Update: 14 January, 2019 13:48 PM
Tribute to a mother
Son\'s open letter to his friends

Son\'s open letter to his friends

Mostafiz Uddin with his mother

Dear Friends,

You all would be aware by now that my mother passed away this 13th Dec. For the past six months, prior to her demise, she was critically ill and almost bed-ridden. During this time, I was so busy and yet overwhelmed with the thoughts of her well-being that I missed many of my appointments, abruptly left meetings mid-way or, could not keep up with so many of my acquaintances. At this hour, allow me to register my sincere apology to each of you for all my shortcomings or that I made you withstand these past months. At the same time, I feel compelled to share with you a bit about my Mom and of myself.

I was born in southern Bangladesh district of Chattagram (Chittagong), in a middle-class family. In many considerations, my childhood was just ordinary, except my Mom: she was the one to inspire me to be my 'self' and 'listen to my heart'. When other kids were protected from the world, my mother encouraged us (including my two other siblings) to go out and experience the world first-hand. I remember, during my Boy Scout days in the late 1980s, when my friends were barred by their families to go to the Scout camp to a remote place, my mother forced an 11-year old (me) to take a 2-day tedious journey 300 km away to an unknown location, without any phone or internet connection as we have today! Today, I look back and thank her for introducing me to my ‘self’, in building confidence in me that day. With her inspiration, I actively worked for three months with the US Military disaster relief program ‘Operation Sea Angel’, in the aftermath of the devastating Cyclone that devastated the southern coast of Bangladesh in 1991. That time, tugging Bangladesh flag on my right chest, my love for my country was etched deep within me. I took great pride (and I still do) in representing our nation to far-flung corners of the world. Later, in 1993, I received the highest award as a Boy Scout from the President of Bangladesh, in recognition of my works. My mother was so happy and proud of my achievements; and said, ‘I am proud of you and believe, I have raised my sons in such a way that they would be able to cope up in any adverse situation’.

Right after completing my Higher Secondary School in 1995, my father Mr Moslem Uddin passed away in heart attack. All my teenage dreams were shattered right away with his sudden death. As the eldest son of the family and with no earning member, the responsibility of my younger brothers Rubel (14) and Himel (5) naturally fell on my shoulder. My larger family and relatives wanted me to run my father’s small shop which I inherited. But, it was my mother who shielded me from the rough weather and sent me to South India for higher studies. One of her primary reasoning was to keep me away from any family distraction.

During my student years in India, there was no mobile phone or internet. Mom used to call me over a land phone booth that was in front of my University Bldg. I still remember standing and waiting near the only phone available for the students for hours on the scheduled day for her call, just to hear her voice and blessings. Mom would often write to me. I used to read those letters over and over again and burst out into tears at times. Those letters served as not only by means of communication but also the life-long inspiration that eventually shaped up my life. I still treasure those invaluable letters in my personal archive, and today am sharing some parts with you.

As a struggling middle-class family with no earning member, it was very hard for my mother to continue with my expenditure. But, she never failed to do so. Though at times 100 USD dollars per month that she would send me, could be a trifle to my well off classmates in India, I knew very well how my mother was mobilising that 100 dollars to send me, even skipping her meals and foregoing many of her crucial necessities. However, she was never ashamed of our situation. She would rather say, "There is no shame in being poor. Lets rather have the courage to admit it to others."

On returning home in 1999, I wanted to go to the USA with a scholarship. But, God had something else in mind. Par chance I meet a USA citizen on a flight who requested me to join him in his endeavour to do something for Bangladesh in the Ready-made Garments sector. When I asked my mother, her advice was to follow my dream of doing something for Bangladesh and our people. As this industry is all about people, I decided to stay back in Bangladesh and start working from where I could start chasing my dreams. But maybe God has planned something different for me. I quitted the job, after an 11-month stint, for an incident.

