There are so many voices and so many words we’ll hear in our lives. Carefully choose the voices you’ll allow into your ears and your heart. 

By Shajiya khanom

It seems like these days, people are always in a mood to judge. Judge others for any reason they can think of. Remember that our words have the power to build others up, or they can tear them down. So one rule to having a peaceful life is, “Think before you speak.” You can’t exactly control other people’s tongues or the way they think, but you can surround yourself with positive people, with the dreamers and the doers. There is a beautiful quote by Oprah Winfrey( the famous American TV host and actress)

“Surround yourself with only people who are        

                 going to lift you higher”

Moreover, what you say reflects who you are as a person. You can earn people’s respect only when you have control over your words and actions. Fortunately, I have some bold and beautiful people surrounding me, from whom I have learned a great deal in my life. Whenever I feel low, I think about their everyday struggles and how boldly they’ve been handling them. Their courageousness and way of tackling problems have guided me when I need to get past my own obstacles. Whenever I need care and support, they are there for me, despite having their own difficulties. I know how beautiful they are inside. Today I want to write about their stories. I hope these stories will offer joy and wisdom to my readers. 

The Immeasurable one …..

My childhood friend Faria is also my niece, but only a year younger than me. She has been living in Australia for 13 years and is happily married with a loving husband and two adorable daughters. 

Faria’s mother died when she was just one month old. She was then raised by her grandmother, aunt, and uncles. Around that time, my aunt (Faria’s grandmother) won the custody battle for Faria against her father. Faria’s father didn’t take the verdict with ease and ended up becoming so angry that he cut his daughter out of his life forever.

As time went on, Faria realized that her life was not like the other girls she was surrounded by. But, she never let it get her down. When we were in college, I once asked her, “do you wish you had a family with your own mom and dad?” She replied, “no, because I’ve never experienced it. The love and affection I get from my aunt, uncles, and especially my grandma is enough. I am so lucky to have a family like this.”

People like Faria knows the value of having a family than anyone of us.

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Still, Faria always wanted to meet her father. She started contacting him when she was in class 7. By that time, Faria’s father had started another family where he had a wife and two kids. He wasn’t really enthusiastic in meeting Faria often. Things had also been changing for Faria when her aunts and uncles eventually began starting their own families and leaving her with her grandma. She later on started living with her aunt’s family for university, when she had to face another cruelty in life.She had to lead her life according to her aunt’s husband as he was like a dictator in the family. Long story short, Faria wanted to get married as soon as she completed graduation so she get start her own life.

In 2005, she got married to Mizan, who was doing his PhD at a university in Italy. It was an arranged marriage and they both got settled in Italy right after their wedding. Within a few months, she found out Mizan was a very cold hearted and dominating person. She ended up getting pregnant but her husband did not want a child so she had to let that go. Only a year into her marriage, she caught him cheating on her with another woman. She was devastated and clueless as to what to do with her life next. Suddenly, Mizan declared that he wanted a divorce. He didn’t explain his reasons, but it was clear that Faria had a long fight ahead of her.

She was scared, demoralized, depressed, and broken-hearted. But she never gave up.

Like the strong woman she is, Faria pulled herself together and moved on. In 2008, Faria went to Australia with her uncle’s support as an immigrant with a skill visa. She started her new chapter of life with loads of challenges. Yet she survived. A friend of Faria’s introduced her to Shahin, who was living in Bangladesh, on social media. Faria told me “Shahin is a very caring man and one of the most progressive people I have ever met.” After a one year, virtual, and long distance relationship, they decided to get married. It was the 2nd marriage for both of them.

the love of family is life’s greatest blessing

Faria’s story is like a fairytale princesses “happily ever after.” After innumerable sacrifices, she had to fight a long battle to start a new beginning. Her patience and bravery is truly commendable. While going through this tough journey, Faria did not stop contacting her father. Now she has an amicable relationship with her fathers family. She adores her half brother and sister unconditionally.

