Winners, or Losers? -The Long-Standing Debate Solved
A casual look at the world reveals that there is competition everywhere. This is evident in everyday life ranging from games to work. There seems to be one mad rush everywhere: to succeed. Is success truly defined by wealth, and outsmarting others? Does its sheer absence define failure or is there more to this custom? Let’s find out.
If we listen to stories by so-called successful people, we will see that not all of them consider themselves winners. The legendary author Louisa May Alcott, renowned for her classic Little Women celebrating womanhood, lead an austere and abstemious life, and never took pleasure in her fame. For others, however, gaining fame through their work would clearly seem splendid. Frequently, there have been cases where people who were successful businesspersons have lost their families through divorce or have lost their health through overworking. Many envy the preeminent Tesla owner Elon Musk, after all, he is one who has achieved success in its most scintillating form. Many of you may not know that Elon Musk had to work 22 hours each day to reach this position, and still must go the extra mile every waking hour. Even now, he gets only 6 hours of sleep and a minuscule amount of quality time with his children. So, can we really call such people winners? Your opinion may now be changed.
Another instance is Elvis Presley. In the world of pop music, he was the king, a definite winner, but alas, his personal life was far from successful. The King lost his family, and his health, and died miserably from a drug overdose. He had wealth at his disposal, and one is sure that the King would have gladly traded all that wealth for a loving family life.
Another example that is truly heart-wrenching is that of our Nobel Laureate, the greatest, majestic, and glorious Rabindranath Tagore. Guruji’s success needs no introduction, but do you know that in terms of love he did not have much luck? His sister-in-law, who was his companion and playmate in his childhood, committed suicide when he was forcefully married to another woman. His sister-in-law, Kadambari Devi, was his muse, his inspiration, and drove his early genius. He had undying, irrevocable, and ineffable love for her. This story may be a strong conjecture, but it may very well be true, after looking at his many heart-breaking and poignant writings.
Of course, this is not to say that it is good or even acceptable to be poor or a failure in life. However, many people who call themselves losers because they did not win what they set out for do not simply make them so. In Olympic Events, if the person who came in second burst into tears apparently because they did not become number one, can they truly be considered losers? It is a sign of success to be in second place in comparison to many others. Recently, there was an amusing perspicacious advertisement where a lady observed that there are only 12 supermodels in the world and 2 billion women who are not. Surely, they are not all losers. Then again, they are not without beauty.
Life is certainly not only for those considered winners by popular standards. Neither is life to be excluded for so-called losers. We must get past the popular tendency to label people as a “success” or a “failure.” We should be happy enough to be ordinary humans in this beautiful world and find happiness in little things like the smile of a child, the musky petrichor of rain, or the rejuvenating ocean-carried breeze.
If you aren’t there,
Do you think I care?
Yet there’s a stinging pain penetrating my soul,
For the person who’s not there anymore.
The vacant rooftop laments your absence;
The melancholy moon seeks your essence;
When dawn finally vanquishes night with a kiss,
When the golden fingers of sun light up my face,
Your doting warmth no longer fills my days.
Desolation tightens my heart,
My love, can you fathom the number of days I have yearned,
Just to see your soulful smile unaltered?
March means so much to me. Feelings which I have never felt brought to words, only to provide you all A GOOD READ. This poem (my second) can be dedicated to any person we love but haven’t seen in ages for a grudge- from selfless parents to loved ones who have gone forever, loved ones we won’t ever meet, our sole regret-only if we buried the hatchet then.
The Last Day
Do you remember the last day of school?
When the sun shone, but the weather felt cool,
When the squirrel darted along the bushes but was not chased,
It was a day, whose memories in your mind will never be erased.
A bittersweet feeling reigned throughout the towering exam halls
The halls inside which you were once petrified, looked at you teary-eyed,
They then felt like a storm that had come to make you stronger, a bitter tonic that had made you bona fide.
The half sweet feeling had a little bitter mixed in it too, so then, it was just a totally bitter feeling
To leave the place you once begged not to attend, the place you cried to be free from.
The feelings were different then, they truly were,
For you were leaving the place that was, in truth, your home.
