Recognizing the Unsung Heroes
International Mother's Day 2009
Recognizing the supreme role mothers play in the family and in the lives of children, Star Campus is dedicating this issue to mothers, the unsung heroes. We asked our readers to send stories on how their mothers have influenced them to become the persons they are today. The following pages will take you through a number of touching articles sent in by our contributors.
Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers of the world from the Star Campus Team!
It was Saturday, the 17th day of February 2007. The Muezzin had just called the faithful for the Asr prayers. The sun shone mildly through the window of the ambulance. The road from the hospital to our house was free. It took less than five minutes to reach home. Within this time I saw my whole life flash before my eyes.
I am a caesarean baby. In those days the mother had to go through a general anaesthesia. Soon after my birth, Amma had a very high fever that almost took her life. She won the battle. I will live all my life with the guilt that I was responsible for that high fever and the ensuing physical pains Amma suffered for the rest of her life. In my teens I once tried to say sorry. Amma put her finger to my lips. “At least I have you and your sister”.
I am Amma's first born. And I was very much spoiled. Every time I did a mischief, I knew it was Amma who would be the oasis in the desert, my 'shelter from the storm' to protect me from Abba. The condition for amnesty was simple. Always have the courage to admit to what you are doing. This has remained with me all my life. I may be a good storyteller, but I am a terrible liar!
Soon after my sister was born, Amma gave up her career. My wife did the same many years later for our daughter, Annapurna. It is only now that I appreciate how powerful a mother can be. We men can acknowledge only, but cannot replicate the sacrifice a mother can make for her children and family. Amma was one notch ahead. For the entire time my father studied in Wales, UK, Amma was the breadwinner of our family. Throughout the week, my sister and I would wake up not seeing Amma. Abba would wake us up. Prepare breakfast and walk us to school. And bring us back home again. Abba would prepare food and we would eat and watch playschool and all those other children's programmes on good old BBC.
Pandemonium would break loose the moment the bell rang. My sister and I would run to open the door and see who could touch Amma first. I would run to grab a smell of Amma from her blue raincoat. And without failure, Amma would have sweets for us. Mars bar, Snickers, a box of Smarties, Quality Streets and what not would be the toast of the afternoon snacks. Many years later my sister and I found out Amma would sometimes forsake her tea and biscuits to buy our chocolates!
After we returned to Bangladesh, life went on like any other family. Amma was now at home most of the times. Abba was busy at the university with his career that took him from one echelon to the next. My sister and I slowly passed each grade at school, college and finally university. Our golden time as a single unit in Aberystwyth, UK, was 'gone with the wind' forever!
'Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans'. It was not until the next generation came along that I finally found time for Amma again. Ankoor, my sister's son, and Annapurna, my daughter, filled up our house marking the dawn of a new beginning. Ankoor and Annapurna became the centre of Amma's universe. The apples of her two eyes. Alas! 'To make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from'!
The first day of January 2007 was Qurbani Eid. The following day was Annapurna's first birthday. We put off the birthday party till 26th January. Amma really wanted to see the first birthday of her Apun just as much as the first birthday party of her Bhaiyun a few years earlier. A few days before the birthday party, Annapurna was playing on Amma's bed. Amma looked at Annapurna and smiled saying “I don't have the good fortune to see this child grow up”. I laughed.
We always saw Amma fight one sickness after another with her energetic laughter that was the hallmark of our house.
On 30th January Amma went to a hospital for a routine check up. The day was 3rd February. The doctors advised her not to talk. She was having breathing problems. She was wearing an oxygen mask. Amma took off her mask when I entered and asked me what Annapurna doing. She then told me to take care of Abba and Annapurna and put her mask back on. We exchanged glances. Amma was smiling as if she was at peace. Amma called me. I went. She took my hand and kissed it with her oxygen mask on. And then she took her mask off and said with a smiling invitation. “I've kissed you. I have nothing more to ask. I got everything I could have ever asked for”. YES. I, Amma's first born, was the fortunate one to have received Amma's final blessings. I, who came to this world and was almost responsible for Amma's death!
