When I was a child, I was sent to my maternal grandparents as my father didn’t want me to attend the school in our village. It was in Bangladesh as I am originally from there. So I had to stay at my grandfather’s house from the age of 4 years old and I started my primary school there. The love of my grandparents, uncles and aunties was enormous, yet I always felt the absence of my parents – especially my mum and my brother who is just 2 years younger to me. My youngest sister was not born at that time.
My grandfather had a huge family but despite being surrounded by lots of people, I was always a lonely child. I used to climb the tall trees, spent hours talking to them, watching the birds and swimming in the pond. I received magical support from them when I missed my mum terribly.
I felt content with the silence and solitude of the places I used to be; when the leaves and branches moved for the gentle breeze in the summer afternoons it seemed like they were talking to me and became my friends; something I enjoyed more than anything.
As we didn’t have a telephone there was no opportunity to speak to my mum; only waiting for her to come and see me. After school, every day, I walked home with the excitement and hope that I might see her that day; but no, she hadn’t come. Most of the evenings, I would sit beside the road watching the buses pass by. When a bus stopped, on the other side, I looked at the feet of the people and waited just to see if my mum was getting down from the bus.
When she came to see me after months I was over the moon. Trust me, all my loneliness disappeared the moment I saw her. It was like suddenly a quiet child became confident. I was no longer worried and I became brave when I was with my mum and brother. The visits were always short. When mum used to leave to return home, those days became the saddest days in my life.
Finally, the time came, my parents moved into town in a small house for our education. I also moved to be with them and got the chance to live with my family. I joined them when I was in Year 6. Thus started my other struggles which can be left for another time….
Whenever I thought about those days I used to be sad. I always asked myself why they didn’t keep me with them when I was small and why I had to miss that time being with my family. But later I realised why they had made that decision. They wanted to protect me. My childhood taught me how to be independent, how to take responsibilities, how to be resilient and optimistic to fight against any obstacles. That has made me a strong person.
Very early on in my life, I identified my strengths. One of my strengths was my beautiful family, especially my mother.
I mostly overcame my struggles and achieved many things in life. On this journey, my parents were my inspiration – they have been the most wonderful and supportive parents; whilst not being fortunate themselves. Neither had the opportunity to continue after higher secondary education due to their circumstances but they always had a love and passion for education and continue to do so to this day.
I believe people are lucky who have a good combination of ability and ambition. If you have the ability and are ambitious things will be much easier for you. If you have a big dream but you are not gifted, life may seem like a battle to you. But you can still accomplish them IF you have an amazing family behind you. I have won the battle as I have a never-ending source of inspiration and that is my parents who believe in me more than anything.
Now as a parent by myself I am trying to do the same for my son. I can already see the impact of love and inspiration on my son who is 6 years old. From a child who was not a very confident person, he has transformed into a brave little boy.
My parents are now old. They live in Bangladesh. In this most difficult time in the world, I am not even able to go to them to stand beside them. Whenever I call them they seem to be worried for us. This is called the love of parents and the love of family. My prayers and love for everyone and their families in this hard time. We shall overcome it together!