Thu, Mar 11, 2021 2:39 PM
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