The hospital never called us when they put Amma on a ventilator the next day. We never got to know what Amma's final wishes were. Fortunately, Aziza Chachi knew. My sister and Ankoor were lucky to find Amma still breathing when they came from Canada. By the morning of 17th February it was evident Amma's fight with septicaemia and acute respiratory distress syndrome was nearing its end. At 3:30pm, Abba and I went to the hospital. I sensed there was not much time left. I approached Amma's bed. Amma was in a coma. It was now or never to say what I always wanted to all my life.
“Amma, it's been more than a pleasure having you in our midst. In the last two weeks because of you we've realised how much people love us. Amma, I don't know if you'll hear all this. From this moment our fates are sealed. You've entered our hearts forever”. Less than five minutes later, Amma was no longer 'living in the material world'. Her Spirit and Soul went to a much better place.
"A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still she will cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts." - Washington Irving Jr
I never believed in this quote until I myself went through the sticks and stones of my life and knew how special my mother is to me!
I owe a lot to my mother. It's because of her that I am able to enjoy this beautiful life. It's her finger that I held on to when I took my first steps. She had spent sleepless nights watching me sleep silently. She picked me up when I would trip over toys in the hall. She even sacrificed her every little joy in order to bring smile to our face. When I was a teenager, I had a feeling that a mother cannot be a best friend to a child. But gradually as the days went by I started realizing how wrong I was and I had no end to my guilt. I realized that the better understanding I had with my mother, and now she my true strength. I almost share everything with her now.
Well although I know the word “Thank you” will not be enough for all the love and affection that she has given to me. But I still want to let her know that I love her a lot and she means the whole world to me. Maybe I am not the best daughter of the world but she is the best mother in the world.
Zakia Rezwana Khan
Packed closely inside the car, we were all destined to my Nani's home. We wanted to see one last glimpse of her soul-less body. Just one last glimpse! Short and hurtful. Just thinking about it made me cry; but I fought back my tears because I had to be strong for myself, for Ma.
I glanced up at Ma, although she was not crying, she sat motionless. Her eyes did not blink. She just stared at a distance, her eyes swollen.
I closed my eyes and tried to be in her shoes. I forced my eyes open quickly because the imaginations were not pleasant. Oh God! How am I going to survive without my Ma? How can I live in a world where she won't be there to guide me? She is the reason of my existence. My life without her would be pointless. She is my best friend for eternity! The laughter, the jokes, sharing of everything, keeping each others' secrets, for every single thing she is there for me. Nani's death left Ma distraught. Nani never gave us a hint of her pain and suffering. No one ever expected that she would go into a deep sleep and never wake up to see our faces.
She will not be able to scold me again, and cry afterwards. She would not feed us.
Ma's only wish was that she could see her mother during her last breath. We were in Dhaka, while Nani went to Dinajpur. During her stay there, she fell sick and recovered completely, but just in a blink of the eye she went away.
I remember the last day I spent time with her. She was complaining that I did not go to see her often. I did not spend sufficient time with her.
“Nani, this is my last promise to you, I will look after Ma just like you did”
“And Ma, even if you had lost your mother, you have two other mothers there for you, your daughters. Don't give up hope on your life.”
S.F.X. Greenherald International School
The cell phone chiming a piano ringtone awoke me from my early morning sleep. “Happy Mother's Day, Mamoni”, my daughter's voice is heard in the phone and my eyes swell up in tears. “Thank you”, I reply.
I quietly whisper to myself that without you, my beloved children, we possibly cannot be doing well! But this cannot be said, as without even letting us know, our children have now become grown ups.
Gone are the days when our children needed bedtime stories, to be fed by my own hands. No longer do they go to their schools, holding their father's hand in a tight grasp. All of them have now become too big for that. All of them now must go abroad to the world-renowned universities to get degrees that they can be proud of.
More often than not, our children do not return to their homeland, being attracted to the Western lifestyle and the high paying jobs that they get there. They get lost in the countries of dollars and sterling pounds by the sweet tunes of the pied piper of Hamilon.
Can we really afford to let go of our children? What our country badly needs is these dynamic young men and women to come back and serve their country and motherland. They are the architects of the country-- the nation builders of tomorrow. Let them come back to their home with the knowledge gained from the developed world and take responsibilities to build the nation.
