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Versus the world

A few days ago, one of my friends told me "You're a lucky guy, you're hassle free and make life seem smooth." This wasn't the first time I heard such a comment and I sort of drifted away mentally, which happens to me quite often these days. A little too smooth actually, I thought, not the kind most people lead or would like to, especially when you almost shut yourself out from the outside world.

As a child, I was exposed to a high degree of racial discrimination, which, according to me can have rather unpleasant consequences on the mentality of an individual.

Ever since I came to my senses, or more appropriately, my earliest childhood memories were of a three-year-old kid going to a public school in France. I remember rushing out onto the school doorway steps in nursery school (I was usually one of the first to get out) as soon as I heard the last school bell and quickly searching through the crowd of parents for my mother. My mother was usually on time to pick me up but even the slightest delay would send me wailing vigorously out of anger for the fear of the unknown.

Mostly, my junior school memories were the same as that of an average kid except for the fact that there dawned upon me a realization that I was, in a way, different from the others. Though I spoke French as well as any French kid (at the time) I remember there was a certain section of kids, mostly girls, who refused to play with me because I was brown-skinned and the words "tu et noir" (you are dark) still haunt me to this day. It was something I couldn't totally accept as a kid but it was a harsh reality nevertheless. I complained to my parents who just told me to ignore them. As I realized later, they were in no position to understand what I was going through as they didn't experience the same. Being a five-year old, it wasn't so easy to ignore other kids who refused to play with me because of my colour.

Putting that behind me, my middle school was an even more dreadful experience. My dad's job required that we move from one country to another every time we got properly settled. I was now studying in the American school in Burma (now Myanmar), where harsh reality became more pronounced. While I got along with the guys who didn't seem to bother that I bore a different colour, most of the white girls started ignoring me or being very rude to me. I was snubbed at every step by them and was often forced to overhear remarks intended for that purpose. Now this wasn't the average junior school blues that many kids go through. I was forced to hear how disgusting and sick I was and that I didn't belong there. While I tried my best to ignore such comments and concentrate on other activities like sports where I was doing well and getting along with the guys, these comments never seemed to leave my mind. I was never invited to any of the girls' parties and sort of kept to myself. I knew better than to complain to my parents, or to anyone else for that matter. I attributed the reason for all these insults to my appearance and felt bad about the fact that there was nothing I could do about it. I also felt very angry but since I was part of a minority in school and was very young (about eight), I couldn't sum up the courage to revolt.

Then I moved to Bangladesh, where I discovered I had some potential in academics as well as sports and that people could be insulted for reasons other than race, which made me feel better. However, I was withdrawn and didn't take active part in interacting like most of the other kids as I always felt some kind of insecurity stemming from my previous experiences.

Just as I was getting used to things, we had to move to India. In India I was studying in an international school where only students with foreign passports were legible for admission. As I had a Bangladeshi passport (foreign to India), I was admitted. My school was full of NRIs (Non resident Indians) who didn't look very Indian, and people from a host of other countries. Suddenly, my old fears were beginning to take shape again. I figured racial discrimination wouldn't be a problem as most of the kids were Indian. However, my childhood experiences had left an everlasting impact on my mind, as I was about to see.

As is the case with high school kids, everyone had gone through their first experiences of puberty and were looking to explore the pleasures derived from it. Friday night was party night and someone would always get lucky and boast about his conquests or would -be conquests the next Friday. Our school offered a diverse range of girls hailing from different countries and the guys could never get enough. Many of the Indian girls were "comparatively" conservative on the issue of sex. Though I was not regular at Friday night parties (compliments of my parents) as they usually involved the entire night out and there's no saying what you can do, I did go occasionally (once a month, max) after some pressing and committing myself. I did, however, refrain from the physical pleasures. While I do not hold conservative views on the subject, I didn't think it was the wisest thing to do at the time. I found myself not being able to converse properly with the white girls as I always thought there was some kind of condescension hidden under every remark they made, even if it wasn't so. There was a group of East European girls who were attractive to say the least, and I found myself starting to avoid them altogether. Pretty soon this started applying to all the girls and I always felt insecure around them as I thought an insult might pop up any time and destroy all the confidence I had mustered.

Since I was good in both sports and academics, I was popular with the guys. However, the fact that I didn't get laid soon became an issue and converted to a kind of joke among my friends. I remember my friends nudging me below my chest saying " No action tonight either buddy?" I always hid behind a mysterious smile and replied "You know I don't try, cos if I did you wouldn't be getting any", and so it continued. On several occasions I had to defend my country, which my friends referred to as 'Water World' (due to the floods), and the numerous pathetic performances of our cricket team.