The musty scent of books, the monotonous whirring of the fans,
not to mention the buzz of the period bell,
All of which once seemed insufferable, now seemed desirable.
The thing that you yet hadn’t fathomed then came to mind-
There would be no football matches, no more sharing lunch, no peeking over another’s answers,
No more of the jokes that made you chortle in the middle of the assembly,
That made those unendurable days, a little more durable.
A trickle of tear dropped down your cheek,
And the feeling of acknowledgment sank in-
It was indeed the last day;
The end of the painstaking early mornings and the fear of detention,
The end of everything merry and gay,
It was indeed the last day.
This is the first-ever poem I’ve ever composed in my life, just scribbled something after an arduous streak of exams at 1:00 am. Posting it here, because I feel it explicates not only what I felt in my last day of school(LJS), but also resonates with many others, for I sure never peeked over another’s copy. Sincerely hoping that there will be no one who won’t be transported down the lane of nostalgia.
I would also like to add that I literally always thought that I did not have it in me to write a poem, but see, here I am, so- NEVER, NEVER LIMIT YOURSELF IN ANYTHING, since: The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all.
Life is unpredictable, you never know where you will end up for if life were predictable, it would cease to be life and be without flavor. Life hits us several times with tragedy, and we can never lose faith in ourselves since the reality is: some people get success easily, some through a lot of struggles, and some must fight almost all their lives to preserve it.
I was always a vivacious girl, the eldest of four, and had a normal childhood until one day, the world economy had a fall, and my father lost his job. The recession reigned all over. It was like thunder had befallen me. Not only did my father lose his job, but we were also on the streets in merely a week. We took shelter in my uncle’s house. My father was in a heap of debt, but I always believed in the proverb I read in my favorite book: Never lose hope. There is always light behind the clouds.
Meanwhile all these adversities, my father had grown depressed, had become disquieted. I, being the oldest, had to take up the family’s responsibility and started tutoring students in mathematics-the love of my life. When the ground beneath me became a little stable, I was in another dilemma. How could I pay for the fees for my board exams? However, life is a beautiful struggle; working hard will open doors for you. To my stupefaction, my teachers offered to pay my tuition. I was overwhelmed. Not finding any other way out, and as my teachers could not take no for an answer, I concurred.
My results came and, I, to my teachers’ euphoria, passed with distinction. I had achieved the world’s highest score in maths. Then came a day, which made me weep for the second time in life-the first being the day my teachers offered to pay my tuition- I received a letter from my dream university, Harvard, to attend their ubiquitous mathematics festival. However, to my fickle luck, I could not attend it, being still in debt and not having enough money for the trip. I howled, asking myself why the Almighty had chosen ME to give up my dreams, to earn for the family, and I cursed the day when I had lost everything.
During all this, I had become distant from my parents and siblings because whenever I saw them, it made me think about having missed that golden opportunity. Then, I took up a job at my school and soon became the most-liked teacher on campus. I had also grown a disinclination towards my friends, having grown towards them somewhat of a grudge as they were born with a silver spoon in their mouths. Besides work, I started my undergraduate education at a private university in the country, but my dream was to always go to my dream university-Harvard, in the U.S., nourish my talents there, and explore the world.
A few years later, something happened which made me change my perspective on life forever. I, now a middle-school teacher, was at a restaurant, having lunch with my family after getting my monthly paycheck. Suddenly, a boy in his early twenties came up to me and hugged me. He said, “Ma’am, I presume you don’t remember me. I am Shafique Adyan Kabir, Batch19. Next week is my flight to the U.S. I have been accepted to my dream university-Harvard. All thanks to you for making me fall in love with mathematics when I dreaded it. You are my inspiration. I still remember what you told me when I said that I was probably not smart enough to do math. You said, ‘There is nothing as smart or dumb. We all manipulate our minds, to limit our success but in reality, you can never be bad at anything you put your mind to,’ I hold on to that advice till today.” I had a moment of reflection. I realized that even though I could not achieve my dreams, I, as a teacher, could make a thousand dreams come true, and had gifted this world with many brilliant minds. That day, I realized the true meaning of life- we never know where we will end up.
