential “good girl” image in sir’s eyes which I managed to keep intact until last year. But, I will come to that later!

II

I will not pretend falling in love with American Literature, no, that would be blasphemous! This ENG 426, and later on ENG 520 – Contemporary American Literature are among the top 3 most terrifying courses till date. But I loved sir’s classes, every bit of it; they were charming, hypnotic, and opened newer doors and passageways into a world I cannot claim to have known before.

I remember fondly how sir went “Eiii” when we used to get a little inattentive, followed by a “Shush;” I miss how sir wrote “Think before you ink. Best of luck!” at the end of every questionnaire. The “wishes” were often accompanied by instructions of which books to bring and how many chapters to read before coming to the next class.

Speaking of books, sir’s collection is enviable to say the least, even if you compare it with the library of other professors, and he guards them the way a dragon guards his treasure trove! Often, sir set a book in our syllabus which was otherwise rare or even unavailable in Bangladesh, White Noise for example, and A. S. Byatt’s Possession. From what I remember, EWUians often dared each other to bring a book from DFA’s office, but I bet no one in history dared to do so!

I sat hypnotized while sir acquainted us with Huck and Mitch, with Coleridge and Poetics and Nietzsche, with all those cranky American poets and brooding British ones! We landed in our first (among many) cats versus dogs debates while sir was teaching us “Cat in the Rain!” Some days, the discussion was all serious – discussing Said and Derrida; it was fun and frolic some days; on some it was acting out A Streetcar Named Desire to understand the characters better.

III

While I miss sir and his classes tremendously, I would not say the same for his handwriting. Imagine the horror of not understanding your editor’s (who also happens to be your boss) scribbling! Just like Mini and Kabuliwalah’s many adorable repartees, sir would say smiling, “Marin is not my student, really. She can’t read my handwriting!” Well, Marin usually rolled her eyes, “No, I am not. I am the kid next door, sir.”

Fakrul sir comes up as a strict disciplinarian, and he is one, but he is much more than that. My M.A. journey began with Advanced Theory class, another fearsome course; and in a quintessential DFA style, sir started the class with narrating his classroom policies and frightening the hell out of students in general. I tried to stifle a grin and failed miserably. Of course, he noticed that and grinned as well, “Yes, Marin, these are rules we intend to follow. No need to giggle,” he boomed. Sir has, what I call a coconut personality (hard on the outside, but soft inside); and I am sure there are many others who will agree to having been blessed enough to get to know the extremely warm and affectionate persona of his. He is someone to whom I can admit rather ashamedly that I mistook his Edward Said poster as a Richard Gere one for years.

But I got to know him even better when I started working under his guidance at a well-reputed newspaper. Unfortunately, the “good girl” charade is rather difficult to maintain when you work with your mentor in the same cabin; and the slightly exasperated sir ultimately realised that yours truly is quite a chatterbox coupled with a mischievous soul. He could easily be Disney’s King Triton, or Professor Dumbledore – moody, highly intelligent, protective, and magical with the softest of hearts.

This musings began with a snippet of our conversation from our meeting last week; little did sir know that he is nothing short of a Fairy Godfather to me. That little geek of his class is a grown-up and (hopefully) slightly more matured, but on days particularly lengthy or especially happy, when I need a little career advice or just talk about books-to-read, I know that my mentor is just a phone call away.

T. S. Marin is irrevocably in love with books and movies – preferably the ones with happy endings. She is also Lecturer of English at Primeasia University and is the Sub Editor of Star Literature and Star Reviews pages of The Daily Star.

Comments

41 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for all your valuable effort on this web site. My niece loves working on investigations and it’s really simple to grasp why. Most of us learn all regarding the compelling mode you produce useful things on this web blog and as well improve participation from others on this concept then our simple princess is in fact discovering a lot. Take pleasure in the remaining portion of the year. You’re the one doing a really great job.

  2. Thanks a lot for providing individuals with remarkably splendid opportunity to read in detail from here. It is usually so amazing and stuffed with a good time for me and my office mates to search the blog more than three times every week to read through the new secrets you have. And definitely, I’m also always contented with the mind-blowing guidelines served by you. Some 1 tips in this posting are undeniably the most effective we’ve ever had.

