FATICKCHARI, BANGLADESH // As soon as confirmation reached the village that the plane from Abu Dhabi had landed, carrying the body of Mohammed Arif Uddin, relatives got to work in front of the village mosque, digging his grave.
By the time the ambulance delivered the coffin in front of his grandparents' home in the Paindong village, the women's wailing and funeral songs filled the air as they viewed his body for one last time, before the evening prayers, after which he would be buried.
Arif Uddin grew up under the care of his grandparents and was watched closely by his primary school teachers, who also attended his funeral yesterday.
"I did not charge his mother a paisa when she brought him to school," said Sushil Kanti Bhowmik, the headmaster of the local primary school. "Then I helped him get into a high school."
Arif Uddin's mother, Noor Nahar Laki, 42, came to live with her parents when Arif Uddin was a year old, after she was divorced from her husband. She relied on handouts from her brothers and father and tended cattle to make ends meet and to send Arif Uddin to school.
After grade 8, he dropped out of school to support his mother, doing odd jobs around the village. Mrs Laki then enrolled him in a mechanic workshop where he worked for a year and earned about 300 taka a month, barely enough for the family to survive. Three years, two months and a day ago, Arif Uddin left for a job as a painter in the UAE and went to live with his grandfather, Nur Ahmed, 65, who worked there as a daily wage labourer.
Two years ago, Mr Ahmed returned home for a holiday and remained in Bangladesh after hediscovered he had cancer.
"When your son dies there is nothing to do. All hope dies with him. When your grandchild dies before you, your world turns dark, just dark," Mr Ahmed said.
Two days before Arif Uddin died last Monday, he wired 30,000 taka (Dh1,407) home. The night before, he called and promised his grandmother, Hosna Ara Begum, that he would take her to Mecca on a pilgrimage.
"I was his favourite. He always promised to spoil me when we talked on the phone, saying he was buying this and that from Dubai. I would laugh at him," Mrs Begum said. "If I had another grandchild, at least I could hold on to them at a moment like this but now I have no one."
In the time he was away, Arif Uddin also had grand plans for himself and his mother, and he started construction on a house that would finally take her away from her parents' place and into her own home.
The day of his death, the workers had started to put a tin roof on the one-storey, two-room brick house, less than a kilometre from his grandparents' home. "There are no plans to finish it anymore," his grandfather said. "Let it be."