From that day on, I started appreciating life, became closer with my friends and family, and never in my life thought myself unfortunate because only through all these struggles did, I become the person I am today.
I went to meet my father, who broke into tears and asked for forgiveness for burdening me with so much at such a young age. I held his hands and said, “You have nothing to be sorry for, Baba. That experience is still the sole purpose of every minute success of my life and will always be. I’m so sorry for always internally blaming you for it.”
The struggle had not ended for me since there was still a lot of debt to be paid but I was ready for every storm. Now, if you ask me about the purpose of life, I’ll say: The purpose of life is to be happy despite where it takes you. You aim towards the north, end up in the south, but eventually find your success and happiness there.
P.S.-This story, inspired by true events, I built from an amalgam of experiences from people’s lives. This story is not in the slightest meant to humiliate or degrade anyone, but simply, to put a simple salutary idea into perspective. This one, I’m quite certain, will be a GreatRead for all.
The Portrait at the Parlor
It was a dark and stormy night. Ominous black clouds hovered over the sky and released a sudden thunder. I was drenched from the heavy downpour. Icy fingers gripped my arm, and I was chilled to the marrow. While going to work this morning, little did I know that there would be such a tempest, I would not find a single cab and would have to go through an undetermined path amid which was a desolated decrepit house. I thought to myself: what was I thinking when I sought shelter in this house? Was I digging my own grave?
When my mind returned to the present, I mustered up the courage to turn around. I slowly turned my head during which my heart was pounding, my spine was chilled, my hair was raised, and cold sweat was running down my forehead. To my relief, there was no one. I was probably hallucinating-delirium having caught me seeing the mystical house-as I had flagging disbelief in ghosts or any supernatural things. I knew they were nothing but a figment of our imagination, so I decided to sit in the parlor till the rain subsided. The house was as lonely as a cloud.
A lone grey mouse stood sentry at the corner of the leather sofas which had been denatured by quite a few spider webs. Hung high on the soaked wall was a portrait of a small girl with a pale-looking face, snub nose, bright sparkly eyes, and neatly plaited hair. A misplaced grand bookshelf lay unruffled in a corner of the room. I neared the shelf and found inside it a myriad of children’s storybooks and fairy tales. Outside the window, a cat with coruscating green eyes looked at me with an eerie grin. Terror gripped my whole being and perspiration started dripping from my forehead. I had to fight against my fears as I was a firm realist and a rational person. Besides, the weather was deteriorating. A curious worm was poking into my brain to catch a sight of this house which, though old, seemed to be quite opulent and majestic once. But, as they say, curiosity killed the cat.
I tiptoed into the bedroom, and the door begrudgingly creaked open. A musty and pungent odour crept into my nose. The bedroom had a beautiful almirah made of cedar-which, despite needing some varnish, looked quaint with its seamless finish, and a bed, on top of which hung the same portrait of the girl downstairs. The bed was crammed with dolls, and I sat on the bed admiring one which was very lifelike, very authentic and seemed to be standing out amongst the crowd as if it was a minimized version of that little girl in the portrait. However, there was some deep sadness in the girl’s eyes- a solitude, some pain that had subjugated her for decades. Nonetheless, I thought I was flogging a dead horse, so when the vigor of the rain lessened in a while, I thought to return home. As I stood up, my eyes widened as big as a tennis ball and my face turned as white as a sheet for the doll had grabbed my hand. The next moment I was horror-struck, my blood ran cold, and I had lost my voice. I did not know what to do and I tried to free myself without success. Then I gathered the sparse courage that I had left, and, with all my strength, thrust the doll away.
The next moment, all the dolls were looking at me and I dashed as fast as my legs could take me. I scampered down the stairs with some shadows following me, wailing: “Don’t go, stay here. Please play with us,” with a spooky, yet tranquil voice which made my heart gallop. Cold sweat streamed down my forehead and my throat was parched. When the door was about to close by itself, fortuitously, I took a high leap and came out of the house. The howl echoing throughout the house died. I had got goosebumps and my heart was in my mouth. The dilapidated mansion looked as though it had been solitary for centuries and was waiting to quench its thirst. Several questions reigned over my head: Who was the girl? Why was she trapped in a doll and why was she so despondent? Whatever it was, I vowed never to go to an unknown remote house ever again, for escaping the ghosts was bad.
