A Google doodle commemorating Humayun Ahmed’s birthday also fittingly features his most popular character, a barefoot Himu in a yellow kurta and blue jeans.
The youthful bohemian vagabondish unkempt Himu is known only by that single name and caught the imagination of the young and old. The barefoot twenty something, always clad in a bright yellow kurta, has managed to join the ranks of other legendary characters of Bengali fiction like Masud Rana, a Bangladesh counter intelligence operative fashioned after James Bond, and Dhrubo, another mercurial character out of Shirshendu’s famous Durbin (telescope).
Himu is unschooled but not uneducated, simple minded but intuitive, unkempt yet attractive and eternally poor but perpetually content.
The doodle shows Himu walking through a grassy lawn up to his creator who is looking up from his book sitting at a table that has been cleared away after breakfast and now features a teapot and two cups.
The most popular contemporary Bengali writer, Humayun Ahmed was born on November 13, 1948. His first novel Nondito Noroke left little doubt that it would be the beginning of a glittering career. Indeed, by the time Humayun died in 2012, he had authored around 200 bestsellers.
Sometimes classified to belong to the magic realism school, Humayun has been a topic of much discussion of late, although in a passing manner, due to the release of the Irfan Khan starrer Doob that was supposed based on his life.
Humayun Ahmed had had three daughters and a son from his marriage to Gultekin in 1976. The couple divorced in 2003 and Humayun tied the knot with Shaon, who used to be one of his daughter’s friends, which sparked off scandalous controversy at the beginning and predictably still came to be accepted in the public domain. The writer had two sons from his second marriage who were with him through his last days of treatment in New York.
A PhD in Chemistry from North Dakota State, Humayun is also credited as a successful screenwriter, dramatist, film maker and song writer.
His last novel Deyal (the wall) written during his last days under cancer treatment in New York is based on the life Bangladesh’s founding president Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.