My Mother Parul: A Rare Flower

Thu, Mar 11, 2021 2:39 PM

My Mother Parul: A Rare Flower

Habiba Zaman

Parul is a scarce flower

The flowers bloom in April, available in the forest

Bloom at the end of the branches that have fragrance

Long and hairy flower bud

The petals vary from deep violet to rosy!


My mother, named Parul, was like a flower, a unique persona in her own clan

Born in Fakirbari, a well-known neighborhood of Barisal district town

Raised in a large joint family!


Dark skinned slender body, medium height and magnificent black eyes

Long black hair soaked in oil up to end of her heap

The Jobakushum oil preserved hair vastly black even in her eighties

Immaculate at home when Parul observed seclusion

Ironed white uniform saree at workplace when discarded veil for economic security!


It was undivided India under the British rule

Muslim women were seldom visible in high school, let alone higher education!

Parul wearing a burqa in a horse drawn cart attended Sadar Girls’ High school

Passed Matriculation exam under the Calcutta Board

Parul got a scholarship—allocated for Muslim women—for Delhi medical school

The clan instead arranged marriage that doomed her vision to be a doctor!


My mother’s conjugal life lasted for a decade

My father, leaving behind four infant daughters, suddenly passed away

Parul’s shelter, coziness as well security evaporated overnight

Stayed with her in-laws in a village of Barisal—Dudhalmow—for a year!


The clan prevented Parul and her daughters from further catastrophe

Her generous uncle Chan Chacha persuaded Parul

To attend Mymensingh Teacher’s Training College, far away from her familiar world

Leaving daughters with four relatives—three in Barisal and one in Dhaka

Parul diligently attended the college, lodged in a dorm, and trained as a schoolteacher

Upon completion of training, Parul landed, however, on a government job

Visionary Chan Chacha inspired Parul to be a custom officer, a job nobody envisioned!


Parul’s first posting was in Premtali, Rajshahi—a remote place in early 60s

A horse driven cart tomtom was the transport between Rajshahi and Premtali

Premtali was situated on the banks of mighty River Padma

An official border station between Rajshahi, then East Pakistan and Murshidabad, India

Boat was the sole transport for all kind of freights including mango

My Mom left two of us in Barisal with her parents for education, kept two infant daughters

Encountered harsh realities in a remote village far away from the extended family

Rented a mud-house without locks, no toilet and shower

Let’s not imagine about electricity and running water!


Parul’s intelligence, wisdom, audacity, perseverance overshadowed the harsh realities!

As a custom officer, she also worked in Benapole, Darshana, Barisal, and Khulna

Her decade long serving station was Benapole, a land border between India and then Pakistan

Met with countless remarkable individuals at the Benapole border station

As a dazzling storyteller, Parul skillfully transmitted workplace experience to her daughters!


Parul witnessed World War II, the short-lived India-Pakistan War in 1965

Liberation War in Bangladesh in 1971, Famine in 1974 and several national tragedies

Her endurance, bravery, determination overpowered countless adversaries

Life was always beautiful to her!

As a non-materialist person, Parul barely gathered wealth

Departed this world in her sleep at home as a property-less woman

Well-dressed, cherished relatives, friends, and colleagues

Parul enjoyed her life to the fullest extent!

Educating daughters while preserving dignity and self-esteem was her motto

As a mother, she was empathetic, taught life-skills, and nursed me in sickbed like an angel!


Parul, an eloquent speaker, was an adorable person to her clan and distant relatives

Her brothers, sisters, and countless cousins addressed Parul as “Buji”, the senior sister

Left behind an unwavering effect on the dearest ones around the world

Her charming personality is fondly remembered by the nearest and dearest ones

My mother Parul, as a woman, was ahead of her generation in wisdom and actions!


1st March 2021 Vancouver












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