Thirty-eight years back, the freedom fighters of this soil brought in the seeds of liberty to hand it over to the new generations at the cost of their own lives. People like Dr. Yunus, Fazley Hasan Abed and Abdullah Abu Sayeed have continued to sow the seeds that had been handed on to them. It is now time for the new generation to take over the responsibilities from these great heroes of the country.
Let the youth of today grow those seeds into golden harvests. Let the world see an enlightened Bangladesh with complete awe. Let our red and green flag keep on flying with its own grandeur.
It's never possible for any of us to properly explain the significance of our mothers in our lives. We know our mothers are always there for us in the time of need and we take it for granted. But as children, are we paying back our share of dues to them? It's understandable that we can never pay back the debts we owe to our mothers. Nevertheless, if we try to listen to them and try to make them happy by our good works, then definitely they will feel extremely happy to be our mother. It will lessen our burden of debt to some extent.
These days we see many of us behaving poorly with our parents. We have the audacity to talk back. But many of us forget the sacrifice they have to go through everyday .
My mom has sacrificed a lot for me. She has a great influence on my success as well. When I was a kid, my mom used to teach me a lot so that I could get the chance to admit myself at a reputed school.
Her joys knew no bounds when I got admitted to a renowned school of the city. Later when I finished my school days, she again became worried and wanted to enrol me at Notre Dame College. I still remember, when I was preparing for my viva examination, she helped me a lot to memorise many important dates and questions. Later when I got admitted at Notre Dame College, she became delighted. As I am now studying at a university, my mom is still anxious for my future and want me to excel in all departments in order to achieve the desired success. I know I will succeed, as I know my mom is praying for me. As long as my mom's blessings are there for me, I know nothing could obstruct me from attaining my goals. Today I am taking this opportunity to let my mom know that - "Mom, I really love you. I know you will always forgive the silly arrogance, which at times I show to you. To be honest, the feelings that I have for you in my heart are not possible for me to depict. On this great occasion of mother's day all I want to say is that mom, nothing is more important to me than you because you are my world and my everything. I love you mom".
Dept. of English, Stamford University
Amother's love begins before the child is born and lasts for an eternity. Every mother in this world is unique in her own special way. She was there at the beginning when the world was new to me. She was there to turn the bad times to happy ones, she was there to listen to my thoughts when I was hurt. She was there with me at nighttime, when I had a nightmare, she was there to tell me “It's alright”. She was there in the morning to get me up and out of bed. She was there to say when I did not feel good, “You would best stay home, instead.” She was there when I was hungry to give me food and to wash those clothes with her own accord. She was there when I needed her in every step of my life.
There is no love, like a mother's love, no stronger bond on earth. The love of mother is never exhausted. It never fatigues and it never tires. My mother is a special gift, a special gift that the Almighty gave to me. I would be lost and lonely without her; I love her so very much, that I could not bear to live without her healing touch. Thank you Almighty for giving me such a loving mother.
Dept. of Law, University of Chittagong
The other day when I joined the group, 'I love my mom', on facebook, I gained the satisfaction of being able to show my love and affection for my mother. I am greatly indebted to my mother for giving me this beautiful life. I couldn't have been here on this magnificent planet had she not conceived me with care and affection. I doubt if I can ever pay back the debt.
My mother is not only a mother but also a reliable mentor for me. Usually, we see that a child looks upon the mother as an informal teacher and school teachers as the formal ones. But, I was lucky enough to have my mother play both roles simultaneously as she was the teacher of my first school. The very institution was the beginning of my learning under the shadow of a huge tree that was my mother.
Maintaining 'double standard' is a great folly of an individual's character. My mother was completely devoid of it, which was a big lesson in my. During my school days, I encountered harsh treatment from my mother like other students, as according to her, I was but a general student in school. She didn't seem to be apologetic for her treatment towards me. On the other hand, back at home, being the only son, I usually am not given any illogical preference by my mother over my two younger sisters which is certainly a very crucial dimension of my mother's character that I admire most.
During my intermediate period, when I was drifting short, it was my mother who came to being a trustworthy friend in the guise of motherhood. I couldn't deny her tearful eyes with ocean of pains and train of sorrows that ultimately led me to get back on track. I consider that period as the metaphorical rebirth of my life after which I had come out really well with dignity and sophistication. Certainly, the whole credit goes to my dear mother.