This one will definitely rouse you(may even raise your hair)! #StayingTrueToMyRoots
The Lost Shade
Her father said, “Grace, my dear,” hugging and kissing her on her forehead, “I missed you greatly today as I needed someone on this heart-rending and desolating day to share my feelings with for today is your mother’s death anniversary.” Afterward, her father freshened up and after dinner, at night, called her to his room. She scampered into the room, pondering over why her father had called her so late at night.
Grace entered the room and her father said, “Dear, I was just rummaging through my old things, and I have something very precious to show you. You already know I have a passion for collecting sunglasses. This,” he said, showing her a box and opening it, “is the first pair of sunglasses I ever wore, given to me by your grandfather. Although these are not so much of economic worth, nor that fashionable considering the time, they are very close to my heart, and I will give them to you on your graduation day.” The glasses looked quaint and were probably of the 20th century. The shades were oval, impenetrable black, and highly reflective. She said that she would treasure them forever and returned to her room.
That night, Grace was talking to her mother’s picture as she often did on special occasions and saying, “Mum even though you are no more, Dad has never let me feel your absence. Today he said that he will give me his most prized possession, his sunglasses given to him by his grandfather. A week later, I will be graduating. Bestow upon me your blessings so that I embark on an efficacious and burgeoning journey ahead.” The week was by as fast as light. On Sunday, which was the day of her graduation, Grace was busy practicing her graduation speech. She had been chosen as the valedictorian for the graduation ceremony.
At the ceremony, when Grace was called on stage, she gave a speech talking about the significance of school and, how education was the movement from darkness to light. She ended the speech by thanking her father for all he had done for her and by saying the best preparation for tomorrow is doing our best today. When she came down from the stage, her father slightly wept but there were tears of joy. While returning home, the road was as busy as a bee. Suddenly, a car driving at an enormously high speed came in front of them, but it was too late for her father to apply the brakes. Grace and her father could not process what was happening and the next moment everything darkened.
Grace woke up in the hospital to see their housekeeper, Mrs. Watson in front of her, in tears. “The doctors could not save him,” Mrs. Watson said. Grace could not believe her ears. The entire world shifted beneath her feet. It was like the shade-her father- who protected her from everything in her life was lost. When she was discharged from the hospital and returned home, she rushed to her father’s room, still shattered and despondent, and opened the drawer of her father’s cabinet. On top of it was a long box, and inside it was the letter that read,” dear Grace, today is the day of your graduation. I have dreamt of this day from the day you were born. Today is the day I feel my little girl has truly grown up. I wish you a lifetime of happiness and prosperity. Beneath this letter is something very close to my heart. I say a lot about a person and these sunglasses have helped me -at times when I was weak-to hide my emotions from people who would not understand me. Hope there will be a friend in need of you too. I love you, my dear.” Grace closed the box, held the sunglasses tightly in her arms and a trickle of tears dropped down her cheek.
Hola everyone! This is my second post dedicated to my father on his birthday. My father- a father of two daughters, and a man who has never thought of his daughters any less than sons. My father- the revelor of all my successes. He went against all odds and burned the candle at both ends to provide the best education for his daughters. Behind every successful women, there is a progressive man, and for me, that is my father.
Fun fact- I wrote this story as an assignment when our teacher told us to write an essay on “A pair of sunglasses.” Imagine everyone’s reaction! In that instant, I could have never envisioned that I can come up with something like this. This is a story which, in more practical terms, will teach you that for a good story, a good imagination is the sine qua non because once the creative juices flow in, anything is possible.
A Newly Built Respect
Boredom and monotony reigned over the cerebrum of my head. My summer
vacation had come to an end, and I had not received a single chance to step out of
the house. Almost instantaneously, mother arrived in my room like a ray of
sunshine, and asserted, “Tomorrow we are going to your uncle’s.” Uncle Hasan
had lately come from abroad and did not have proper knowledge of the city.
