Sunday, January 08, 2012

My Father's Tree

January 7 was my father's fourth death anniversary.

He is buried at the graveyard at Dargah near the mausoleum of Hajrat Shah Jalal, a Muslim saint from the thirteenth century.

My father spent many of his last days in Sylhet, his birthplace. He had an office up on a hill in Rainagar where he spent several hours a day. He was specially kind to the poor children around that neighborhood and often gave them food and gifts and took them around in his microbus.

On this day I go to Sylhet. Buying two goats, rice and other cooking material, I get the cooks at the Dargah to make a large pot of akhni polao, a Sylhet-style biriyani.

Then I divide the polao into packets and them distribute among the children of Rainagar. This is probably what would have made my father happy.

Forty years ago, my father's office was in Dhaka's Dilkusha, near the President House, which was closed to the public. Inside President House were these graceful, tall trees called Buddha Narikel (Pterygota Alata.)

One day my father paid a guard at President House ten taka to bring him some seeds that had dropped from the trees. He then planted them.

This is one of the trees he planted. The photo was taken on a stormy night. The tree is 6-7 stories tall now.

May you rest in peace, Mr. Ahmed Kabir Choudhury.


The Postcolonial Rabbit said...

My dua for your father. He would surely be proud of your gifts, both writing and photography.

I was very moved by your post as my father died five years this coming February. He is buried in the cemetery next to the old mosque in Old Narinda. It's a beautiful tranquil place.

I only wish it was easier for me to visit. But like your father's tree, I take comfort in the garden of my parents' home, which has so many plants he cared for growing stronger and more beautiful each day for his efforts.

ulysses said...

Thank you very much, Postcolonial!

Prayers for your father. Glad to hear that you have his plants for solace.

I have heard of this cemetery in Narinda, but never been there. Will look for it the next time I go.

Photo Cache said...

what a very touching memorial and tribute to your father.

ulysses said...

Thank you very much, Photo Cache.