One day the owner called me from the USA for making a shipment of canceled goods by another client. Though it was quite tough to make it but considering the situation I took the challenge despite I was suffering from serious fever. The next morning I left home taking blessings from Mom with a challenge of completing the task within two days. I briefed my workers about the situation. They showed their enthusiasm and agreed to work for interminable hours for the next two days to make it happen. I myself went to the bazaar and arranged dinner for all the workers, but a representative of the owner came and asked me to stop the feast terming it as a ‘party’. I told her that it was not a party, rather a humble recognition of the enthusiasm and motivation for the workers. Since I denied listening to her order, we both had arguments and conveyed my decision of leaving the job. After returning home in the next morning I saw Mom was anxiously waiting for me to know whether I successfully shipped the goods. I shared with Mom though the goods were shipped I quitted the job and also explained the reason. Listening to the details, Mom said “You did the right thing. You left the job in protest of an unethical order.” Later on, the owner came to Bangladesh and he even came to my house to convince Mom so that I again join the job. Mom greeted him with great hospitality but cordially conveyed him “I grew up Mostafiz with ethics. He will never bow down his head to compromise his own principles whatever the situation it might be”. Though I literally fell into an ocean of uncertainty without the job and I had no job offer in hands too, I did not return to that job.

I was again back to square one of hardship after temporary 11 months of solvency with the salary I used to earn from the job. Whatever I earned as the salary I handed it over to Mom to maintain the family expenses. So after leaving the job, my pocket was again empty and head was again full of worry which eventually moved me to buy a computer with instalments from one of my close friends. With the only computer I commenced my sincere trying to do sourcing and from there the seed of my entrepreneurship started blooming. In the year 2000, I floated my own company with super blessings of my Mom. My Mom was always there with me during my startup days and she always encouraged me to do my best and assured that I would reach my coveted goal in a few years time. Time passed by and from a humble beginning we expanded gradually and Mom always supported my every movement with positivity which she taught us during our childhood. I am truly blessed to have a Mom with strong determination and willpower & eventually infused on to me. Today I have achieved a pinnacle of success after lots of hard work and sincerity. Mom must be watching us from heaven and showering her blessing on us so we can lead a simple, honest and humble life.

Then a new part of the struggle in my life started. It was a daunting task to stand up as a start-up business. Perpetual inspiration from Mom during that period added fuel to my body, mind and soul. I tried every bit to establish the sourcing business. I had to regularly travel to China. Mom used to pack me home-cooked foods in boxes to carry for the whole trip. That love, that concern, that worry – is still so priceless and heavenly. I have been never lavish rather snobbish to luxury throughout my life. Whatever I earned through the sourcing business, after meeting the family needs, I tried to save some. With the accumulated money, whatever I saved from 2000, I completed my own factory in 2009. I dreamt that my Mother would inaugurate the factory. She had been the most deserving person in my life; and other than her, who else could I think of. But, Mom’s health started going downhill from early 2009. She was diagnosed with severe cardiac problem. Her doctors opted for open heart surgery. They suggested for surgery: India would be ok, Bangkok would be better, and Singapore would be the best. Considering my financial condition at that time, it was way too expensive for me. But, to me, nothing in the world was more precious and valuable than my mother. I took her for surgery in Singapore.

In 2010, mother returned home after recovery. Eventually, she inaugurated my factory. when she first saw the factory on the inauguration day, it was a near chock to her while my lifelong dream came true. I remember her saying that day, ‘Every mother would be proud of a son like you’.

In 2014, I started Bangladesh Denim Expo. Whenever I was in Dhaka, she used to watch all the TV channels the whole day looking for me. When I returned home at night, she used to say with a lot of pride ‘I saw you my son on TV’. Nothing was more pleasing than those emotions I could see in Mom’s eyes, face. Once I was done with the Denim Expo or for that matter any business travel overseas, on completion of work I would rush back home to be with my mother. After work nothing was important and I would retire only after hugging my mother.

After my father passed away, I always tried to fulfil the dreams of my mother, and thanks to Almighty for helping me accomplish all those. My mom often said, ‘Besides being their elder brother, in absence of your father, you are the fatherly figure to your brothers’. So, after I completed my education, I took over all the responsibilities of my two younger brothers. I tried my best to take care of them like a father and never made any excuse when it came to their betterment. I ensured their education to the best of my ability, not letting the shadow of our father’s absence on them. Perhaps I was the happiest person when my brothers returned and joined me after completing their education. I am thankful to Almighty for affording me the ability to fulfil my Mom's wishes. Mom is in heaven, now my brothers are like the two eyes of my Mom.

