Our Vincent Jabeen

Maskwaith Ahsan
Articles & Essays
Our Vincent Jabeen

The good die young, because they are too good for this world.

Jabeen Jahan has said her final goodbye to all of us whom she loved and cared for.

I met her in Rajshahi college, she had secured position in the combined merit list. As she was raised abroad she preferred to converse in English.

One day I delivered a speech in English as our English teacher Shahnaz had asked me to. After that session Jabeen suggested I study English literature instead of taking the generic path of engineering.

Thus she became my friend philosopher and guide. Another thing we had in common was that we had both left cadet college to pursue other dreams. We hosted many cultural programmes in college.

Her mother was a gem of a person, as was her father. Her younger brother Rano was the most courteous boy around us.

Her mother comes from Rooppore near Ishwardi, used to be neighbours with my grandmother; she would often invite me for lunch even after moving to Dhaka.

Jabeen became an Electrical Engineer from BUET and did her MBA from IBA. Soon she became a successful corporate manager, being the all-rounder and good soul she was.

She called me once I returned from Germany and informed me that she was migrating to Australia. She had a friendly husband and a cute son by that time. I think the insecurity in our society pushes many people to migrate to a place where there’s a guarantee of natural death.

That was the unsettling time of one eleven, I was awfully occupied in the BD news 24 media house. Alas I failed to join her for dinner. She made fun of me:

“That’s the Pavel I know who can even miss a candle light dinner.”

Jabeen had this amazing sense of humour since her childhood.

She sent me a friend request on Facebook from Australia, so I could see photographs of nature and the sea. She had adjusted quite well as she always had her small world of reading and sitting besides the ocean.

She used to read my prose and appreciate to inspire. One day she complained why I don’t write about our college life!

“Come on Pavel we are all grown up now, we can all handle a colourful autobiography of yours.”

We had a culturally-evolved circle of friends; appreciating stories of truth, love, little malice and the merry-go-round of our youth.

My wife also told me to write an autobiography not like a typical South Asian man who would portray himself as a born priest.

Jabeen read my novel Nawabjaan and liked all of it. I never knew that she had such an in-depth understanding of literature.

The last conversation was about my son Midrah. She saw his Elves Presley performance and told me, like father like son, he reminds me of your college day look.

We never talked about mundane treadmills, nor of pathos, we strongly believed life is a tragi-comedy.

Brave people die young. Bertrand Russell once mentioned that it’s best to die young, yet we should try to linger a bit.
Jabeen was a star of our college life and I am sure she will remain a star on a starry starry night, paint your palette blue and gray, look out on a summer’s day.

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free
They would not listen, they did not know
Perhaps they’ll listen now!

Maskwaith Ahsan. Maskwaith Ahsan is an international journalist, educator and the author of over 14 books. His columns appear in several Bengali newspapers, magazines and websites across the globe. He also hosts his web TV show E-SouthAsia. With socio-political satire...

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