  3. I simply desired to say thanks again. I do not know the things that I would have followed in the absence of the actual techniques contributed by you over such a question. Entirely was a distressing crisis in my opinion, but spending time with the very well-written style you managed it took me to cry over gladness. I will be happy for your support and hope you recognize what an amazing job you’re carrying out training people using a site. I am sure you have never encountered all of us.

  4. My spouse and i have been quite excited that Jordan could conclude his research using the ideas he grabbed through your weblog. It is now and again perplexing to just be handing out tactics the others have been trying to sell. We really remember we have the blog owner to appreciate for this. The illustrations you’ve made, the simple site menu, the relationships your site aid to engender – it is all great, and it’s really making our son and our family do think that matter is exciting, which is certainly really serious. Thanks for all the pieces!

  5. I not to mention my buddies were found to be reading the nice advice on your web page then the sudden I got a horrible feeling I never expressed respect to the site owner for those secrets. Those boys ended up so warmed to read all of them and have in effect in actuality been taking advantage of them. Many thanks for being so considerate and then for choosing certain brilliant useful guides millions of individuals are really desperate to be aware of. My very own honest apologies for not expressing gratitude to you earlier.

  6. I would like to show some appreciation to you just for bailing me out of such a condition. Just after checking throughout the the web and obtaining recommendations which are not helpful, I figured my entire life was well over. Existing without the presence of solutions to the difficulties you have fixed by way of your main report is a serious case, as well as those that could have adversely damaged my entire career if I had not noticed your blog. The competence and kindness in touching every aspect was valuable. I’m not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t encountered such a step like this. I’m able to at this moment look forward to my future. Thanks for your time very much for your specialized and amazing guide. I won’t hesitate to propose your site to any individual who will need guidelines about this issue.

  7. I precisely needed to appreciate you once more. I am not sure the things I would have handled without the methods contributed by you relating to that topic. Certainly was a real traumatic difficulty in my view, nevertheless observing a skilled fashion you dealt with it made me to cry for happiness. Now i am grateful for this advice and then trust you really know what an amazing job you have been undertaking educating men and women by way of a site. Most likely you have never met all of us.

  8. I not to mention my buddies have already been looking at the excellent helpful hints located on your website and so before long got an awful suspicion I never expressed respect to the blog owner for those tips. My men were absolutely happy to read them and have in effect extremely been making the most of these things. Thanks for actually being so thoughtful as well as for using some incredibly good tips most people are really desperate to know about. My personal honest regret for not expressing appreciation to you sooner.

  9. I’m writing to make you understand what a fantastic encounter my daughter experienced checking your webblog. She realized too many pieces, including what it is like to possess an awesome giving character to make many more effortlessly fully grasp several complex topics. You truly did more than our expected results. Many thanks for displaying these practical, trustworthy, revealing as well as unique tips on your topic to Jane.

  10. I really wanted to jot down a simple message in order to thank you for all of the great suggestions you are giving on this website. My time-consuming internet investigation has now been paid with brilliant strategies to exchange with my relatives. I would declare that we readers actually are extremely blessed to be in a great community with so many special professionals with good tactics. I feel very privileged to have used the website and look forward to some more amazing minutes reading here. Thanks a lot once again for a lot of things.

  11. I must convey my appreciation for your kind-heartedness giving support to individuals that absolutely need help with your matter. Your personal dedication to passing the solution all over came to be wonderfully invaluable and have continuously empowered people much like me to achieve their objectives. Your entire interesting key points implies much a person like me and substantially more to my colleagues. Thanks a lot; from everyone of us.

  12. Thanks so much for providing individuals with an extremely special opportunity to discover important secrets from here. It’s always so useful and also full of fun for me and my office colleagues to search your site a minimum of thrice weekly to read through the newest stuff you will have. Not to mention, I am actually astounded with the outstanding pointers served by you. Some 3 areas in this posting are definitely the finest we have all ever had.