The last time she came to Bangladesh and met with her father’s family, I asked her, “Faria have you ever asked your father why he didn’t support your mother while she had postpartum depression?” She replied with a muddled look, “No, I haven’t. But maybe someday I will.” I didn’t press the issue any further because sometimes you don’t need an explanation, when your expression says it all. Maybe she has already processed the pain of her mother’s tragic death or maybe it still shimmering beneath her skin. But the fact is that being a positive soul, Faria has chosen to forgive her father and give him another chance.

We all face hard times but credit goes to those who can handle those bad days intelligently and patiently. She is someone who has faced every challenge of life so bravely and has proved that one should keep trying to be happy no matter what. Because we only have one life.

The Cool One…….

She is one of the coolest among all the friends we hang around nowadays. She is a professor at a reputed private university in our country and has made a dynamic career in her profession. She’s also passionate about photography and travel. Her name is Sabah and she is the mother of a beautiful daughter.her eyes say it allher her eyes  say it all


Our friendship started long after we completed our graduation from the same Faculty. In 2001, when I was in 5th year, she had just gotten enrolled in her department. I still remember those days. She was one of the most pleasant yet promising students on our campus. From the very beginning, she was so focused on her career and was always being praised for her creativity. She had received many awards alongside her team in different international student competitions.

After 6 long years, I met Sabah once again in 2010. It was a pleasure trip to Malaysia along with three other friends. After that five day trip, our friendship became stronger and more genuine. I found Sabah to be so unique and such a pure soul. In fact, we had gone on several trips together after that initial one. In 2011 , she got married to one of her best friends, Emon. Around that same time, Sabah started her own consultancy firm along with her husband. The firm became one of the best firms in the city for young professionals.

Meditating
Meditating

Sabah was very driven and committed to her profession. So after her marriage, she didn’t stop putting in the effort towards her career, infact, she turned it up a notch. Until she got pregnant. During her pregnancy she noticed that her husband’s behavior had been changing. Emon seemed to be distancing himself more in their relationship, yet she didn’t doubt  him for a second. After her baby girl was born, Sabah brought her parents to her home to support her in raising her baby.

Meanwhile, Emon was never available for her or for their newborn child, saying it was due to the amount of work he had to do. Days went by and Sabah realized there’s something fishy going on in Emon’s life. Eventually, she found out what was going on. Emon was having an extramarital relationship with an office staff member, the one that she adored the most. The bitter truth was that they were in this extramarital relationship long before Sabah got pregnant.

Sabah is a strong woman. She had been raising her daughter all by herself despite having a husband. After the shocking reveals, she decided to go abroad for a master’s degree and give herself some time in a constructive way. Sabah, along with her two year old daughter , went to one of the top universities in Canada and in the world. The only people who would understand what she was going through would be those who have suffered in a similar way. They would understand the struggle of conducting a masters degree while having the responsibilities of a toddler and having a broken heart, being miles away from home.

After successfully completing her degree and surviving one of the hardest phases in her life, she got back home and decided she wanted to divorce Emon. It ended up being a mutual decision as Emon wanted to start a new life with the girl he cheated with, just three months after the start of his marriage.

Her eyes say it all

As time goes by, Sabah moved on with her daughter and parents to a new place with a new beginning. She has engaged herself in multiple creative tasks besides her Professorship as well as taking care of both her daughter and parents. She lost one of her beloved brother in laws to cancer two years ago and ended up taking her sister and niece under her wing as well

She travels a lot both for professional trips and personal trips. She clicks photos like a pro, so much so that she has gotten published in a local magazine. Last year, she got an award from a prime organization in our country, “Women, The Incredible – 2020” on Women’s Day for being a fighter and a successful woman despite facing so many obstacles in her life. She’s going to the USA very soon to pursue a PhD, which will add another feather to her crown. The magic of her personality is that somehow, she manages to put things into the right place no matter what. Besides being a Rockstar mother, she is always there for her friends, in any kind of necessity. She has suffered but she has also revived herself by holding her head high. She is my definition of “Wonder Woman.”

