Faraaz Ayaaz Hossain was a supporter of Manchester United. He is with elder brother Zaraif Ayaat Hossain at Old Trafford stadium in England.
Photo taken from family album

Dear Chotoo,

I can’t believe it’s been five years that you’ve been gone.It feels like we were sitting in the room we shared and talking, just the other day. Of course, every one of us misses you, but I want you to know that you’re still such a big part of our lives. Not a day goes by without talking about you and remembering how much you mean to us.

We spent the last 5 years in sadness without your presence but with our heads held high with how proud you’ve made us. I would have otherwise told you about how much Nana Bhai misses you and how he looks at your picture every night before he goes to bed, but you don’t need me to do that anymore. The three of you, you, Nana Bhai and Choto Malikijaan (Shazneen), are together now, and I’m sure you’re happy. Just try not to miss the rest of us too much. Jokes aside, who would have ever thought that 1 July, that this very day, would be the day to remember both you and Nana Bhai and the exemplary human beings the two of you always were.

When I think about you, I often think of how much you had lying in front of you to live life to its fullest. You wanted to do so much. And then it hits me, you achieved in your 20 years on this planet both a beautiful life and left an amazing legacy.

We were all looking forward to seeing you graduate in 2018, and even though you weren’t here Emory’s Goizueta Business School recognized you as a graduate. But there’s more, they’ve instituted a Faraaz Hossain Core Values Award to recognize the top student who also embodies strong core values. You’ve left a mark beyond that of just another graduate.

The impact you made on the world spread far beyond the borders of your beloved Bangladesh or your college. You have been honored as a righteous individual by Italian NGO, Gariwo, who have planted trees in your name in 14 different countries across the world to commemorate your supreme sacrifice. We had the chance to even travel to a small town called Benevento, in Italy, where one of the trees are planted and I just wish you could have seen students sing praises in your name. Students from a completely different country, who you had never even met.

You’ve been honored countless times for your bravery. You were awarded the Mother Theresa Memorial Award for Social Justice; you should have seen the pride in Mama’s eyes that day. Just the way she told you, a month before you passed away, that she was proud to be your mother, not just because of you excelling in college but because of the human being you were. You set an example for the world with your act of courage.

What would’ve hurt is if you were forgotten, and as the saying goes, “Every man has two deaths, when he is buried in the ground and the last time someone says his name.” It looks like the world won’t let you or Nana Bhai die a second death.

I know you cared for your family and your friends with all your heart, you showed everyone just that till the end. You wanted everyone you loved to thrive.

Your friends are doing so well, they’re excelling at everything they’ve set out to do. You wanted them all to come back to Dhaka and lead their lives in Bangladesh, even though most of them planned not to. Well, most of them are here, and we’ve laughed so many times thinking of how what Chotoo wanted ended up happening.

Nanu Ma misses you very much. She never fails to tell me all the heart-to-heart conversations the two of you would have. She tells me I don’t understand her the way you did, but I’m trying! Every night, she calls out to you, Nana Bhai and Choto Malikijaan to help her go to sleep. She knows her three angels will always look after her.

Where do I even start with Mama? None of us can ever understand the pain she bears to this day, but we witness just how strong she is. You definitely got your courage from her. You’d be so proud of her, the woman the two of us looked up to as our role model throughout our lives. You’d be mesmerized by the way she’s taking Nana Bhai’s legacy to newer heights with her sheer determination we are all too familiar with. Even then, the identity you have made her the proudest of is being Faraaz’s mother. There is not a day, or a moment that passes by when Mama doesn’t think of you. There have been countless instances where you have made her beyond proud without even being by her side.You are constantly on her mind. She knows that one day, she’ll be reunited with you.

Over the past five years, we’ve remembered your shining example of humanity on 1 July and this 1 July we remember both you and Nana Bhai together.We always knew you and Nana Bhai had a special bond; it just seems as though Allah showed us all on 1 July 2020 that your souls were truly connected.

We love you. We miss you.

You live on within us all, every day.

Lots of love always,


* Zaraif Ayaat Hossain is the elder brother of Faraaz Ayaaz Hossain and grandson of Latifur Rahman