It was on August 25, 2018, an evening just after the Kurbani Eid holidays, when Mr. Kamran, 66, a returnee from Dubai, went to Banani graveyard, Dhaka to visit his mother’s and father’s graves. After saying prayers he asked the caretaker of the graveyard “Do you have any empty grave?”
The caretaker did not seem too surprised. But he asked nevertheless, “For whom Sir? Do you need it today? “No, not today but...” Mr. Kamran mused while they were walking together alongside the graveyard wall. Then suddenly Mr. Kamran stopped walking, looked into Jahangir’s eyes and said, “Soon in the future, we are getting old.”
Mr. Kamran did not know then that he was looking at the final resting place of his son.
Exactly 11 days later, Mr. Kamran was standing anxiously in front of the door of the ICU of a prominent Hospital in Dhaka, Bangladesh where his son Belal was lying on bed with life-support machine. He had contracted dengue fever. For two days now, he was waiting anxiously outside his son’s cabin. The security guard was feeling uncomfortable with Mr. Kamran’s presence. He asked politely “Sir, why don’t you go to the nearby waiting room and relax?” After half an hour, the guard came back to Mr. Kamran again and said “Sir, you can’t keep on standing in front of the ICU door, you have to go. I will call you if there is any need.” The guard was somewhat rude this time. Mr. Kamran had been in tears; at the guard’s voice, he sobered up and replied in broken voice “Look, if Belal wants to tell me something and calls me, you will not hear, but I will..…, I want to stay as near to him as I can and as long as it needed”.
At 9:30 in the evening, Mr. Kamran was lowering the cold, heavy, and motionless body of his beloved son Belal (an engineer and only 31 years old) in the grave. Mr. Kamran was still very near to Belal but could not hear his voice saying “Daddy, I have MBA class at NSU. I will not be back soon and don’t wait for me.” Belal used to say this to his Dad whenever he had to go the University to attend classes in the evening.
Some day, sooner or later, Mr. Kamran will also go to the same place where Belal lives now, but how to find him? From where shall Kamran start looking for Belal? Shall he call loudly, “B...e.....l....a.......a........l, I am here?” Will Belal hear his father’s voice? Will he respond to it? Mr. Kamran does not know. A father’s anguish for his lost son goes beyond logic and keeps on wondering if he would ever see him again.
M Omar Faruq is an engineer by profession.