Saudat Hossain (21), Packing man, Finishing Section, 6th floor, New Wave Style.

Missing: Soudat, 21

By Taslima Akhter

April 1, 2014

Translation Aparajita Deb

Saudat did not grow up with his parents. His father died when he was twelve or thirteen. His mother married another person and left him. His studies came to an end when he completed class six at Meherpur in Kushtia. A few days later, he came to Dhaka and started working in a factory.

Saudat and Moreom used to work in the same factory on the sixth floor of Rana Plaza. They got to know each other well before they decided to get married. Saudat no longer liked his work at the factory, so he returned with his wife to the village. He found a job as a bus conductor, but it was really difficult to run his family of three, including his younger brother, with his meagre income. So Saudat and Moreom returned to Savar again, and started working at Rana Plaza. Within less than three months, their dreams were all shattered.

April 24 was a Wednesday. Moreom was feeling ill and hadn’t gone to work for the last two days. As he was leaving, Moreom requested Saudat not to go to work that day. But he said, “Don’t worry… we’ll have lunch together after returning home”. But never again did they have lunch together. On April 24th, Moreom could not find Saudat after a desperate search. She could not even reach the ruins because of the horde of army, police and rescue workers everywhere. On Thursday, Saudat’s uncle managed to get close to the ruins somehow and started searching for his nephew, shouting Saudat’s name from outside the boundary wall. He went to the rear side of the collapsed building where many rescuers were working and screamed, “Is there anybody named Saudat here?” It was completely dark inside; he could see nothing. At that time, those who were stuck inside the ruins would respond falsely to anyone they could hear for the sake of their lives - “Yes, it’s me…save me.” Saudat’s uncle yelled again. Suddenly someone said, “Mama (uncle)…I’m here.” There was no doubt it was Saudat. Only he could respond saying “mama”. Saudat’s uncle was shivering upon hearing his nephew.

Everyone was relieved. Saudat was found; he was alive! He was given biscuit and water. However they could not get Saudat or others out of the ruins till Friday. On Friday night his uncle came with food and shouted his name but there was no response. He shouted his name many times but there was only silence. Saudat’s uncle started sweating out of panic - “Is he dead?” He went back home and informed everyone that there was no response from Saudat. Since then, Saudat could not be found. Moreom would often contemplate about the many skeletons that would surely be found at the rear end of the building or at the bank of the river where the ruins were piled up. She might find her husband there. At last she found the DNA report! His grave number was 72.

With a broken heart, full of memories of her husband, Moreom got back to her struggling life. She has started working in a small garments factory beside her house. She still cannot believe how her life has been shattered.

Saudat Hossain, 21
New Wave Style, 6th floor, Packing man, Finishing Section
Mother: Modina Khatun, Father: Mohammad Hashem Ali, Wife: Moreom
Village: Modnadanga, P.O.: Ajilabad, Thana: Meherpur