In this world of capitalistic dominance, money plays a very vital role. During my study at a private university, my mother was an incessant supply of money for me. Sometimes, I used to notice that she was struggling with the condition. But, she didn't make me understand those issues around me. This is my mother who became a blessing for me that aided me to complete my education without any unnecessary interruption.
I always remain thankful to my mother for her unconditional co-operation for whatever I have tried to envision for my life. Her firm belief in me is my achievement and mental strength as a whole. To me, she is second to none in providing tremendous mental support in the time of crisis.
She always chooses the best things for her offspring like most other mothers. She usually to hates invitations without her kids. If she is forced to join there, she makes sure the best dishes are cooked for us at home. She has a strange quality of keeping eyes on every silliest detail that never fails her notice.
My mother pervades my existence to such an extent that I can't think of anything without her. When she visits my grandfathers' house and stays there for a day or more, my life seems to be missing something valuable.
I can't imagine how I will lead the rest of my life without this million dollar possession if she dies someday.
My mother was a rude tutor when it was needed to be, so as to give me a better foundation. She was loving, when I used to be desperately in need of her love; she was a trustworthy friend when I was in a wasteland; she was a great subscriber of money without the hope of getting back when I was financially unsound. In every aspect of my life my mother appeared to be a blessing for me without whom I couldn't have put a meaningful definition to my life so far. Happy International Mothers Day to all mothers of the world…
Abu Tayub Mohammed Farhad
(Premier University, Chittagong)
I was sitting next to her, waving my hands in front of her face. She sat still. Where was she staring? What was she thinking? I snapped my fingers directly in front of her eyes and startled her.
“What happened?” I said.
“Oh…kichu na. I was just thinking about something,” she said.
My mother is always 'thinking'. Often she enters a trance and gets lost in her thoughts. I have to admit, it can get very annoying when she becomes oblivious to the world around her. So, I shout, scream, and accuse her of being a bad mother; one who never pays attention to her kids. Nonetheless, even when I shout at her, I know what a great mother she is. Today she is a successful businesswoman who can shake the ground under her employees just by speaking or looking them in the eye. But, once upon a time, she had to make an endless amount of sacrifices. She has always been a strong, independent and smart woman with tremendous potential, but she was never hesitant to give up that potential for the well being of her family. She agreed to pack her bags and leave her life in Bangladesh to educate her children abroad, as her husband built up his business. Equally she was ready to pack her bags and leave her life abroad to return to her husband when he was extremely ill. She worked hard and received recognition in all her jobs, but never forgot to come home to feed and bathe her little daughters. I do not believe that there is any woman who has as much experience in different fields, in terms of career, as my mom has and I do not believe that any woman has sacrificed as much as my mom has. Regardless, my mother remains positive despite the fact that she could not live her dreams. She accepts her fate, lives every new situation to the fullest, and works hard to make new dreams come true. She endures every pain without tears, but never endures injustice to others, especially women. She has won my heart not only as a mother, but as a friend and as a role model.
Today I realize why I have to snap my fingers in her face so often. There is always something going on in her mind whether it's about her family, relatives, friends, business or her house. When does she have the time to breathe? There is so much I can say about her, but in essence, I believe she is the definition of a true woman. She is the woman we should all aspire to be. I know I do. I love you Ma!
I would not make myself sound noble with rotund words, but I also cannot avoid speaking my mind. Like the blue Deity Krishna, I also have two mothers. However, not being part of a golden mythology, I rather account for an ordinary life, that revolves around two extraordinary women: My Nanu and my Ma.
Of course when I floated surreally inside my mother's womb, submerged in maternal propinquity and held by a slimy umbilical cord, I hardly knew about the love and warmth I was about to get swaddled in. When I tumbled out into the cold world (opposite to the previous one I was in), the love and warmth came in the form of Ma's snug arms and bosom, and my Nanu's blessing and kisses, and then what followed is a series of fortunate events. I, however, grew up and conjured myriads of pain for both my mothers: sometimes in the form of not letting Nanu anoint my scalp with coconut oil and make me succumb to blight afternoon naps, and sometimes in the form of a 'punk' retaliation by trudging off from Ma's side in a busy street because she did not let me have a chocolate bar (despite my incessant wheedling).