  13. I simply needed to say thanks all over again. I’m not certain what I would’ve implemented without those methods documented by you concerning that concern. This has been an absolute hard concern in my opinion, however , being able to see this professional fashion you managed that made me to leap with gladness. Now i’m happier for the help and as well , wish you recognize what a great job you are always putting in training some other people through your web page. I’m certain you have never got to know any of us.

  14. I just wanted to post a brief comment in order to say thanks to you for those precious tips and hints you are giving at this site. My time-consuming internet investigation has at the end been recognized with good ideas to talk about with my pals. I ‘d tell you that many of us website visitors are definitely fortunate to be in a fine site with so many brilliant professionals with helpful tips. I feel rather happy to have discovered your website and look forward to many more thrilling moments reading here. Thank you once more for all the details.

  15. I’m also commenting to let you understand what a awesome encounter my wife’s girl encountered reading your webblog. She realized too many things, with the inclusion of what it is like to possess an incredible teaching style to make others really easily know specified grueling issues. You truly exceeded readers’ expected results. I appreciate you for rendering these priceless, trustworthy, edifying and also easy guidance on that topic to Lizeth.

  16. I intended to write you this tiny note to finally thank you very much once again for the stunning guidelines you have featured above. It’s certainly extremely open-handed of you to present extensively all that a few individuals would have marketed as an ebook in making some bucks for their own end, notably seeing that you might well have tried it if you ever considered necessary. Those guidelines additionally worked to provide a great way to be certain that some people have a similar keenness really like my personal own to learn a good deal more regarding this matter. I’m sure there are several more enjoyable times ahead for individuals that examine your site.

  17. Thank you so much for giving everyone an extraordinarily memorable opportunity to read in detail from this web site. It’s usually so enjoyable and also full of a lot of fun for me and my office fellow workers to search your website not less than thrice a week to read the newest guidance you have got. And indeed, I’m actually astounded with the sensational opinions you serve. Certain 2 points on this page are particularly the best we’ve ever had.

  18. I intended to draft you the little remark just to give many thanks once again on the pleasant principles you’ve contributed on this website. This has been simply unbelievably generous of you in giving openly what exactly many individuals could have offered for sale as an e-book in order to make some profit on their own, chiefly considering the fact that you might well have done it in case you wanted. The points also acted to become a fantastic way to fully grasp that someone else have similar passion just like mine to see many more in regard to this condition. I know there are lots of more pleasant situations in the future for folks who view your blog.

  19. I have to show my thanks to the writer just for bailing me out of this type of condition. After exploring throughout the online world and seeing tips which are not beneficial, I believed my life was over. Living without the presence of approaches to the issues you have sorted out by means of your main posting is a serious case, and the ones that might have in a wrong way affected my entire career if I hadn’t come across your web page. Your own personal skills and kindness in handling a lot of things was invaluable. I am not sure what I would’ve done if I had not come across such a subject like this. I am able to at this moment look ahead to my future. Thanks for your time so much for the professional and amazing guide. I won’t be reluctant to suggest your blog post to any individual who desires recommendations on this matter.

  20. I would like to show some appreciation to the writer just for rescuing me from such a issue. As a result of researching through the world-wide-web and finding ideas which are not powerful, I was thinking my life was done. Living without the strategies to the difficulties you’ve sorted out all through your good website is a serious case, as well as the kind which could have adversely affected my entire career if I had not discovered your blog post. Your personal natural talent and kindness in taking care of all the stuff was priceless. I’m not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t come upon such a step like this. I can also now relish my future. Thanks very much for this reliable and results-oriented help. I won’t hesitate to propose your site to anybody who requires assistance about this topic.

  21. I needed to put you that bit of word in order to thank you very much again regarding the marvelous knowledge you’ve shown in this case. It’s quite open-handed with you to grant unreservedly all many people would’ve supplied for an electronic book to end up making some cash on their own, particularly since you might well have tried it in case you desired. The tips likewise acted to provide a great way to realize that other individuals have the same zeal much like my own to learn a lot more regarding this matter. I know there are several more pleasurable opportunities in the future for people who look into your site.