The Simple One……..

This is her story, the one who has always believed in leading a simple but organized life. She is one of my closest friend’s elder sister.Her name is Sumona and she lives in UK with her sweet little family.She is married to a very responsible husband and a proud mother of two wonderful kids. 

Sumona was very well known to everyone in the neighborhood for her calm nature and brilliant academic results.Even though her father was a scientist and had been working in a government office for his whole life, in those days, they didn’t have much financial stability. Especially not for a family of seven. In 1995 when her father died, Sumona was a 2nd year university student. Sumona’s father was the only earning member of their family and her eldest brother had just started his first job at that time. Sumona’s mother was just a typical housewife of a middle class family so it was a very crucial and trying time for her as well. So, when Sumona had gotten a suitable marriage proposal, her mother granted it immediately without letting her know anything.

Sumona had agreed due to tremendous pressure from her mother as well as the fact that they had no guardian over their head. She was 21 years old and got married into family with a total of 13 brothers and sisters. Though all of them were married and had their own families at the time, some still had the tendency to dominate over newlywed Sumona from a distance. She had to manage all the household chores along with her studies and responsibilities to her in-laws. Sumona used to be at the top of her class both in school and college but due to her new life as a wife, a daughter in-law, and then a new mother, she couldn’t manage enough time to focus on her studies. She completed her master’s degree with an average result.

In 1999, a new chapter had begun. Sumona got settled in UK with her husband and daughter. This new life came with new challenges. She became the mother of another child and also had enrolled for a three-year associate degree in Computer Science. From the other side of the world, her family had felt like Sumona got a picture-perfect family with a husband and two beautiful kids. But to achieve this, she had to fight against all odds that a woman faces as a daughter-in-law to a typical South-Asian family.

Being a meritorious student, Sumona had an ambitious vision for her career that she had to sacrifice. But when she became the mother of two, she had changed her motto and focused on raising her kids with all her heart. The unnecessary interference by dominating in-laws and an uncooperative life partner was her greatest challenge from the beginning of her married life. Sumona never showed her pain to her family or to anyone, instead she put aside that pain to enjoy being a mother.

Family is everything ,where the most important virtues of humans, are created, strengthened and maintained.

Today, Sumona is a successful self-esteemed woman who overcame a series of obstacles such as interference, criticism, and discouragement from people surrounding her. She has been working as a kindergarten school teacher for the last few years. Her daughter works at a Multinational company after completing graduation and her younger son just entered university. Both of her kids are so well-behaved and family-oriented – something any parents would wish for. To respect Sumona’s privacy, I haven’t mentioned more of her struggles in her conjugal life but just know that through all that, she still continues to constantly support her family back in Bangladesh. 

My friend ( her sister)once asked her, “Do you ever regret that you gave up your career at a very early age despite being so qualified?” 

She answered, “I may not be what you think of when you think of a successful career woman, but when I see my children growing up to be pretty awesome with humbleness and so much potential, I know I did something in my life perfectly right.”

Dear readers, you might wonder why the list is so short and why there aren’t any males whom I find bold and beautiful. The truth is, my list is too long to accommodate in one article. Such as people like my mom and her two sisters. All of them lost their husbands at a very early age yet raised their children right in spite of so much hardship. Perseverance and dedication were the keys to their success. And of course there are some men in my life, whom I find inspiring. For example, my husband who at the age of 52 got his Ph.D. on his third attempt. Also, my big brother who took the responsibility of our family on his shoulders at the age of 23 after our father died. 

Dear readers, do you think you should be surrounded by such beautiful souls, from whom you get inspiration? Or do you not want to be selected? Please share your thoughts and valuable comments here. Who knows what could inspire others for their future endeavors.

 

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