The Sehri Tales Challenge is a writing challenge devised by Sabrina Fatma Ahmad in 2016. The goal is to compose a fresh piece of prose, poetry or nonfiction upon waking up for the pre-dawn meal during Ramadan, and complete it before Fazr. This year, Litmosphere, one of the largest online book clubs in the country, are participating in the challenge. Here are a few of the top entries for this week.
"Oil egg is good for breakfast," Mr. Anwar told his daughter.
"Baba, it's pronounced well, not oil", said Anu with a bit of annoyance.
"We were Bangla medium, you English medium, you very privileged," Mr. Anwar commented. "In our days, we walked 20km over paddy fields and muddy roads to get to school."
Anu rolled her eyes.
19 years later Mr. Anwar sat in his armchair with his English dictionary in front of him. Anu was bringing over her fiancé who Mr. Anwar would be meeting for the first time and he did not want to embarrass his daughter with his lack of English skills, in front of her non-Bengali fiancé.
3 hours later Anu and her Chinese fiancé stood with a warm smile in front of Mr. Anwar. Anu took her father aside and said, "Baba go easy on him, he doesn't understand English well."
Mr. Anwar smiled and said, "Well Anu, I have zero problems with that."
Silly of her to think that he’ll be there for her, now and always.
Silly of him to think that she’s the right one for him.
Silly of her to think that he’s actually busy working up all night.
Silly of him to think that she’s actually talking to her mother late at night.
Silly of her to think that he doesn’t send her nudes to his male friends.
Silly of him to think that she doesn’t send the same nudes to her lovers.
Silly of him to think that his nude circle will never get exposed.
Silly of her to think that her blackmailing business will never get exposed.
Silly of us to think that teens under 16 here are naive and decent.
Silly of us to think that the new generation would understand ‘consent’.
Silly love. Silly lust. Silly conscience. Silly generation. Silly life.
Rakib Hossain, a prominent social media activist had just finished another piece on the recent nude-business issue. “This will be another hit”, he thought.
A few moments later, he opened his messenger. Notifications started popping up. “Mahmuda sent 10 photos”- one of them said.
Mr. Rakib smirked. Time to get back to work. They might have exposed the street rats, the mastermind is still on the loose. Gotta make sure it stays that way.
Little did he know, the police was surrounding his place as he spoke. Who’d have known, the kingpin would forget to use his VPN tonight?
Silly mistake, indeed.
Fahin Rahman Aungkita
'Ma, I lost Baba! I can't find him anywhere Ma....'
"What? I told you guys not to go to that old fair when would you listen to me, find him Auritri!"
I sigh into the phone as I catch sight of him and hang up.
There he was, all confused as I approached him, a wide smile spreading across my face noticing a packet of Cheese puff in his hand.
"Young lady, do I know you? Have you seen my daughter? Blue frock, two braids and...I left her near the swing and I think I lost her..."
'Baba, it's me Auri. You didn't lose me, I'm right here. Just in blue kamiz and parted hair; it's been fifteen years you know.'
He looks perplexed as ever with the Alzheimer's acting up more than usual.
I grin and snatch the Cheese puff from his hand while he stands startled. Fifteen years have passed since I used to snatch my favourite chips from his hands and run towards the swing where he'd push me higher and higher until it would be over.
He smiles sadly with realisation kicking in.
'Cheese puff! My favourite! When were you going to give me this?'
"Well, I was lost in time again Auri?"
I take his hand and drag him to the swing, help myself into the seat, and turn to him.
'Let's get lost again shall we?'
Marwa Kazi Mohammed
Eva looked straight in my eyes, my heart skipped a beat.
We've been dating for a while now, a couple of months. She hasn’t shown much attachment but, she's around, and that's good enough for me.
"Are you ready, Rishad?" She spoke softly.
"I am." I couldn't believe the heat on my cheeks.
We hopped on an Uber and drove to her place. Her room was dark and it was hard unbuttoning her dress in the dark. I looked at her before taking her to bed. She looks happy, she wants this. And I obeyed.
I woke up exhausted, without Eva in my arms. I sat up, looking for her. She wasn’t in the room.
I peered outside, no one was in the house until finally, I stumbled upon that room. The one with the group of people in it.
"Hey, Rishad. You've found us, I see." I hear her voice from behind. She pushed forward before I could even turn around.
"This is my group. My cult. And I need something from you to sacrifice to my lord."
A cold flow went down my spine. I stood speechless, surrounded by her group.
"Your heart, sweetie. I need your heart." Eva says softly as I finally get to look at her.
"Why mine?" I asked.
"It has to be full of love. It's a requirement."
She always had my heart, the heart that still skipped a beat just by looking at her. Now, I guess she needed my heart, literally.