| Rukbanur Rahman offers Id prayers on Sunday. He said later that he kept thinking of brother Rizwanur and could barely concentrate on the namaz. Picture by Amit Datta
No new clothes, no biryani, only grief intruded upon by an endless stream of visitors. Id was yet another day spent in mourning for the Rahmans of Tiljala Lane.
The only member of the family who could be heard in the cramped house was two-year-old Zara, Rukbanur’s younger daughter. “Chacha kab ayenge aur mujhe Idi denge' (When will uncle come and give me the Id gift')” she asked her mother, unaware that her uncle was no more.
In a corner of the room, Rizwanur’s mother Kishwar Jahan sat weeping. She clutched the pallu of her white printed sari and said: “Kaku (her name for Rizwanur) ne diya tha pichhle sal. (Kaku gave me this last Id.)”
Every year, Rizwanur would gift her three saris on Id. And on the preceding night, he would decorate the house with balloons and flowers.
The mother pointed to a crack in the tiled roof of the house that the son had promised to repair by Id. She recounted how Rizwanur’s friends and colleagues from Arena Multimedia used to visit them on the festival day.
The menu was always “biryani and firni, which everyone liked”, she said. This time around, no food was cooked in the house. Neighbours took Rukbanur’s two daughters and the children of the visiting relatives to their home and fed them. Many of the older members of the family went without food.
Shafique Ali, who lives close to the Rahmans, said: “The least we can do is stand by the family in its hour of crisis. When Rizwanur was alive, he would get Id gifts not only for his family but for every child in the neighbourhood.”
He and scores of relatives and friends could not take Kishwar Jahan’s mind off her beloved Kaku. She held her younger son’s photograph to her chest and wept.
Those who had dropped in to offer condolences — including many from the adjacent areas who had not known the Rahmans even a month back — tried to make Kishwar Jahan lie down. But she continued: “My son was murdered. The administration has not done anything to bring his killers to book. I can only pray to god. The chief minister has promised to punish the killers. But will he'”
Near the gate of the house, Rizwanur’s sister Minu sat alone. “My brother used to bring new clothes for all of us before Id. On the day, he would give me Rs 1,000 as Idi. We were so happy,” she muttered, as tears trickled down her cheeks.
The other houses in the lane, too, were cast in gloom. Nobody in Tiljala Lane celebrated Id. Rizwanur’s pictures, black flags and posters were put up by local youths on the small ground adjacent to the Rahmans’ house. “CM, we want justice” was the message on most.
Id namaz began around 9am. It was the first time Rukbanur offered namaz without his brother. “I kept thinking about him and could barely concentrate,” he said.
As others got up after the prayer, Rukbanur sat down on the ground and wept. His friends carried him to a chair and then took him home.