of a Brother
Antara Ahmed Choudhury
voyage of life, thousands of faces affect us and, hundreds of
hands touch while making the journey towards eternity. But only
a few faces leave a mark and very few hands come forward to
hold our hands and thus make the travel much more exhilarating
and worthwhile. No matter how short their presence can be, they
succeed in leaving the everlasting impression on your mind,
which later gives you the strength to move on, helps you to
smile when you yourself go through the hardest phase and spread
the message of love while standing on the edge of life. Very
few possess the audacity to embrace death with a smiling face
though knowing its too early to leave, at only 35.
I had the privilege to come across such an individual whom I
could see from a very close distance. Miku bhaia as
I called him had been my Santa Claus ever since my childhood
days. As Miku bhaia left for abroad at a very early
age, I hardly had much chances of seeing him around. To me,
he was like a Santa who used to come and go secretly. His occasional
visits were always full of Barbies and chocolates for his little
sister. This was what Miku bhaia was to me, whose yearly
visits always included souvenirs and warm hugs.
first time I could see him closely was in 1995 during a family
visit to America. I remember how Miku bhaia made that
short visit worth recalling. The long drives on the roads, of
Washington DC in bhaias Honda Civic where I always
had the preference to sit next to him, the scrumptious treats
in McDonalds and Baskin Robbins, the endless visits to shopping
malls and last but not the least the warmth and hospitality
of bhaia was all that made the difference.
a short span of time form Santa Claus, bhaia became
my Mills and Boons heroes, whose exuberance and debonari appearance
was enough to attract the women folk. I can still remember how
beautifully and artistically he had decorated his house, everything
was in a perfect shape, not even a pinch of dust could be found
at any corner. A young bachelor's house in such a unique shape
was quite a thing to see.
after a few months or our visit Miku bhaia came to
Dhaka to tie his knot. Miku bhaia's wedding was simply
an event to remember. It was in 1996 when the anti-government
movement was going on. All the shops were closed and vehicles
were on strike for indefinite period. Thus we made our borjatra
in rickshaws and an ambulance was hired as borer gari.
It was quite an occasion, with the youngsters to be a part of
the borjatri in rows of rickshaws and see the bride
and bridegroom coming in an ambulance. The wedding was simple
but unique in every proportion. Due to professional reasons
Miku Bhaia had to cut short his stay and thus we didn't
get much time to spend together.
1999 I saw him last when he came to attend Nermeen apa's (his
only younger sister) wedding. It was a very short trip, of about
a week. In spite of all his appointments he managed time to
visit us just the day before his flight. Though it was a brief
visit, it was indeed a memorable one. He spent the evening with
my family, chatting and arguing while going down memory lane
and refreshing memoris. Then when the time came to leave, Miku
bhaia as usual gave me his warm hug and we bade goodbye
to each other not knowing it was the final adieu.
a few months later suddenly one day we were informed that Miku
bhaia has been hospitalised to undergo a major operation.
After diagnosis the doctors concluded this as deadly cancer
which was spreading very fast.
his relentless struggle to survive. Everyday he was fighting
with death but always with a smiling face. Each day was a new
fight where hope was a far cry. A young heart just not ready
to give up, not ready to bow down to death knowing he was hoping
wanted others to suffer on his account and thus hid the unbearable
pain behind his smile which had the power to win the hearts
had any communication with him after his illness I remember
him mailing me after my HSC exams asking about my results and
future plans in spite of his own grim struggle for survival.
This is what he was, always concerned about others. In the last
four years he had to go through several operations and therapy.
He even had to use a wheelchair as his legs became too weak
to move. But all these couldn't lessen his irresistible desire
came the inevitable hour and he breathed his last on 18th November
2003 in Columbus, Ohio. Hundreds of people came to bid farewell
from different states regardless of nationality and religion.
Even the people of the hospice where he stayed till the end
informed they have never seen so many people coming to pay their
last homage to any individual. Thus it was his amiable nature
that succeeded in winning the hearts of many even in a foreign
last wish was to have lavenders on his grave so that it can
diffuse its fragrance throughout the the ambience. Today Miku
Bhaia is no more, no more are his warm hugs, but the
Santa Claus lives in the core of all who once knew him and goes
on spreading the message of love just like the beautiful Lavenders.
Shams, an electrical engineer, died on 18th November 2003 in
Columbus (Ohio) USA