Mufrad Nabeel Rahman
Golam Rezwan Khan
“On a day like today
The whole world can change
The sun's gonna shine, shine through the rain
On a day like today, no one complains
Free to be pure, free to be saved
On a day like today
You never wanna see the sun go down”
On a Day Like Today by Bryan Adams
This used to be one of his favourite songs by his favourite artist, Bryan Adams. The song is about optimism. The song is about life, about living every moment to the fullest and moving forward with a pure heart and mind. It's a song about the pursuit of greater things and about moving through thick and thin with blinding passion. “The sun's gonna shine through the rain.” He meant it and lived his life like that. This was the life of Mufrad Nabeel Rahman, a friend and a brother, a person who was admired by all those who knew him, a person who wanted to change the world in his own little way, but never lived to see the age of 21.
Mufrad was one of my best friends. He passed away on Dec 16th of hepatitis A after staying in a coma for nearly two weeks. He was the only son of Prof. Anisur Rahman of Apollo Hospitals and Prof Amena Mohsin of Dhaka University. Mufrad graduated from Scholastica in 2006 with my batch and was a student of Bangladesh Medical College. He was a brilliant student who bagged 4 A's in A-Levels, 9 A's in O-Levels and came first in his class all his life. He played cricket, he acted and was highly involved in the community. He was tall, fair, well built and good looking. He was polite and well-mannered and all his teachers loved him. Above all he was admired by everyone.
He was a brother to his friends, helping them all in his own little way. He once hauled my 25 kg luggage across an entire city block in New York in freezing cold and rain just because I was too tired to do so. He used to help people all the time with their studies and encouraged them to never give up; to keep on fighting no matter what. He sometimes almost took a parental responsibility in taking care of his friends. For many he used to be the guy who was the voice of wisdom, advising them against drugs, cigarettes or alcohol. He used to stand beside them and tell them to be good to their body and think about their future. He was the kind of guy who used to come up and sit beside you whenever you were down or sitting alone in school. He would ask you how you were and simply talk about random stuff to brighten your moment. I knew him for 10 years. In class two when I moved to Scholastica from my old school Play Pen, he once came up to me and said, “If I had a brother, I want him to look like you” He was only 10 when he said this to me and those words are perhaps the only words I still remember from that time. To a new kid in
school, it meant a lot.
He always liked to keep in touch with people. When many of us went to study in the US, he was the only one who actively sought to keep in touch with everyone in school. Most of us were too bothered with our own lives, but Mufrad made it a point to call everyone up and ask how we were and maintain old ties.
“I am sitting at the wheel
I got a green light
Not afraid of nothin' cuz heart and soul
I am built for life”
Open Road by Bryan Adams
Mufrad graduated from Scholastica and enrolled in Rutgers University, New Jersey to study engineering. However unlike most of us, who were excited to be studying in 'the land of opportunities' Mufrad never found peace or excitement in the US. He loved his family and his country too much to leave them. He missed his parents extremely, especially his mother whom he was in touch with almost everyday. Above all, he wanted to study medicine. It was his dream and he realised early on that it would be almost impossible for him to do so in the US. Mufrad was determined to go back to Bangladesh and to follow his dreams. I remember discussing this with him in a little room in New York last December. I argued with him the reasons why he should stay back in the US, because the opportunity and education here were unparalleled. Why would anyone give it up? It made no sense to me. Mufrad simply replied that, “It is in Bangladesh that I really can do the greatest good. I can perhaps study medicine here in the US, but in Bangladesh I can truly make a difference in people's life. I want to be there.”
His passion for studying medicine did not grow overnight. Even in high school he was perhaps the only A-level Biology student who was really passionate about it. He loved it and stressed over and over again that it was the only thing worth studying. He wasn't motivated by money. There were plenty of other ways he could have earned money, given his brilliance and talent. He simply wanted to be a surgeon because he felt “he could do the greatest good.” He ended up coming back to his homeland and studying in Bangladesh Medical College.
“Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for
You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for
You know it's true”
Everything I do by Bryan Adams
Mufrad was an amazingly determined guy. He taught others around him about the importance of never giving up. His constant insistence on being passionate about what you do and going forward, despite the setbacks, affected the lives of many of his friends. His friend Shamayel says the only reason she was still sticking with medicine despite the odds was because Mufrad kept encouraging her. Farah says, “Mufrad taught me the meaning of sacrifice. He taught me to strive and be willing to give up my own comforts and joys, for the greater good.” His favourite quote was “It is about how hard you can get hit and keep on moving forward” and his certainly lead by example, until the moment he died, till his last breath, throughout the two weeks in which he survived miraculously despite multiple organ failures and terminal coma. Mufrad was a fighter.
However, the greatest thing about Mufrad was that he was simply a great friend. Not only to me, but to almost everyone who knew him. He was a fun person to be around with. He took pleasure in the simple things in life, be it rewriting “Summer of 69”, cracking extremely lame jokes, riding the Bashundhara City bumper cars for the tenth consecutive time, taking crazy pictures in the middle of the night or arguing that Spiderman was better than Batman. He was great to be around. At least I thought so and I sorely miss all the times I have spent with him.
The last time I met Mufrad, in Dhaka over the summer, he said to me, “I have made a good decision coming back to Bangladesh. I am really happy here. Pray for me, dost.” I don't think I prayed for him like he told me to. Perhaps things would have been different if I had. But looking back, I just realised that this was a guy who lived a full life. At various stages in his own life, he might have been unhappy, but it is great knowing that he at least died as a happy person, doing what he loved doing, trying to fulfill the dreams he was always after and living in the country he loved amidst his loving parents.
Mufrad wasn't without his faults. Everyone has faults and while a few times I do admit joking about his eccentricities, I realised in the end what a great guy he was and how much I really admired him. I feel ashamed that I have not even measured up to what he has achieved so far. He left many of us angry, saddened and shocked at his untimely departure but in the end he left all of us extremely proud to have known him.
May Allah grant you eternal peace my friend in the 'new world' where you are set free. You deserve it. You were the best, even if you didn't realise it yourself.
Here I am this is me.
I am come into the world, so wild and free.
Here I am.
So young and strong.
Right here in the place where I belong.
It's a new world.
It's a new start.
It's a life with a beating of a young heart.
It's a new day with a new land.
And its waiting for me. Here I am.
Here I am by Bryan Adams
(R) thedailystar.net 2007