For some, dreams come true whilst for some, they don't. Take for example, my own self. As a child, I watched a procession of cinema actresses entering our house and leaving them. It was the sixties when my Aunt Ferdausi Begum was lending her voice to the films and all the ladies in the lead roles Shabnam, Kabori, Rosy, Sultana Zaman and Shabana (to name a few) frequented our house. I always thought that someday, I shall be a film star, but it didn't happen. However, I have one close friend for whom, his childhood dreams came true. This friend is Khozaima Ziauddin!
Khozaima was born in Dhaka, went to school and college in Dhaka and studied undergraduate in Shimer College, Chicago, USA (1983). As per his family tradition, he came back from USA and joined the family business. Ever since being in Shimer College, with concentrations in 19th century literature from Oxford. He wanted to pursue his Masters in English and maybe aim for PhD. When three of us flocked in a group, both of us, Refaat (now Justice Dr. Syed Refaat Ahmed) and I, went for higher studies aiming to be academics, Khozaima wanted to do the same. He always told us, “One day I shall wind up all my business and just go for my Masters and become a teacher like you.” It took him many years to arrive at this point, but he did so!
After his graduation, Khozaima got married and had two lovely daughters, both grownups now. He looked after his parents, his siblings and finally when the time was right, he sold his business! He actually sold the business that he had inherited and expanded, downsized everything and got ready for being a student. Unbelievably and true to his word, Khozaima went back to university. He completed with flying colours, earning a Chancellor's Gold Medal in 2012.
Prof Imran Rahman (then VC of ULAB), who has the discerning eyes of the expert recruiter recruited him for his University of Liberal Arts, Bangladesh (ULAB). Khozaima Ziauddin teaches English there; his sections are always filled up on the day that they are announced. He is one of the most popular teachers. Other organizations hire him for a day or two to train the employees of various organizations (spoken English, conversational English). Khozaima loves his students and even looks after those who are in financial need. He knows his friends give zakat and from those funds, he helps some of the needy students at ULAB. In the middle of our friends’, chit chat he gets calls from distressed students, whose mother is ill, or needs a ride or reference to the hospital or some other assistance, truly in line with the mentors that teachers are meant to be. It is so rare these days. It is such a feeling of fulfillment to watch him in this role, the students adore him and vice versa.
His determination and resolve to make his dream come true has been a source of inspiration to many. What I find most interesting and noteworthy is his resolve to become a teacher and give back to society. Many of us aspire to do so, how many of us can be over the moon?
Nashid Kamal is a Professor of Medical Demography, Nazrul exponent and translator.