ADPC-iPrepare: An encounter with a heart broken brave man

An encounter with a heart broken brave man

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Post by Khalid Bin Masud  
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Couple of weeks ago I was coming back to home from my class. I was just walking and listening to music. Suddenly an old man grabbed my attention. He was just sitting beside the footpath and crying.

I was surprised. I went near him and asked what happened. He first looked at me and smiled with tears in his eyes. He was happy someone came to ask him about his situation. He said that his name was Abdul Aziz. He was a rickshaw puller in Dhaka. He was around 69 years of age. When he said about his age I was stunned and asked why he had to pull rickshaw at such an old age.

He smiled and said ' God has taken away everything from me, Son.' Then he started his story. Yes, a real life story.

"I used to live in Shoronkhola (a southern coastal area of Bangladesh). 12th November was my youngest daughter's birthday. I had two daughters and my wife with me there. I had no son.

The date was 12th November, 2007. The weather of our area was getting worse. There was a low air pressure created in the Bay of Bengal which formed a cyclone.

We were not informed before. We had no quick transportation system. Heavy wind was blowing all the time but we coastal area people were used to this sudden change of weather and so most of us were not afraid at first.

But suddenly the situation became worse than before. The wind was uprooting the big strong trees, it was destroying the houses, and tin shades were flying like sharp blades. It felt like the judgment day had come.

It was around 10 pm when the wind slowed down. I along with my family went to our home to eat and sleep. I prayed to Allah for the positive change of the situation. But I did not know it was not the end.

We all were sleeping and suddenly at 2 am the wind grows again. We all tried to came out of our house but before we could, a big tree fell on our house and my youngest daughter, my lovely fairy-like girl was killed because the tree fell on her entire body. She was dead.

I was about to go and get her body when I heard people saying that water was coming ashore. So I had to run. I had to run leaving my dead girl.

You will not believe, son, even before we all villagers could reach the safe place, a huge wave of water was floating us away. I caught hold of my wife and my elder daughter and was trying to keep them closer to me. I was swimming holding them so it was difficult for me to swim. My wife realized the situation and told me to leave her, she said she will swim alone.

I left her hand and told her to stay close to me. It was now easier for me to swim. I was moving forward holding my daughter.

Suddenly I cried out loud. I just remembered that my wife could not swim. I looked around, I searched, I called, I yelled but my wife sacrificed her life for saving her husband and her daughter.

My son, I forgot that my wife couldn't swim. The situation was too intense that I forgot this thing and let my wife go. Every night even now I see in my dreams that my daughter and my wife is smiling at me sitting beside my bed.

I swam towards a higher ground with my elder daughter. She was crying as if she would tear the whole world into pieces.

I felt lost. It felt as if nothing is left in the Earth for me. I have seen two jewels of my life taken away from me today and I was unable to save any of them. I had only one jewel left, my elder daughter.

We stayed at the safe higher area until the transportation system came back to normal. Then I travelled to Dhaka and we both live here now"

When the man stopped I found out that I was in tears.

I have listened about these kinds of incident, read about these in book but never heard from a real experienced person.

I looked at him. There was no tear in his eyes but his eyes showed he hated the world, he hated what happened to him. He hated his fate.

He started again.

"I wish I could save my family. I wish there was a proper system which would have let us know about the dangerous condition of the weather and what was coming for us. Government should be more concerned about the life of the coastal area people. Navy and coast guard should have alerted us.

We were given a minimal sign that something bad might happen. No news was on the radio. We are poor people, we didn't have television.

Emergency transportation system was also very scarce, that's why I couldn't come to a safe place quick. I could have saved my wife then, but no. I couldn't.

Not enough reliefs were even sent there. All the remaining villagers, who stayed alive, had to live without food and save water for a long time. Even when the food came, it wasn't enough for the huge amount of people.

Our Bangladesh is a disaster prone country. Disaster will come and go. We should be alert so that no more people have to lose their loving ones like I did. I pray to God that nothing will ever happen to a person like what happened to me. Watching your family dying in front of your eyes, the feeling is unbearable, son. I couldn't even rescue their dead body."

All the time I was listening to the man and the incident was being visualized in my brain. I got up from there. I looked at the man and said "I cannot reduce your pain, I can’t even share the pain but from today I have a tremendous respect for a person whom I barely know."

I returned home and was thinking about the whole incident again.

Then I thanked God because he gave me a peaceful life where I face a very few problems and none of them are like taking disastrous problems yet.

From that day I have decided that I will work for disaster mitigation. I will help to raise awareness as much as I can. Life feels good when you live for yourself, but life feels better when you bring smile to a person’s crying face.

That is, I bet, world's most precious and happiest moment for the person who have brought the smile.

Let us work together to reduce disaster. We have to be united for this reason. We must be very careful.

Love the world, save the world.

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