Saying goodbye to Abba   Leave a comment

A call from Amma (mother) even before the Mosque loudspeaker announces the end of night awakened me like a classic setting for bad news. Laboni, my wife, took the call and went to the other room to talk; on return, she told me that Abba (father) was sick, he was having high fever and breathing problem. Amma also insisted to call my younger sister who lived in London and we understood that it was serious. We immediately called the youngest sister and relatives who live close by to go there and help. It was the near climax of a tragedy started a week ago when the motor bike of a cousin was slammed strait by a reckless driver from the opposite direction accompanied by a bunch of equally careless bikers; I was sitting just behind him and we both were injured. Only in the preceding evening, after a week, the doctors could finally find that my check bone is broken and I need a surgery to fix it. They set the date of surgery few days ahead. I was weak, unfit for travel and we all were upset and anxious.  So we initially sought help from relatives and friends living close to them. The doctor next door wakes up early to attend Fazr namaj (morning prayer), we told Amma to call him. He came and checked Abba and applied suppository to control the temperature. It did not work; he suggested hospitalisation for respiratory support.  Relatives who came took Abba to the hospital and he was in a critical condition. Phone calls were flying around as well as confusion.  We were utterly confused, should I start now? Will my physical condition permit it? Then around 10.00 am they asked to start. I knew; Abba was no longer with us. We started to see him for the last time. It was 11 May 2012.

We started for our native village where we decided to lay him in final rest. From Valuka when we took the eastward road to home, the scorching summer sky tuned heavy. In a dim light I was looking at the familiar sights I have crossed numerous times with Abba since my childhood. With our approach the weather became heavier; with gentle breeze, under the dull light, curtains of mist hovering over the golden paddy field like mysterious shroud created a gloomy, enigmatic mood. As if the land, the sky, was receiving its loving son for the last time with grief and care of a mourning mother. Abba was an agronomist by profession and descendent of a well off peasant family, he always loved those fields, he devoted considerable amount of time to look after the family farming besides his service in the agriculture department of the government. He managed to come to these fields even though he was serving at the other end of the county. He always lived close to this land, among its people.

We reached our village home, people were gathering there- relatives, neighbours, friends, acquaintance from far and near. They were comforting us, as well as each other; some of them were preparing the grave, others were looking after for the funeral rites. Soon they brought Abba. The gathering, one after another, came to see him. Then we carried him on shoulders for the Zanaza (funeral prayer), a splash of drizzle, like a sprinkle of blessing water, accompanied us on the way.  It was prayer time- we kept him in the veranda of the village Madrasa (religious school) and many others went for the prayer. I was standing by Abba and looking around- open field in front, glowing in mystic light with golden paddy ready to harvest under misty shroud, far away lonely peasant rushing to carry his harvest away from rain, as if everything happening in slow-motion; I was thinking- Abba loved those views so much; he would have been delighted to see this. May be the loved land was embracing its beloved son forever who loved her so much, who fought for her and who always belonged to her.

After the regular prayer, people congregated for the Zanaza. A group of Freedom fighters from the area came to give farewell to a fellow fighter; they covered the body with the national flag and paid their respect. Then a troop of police force gave guard of honour on behalf of the state for his service to the country during the liberation war as a Freedom fighter. Following that I asked for forgiveness to all as a son according to the custom before the Zanaza. At last, we laid him to rest beside his mother forever.

* Abba and Amma have been living in Mymensingh city, we periodically visited them, Amma is still living there alone, reluctant to leave her own house and living in Dhaka. I went directly to our village rather than Mymensingh city.

(I wrote this few days after returning from hospital, being able to sit on a computer, but took time to post and did some editing in the meantime.)

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Posted July 31, 2012 by Abu Ala in Uncategorized

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