Kishor Galpa Shamagra, Shahriar Kabir,
ISBN 984-598-065-1, 2004.
Shahriar Kabir, one of the first and finest children's and "Young Adult" authors of Bangladesh, hails from Old Dhaka. Most fictional works of this prolific writer bear whiffs of Old Dhaka and juvenile adventure, and by extension--nostalgia. His Kishor Galpa Shamagra is no exception. Many of the stories in it borrow delightfully from the author's memories as a Gregorian and Old Dhakaite. Kabir grew up in a rented Zaminderbari--full of history, mystery, and "ghosts,” and studied in one of the finest and oldest missionary schools of Old Dhaka. All these made him the lauded juvenile author that he is. In this collection of short stories, all the stories anthologized date from the 60s to the present. Apart from a few charming and petit translations of Chinese ghost stories, most stories are set in Old Dhaka. This anthology is nothing short of a magic carpet--transporting us new Dhakaites to a city of narrow alleys, vintage dilapidated houses, Khaas Dhakaiya-speaking grannies and grandpas, and hair-raising adventures! Rafiqun Nabi's quirky and whimsical cover and illustrations are simply cherry on top.
TS Marin is a lecturer of English at Primeasia University, and an ardent lover of children's literature and juvenilia.