Kazi Mostafizur Rahman writes on Loneliness.
Story By: Obhimanyu*
Translated by Eunoia
16 June, 2017
WOMEN.. Have we ever realised how powerful this word is? Women are mothers, a mother gives birth to a new life.
Her mother died giving birth to her. Her relatives named her Mahua. As a little child, Mahua needed the care and love of her mother which no one else could give her. So her father, Sudhir, married another woman. But she was his wife, never a mother to Mahua.
Mahua missed her mother and always wondered how different her life would be if she was alive. She’d read fairy tales where the prince and princesses had a lovely mother, sometimes they would get back the loved ones they had once lost and live happily ever after. These stories gave Mahua hope and little Mahua would dream about finding her mother somewhere, somehow.
She isn’t a child anymore. She now understands that the dead can never come back to life, will never come back to you. She’s 17 years old. “A young girl is roaming around in our village. Oh Lord, how embarrasing is that! Girls like her need some security. Sudhir, it’s time you find a young lad for her, get her married so she can fulfill her duties as a woman.” they’d say. “A man is ready to marry her. His family has agreed upon three lakhs”, said Sudhir. Three lakhs was her dowry. Did anyone ask her what she wanted in life? No. She loved someone else. Two innocent hearts were separated over an agreement. That day she wished upon a falling star, just like she did when she was a child, for her mother to come back to her. “She wouldn’t have supported this”, she tells herself with tears in her eyes and scars on her soul. But her step mother turned a deaf ear to her pleads.
If you ever meet Mahua, you’d realise that only god can do such miracles. She was perfection. Her big, bold eyes would tell you her stories while her lips would smile through the pain. But it was that day when she gave up to this cruel world, she lost the war, she lost all hope and faith in life. It was that day when she was sold, the day she realised that her body had a price.
She failed to understand why god gifted us with all these emotions like love and trust when he can’t protect them. She wondered if he understands the pain of losing someone, of getting your heart broken in two. Why did he give us the power to dream, if they wouldn’t ever come true?
That day Mahua was devastated. She succumbed to the society, following orders like an obedient pet just how they like women to be. But this isn’t a story of just one Mahua, this is the story of many girls. Female foeticide, dowry, eve-teasing, rape.. the list goes on. Motherhood is in grave danger. Respect women not only because they’re women but because they are humans too and it’s high time we realise that.
*names have been changed
Abhishek Roy (Kolkata, India) shares the story of his struggle with us.
My father tried a lot to get me into a gym because I was a very thin and weak child, but he gracefully failed. 17th August 2015 was the day when I actually started gymming, not to become a bodybuilder but to fight my depression. ( I won’t go much into it but I’ll just let you guys know that I joined the gym only to survive and fight depression). So, it was my first day and when I met the trainer the first thing he asked me was if I was ready for the 14 days challenge. “What the hell is that?”, I asked him. His reply was simple, “Survive the pain of discipline. If you survive it then you can go through any pain in life”. After 6-7 months I realised he was right. Gymming teaches you many lessons of life and those are-
What I’ve ultimately learned is “Fitness is like a marriage, you can’t cheat on it and expect it to work.”
Trust me, when I started off I used to hate the pain. I also got bullied by people because I wasn’t strong enough to lift 2.5 kg of weights on both sides of a bar and do a bench press. But my trainer kept motivating me. He said “ghayal sher jada khatarnak hota hain.. so karta ja.. hoyega ekdin” ( a wounded lion is more dangerous.. So keep going.. You’ll succeed one day). And eventually months passed by and I succeeded, it was the greatest happiness that I’ve ever felt.
What I want to tell you is that “whatever your passion is, it might be gymming , dancing, painting, music or anything that you love, never let go of your passion, work hard until you succeed.” And I’ve heard many people say that they don’t get time to follow their passion or they aren’t motivated enough, to them I want to say “24 hours makes a day, finding 2 hours for your passion is not a big deal and after those 2 hours the happiness that you’ll feel will be the greatest happiness of your life”. Now, coming to the motivation part- no one can motivate until you yourself don’t want to get motivated. A million people will say a million things but it’s up to you whether you want to get motivated or not.
The purpose was to tell you about how exercises effects your life and what it teaches you. It’ll keep you healthy, will give you positive vibes, make you strong from not only from the outside but from the inside. And most importantly, it’ll keep you happy.
A budding writer from The City of Joy shares his story with us.
