Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 48, Tuesday June 8, 2005





Passing my Childhood

Continued from previous week
We, like most eight and nine year olds, also showed off a lot. Once we went to Cox's Bazar and stayed in the famous Shoibal hotel, which was better than Probal hotel. It was a few weeks before Eid and on the last day a movie crew came and started shooting this new Bangla drama. We really hoped that the people would be charmed by our talents and they would also show us on television. So we started dancing and singing our favourite songs, 'Projapoti' and 'Ghum parani…' Then our parents spotted us and when we confessed everyone laughed.

Watching my immediate cousins, who are at the moment passing through that age, I must admit that I enjoy watching their childish activities. Even though I try my best to stay with my elder cousins, who always sit relaxing and watching Hindi movies, I never have the heart to turn down the offers of the younger ones, offers of playing and just doing things for them. I would also say that they're experts at tel mara and probably we were too at that age.

So, this wonderful, creative world of imagination passes by very slowly between times of enjoyment, and sorrow, laughter and tears and even more slowly we overwhelm the next bowl of chaotic encounters.

The next door opens into a completely different room of the huge house we all know as life. At that stage of being a ten-year-old we start to develop changes and we create our own personalities. At that age our understanding ability improves and the personalities that we develop at that stage are ones which will make us who we are for the rest of our life.

When I was a ten-year-old I was in Australia and I really enjoyed sports and recreational activities then. Being a new comer at school there, I became interested in various curricular activities and I spent most of my time doing things that I enjoyed. During my stay I had also learnt a lot.

This learning was not like memorizing timetables or practicing maps. I learnt various practical lessons and along with that I was discovering myself. While in Australia, I faced situations I had never faced and thought of before. I discovered how difficult it was to walk a mile everyday to school or to bicycle to school in that cold, icy air everyday. How tiring it was to return home under the hot sun and wait for mum to get home from work.. I missed Dhaka terribly.

When I was at that stage I learnt a lot about myself. But being in a foreign country is not as easy as you think. You have to face the problems of being independent and doing your own work etc. Being a fun-loving person it wasn't such an enjoying time for me and my family. I just missed my friends and family too much. Alongside these problems I also had to face the emotions inside my mind.

When it would rain I would sit by the window and imagine what everyone back in Dhaka was doing. I remembered how a few years back we all used to argue at the protests of our mothers, and how dadabhai would always overrule everyone and take us to the roof to get wet. Every morning rising from bed early I would imagine hearing the same voice that I use to hear when I woke up in our Kalabagan house- Dadabhai reciting the Quran in a loud voice. Every day, these memories swirled around my head and I counted days till we would return. Seeing the raw, expensive, Aussie mangoes I pictured everyone sitting round the dining table eating ripe, Bangladeshi ones. I remembered how we would sit around the table in the hot mid-mornings and wait for the juicy mangoes to be sliced and divided.

Sitting at the table, eating mangoes is exactly how my Dadabhai became ill and entered the nearly six month's long period of illness. When he was eating mangoes he was suddenly assailed by a brain stroke. He was taken to the hospital and he was there for about three and a half months. Though in the middle Dadabhai became a bit better and could write messages on paper; he died. Being older than I was when I experienced my first loss, I found that this time too I was feeling a great empty space in my heart. This time I understood the effect immediately; this loss would change our lives forever. But even though at first tears pour down cheeks at a loss later on you realize that that person would never want you to be sad. The main thing is to cherish him or her forever and remember them always.

At these times it is really important for a family to be together. Even though our whole family separately felt the sorrow at different continents, we all felt the same anxiety, misery and hope of being together very soon.

But the anxiety had only begun. It seemed to me that some sort of shadow had descended upon the family when chotofupa was found suffering from stomach cancer. He also died the following year. We had lost two family members within a year. What's more we lost also my borofupa the next January. In my life these three losses have played very important roles. The truth is life when they were all here life was much brighter and colourful. Nothing has changed except the fact that mostly everyone has changed. No one is as enthusiastic and fun any more. Of course time can change everything. My elder brothers and sisters are changing every moment; I also find myself changing too.

Being at the age of eleven and twelve I faced teenage life ahead of me like a day facing night. The best thing I enjoyed then was being with my friends. I'm really lucky to have so many friends. I'll be grateful to them forever and I know that even if we change our friendships will never. I find myself constantly laughing and joking around with my friends. Even though all of them cannot be mentioned by name I hope they understand that I am deeply grateful to each and every one of them.

So, that's my childhood in brief. I'm going to turn thirteen very soon and I can't help wondering if life's going to be same. Seeing others evolve into teenagers I've seen them coping with various problems, studies, attitude, habits etc. Even though some things like, friends and surroundings won't change for me I'm afraid that my thoughts, motives, emotions and humanity might. I don't want to lose those lessons I learnt, I don't want to stop learning from them. I don't want other fun moments to polish off those childhood memories, which I want to hold on to forever.

But is growing up really that bad? Maybe not, but it still it isn't the same. What with all the studying, coaching and exams, also I think the childhood freedom never returns anymore. Being a teenager are we able to put off our homework for the weekend and take evenings off from studying? I really don't know. Maybe it isn't so bad after all. But I reckon if you think about it you'll start missing those long lost days.

It's the end of childhood for me. I know I won't be different the second I turn thirteen. I hope time takes me to adulthood before that challenge comes. I hope it isn't the end of enjoyment triumph. I for the first time wish that I was not growing up. For the first time I want to hold on to the past and turn back from the upcoming future. But teenage life is also short. So I ought to try and enjoy the time I've got before crossing the road to the other side of adulthood.

Without chasing after our childhoods, which will never come back, we should look ahead at the time given and enjoy every second, minute, day, and week.

By Rubaiya Murshed

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Caution in the kitchen

The most innocent looking object, a dish sponge lying on your kitchen sink could very well be a dangerous source of bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus amongst others. The moisture is the perfect breeding ground that bacteria may cling to. Disinfect your sponge by placing it on the microwave oven for 60 seconds.


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