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Where have all the flowers gone?

The little girl who workedin our house has finally got the permission to go to visit her village. Five years ago she came to this house.

She was an egg then! One morning my father shouted from the door. We all ran. He pointed at a crying baby, sitting on the staircase. And this how we Ramija- we call her Rumu- came to our lives. She said, when her father died, her uncles kicked her out. Her mother had died long ago, and she doesn't even remember her face. She rode on the roof of a bus from Shimulia to Dhaka.

It was decided that on the next Friday I am going to drive her to Shimulia and back to Dhaka. That morning, she sat beside me as I flew over the almost empty weekend roads of Dhaka. She babbled on…that there is a big garden beside her hut and there are flowers of all colours…and that all amidst those rainbow flowers is the grave of her father. The river Sitalakhya grazes past the garden and there are those small boats rowed by Hamdu Chacha and Rahmat Chacha…at dawn and dusk the blue water of the river turns red and white ducks fly over the garden in beautiful patterns…and that there are butterflies and bees on the flowers. She spoke on and on- there are soft, green grasses wet in the dew that feel so cozy when you walk on them in bare feet and there are those giant trees which don blue pinafores of flowers in the spring…
It was hard to find her house- things have changed so much over the last couple of years. I had to stop a hundred times to ask villagers which way is Rashid Boyati's house and they have raised their fingers in all directions saying, " That way."

Finally we made it. You can no more call it a hut- half done one storied building. Rumu was puzzled. She didn't even go in. She ran straight behind the house. I followed her too. She was right. The Sitalakhya does ripple past this house. She ran along the river. And stopped after going some distance. She turned and said, " This is not the place! Where have you brought me?"

My eyes were stuck to a black, iron notice board hanging on two bamboo uprights. This place has been taken over by the government for development purposes. Ornate buildings will be built here, and highways, and shiny cars will speed over these roads- this village will be a city.

The place was all covered with white sand. Large pipes came from the river carrying sand filled water. From the bank of the river roared the dredging machines.

Evening wind blew softly carrying the aroma of village soil, moist and cool. The red sphere watched its reflection in the river. Rumu was right- white ducks do fly over the place.

All were there but the flowers, the trees, the butterflies and bees, and the small piece of land holding her father. Her childhood buried under white sand…

That night a thin stream of a cry broke my sleep. Rumu was weeping in the next room. I walked towards my window and saw a flying angel land on the windowsill. The snow-white angel asked, " Do you know where have all the flowers gone?"

I leant forward and asked, " Do you know where have all the flowers gone?"

The angel didn't reply and flew away to the Eastern sky that had started to blush in the colours of the crepuscular time.

Patterns of Life

Life as we all know has many definitions. And why shouldn't it? Even though in the eyes of the Almighty Lord we are all equals, He has put us in different scenarios and situations for which we have different views of life. Some people find life good, some find it bad, some find it unfair, some find it depriving and there are even some who find it as not worth it. The debate on life can go on forever without coming to a particular conclusion. However, amidst the different views of life, one thing lays common to all perspectives of life and that is the 'pattern' of life. In my opinion, every person's life goes through a similar pattern and this is how they go.

The first pattern is from the time you are born to the time you are in your teens. In this particular pattern, your world is all about you and your parents. Your parents are everything to you. Your parents teach you all the basics in life that you need to progress in your future. Teaching you the basic necessities such as walking and talking, giving you good nutrition, protecting you from all sort of illness and bad influences and of course giving you advices as to what should be done and what should not be done.

The second pattern starts from when you are in your teens to when you are about 20 years old. During this pattern, you are usually in school you make new friends and hanging out with friends becomes priority number one. This is the pattern when you start exploring life on your own. Well not entirely on your own, but with your friends. This is the time when friends mean everything to you. You form groups and give them cool names and hang around the streets for the sake of having fun. There are some who venture into the kingdom of cigarettes, alcohols and parties. And there are some who simply want to have a good, clean and innocent time. This is also the time when cupid makes his presence felt. A time when boys are struck with crushes and infatuations. A time when girls mature slightly more than boys do and hence search for guys who are older than them. Fights arise among friends or classmates over a girl and some kids even get involve with gangs (which lead them to a sorry future) for the sake of gaining an upper hand. This is also the time when certain people start defying their parents, the same parents who were their mentors at their early ages. These people believe they know a lot as they are today's generation and their parents do not have any idea about this generation. Surely they have come from a generation which is different from ours but they are after all our parents and they know what's best for us, always.

