Though it had been over 10 years since she saw him, it took Selina Akhter less than 10 seconds to recognise her father on Friday.
As the 35-year-old embraced Ayub Hossain, tears streamed down her eyes. But those were not of grief, but rather happiness -- to be able to reunite with her father after such a long time.
Ayub, now 55, had left home after becoming mentally unstable.
Ayub, from village Angorpara under Jhikorgacha upazila of Jashore wanted to go abroad for work and sold a piece of land for this. But due to some family issues, he was not able to do so.
The incident affected him severely, and according to family members, he became unstable. One day, he just walked out of home, they said.
Due to his mental condition, he was not able to remember who he was or any of his family members. He roamed around for a while and lived on charity.
He finally ended up in Khulna.
The reunion became possible because of a noble effort by one Sk Habibur Rahman, who not only gave Ayub shelter, but also helped him reconnect with his family.
“My younger daughter Maesa saw him at Dumuria bus stand first. She started bringing him food while going to school,” said Habibur, former chairman of Khornia Union Parishad of Khulna's Dumuria upazila.
“One day my daughter requested me to give Ayub shelter in our house,” he said. “So we took him in. We called him Mehman (guest). My wife, Halima Rahman, looked after him.”
Sk Maesa Rahman, a student of Dumuria Government Girls High School, said, “My elder sister, who is a doctor, treated him [Ayub] after consulting with a psychiatrist.”
“I feel happy for our Mehman as he finally remembered who he was and got reunited with his family after such a long time,” she added. “Almost every day, we used to ask him his name and background but he could not provide any. We even published advertisement in newspaper, to no avail.”
Around 20 days ago, he started to remember who he was and told us the name of his village, she added.
On April 4, Habibur Rahman went to Ayub's village in Jashore. At a bazaar in Jhikorgacha, he cross-checked Ayub's information and found his daughter Selina, who lives with her family at Ganganandapur of the same upazila.
On Friday, Habibur brought Ayub's daughter and wife to his house for the reunion.
This correspondent also visited the residence in the morning. It was surrounded by locals, who gathered there to greet the reunited family. Ayub, with a smile on his face, was trying his best to answer everyone's questions.
Selina, sitting beside her father, told him about his grandchildren.
“I'm elated to see my husband after so many years. We almost gave up hope,” said Ayub's wife Marjina Begum. “Words cannot express our gratitude towards them [Habibur and his family] for looking after him and helping him get well.”
Ayub, still a little overwhelmed, told this correspondent, “I now have two families, what more could I ask for?”