  22. I just wanted to type a small comment to be able to express gratitude to you for some of the unique guidelines you are placing at this site. My time consuming internet research has finally been honored with reliable facts and techniques to exchange with my best friends. I ‘d tell you that we website visitors are undoubtedly fortunate to exist in a useful website with very many marvellous people with good plans. I feel quite happy to have used your entire website and look forward to some more exciting times reading here. Thank you once more for a lot of things.

  23. I wanted to put you this little word to help thank you very much again on the incredible tricks you have provided on this page. It has been certainly strangely open-handed with you in giving openly exactly what a few individuals could have advertised as an electronic book in making some bucks for their own end, most importantly considering that you could have tried it if you ever decided. The good tips as well served to be the great way to recognize that most people have the identical eagerness the same as my personal own to know the truth a great deal more when considering this condition. I am certain there are a lot more fun instances up front for those who see your site.

  24. I definitely wanted to construct a brief message to be able to appreciate you for some of the fabulous solutions you are giving on this website. My incredibly long internet research has finally been recognized with brilliant details to exchange with my friends and family. I ‘d point out that many of us website visitors actually are very lucky to live in a perfect place with very many outstanding professionals with very helpful things. I feel quite fortunate to have discovered your entire site and look forward to plenty of more exciting minutes reading here. Thank you once more for everything.

  25. My wife and i were quite glad Michael managed to finish off his researching through the entire precious recommendations he discovered from your own web pages. It is now and again perplexing just to always be making a gift of helpful hints that many some other people could have been making money from. And we do know we have you to thank because of that. The explanations you have made, the easy blog menu, the friendships you give support to engender – it’s many great, and it’s really letting our son and us reckon that that matter is amusing, which is certainly pretty vital. Thanks for all the pieces!

  26. I must express some thanks to the writer just for rescuing me from such a scenario. After researching throughout the search engines and getting techniques which were not beneficial, I assumed my life was gone. Being alive minus the answers to the difficulties you have fixed by means of your main short article is a serious case, and ones that might have badly damaged my entire career if I hadn’t discovered the blog. Your know-how and kindness in playing with all the details was precious. I am not sure what I would have done if I had not discovered such a thing like this. It’s possible to at this moment look forward to my future. Thanks so much for this professional and results-oriented guide. I will not hesitate to propose your web page to anyone who wants and needs assistance about this area.

  27. I simply wanted to make a small message to thank you for all the nice facts you are writing at this website. My long internet research has at the end of the day been recognized with good insight to talk about with my companions. I ‘d declare that most of us website visitors actually are really fortunate to exist in a very good network with so many awesome people with insightful concepts. I feel somewhat lucky to have encountered the webpage and look forward to plenty of more exciting moments reading here. Thanks a lot once more for all the details.

  28. I wish to show my affection for your kindness in support of persons who absolutely need guidance on your field. Your personal dedication to passing the solution up and down appeared to be exceptionally invaluable and have consistently made guys and women like me to achieve their targets. This useful advice means a lot a person like me and somewhat more to my office colleagues. Thanks a lot; from everyone of us.

  29. I wish to express thanks to the writer for bailing me out of such a predicament. As a result of surfing throughout the world wide web and obtaining basics which are not pleasant, I assumed my life was well over. Existing without the solutions to the problems you have fixed through your guide is a crucial case, and those which could have in a wrong way affected my entire career if I hadn’t discovered your website. Your own competence and kindness in touching the whole thing was helpful. I’m not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t discovered such a point like this. I can now look forward to my future. Thanks very much for your impressive and sensible guide. I will not hesitate to endorse the blog to any person who wants and needs recommendations on this issue.

  30. I am only commenting to let you understand of the awesome discovery my princess gained using the blog. She picked up plenty of things, which include what it’s like to have a very effective coaching character to let many more just learn several tricky topics. You actually did more than visitors’ expected results. I appreciate you for producing the priceless, healthy, informative and also easy guidance on that topic to Ethel.

  31. I intended to compose you this little remark to help thank you so much over again for your personal splendid pointers you have documented above. It’s pretty generous with you to supply publicly all that a few individuals might have sold as an ebook to help with making some cash for their own end, particularly since you could possibly have tried it if you wanted. These points additionally served to become a easy way to comprehend many people have the identical dreams much like mine to see significantly more in regard to this issue. I’m sure there are several more pleasant moments ahead for individuals that look over your website.

