Living in the memories of loved ones
Sami lost his father a year ago.
Thinking of his father, the eight-year-old often cuddles his uncle Shamsuzzaman Shams while he sleeps.
Mohammad Rabiul Karim, an assistant commissioner of the Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, was killed by terrorists during the July 1 hostage-taking at the Holey Artisan Bakery last year.
Rabiul's daughter Raina, aged eleven months, was not even born when he passed away. The little girl kisses her father's photographs as if she would feel the warmth of his love.
His wife Umme Salma and other family members miss every little thing about him. The family now lives at a rented home in Ambagan area near Jahangirnagar University.
Salma said Rabiul was a good husband, father, brother and a responsible son.
"People knew him as an amiable and selfless man. I hope my children would follow their father's ideals."
The DB official managed some time from his busy schedule to take his son with him on pleasure trips.
Shams said his elder brother was not only an honest police official, but also a patriot and dedicated social worker.
In 2011, he founded a school, Beaconing Light Organisation of Mankind and Society (BLOOMS), for special children in Katigram village of Manikganj. It has 41 students now.
The DMP official used to bear all the school expenses, including for uniform, tiffin, books, stationery and a school van.
The school is now run with financial support from his well-wishers. However, guardians, teachers and students are worried about its future.
Shams said the school managing committee and his family members would make sure that it is operated smoothly as per his brother's plan. Many people have pledged to support the school, he added.
In 2007, Rabiul had set up Nazrul Bidyasiri, a kindergarten school, in the village aiming to realise his father's dream. The school has 175 students of up to class V.
"My brother wanted to construct a residential building and a hospital on the BLOOMS campus for the students and the poor. He dreamt of setting up an old home for the destitute. He also planned to run an agricultural project to fund these institutions," Shams told The Daily Star.
Rabiul's family has already started implementing the project by planting a banana orchard on 137 decimals of land of his uncle. It has also started farming fish in a pond.
His mother Karimon Nesa still cannot hold back her tears while speaking of her son. The heartbroken mother takes pride in thinking that her son sacrificed his life for the country.
"I had no worries when my son was alive. After the death of my husband in 2006, Rabiul took the responsibility of our family," she lamented.
But the sudden demise of the family's lone breadwinner has left it in the dark.
Although the family received some government assistance, it has no permanent income now.
Karimon Nesa said the amount received from the government was deposited with a bank. "We could survive well if my younger son and Rabiul's wife get jobs as per their qualifications."
A Master's degree holder from Jahangirnagar University, Shams is serving a private company now while Salma, who completed Master's degree at National University, is still unemployed.
Salma said the Jahangirnagar University authorities had assured her of a first-class job.
"One year has passed, but the authorities are yet to deliver on their pledge," she added.
[Reprinted; first published on July 1, 2017]