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A Treasured Friendship

Pic: Zara

Pic: Zara

Zara had graduated from the university and was on the lookout for jobs when her university called her for a job interview. She had topped the class with good results, which was why the university considered her a good candidate for the post of junior faculty member.

She gave the interview eventually, answering all the interview board’s questions quickly and wittingly. She came out smiling. Everyone could tell her interview went well. Indeed, it did as she was called on the phone to start regular teaching from the 15th of the next month.

Her first day of teaching went well too as she had come fully prepared. Gradually she became accustomed to her teaching career. She met many new students’ faces every semester. But one semester, when she was teaching a course to the students, they didn’t just remain silent, listen, and nod. They asked a lot of questions, which cleared their concepts with Zara's answers, and she too learned and grew.

It was after a year that she was teaching another course to the same batch of students. They had become friendlier, and they learned a lot from her course. Soon it was time for exams. When it was their turn for her course exam, she had news to give her students at the end of the exam.

Zara was going on study leave for higher education abroad. The students were so dismayed because they didn’t know who would correct their answer scripts in Zara’s course. They had no problems with her question paper though. She consoled them as much as she could and soon left for home to carry out the errands before her departure.

After two years abroad, completing a Masters in Business Administration, she came back to join her university job. She found the first boy, Bariq by name, of the aforementioned student batch as a colleague.

Pic: Bariq, Zara’s student cum colleague

Pic: Bariq, Zara’s student cum colleague

As time passed along, they took labs together, wrote scholarly papers, and Zara gave rides to him in her car until her home when he got down to travel a further distance towards his home.

Zara tried abroad again to gain a doctorate. She applied to three universities and finally, she selected one, which offered good funding. She didn't have a credit card then, and her junior colleague, Bariq selflessly gave his card details to her so that she could apply online and pay the application fees. Finally, after choosing one good university, she let everyone at her home university know of her updates, and she again took study leave.

For two years, she toiled abroad, but she didn’t like it there and decided to come back home to re-join her university.

At the home university, she saw a more confident and productive faculty member in Bariq. Again, Zara gave him rides in her car, and they discussed and wrote scholarly papers and called other colleagues to join them and have fun eating out at restaurants.

Soon Bariq had found a girlfriend among his students. He told his Dad of his love for this girl. Together Dad and son convinced the girl’s family to put the son and girl in marriage.

After all, Bariq was a prestigious guy, good in all ways, with few bad habits. So, the girl’s side had no objections, and the parents gave away their daughter in marriage to Bariq.

Bariq had a crush initially on Zara, but she looked upon him as a younger brother and friend. So, eventually, Bariq found a great, alternative life partner of his choice.

Zara was sick at the time of Bariq’s wedding; so, she couldn’t attend it. But every other colleague, who attended it, said both the bride and bridegroom of the wedding looked awesome and great. Everything was well-arranged, the food was superb, and every guest enjoyed it.

Bariq went with his wife to Cox’s Bazaar sea beach to enjoy a lovely honeymoon. He proved to everybody that he was not only a bookworm but also very romantic, enjoying life fully.

After a year, Bariq was leaving for abroad. He had finished an MBA at home and was now willing to do a doctorate. For two years abroad, he tried to convince his new wife to join him, but she denied it. When it was three years, and she still denied it, Bariq’s family filed a divorce against the girl, and soon after several legal steps, Bariq got divorced from his wife.

Zara came to know of the divorce when Bariq was abroad, and she was at home. Bariq now hinted that Zara could become his wife. But she ignored it and responded in a way, which showed she didn’t get Bariq’s hint.

Soon Bariq remarried according to his parents’ choice, and within a year, their baby daughter was born. In the meantime, he finished his doctorate and worked on a dignified, high-paying job in the vicinity of his university abroad.

Zara chatted on and off with Bariq until today on Facebook. But with time, as it happened, life got busier, and Zara didn’t get inside Facebook frequently. Maybe once in a blue moon.

But the friendship between Zara and her student cum ex-colleague remained a treasured one.

© 2022 Rosina S Khan