When it comes to my personal life, to be honest, I am a true introvert. Many complain about the absence of my family from my social network. I consciously stay away. The fact is I got married in 2011. My family was looking for a bride for me for 2 years but no one was selected since Mom could not choose anyone. I was always determined to marry the one who would be chosen by my mother. Finally, I asked her whether she had someone in her mind as I could understand that she might have chosen someone. Mom told me about the bride of her own choice and I told her to finalize it, thus I got married. Now I am very very happy with my wife Tanny and we are blessed by our very dear son named 'Raheel'. I think my biggest gift to Mom is her grandson. From his age of 3, my mother and Raheel used to go outside together. Mom and Raheel spent a lot of time together. I am so lucky to have their love, affection, respect and support, though I can hardly give them much time.

In 2012 Mom expressed her will to attend the Holy Hajj and I am thankful to Almighty that I could arrange it for her to perform the Hajj along with her brother. She performed Hajj with sickness. It was my wish that next time I will go with Mom to perform Hajj, but could not fulfil this wish. I have planned to perform the Holy Hajj this year without Mom, I will be touching Kaaba and will pray for my mother InshaAllah. Please pray for me so that I can perform this time.

My mother was the source of inspiration - not just for me, but for most of us in Denim Expert. Mom knew my employees are like my life. So she always cared about them. Every Ramadan, she used to invite all the employees at our home for having Iftar together. Whoever came to see me at home, my mother used to take care. Each and every one of my foreign friends visited my home, and she would always be there. She was the best person to speak to everyone.

Mom had to undergo two more cardiac surgeries in 2012 and 2014. In 2017, she was diagnosed with Cancer. For treatment, her one kidney had to be removed in Singapore. And, in 2018, Mom left this world. I have not felt so lonely ever in my life. Over eight days going, I cannot just make it up.

I always tried my best to fulfil my mother’s wishes and I will continue to do whatever she asked me. I used to share with her my vision on how I want to make Bangladesh proud. She would always tell me with confidence and blessings ‘you will do it, Son’.

Today, Mom is not with me. I think, Moms never die. My Mom just crossed the boundary of this universe, and she is here, around me and us. I can hear her talking to me, guiding me throughout my earthly life. I will always find her in my activities which she taught and inspired me.

I seek each of your sincere prayers for her departed soul, and also that I and all in my family can stand up to her wishes, expectations. I am overwhelmed to receive countless condolence messages from many after the death of my mother. I sincerely apologize that I could not answer many of you at that time. But I am really grateful to all of you for your feelings for me and my family. Thank you for bearing with me.

Writer: Mostafiz Uddin, Managing Director of Denim Expert Ltd, Founder & CEO of the Bangladesh Denim Expo

সম্পাদক : ইমদাদুল হক মিলন,
নির্বাহী সম্পাদক : মোস্তফা কামাল,
ইস্ট ওয়েস্ট মিডিয়া গ্রুপ লিমিটেডের পক্ষে ময়নাল হোসেন চৌধুরী কর্তৃক প্লট-৩৭১/এ, ব্লক-ডি, বসুন্ধরা, বারিধারা থেকে প্রকাশিত এবং প্লট-সি/৫২, ব্লক-কে, বসুন্ধরা, খিলক্ষেত, বাড্ডা, ঢাকা-১২২৯ থেকে মুদ্রিত।
বার্তা ও সম্পাদকীয় বিভাগ : বসুন্ধরা আবাসিক এলাকা, প্লট-৩৭১/এ, ব্লক-ডি, বারিধারা, ঢাকা-১২২৯। পিএবিএক্স : ০২৮৪০২৩৭২-৭৫, ফ্যাক্স : ৮৪০২৩৬৮-৯, বিজ্ঞাপন ফোন : ৮১৫৮০১২, ৮৪০২০৪৮, বিজ্ঞাপন ফ্যাক্স : ৮১৫৮৮৬২, ৮৪০২০৪৭। E-mail : [email protected]