The third pattern starts when you are 20 years old till the time you get married. This is the time when you get admitted to a university, a time when you are shaping out your career. Many of you girls get married off by this time and hence start your own version of life. You tend to have a matured perspective of life and slowly get the responsibilities of your families. For guys, the time for taking care of your family approaches and you start making future goals on how to keep your family happy. Apart from that, a more matured cupid sometimes strikes you and you fall in an abstract feeling called "Love". For most people this is neither a crush nor an infatuation, but a more different feeling. You are then busy with the road to building your career and the person you love. You tend to forget those close friends with whom you made a group, with whom you vowed that this friendship will never split, with whom you shared so many special moments. You don't have time for them because you are too busy with your studies and during the other time you are too busy thinking how will you convince your parents or the girls parents for marriage and vice versa. Or, you go abroad for studying leaving your friends and families behind and after finishing your studies, settle there with a job, never to return. This is the time when many people leave their families to pursue their goals and there are many who start to settle by starting their own family.

The fourth pattern is parenthood. Its now your turn to become a parent. You are now busy taking care of the new responsibility bestowed upon you. Thinking in advance about the little one's welfare, you start saving money for his/her needs. The time when you have the maximum responsibility, where every decision matters a lot. One wrong decision and your family can be in dire straits. Now is the time when the little one goes through what you did in your early years and you will go through what your parents went through.

The last pattern, is what I would like to call is the pattern of loneliness. In this pattern of life, you will most probably become grandparents and in most probably you will live alone, with your sons or daughters living in a different place, living a life of their own. You get visits from them, sometimes once a week, once a month or in extreme cases once a year. Whatever it may be, the bottom line is that you live a life of loneliness and it becomes more unbearable if your partner dies before you. You sit in a rocking chair, lay back and think of the life you lived, think of all the ups and downs you went through, think of the near and dear ones who passed away and pray to Almighty Lord for forgiveness of all the sins you had done in the past. You now only wait patiently for the day your existence is perished.

By Ziad Bin Hyder

Obedience to superiors

Man has different qualities. Some are good and some are bad. His character, his attitude or behavior plays an important part in his life. One of the most important qualities that a man should be blessed with is manner i.e. good manners. Good manners form an important part of our character. Man's character remains incomplete if he doesn't learn this. In our behavior with others we must show proper respect for them. We should have a sense of propriety in our conduct with others. We should show respect to our superiors and civility to our inferiors and equals. A sense of propriety is necessary for a cultured and disciplined society.

To obey means to submit to authority. Obedience to superiors means to act according to the order of superiors. It also means to act accordingly to laws or rules of conduct as taught by our superiors. Young children lack the experience to see anything in full. They are unable to check their emotion. In this case if they do not obey their superiors, they are sure to waste their time and energy on evil things. As for example, forbidden things always charm the young. If they don't obey their superiors and if they indulge in gambling, drinking, hijacking etc. it is sure that their lives will end in disaster.

Among the superiors parents come first. We should obey our parents. This sense of obedience should come spontaneously from our heart. By being obedient we can recognize our parents sacrifice for us. When we are helpless they brought us up with great care, love and affection. Day by day we grew with their active help. They cherish high hopes about our future achievement. So they sometimes forbid us to do certain things so that we may not go astray. They advise us to behave in certain ways so that we can be established in our future life. But some parents believe that their children always have to do whatever they tell them to do. But it's wrong. Because parents are not always right. In some matter children may have better experience and sight than their parents. So parents should accept it and give importance to their children's decisions. Sometimes parents can't understand their children's feelings or their point of view. But it's not
their fault. May be this is because of the generation gap.
So in such cases children should made their parents understand their point of view. Parents should also have to be friendly with their children. But it doesn't mean that they will let their children to do whatever they want to do. This may lead them on the wrong way. On the other hand, we shouldn't also miss use our freedom. We should understand that our parents let us do almost all- whatever we want and sometime they don't even query about that. This means our parents have trust on us. So we shouldn't break our parents belief.

Next to parents come our teachers. Teachers are our superiors as well as well-wishers. They help us to get education. They train us to be worthy citizen of the country. They also make us achieve something great. We must always act according to our teacher's direction or advise. If they give us homework or assignment, we should do them properly. This will help us in the long run. Then come our grandfathers, grandmothers, uncles, aunts, elder brothers and sisters. They are all our superiors. They are all ours well wishers. Though we are not directly associated with them, they are our kith and kin. They feel happy when we can achieve something. And feel bad if we do anything wrong. So, we have to give them their proper respect.

Some children have the tendency to do just the opposite thing that their superiors tell them to do. It's not right. Parents should teach their children from childhood that they have to obey and respect their superiors. In this way the children won't have the tendency to go against their superiors. Parents have to make the children understand that the superiors have much more experience of life than them. They know what is good and what is bad for them. They should not be impertinent to them. The children also have to be aware of the "Shokuni Mama"s who never show the right path to them. The children must have the ability to recognize the good and bad one. Their parents have to help them to grow this ability. If any superior does anything wrong, we should keep quiet and should not insult him. May be later we can try to tell him politely that he has done wrong. We should do all these things in our own interest. Because, if we obey we shell be obeyed in future.

By Meher Nigar






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