While I read the memorials for Niloufer Manzur by her children around the world, I can personally connect with many of the anecdotes, as I am sure can many. Not only did she know all of us and our families across Sunbeams generations by name, she also ensured that the buas and beloved darwan Nurlul Islam bhai also did.
She saw through Zyma Islam (batch 2007) deliberately leaving out a Maths problem on the admission test. For my own admission test for KGII in 1982, I had refused to speak to her in English, for my mum had assured me while we walked to the school that they would teach me English first.
"Ami ingreji jani na, tumi bangla-e bolo," I told her and Mrs Lakhani. "Ammu bolechhe tomra age amake ingreji shekhabe." In the world of a six year old, everybody was to be addressed as "tumi", and logic was uni-dimensional.
She bought the plane ticket for a student who got a scholarship to study engineering at a US university. Brought food from her home to make sure a student whose mother was in hospital, had tiffin. When I broke my collar bone in school, she commandeered a parent's car and took me home herself, not waiting for my mother to come back from work.
Sunbeams was till Class V in those days, with Mrs Manzur consciously choosing to concentrate solely on primary education, and I "graduated" in 1988. My last meeting with her was at the qulkhani of a friend's untimely death in early March this year. She introduced me as "amar arek chhele", and invited me to visit the Uttara campus for Bangabandhu's birth centenary celebrations on March 17. Events which never occurred.
While I may yet visit the Uttara campus for the first time someday, my son will never get to meet his dad's first formal teacher.
Dr Tarem Ahmed is Associate Professor, Dept of Computer Science & Engineering at Independent University, Bangladesh.