  32. My wife and i ended up being really lucky Emmanuel could conclude his research while using the precious recommendations he came across out of the web site. It is now and again perplexing to simply always be releasing facts people may have been trying to sell. And we also discover we have the website owner to appreciate because of that. The illustrations you’ve made, the straightforward website navigation, the friendships you will give support to engender – it is most fantastic, and it is leading our son and us imagine that that concept is enjoyable, and that is really important. Thank you for all!

  33. I not to mention my pals have already been digesting the nice recommendations on the website and so quickly I got a horrible suspicion I had not thanked the site owner for those secrets. The boys had been certainly very interested to study them and have in effect clearly been taking pleasure in them. Appreciation for being very kind and for deciding upon this form of good subjects most people are really wanting to know about. Our own honest apologies for not expressing gratitude to sooner.

  34. I am glad for writing to make you be aware of of the extraordinary discovery my child encountered going through your web page. She discovered too many details, which include how it is like to have an ideal coaching spirit to get many people smoothly know specified extremely tough subject areas. You undoubtedly exceeded her desires. I appreciate you for displaying the warm and helpful, trusted, explanatory and even fun thoughts on the topic to Gloria.

  35. I together with my pals were actually digesting the excellent helpful hints located on the website and so instantly I had an awful suspicion I never thanked the website owner for those secrets. My guys appeared to be consequently glad to learn all of them and have now clearly been loving them. Thank you for indeed being really kind and for settling on these kinds of wonderful resources millions of individuals are really wanting to know about. Our sincere apologies for not expressing gratitude to earlier.

  36. Needed to put you a bit of note to finally thank you again over the spectacular secrets you’ve documented on this page. It’s so surprisingly open-handed with you to deliver openly all that a lot of people could possibly have distributed for an e-book in making some bucks for their own end, chiefly since you might have tried it if you ever decided. The solutions as well served to become a fantastic way to realize that someone else have a similar fervor much like my very own to grasp somewhat more concerning this issue. I believe there are lots of more enjoyable moments ahead for individuals who start reading your website.

  37. I would like to convey my gratitude for your generosity in support of all those that really need guidance on that topic. Your special dedication to passing the message across became certainly invaluable and has in most cases helped employees just like me to attain their goals. Your entire important help entails a great deal a person like me and much more to my colleagues. Regards; from everyone of us.

  38. I precisely needed to thank you very much yet again. I am not sure what I might have worked on in the absence of the entire thoughts documented by you about such field. This has been a real challenging scenario for me personally, however , finding out the very specialized mode you resolved the issue forced me to weep with joy. Now i am happier for your assistance and expect you find out what a powerful job your are doing training other individuals thru a site. More than likely you haven’t met all of us.

  39. I simply had to thank you very much again. I do not know the things I would’ve done without these recommendations discussed by you over such problem. It truly was the frustrating concern in my circumstances, nevertheless taking note of a new expert fashion you dealt with it forced me to jump with happiness. Now i am grateful for this assistance and thus hope you comprehend what a great job that you’re accomplishing instructing the mediocre ones by way of your blog. Probably you have never come across all of us.

  40. I wanted to jot down a quick note so as to say thanks to you for some of the nice tricks you are placing on this website. My time intensive internet lookup has at the end of the day been paid with brilliant suggestions to write about with my companions. I ‘d say that we visitors are unquestionably fortunate to be in a fabulous site with so many wonderful individuals with valuable pointers. I feel rather lucky to have used your weblog and look forward to many more exciting moments reading here. Thanks again for a lot of things.

  41. I needed to draft you that little observation to finally thank you so much once again with the remarkable solutions you have featured on this website. It’s quite remarkably generous of people like you to make freely just what a number of us might have marketed for an ebook to make some bucks on their own, precisely since you might have done it if you considered necessary. These good ideas as well acted to be the fantastic way to know that other individuals have the same desire just like my very own to see somewhat more with regard to this problem. I am certain there are lots of more pleasant opportunities ahead for people who examine your site.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here