July last year, Tanvir Ahmed's father was diagnosed with Covid-19. Tanvir stayed by his father's side at Syed Nazrul Islam Hospital in Kishoreganj for five straight days until his father breathed his last. The tragic story of the young man's fight for his father's life was published in The Business Standard on 18 July, 2020.
Tanvir's father, Shahidul Haq, used to work with the local community police unit, and was the sole breadwinner for the family.
When we called Tanvir nearly seven months after his father's death, his phone was picked up by his mother. She told us that Tanvir left his phone at home as he was working as a polling agent at a nearby vote booth for the municipal election.
Shahidul's death shoved his family into a deeper financial crisis, she said.
"I'm doing private tuitions and living off it," Tanvir's mother Akter Jahan told The Business Standard. "Allah is sustaining us," she added indicating the hardship the family is facing.
We called Tanvir again in the evening. This time, he could be reached.
A first-year honours student at a local college, Tanvir is now looking for a job. But it is not easy to find one, he understands. He is also doing tuition for money like his mother.
Tanvir started attending ruling party's rallies and meetings a while ago. He also worked for the mayoral candidate of his municipality. Tanvir has recently been appointed secretary of ward Chhatra League. In line with these activities, he was serving as a polling agent on the election day. He got paid a Tk500 remuneration for the job.
Once the election is over, Tanvir is planning to ask his leader for a job.
"If I get a job, that will be of great help to my family," said Tanvir. He is also looking at starting freelancing, but he does not have the kind of money needed for buying a computer or investing in the training fee.
"Tuition is the only income source for me for the moment," said Tanvir. Recently, he has registered for the first year final examination, but he is uncertain when it is going to be held.
Tanvir feels his father's absence every minute every day.
"If he did not catch the virus, Abbu would live 10 to 20 years more. Now that he is no more, I understand what I have lost," Tanvir said with a depressed voice. Had his father been alive, it would be easier to carry on his studies and prepare for a job, he added.
"My father had a dream that I would work in a private bank," Tanvir recollected.
"Now that dream has moved farther away, it seems."