Author- Obhimonyu* (Kolkata, India)
1953, six years after one country was divided into two, my grandfather left his birthplace in erstwhile East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, and settled in Kolkata. He rented a house in Entally in east-central Kolkata. Why India was broken into two still remains a mystery to me!
The despair of partition was matched by a ray of hope of building a new nation. In the 1950’s, the old school charm Kolkata was in the air. Every youth indulged in physical training at ‘Akaharas’, notably the ‘bayam samitis’ of Kolkata.
Various clubs – harbingers of collective prowess and aspirations of a young nation started organising Durga Pujas, the biggest festival of the Bengalis. The pandals were huge, the idols full of elegance and spiritual essence as was the floral offering or anjali to seek the blessings of Maa Durga.
India was adapting fast to the challenges ahead as was Kolkata with an unending stream of refugees. Lack of financial resources never came in the way of the warmth in social, communal (not an antidote to being secular but emanating from ones community) and familial relations. The ‘sindoor khela’ or vermillion play while bidding good bye to Maa Durga on Bijoya Dashami, the last day of the Puja, and inviting her for the next year was full of ethereal charm and cordiality.
The immersion, commonly known as ‘bhashan’, of the idols in the River Ganges took place in processions and people distributed sweets to neighbors and family and friends to demonstrate the strength of their bond.
The post-puja open air functions, commonly called Jalsa, were dominated by the golden voices of the bygone era – Hemanta Mukhopadhyay, Manna Dey, Shyamal Mitra, Manabendra Mukhopadhyay, Pintu Bhattacharya, Arati Mukherjee, Sandhya Mukherjee, Dwijen Mukhopadhyay and many more. The ordinary others were mesmerised by the melody and the music as the narrow lanes and by-lanes of an old city got transformed into makeshift sitting arrangements.
It was not just the singers with their enthralling voices, but the Bengali actors and actresses of the golden days, like Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen hogging the limelight during the festivities in the 1960s and thereafter. The ordinary people emulated the stars as the conventional wisdom on helping the poor and the needy intensified.
The colorful yet disappointing, the period of hope yet with despair of the 1970s marked its arrival with bell-bottoms and handlebar moustaches. Enfield, Yezdi and Jawa bikes used to roar the Kolkata streets as they became symbols of flaunting power by the local god-fathers.
Hooliganism, bombings and the tussle between the Left and the Right became more pronounced than ever before. The angry young man of the tinsel town, Amitabh Bachchan, gained popularity by depicting social despair on silver screen, but in the process came to epitomise the harbinger of hope. His hairstyle of partially concealing the ears became the favourite hairdo for a generation.
The worship of Goddess Kali and the associated fanfare depicted the power relations in the social space. As the youth indulged in leisurely time-spending by way of ‘addas’, Kishore Kumar and RD Barman songs reverberated the lanes and by-lanes of a city well known for its vibrancy.
Blood donation camps and social services became the norm to win hearts and mind as the ordinary people turned eager to make their contribution for nation building and ensure a better future.
The arch rivalry between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan became pronounced in the 1980s, as the red and yellow team recruited two Iranians from the Aligarh Muslim University. Majid Bishkar (neither Basker nor Beshkar are etymologically correct) was 23 then. He along with Jamshed Nasiri, gave the Indian Football Association (IFA) League in Kolkata, a new lease of life.
Bappi Lahiri’s Disco music coupled with the steps of Mithun Chakraborty in white shirt, white trousers and white shoes on the silver screen produced the Disco Dancer, who easily stoked the imagination of the contemporary youth.
Flying kites in those days was more of a religion amongst the conservative Bengalis. The terrace of every house used to rock with “KASOR GHONTA”. Pigeons were there in every person’s house, nesting in the big ventilators. It was a power-game to pet and fly them.
Nuclear families became the norm of the day starting in the 1990s. The intelligent people improvised to their advantage. The scopes for jobs and education increased as did unemployment and underemployment.
The spartan lifestyle of the average middle-class Bengali gave way to consumerism as India embraced economic liberalisation. The young and the old thronged to the new power jaunts like the McDonalds, KFC, INOX etc., as the poor, sick and the elderly were pushed into oblivion.
The Bengalis delved into self-criticism, propagating and preaching, morality, ethics and humanity among friends and families but not necessarily practising them. Calcutta became Kolkata but did it also give away the values she stood over generations
*names have been changed