At parties, I took delight in the alcohol served and the dope, which was always available with someone or the other and carefully avoided the dance floor. I was content with staying high and scarcely intermingling accept when some of my buddies took a break from their 'busy' schedules. As time progressed, I became more popular with the guys and increasingly unpopular with the girls. I was never a ladies' man, but all guys my age took an interest in girls and I was no exception, except that I didn't put it to use. I did, however, fall desperately for a very beautiful girl, a girl so beautiful and amazing that I thought life was worth living only because of her. It was the only girl with whom I felt a sudden thump inside me every time I saw her, spoke to her and touched her despite the feelings of insecurity I had with the other girls. Unfortunately, it lasted only a short while as she had an unpleasant past and had to leave our school for personal reasons. I sulked for a long time after she left, trying to forget those moments as best as I could and returned to my shell. By now my insecurities were becoming a habit and were no longer due to fears of racial discrimination. Insecurity turned into a kind of reluctance. Later, this reluctance became part of my lifestyle.

I returned to Dhaka to join NSU (how that happened is another long story) where I became just another face in the crowd. There were people from a wide range of backgrounds and I didn't know anyone or how to interact with anyone. I made very few friends and kept mostly to myself. I didn't take active part in conversations because I realized I said the wrong things, which was quite obvious from people's reactions. I went to a couple of parties initially and was unfortunate enough to meet some very 'stuck up' people and avoided parties ever since. Eventually, the concept of 'mood mara' set in and I realized that people thought 'ami mood mari' because I kept to myself, which was totally unintentional. In return, I also started getting 'mood' from people and I was thoroughly confused. Pretty soon, I adopted the ongoing technique of avoiding conversations by flashing a quick smile when I met someone. I had little interaction with girls, only the ones my friends had quickly gathered around them. My lack of proper communication skills here (despite being good in Bangla) also contributed to this and I became totally reluctant. I didn't take part in any club activities for reasons I thought better suited me. As I lived alone, I had plenty of free time to do all I wanted. I enjoyed being an introvert. I played the guitar, listened to music, watched movies, hung out with whatever few friends and cousins I had, got high occasionally, and took a trip abroad to visit my parents during semester breaks.

As time progressed, I socialized less and less and became totally oblivious to the flurry of activity going on around me. I started disliking people in general and figured it was either because I met the wrong people or because of my own fault.

To this day I haven't done anything to remedy that and now in my graduating semester I spend as little time as possible in NSU, just attending classes and back. I try very hard to forget my past and concentrate on my future but I still can't totally recover from the complex I developed due to memories deep rooted in the back of my mind. The fact that I was then just a little kid as were the others is not a good enough explanation. Most of my friends know nothing of my past and I make no effort to tell anyone as they wouldn't understand. I realize there are others who go through similar phases like me and I spend several sleepless nights wondering what's coming next. On one such occasion I switched on the computer and started writing," A few days ago..."

By Unnamed

An Irresolute love story

The sky is looking so blue today! The gentle breeze seems to tell me something. As if it's whispering "go..go..go". I usually don't wake up so early. It's only 6.30 A.M. I couldn't sleep for several nights. The whole night I have just tried to find out the answer of a question- "Should I go for it?" I failed to reach a decision, however. A sound sleep has become a long required thing for me. Sitting on the veranda I am experiencing quite a feeling of relief. The birds are singing around me. The whole world is trying to tell me the same thing: "Go for it". From the depth of my heart, however, someone is telling me, "Don't go". You shouldn't do this. You will get pain. Maybe you or he will be disappointed. Don't take a risk. Don't break your friendship".

Our friendship started two years ago through the Net. That time I used to chat on mIRC regularly. I just love to do that. Talking to a person whom I don't know and don't even have a chance to know personally was quite an interesting experience for me. At that time I had made many cyber-friends. After a while, however, I had become bored by that. There were several reasons. Firstly, some people were not honest while chatting. Secondly, some resorted to swearing when their opinions didn't match with mine. Thirdly, some wanted to see pictures and I don't support this. So I decided to stop this process of making friends. By that time I had only three or four cyber friends and we switched to MSN for chat. At a fixed time we used to chat. But after some days there remained only one person with whom I began to share my feelings. Our tastes and views were quite the same. We haven't seen each other and never felt that we should see each other. We had conversations over the phone several times. After some time we indirectly expressed our love for each other. It would seem like a filmi story but it's true. Things were going perfectly all right until last week when he told me that he wanted to meet me. From that day I'm disturbed. Should I meet him? As a person I believe in limits. Every person and thing in this world has its own limit. One should stay within his/her limit. I had never tried to break my limits and its first time I'm thinking to break it. Should I do it? I don't know what to do. I know a person's main treasure is his/her inner beauty. However, one can't totally ignore the importance of physical beauty. Life is not a film that the hero and the heroine will always be the Mr. Handsome and Miss Beautiful. I'm afraid to fail in his outer beauty test. I know if you really love someone then the physical beauty becomes valueless. I don't know how will he react. I know I will be able to accept him as he is, but I don't know whether he will be able to do the same for me. You guys may think, what kind of friendship or love it is that I even don't know whether he gives more importance to physical beauty than inner? Is it possible to know a person properly? You don't know how a person will react in certain situations you can just guess that. It is not possible to know a person properly while spending year after year with him/ her. So, I don't want to break any hearts here. I can only realize that my story may end right here or may go far away towards an unknown destination. Now it's up to me to choose my destination.

By Desert Rose








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