Dearest Ma, thanking you would be never ending, but let me start by saying that you are the best mom ever. The energy, warmth and love you put behind pappu (my sister) and me, are matters beyond being thankful for. You work all day, and then come home and cook for us, which is an unbelievable task you manage to tackle every time you get down to it. Not only that, but besides being a successful career person, you are undoubtedly a successful daughter, sister, wife and mother. You teach me how to keep the 'balance' in life intact. Your rational and logical nature is something I would always be scared of, but at the same time, look forward to. 'Don't be impulsive', 'Think wisely', 'Make the right choice' are some of the advices you lecture me with from day to day, and help me to flourish my intellectual side, which in turn helps me to be more clear and distinct in what I want. The boldness, with which you step ahead in life is ineffable and makes me want to go for bigger things. Thank you Ma, for loving me dearly through your dedication, patience and anger. I sometimes feel like holding your hands and say, 'Ma, you are so cool'. Thank you for being the greatest mom.
Matthew Arnold, a famous poet and a cultural critic, once upon a time, used the prodigious phrase, 'Sweetness and light', to define 'perfection', in human beings. Both my Nanu and Ma possess sweetness and light that I look forward to be bequeathed with by them. However, I fail biennially, but do not get discouraged or lost, since the light transforms itself into a lantern that I carry as my talisman.
Saad Adnan Khan
GI'VE me a learned mother, I shall give you a learned nation”. I would like to overlap with this famous quote from Nepolean Bonaparte. My mother is not very educated but she is very wise in her interaction with her family members. With sweet words she can inspire me to work hard and feel better. My mother has a friendly relationship with me and shares her problems. She can easily understand my state of mind.
From my childhood I had to stay away from my mother because of my education. Now it is not possible to stay with my mother for more than a few days because I am too busy with my profession. But notwithstanding these circumstances my mother communicates with me whenever I am ill or under a lot of stress.
I know that every mother loves her son or daughter, but over the years I have developed a close relationship with my mother, and have gained a new respect for her. She is very dedicated to her family. My mother ensures that norms and education are most important in our family.
When I fall ill no doctor can take care of me like my mother does. She is always very encouraging every time I give her good news. Thus if I really try to express the extent to which I love my mother, it's not possible to finish in one sentence. I pray and hope that every reader of this article prays for my mother's long life. May Allah give me the strength to support my mother in her old age. I hope everyone in our society looks after his/her mother at old age.
Mamun Abdul Kaioum
(Mass Communication and Journalism department Rajshahi University)
THE other day at home, I was watching Peace TV, an Islamic channel, when Dr. Zakir Naik, a renowned Islamic scholar and the President of Islamic Research Foundation in India said “You can never repay a single drop of tear shed by your mother when she was giving birth to you.” The words echoed in my ears. I knew it was the mere truth.
After marriage, she had the option of becoming a teacher, but she rather chose to be a housewife, not intending to part from me even for a second. I do not recall how I managed to take my first baby steps in this vast world, but I do know for certain that she did not let me fall. Today, when I walk faster than her, I know it is my first gift from her. Not being well competent in English, she still took on the responsibility of teaching me some of my very first rhymes. When I went to school for the first time, her warm hand was wrapped around mine. The very thought of being away from her made me burst into tears. But she was there, until a day came when I could do without her. I hardly fell sick due to her strict monitoring of my diet and hygiene, but when I did, I clearly remember her scolding me and then, feeding me. Even the most ordinary dishes seemed so delectable from her hand. This has not changed till date. Often, I make up excuses just to eat from her hand.
She has always inspired me to gain knowledge as much as I can and to become independent. She gave me my favorite quote 'Knowledge is a property of yours which no one can steal'.
Today, when I look back, I cannot thank her enough for shaping me into what I am. And on this Mother's Day, I would like to acknowledge, as always, of the fact that her presence in my life makes a huge difference and gives me the strength to fight against all odds.
YOU carried me for nine months, you fed me, you cared for me and you were always there for me whenever I wanted you or needed you.
