This is the story of Sunny’s father.
When I joined the school in Jamalpur, one of the first guys I befriended was Sunny. He was a bit unusual from the others; he had a thick beard and mustache, very unlike the other students of class nine. So I called him Uncle Sunny and in reply he landed a uppercut precisely on my nose sending me to the floor five feet away, senseless.
I regained consciousness after a good half hour and saw Sunny sprinkling water on me to bring me back to my senses. The moment I opened my eyes he started apologizing profusely. Thereafter we became very good friends.
One day Sunny confessed that he really likes a girl called Ruksana and if I could help him write a romantic love letter to Ruksana. I asked Sunny to get nice writing paper, the ones that girls usually liked and come over to my uncle’s home in the evening. When Sunny came over to my uncle’s home, my cousin Rubina called me aside and asked, “Where did you find this sample piece?” I said, “What do you mean? He is my classmate and good friend.”
“He was in the same class with my elder brother, then with me and now he is in your class.” Rubina said in a matter of fact manner.
I was shocked because my cousin brother was in the final years of college and Rubina in her first year of college. Any ways, I did not tell Sunny or any of my other friends about my new found knowledge about Sunny. In fact our friendship became stronger over the months in school. However, I noticed that he never invited me or any of his classmates to his home.
Many of my classmates used call him Bastard’s Son behind his back. I did not like it and one day confronted Saiful, “Why do you people call him Bastard’s Son?”
“His father looks like a drunkard, chews tobacco all the time and drinks local wines in the evening. He can always be found in the red light area of the town. Not only that, he is a habitual molester of women” replied Saiful in disgust.
“Doesn’t anybody complain against him?” I asked.
Saiful spat out before answering, “Those who are sitting in judges’ bench are all scoundrels and bribe takers. Every time the guy was caught and brought to the court, he would bribe them and the matter is dusted under the carpet.”
“What about Sunny’s mother? How is she tolerating all these nonsense?” I asked again.
“Sunny doesn’t have a mother. She passed away many years ago” replied Saiful.
Now, I could understand why Sunny avoided calling his friends over to his home.
One day we got the news that Sunny’s father has got into trouble once more. This time he had misbehaved with Magistrate’s wife and his men have tied him up with a tree in their bunglow lawn. Deep inside me, I was happy that the bribe taking magistrate has become the victim now but knew that the old man needs to be rescued too. So, went to the magistrate’s home to plead with him and after much plodding he agreed to let him go against transfer of ten acres of land in his name.
Next day, I found Sunny sitting in the school lawns under the mango tree, all alone. He seemed depressed for some reason. I asked him, “What happened, what’s bothering you?”
“I am worried about the old bastard” replied Sunny.
“Who is the old bastard?” I wanted him to clarify.
“Who else but my father” replied an agitated Sunny.
“You too call him a bastard?” I asked in shock.
“I only have given him that title” shouted Sunny.
“Why don’t you get him married again?” I asked him. Sunny seemed to like the idea and calmed down.
The following day after school, I along with Sunny and Saiful presented our proposal to Sunny’s father. The old bastard seemed to like the idea and blushed like a teenager.
After much searching around, we found a woman marriage counselor who agreed to search for a suitable bride for the old bastard in exchange of five hundred rupees as her fees. She confirmed the following Friday for meeting with the would-be bride and her family.
The household seemed well-to-do but the bride to be was just 15 years old and had 7 more siblings, perhaps, all a year younger to the previous ones. It seemed that man of the house has no other job but procreation as per God’s will and in the process the health of the mother has become miserable. The four of us along with the marriage counselor sat on one side of the room while the bride-to-be all decked up sat on the other side along with her mother and siblings. The marriage counselor introduced me and Saiful as groom’s nephew but kept quiet about Sunny. She actually stopped Sunny when he started to say something and instead asked his father, if he liked the girl.
The shy smile of the bastard confirmed that he liked the girl. The bride’s family too was willing for the match. While paying the bride’s money, Sunny said to the bride “You are going to be my mother, please don’t treat me as a stepson and consider me as your own son.”
The bride’s mother flared up hearing that and said “What do you mean by stepson? Is this guy your father? We were not told that he has a grown up son?” then she attacked the marriage counselor. We came out running and did not stop till we reached the safety of Sunny’s home.
We were indomitable in our endeavor to find a bride for the bastard and soon found another marriage counselor. This time we gave her clear instructions that she should not hide the fact that the bastard has a grown up son. Two days later the counselor got back with a proposal and we decided to check it out.
Once again, the four of us went to see the bride-to-be along with the marriage counselor. We were seated in the long verandah of the house, the bride-to-be sat opposite to us with her parents on either side. The bride’s father looked handsome with toned up body that was all muscle while the mother though a little plump, still exuded beauty.
“Do you like the girl, Abba? Sunny asked his father.
“I liked the one standing by the little girl” replied Sunny’s father with a shy smile.
Everyone around was shocked that the bastard liked the mother of the bride. “Let’s get out of here before anything goes wrong.” I told Sunny. But before we could do anything, the bastard had caught hold of the woman’s hand and pleading her to marry him. We tried pulling him away but the husband of the woman started beating him up and as the commotion reached the neighbors,they too joined in the beating, even we were not spared and got beaten up badly.
Somehow in tattered clothes and injured body, we reached Sunny’s home. Sunny was most affected and warned his father “If you do not get married in one week, I will never set foot in this house.” Saying this he came out with me to my uncle’s home.
Though the guy was a confirmed bastard in his behavior, he really loved his son, so this time, he on his own found a marriage counselor and actually got married within the week. He sent Saiful to give the good news to Sunny and me and asked us to join him.
Sunny and I were sitting in my room with some books on poetry to copy the lines for the love letter to Ruksana when Saiful burst into the room and said excitedly, “Sunny, I have two surprises for you.”
Sunny and I asked in unison, “What?”
“First one is that your father has got married finally.” Saiful said with a mystic smile on his face.
Sunny and I jumped up in joy and asked “What’s the second one?”
“You need to go to your home to see the second surprise.” Saiful started laughing as he said this.
We hurried towards Sunny’s home without wasting further time. We found the couple in the kitchen where Sunny’s new mother was making Rice Pudding and his father was standing next her chewing betel leaf with tobacco. Seeing us he said, “Darling, serve up the pudding, your son and his friends have come.”
Sunny’s new mother turned towards us and immediately Sunny blurted out, “Ruksana, it is you!”
“I am your mother now, don’t call me by name. You can call me Ammu.” Ruksana reprimanded her son.
Suiful started laughing aloud and said, “How did you like the Second Surprise?”