They came and there were a lot of them: ministers, civil servants, lawyers, journalists, diplomats, businessmen and -women, professors, poets, actors, playwrights, teachers, literary scholars, policemen, mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers.
It marked the coming together of the past and the present as they laughed and joked as if there was no tomorrow.
Basking in the glow of a disappearing wintry evening, old friends hugged and talked about the wild and crazy times. They looked at pictures, sang songs and caught up on one another’s lives.
Their faces glistened with excitement; they greeted everyone and everything that came their way with laughter.
On the grassy lawn at the Teachers-Students Centre, they met up at the invitation of English Department Alumni Society and happy memories came rushing.
They had a lot to share, to say about when they were younger and wanted to relive some of it at the 27th alumni. The air was filled with pure excitement.
Benazir Ahmed, Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner, spent the evening talking with his friends.
“The university life is the best part of everyone’s life,” a nostalgic Ahmed sighed.
AMA Muhith missed his friends. The Finance Minister did his Masters from the department in 1955.
“We have grown old. None from our batch could make it here. But, I came, it feels different being here.”
“Some of my friends are still alive and I am still in touch with some of them. But none of them are in a position to join programmes like this.”
Some brought along their families with them while some came alone.
Many of them are now well-heeled, having blossomed with the education they got there to chase the frontier of the future (by earl). And yet, here, many of them were the frontier of their own pasts.
“Talk to him. Write about him,” was the most common line they used showing each other’s friends as bdnews24.com approached them.
Then there was this man, AJM Omar Faruque, himself a pensioner, who came with his father’s 1940 Dhaka University certificate. A retired biochemist, he said he was keen to meet someone of his father’s generation and which was why he came to the get-together.
The father, Abdul Awal, died when he was just eight months old, and did not leave behind even a photograph for his son.
“How did my dad look like?” was the question written all over his face as he entered the venue. “I read in the papers that Dhaka University English graduates from as far back as 1940s would come. So I came to meet one of them,” he said, apologetically.
Amidst all these, they did not forget what life is about as they stood for a minute in silence in memory of those friends and teachers passed away recently in their knowledge or beyond — Professor Khan Sarwar Murshid and Professor K Rezaur Rahman.
Chotpoti and Pithha were there to go with the ‘adda’ followed by a sumptuous dinner.
The department’s incumbent Chairperson Tahmina Ahmed gave the welcome speech, followed by addresses by Vice Chancellor AAMS Arefin Siddique and the Alumni Society President Masrur Chowdhury.
The Society’s General Secretary Toufique Imrose Khalidi presented the annual report.
‘Nandan’ Chairman and CEO Masrur Chowdhury and bdnews24.com Editor-in-Chief Khalidi were re-elected.
The 25-strong committee has three Vice Presidents, two Joint General Secretaries and a Treasurer. The rest 17 are the members of the society.
The VPs are Wazir Sattar, Planning Commission Member Masud Ahmed, Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan. The two Joint Secretaries are Sylvia Islam and Ishtiaq Majid. The Department Chairperson is the ex-officio Treasurer.
The EC members include Geetiara Shafia Chowdhury, former Secretary Rezaul Kabir, IGP Hassan Mahmood Khandker, businessman Dewan Shahryar, Information Secretary Hedayetullah Al Mamoon, Dhaka Police Commissioner Benazir Ahmed, Professor Shahnaz Sinha, Abdur Razzaque Miah among others.
(as published on bdnews24.com)