Every morning as you wake me up from sleep with your sweet voice calling out my name, I am always forced to think, is it real? I always believe that The Almighty really has a soft corner for me, because if He didn't, then He would have deprived me from giving the most precious gift in this whole universe, the most beautiful woman in this earth, the most caring mother that ever existed, deprived me from giving you Maa.
You always find time to cook our favourite dishes for breakfast every morning, despite the fact that you are a teacher and have your classes starting from 9 in the morning. You come from college, and instead of relaxing for an hour or two you rush to the kitchen and see what is being cooked for lunch.
You used to make such lovely dresses for me that made me enviable everywhere I went, those perfectly designed princess frocks trimmed with laces, those flawless gowns with pretty flamboyant bows on the hips. Even now, the kameezes that you make with the gorgeous designs defeat the boutique shops. Even this Baishakh, when I needed to buy a red and white saree, you didn't buy me a gorgeous designer's saree, but instead you bought a white saree and printed it with beautiful block prints, making it not only exclusive but the most stunning one as well.
Even after all this things I fight with you, blame you for loving my brother and sister more than me, blame you for anything that goes wrong with me. And you take up all these allegations without uttering a single word, without a single sound. Forgive this little daughter of yours Maa.
And today, on mother's day, I say, from the deepest core of my heart, I love you Maa, I love you so very much.
A proverb goes that God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers. Mother is the name for God on the lips and hearts of little children. Mother is the most important person in one's life. Her love, her personality, her words become an inseparable part of one's life. Mother is the most precious gift from God to us. In Islam it is said, “Heaven is at the feet of thy Mother."
Ma, Mother, Mom, Mama… It's a wonder how the sound of the way a mother is called is similar in most of the languages! Ma is a universal word, and it is the most important word and person for everyone.
Let me tell you the story of a mother, Kochi, who sacrificed her whole life to educate her two children who are her entire world. Though she is an educated woman and a student of Law, she stopped everything just for her family. On her own, she worked hard to give her children the best education. She did not get involve in any job so that she could give proper time to her family. It has been said that the real religion of the world - comes from a mother. Thus she is the one who taught her children from an early age about what is right and wrong and how to judge between them. Whenever her sons would have their exams, she spent that time on the 'Jaynamaj' praying for them. Because of her unconditional love and devotion, her two children successfully received admission in two of the reputed universities of our country. It is said that Men are what their mothers make them. So undoubtedly this success story bears the reflection of a great mother. She is like a bank for her children where they could deposit all their sorrows. In her sons' life, the place that she holds can never be replaced by anyone else. She is always there to love them, care for them and always ready to make sacrifices for them.
It is an honor and privilege to be the son of such a mother. One cannot expect anything from life, because every joy, every happiness, can be found on the face of this mother. I thank God for sending such an extraordinary woman to this world. At last, a prayer to the Almighty, " please bestow upon others a mother who will make the world a peaceful place".
Abdullah Al Jannath Newaz
(Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, KUET)
TODAY, as I reflect upon the memories from my early childhood neither my kindergarten teacher Sadia Miss nor Lewis Carroll's “Alice's Adventures in Wonderland” comes to my mind. Instead, I remember vividly my mother, my Ma, holding my hand and guiding me through all the walks of my life.
My Ma is the type of mother who fulfills every need of her children, often at the expense of her own comfort. In the wee hours of morning, you would find her in the kitchen, fixing my breakfast so that I do not have to attend my 8:00 AM class with an empty stomach. And yet she finds time to hear about every new experience I have in college.
It was Ma who taught me to pray. Early on, she instilled within me spiritual values, which comforted me in difficult times and motivated me to work hard. When I was young, she taught me to do my duties without worrying about the results of my action. For this reason, I put my heart and soul in my studies but never worry much about my grades.
Like other parents, she also taught me not to lie. However, unlike many parents, she does not blame me for the deeds which I have no control over. As a result, I never had to learn to lie to avoid blame or punishment.
On Mother's Day, mothers are honoured for the selfless love they bestow upon their children. However, I thank my Ma not only for her deep love but also for all the wonderful things she taught me.
(Student of BBA, IBA)
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