People crowded in Mansur Ahmed’s house. Among those who came were Shipra’s uncle Manzur Ahmed, and the others were of her uncle Humayun Kabir and his wife Marufa Rahman. Besides the neighbours, Shipra’s close friends of Shipra’s family and near and dear ones came. There were so many people in the house that the house looked like a public place. But there was pin drop silence. Grief engulfed the house. Tears were rolling down everyone cheeks for Shipra. None could imagine that Shipra would leave them so soon. No one would see her flashing her lovely smile. The walls of the house resounded with her melodious tune. The jingle of her dances still echoed. She was always the centre of any ceremony. She was an excellent singer and dancer. For any family function she was a must. Shipra had left forever without giving any notice to anyone. But why? No one could give a reply to the question. The fact was, Shipra had gone and gone forever. This hard fact had to be accepted. Even after this, was there anything to console the family?
Nilufar Jahan embracing her daughter was crying and shouting, ‘We neglected her. That’s why she left us. She wanted to live. She had many dreams. She would sometime tell me about her dream. She used to say, ‘Mummy, Daddy has neglected you. He could not give you time. You spent your whole life for the family. You worked ceaselessly and took a lot of pain. You couldn’t enjoy life even for a moment. Mummy, don’t feel any worries for that. Don’t make any complaints against Daddy. Don’t you know how busy he is for the welfare of the country and its people. We two sisters are with you. We have no one except you. After I finished my education I shall take-up a job. With the first month’s salary I shall buy you a sari with red frills. The colour of sari will be sky blue. The sari of that colour will match you very much. Daddy is fond of Punjabi’s. I shall buy a Punjabi and pajama for him.’ She had may plans for her younger sisters Shila. Those two sisters were two flowers. One fell in a storm. Another flower becomes helpless after losing her partner. I don’t know what will happen to Shila now, who will now fulfill her demands. All her demands were to Shipra.
Only a short while ago Shipra told me, ‘Mummy, Is there any news of Akmal Bhai? I could not tell anything.’
Mansur Ahmed was sitting in a corner. He was crying and shouting that, ‘It was my negligence that my daughter has left us. My Shila told me, ‘Daddy my sister has very high fever. Go and see her at least once. Even after that I didn’t see my daughter as closely as I should have done. Perhaps, she had many things to tell me. Perhaps she had some demands on me. I did not give any value to her desires or demands. Today, how can I console myself?’
Humayun Kabir had a soft corner for Shipra since her childhood. He always called her ‘mother’. He had a latent desire to make her his daughter in law. This desire was in his mind. He never expressed this desire. He never knew that shipra was very eager for Akmal. When he came to know this he became broken hearted. He thought that his son Akmal was no more alive, perhaps she could guess it, and otherwise there wouldn’t have been such a sudden death of their divine love. No one could prevent their tears hearing Shila’s cry. Everyone was weeping like children.
After the death of Shipra, the family could realize how dear she was to so many people. A pall of sorrow covered the whole Dhanmondi area. Hundreds of the neighbours rushed to have a last glimpse of shipra. Shipra was buried in Azimpur graveyard, after the burial, when everyone was returning home, it was found that Shila was lying on the grave of Shipra. She was crying. Tears were rolling down her eyes.
Her father Mansur Ahmed had to persuade her, ’my daughter, don’t weep. Your tears will increase her hardship.’ ‘But Shila was not listening to her father. She was crying like a mad woman.
Crying Shila said, ‘How can my sister live in such a desolate place? Mummy, if I don’t stay with her, she will be afraid. I shall not go to any place leaving behind my sister. I shall not go home without taking my sister with me.’
Shila wanted to know, ‘With whom shall I talk now? With whom shall I share my happiness and sorrow?
Nilufar Jahan said, ‘I can feel your pain Shila. What can we do? This is your destiny.’ ‘Mummy, don’t blame destiny. It is our neglect that separated her from us. I am also will go with her. I shall not live with you. All of you leave this place.
After collective and repeated persuasion Shila was bought home.