This photo was taken a few years ago. When I took out the picture from the phone photos, he started his journey to infinity. All mundane reckoning, beyond want, Toronto’s raucous chats, bustling evenings, poetry readings, arguments, alone. From where there is no return, no return.
He is our Ashek A Wasek Mohammad Asadul Islam Chowdhury. Did not recognize? He is our beloved man, poet, journalist, voice buried across the television screen, one of the decaying shadows above the head, one of Asad Chowdhury, one of Toronto’s last life, the trust and confidence of the community.
He grew up with the royal and long name. Another prince of poetry, the late Rafiq Azad, used scissors on this name. Since then Asad Chowdhury.
I came to Toronto for my second home after a gap of a few years. I will stay for a few months. Spending the day at Regent Park house of friend poet Delwar Elahi with great hospitality, chatting and roaming around.
As well as his delicious country cooking. The transformed Regent’s Park area is now a cluster of glitzy condominiums. Toronto has changed. Danforth’s cabaret is growing with the influx of new people. In the meantime, Elahi said that the dear poet is now a resident of this city. And where does it go? Asad Chowdhury will be able to chat soon, that’s the plan in mind.
January 13, 2016, morning. I fell asleep a little earlier. Everyone in the house is still sleeping. I am looking at the window, January morning, sitting on the cornice is a dove wrapped in a coil.
Downtown is visible, with the CN Tower standing nearby. At that time there was a knock on the door. Toronto’s Priyamukh Delwar has already made plans – to spend this morning with the poet. What is said is what is done. Going out, the destination is the house of Shaoli, the daughter of the poet. Danforth’s Main Square is the heart of the Bengalis. After leaving the house, we entered Surma Grocery. Surely there can be no better alternative than betel nut. When we reached by street car, the poet was waiting for us.
Spent a wonderful time chatting. Betel nut adds dimension to the chat, no doubt. Abdullah Abu Saeed, the pioneer of building respectable, enlightened people, said in the 75th birth anniversary discussion – “Wherever Assad goes, he wakes up the surroundings”, I felt how true it is during this visit. How poet Asad Chowdhury awakened this cold community of Toronto in a short time.
The poet’s health was not going well for some time. After that he responded to any call every weekend, like a true guardian. He filled the times with joy and made the moments memorable. Awakened the expatriate life with absolute mercy.
These Bengalis, awakened by love, poetry, and shadow, are today in mourning.
Nugget Masjid Chattar, Markham Road, soaked in the pain of losing a relative. Dr. Bangladesh. Khalilur Rahman High Commissioner came rushing from Ottawa. He gave the state honor to this freedom fighter – the best son of the nation. Everyone including the cultured people of Toronto, Sudhijan paid their respects.
But for once it didn’t seem like a mere formality. Rather, it is much more than social culture. That pure love and compassion are not yet lost, the relatives of Toronto are proof.
The poet’s body lies asleep in Pickering’s grounds-the green courtyard is adorned with flowers. The poet is running faster than light towards his destination. But can he really go through the back?
East York, Canada