This work (2020- ) is on the disappearance of my mother during the autumn of 1969. She had been sent to the neighborhood sweet shop to buy sweetmeats for a religious offering on the 24th of October. The little girl of nine went prancing to the confectionery but did not return until three years later.
The entire point of this work is to delve deep into the darkest reaches of my family’s history and examine its conflicts with the personal narratives of the household members regarding an incident that took place more than half a century back. The strangest part, however, lies in the fact that due to prosopagnosia my mom is unable to recall any detail that characterised her life during those three years. It is almost as if her memory of that period has been somehow wiped clean. She lives her childhood through two phases of her past – one that existed before her disappearance and the other that characterised her life after she was rescued. The intervening years are a massive void. The nature of the ordeal has had a significant effect on the collective memory of the ones associated. The lack of a coherent narrative and the loss of memory has caused imagination, folklore and superstition to fill in the blanks.
One of the foremost individuals leading the search operations was my grandfather. The incident had dealt him a severe blow, but he kept trying to find her. Repeated failures had a detrimental effect on his psyche and finally he succumbed to his grief. He died in 1971 before his daughter was rescued. With my grandfather's death, one of the most crucial links to entire story was lost forever. The presence of a mysterious old woman near the house, tales of the evil eye and ghosts infesting the backyard, personal fables, alleged involvement of child traffickers and the secret underhand dealings of political honchos in a society torn by the impending political upheaval and the Bangladeshi Liberation War point to the extent collective memory might reach in order to substantiate a tale of irreparable loss of many.