Mother said, “Your uncle has shifted into an archaic mansion of the 20th century in
an area in which dwell the urban elite and middle class of that time.” I was
crammed with exhilaration, presuming the house might belong to people having
experienced the fabled Liberation War of Bangladesh. By five at dusk, I was dolled
up, and keen to step out of the house.
As the car raced into uncle’s neighborhood, it was difficult to find anything
particularly distinct from any neighborhood in Dhaka city. However, as I stepped
into the house, in a trice, the known world changed into opulence. Tall ceilings,
chimneys, and leather sofas made of newly burnished wood gave an august
impression of the house. The smell of freshly burnished wood was pungent. Aunt
Tina said, “It’s so great to see you all after nearly a decade. Hope you had a
comfortable journey.” Mother took control of the curtsies while I gave myself a
tour of the spectacularly anachronistic house.
I left the living room, leaving the elders in their fit of nostalgia. In the parlor, there
was a cabinet full of classics. The books looked intoxicating to me, and I had to
grab one. Surprisingly, there, behind that book, was a small round object, almost
like a lever and I pulled it- it was a door. Maybe it was intrigue penetrating into my
brain or the desire to reward myself with an element of surprise after an arduous
scholastic year. To my stupefaction, I entered a dark room, and closed the door
behind me. My heart was pounding, and my spine was chilled.
In the room, there was nothing but a fireplace, an armchair, and a notebook. Even
though my intrigue had reached its extreme, I wanted to venture out, and seek for
more. A curious worm was poking inside my brain to catch hold of the notebook
that read, “Property of Salma Khan.” I opened a certain page of the book. The
handwriting was bubbly and small, perhaps of a ten or twelve-year-old, but it was
On top of the diary was written: “25th November, Thursday, 1971.” I read softly
even though there was no one to listen to me. Perhaps it was my unconscious mind,
a bit terrified of all the unusual things that had happened in the past six minutes. I
read on, “Today, Abba had gone out with the people of the neighborhood with
placards. I hate it when he goes out. Mother stays awake for hours at night these
days. Partly waiting for dad, and partly to let in any freedom fighter seeking shelter
and food. Abba came late at night being extremely weary. I asked him about his
day, and he said that he saw two of his friends die in front of his eyes. While he
was speaking, his eyes were red, perhaps he was picturing the scene, and his hands
were shaking. The barbarous Pakistanis fired shots at them, but he got saved by a
sudden dodge from a tree. My heart was pounding harder and harder every second
as he spoke. I asked him why he had to do those protests anyway. I furthermore
questioned him whether he cared for us or not. He replied that there was nothing
more important than one’s country because it was she who gave us shelter, and her
freedom was the freedom of every dutiful citizen.”
As I read, my inquisitiveness piqued. The next page was titled, ‘26th November
1971.” “Abba went out in the morning to buy groceries. I had asked him to bring
the fresh oranges of winter. When I was playing in the courtyard, I heard a
hullaballoo. I rushed outside, and there was the sanguinary body of my Abba. I
gave a loud wail. Amma scampered out of the kitchen and, seeing Abba, started
howling. She was in a sense of shock.
The image of Abba bidding me goodbye with his benevolent smile while going out
flashed before my eyes. I could never see that soulful smile again. In his blood-
covered hands was a bag, and, inside it, was the pacific citrus smell of the fresh
winter oranges. The people informed that the West Pakistan Army made an abrupt
attack at the marketplace, and, in the gunfire, a myriad of people, including him,
were killed. I was shattered and grief-stricken. Whatever the reason, these people
had no right to murder my Abba so brutally. Though I guess, wars are like this-
many unknown, unrecognized sacrifices are made in them, and a million lives are
lost.” The pages, though old had some spots in them which I deduced to be tears.
I was frozen but managed to walk out of the room. Coming out, when I asked aunt
about the bookshelf, she said it had been there before they moved into the house
and decided to keep it as it was majestic and antique. I chose to keep this heart-
wrenching experience to myself. One can never fathom what the people of the
Liberation War of Bangladesh had to face, can never gauge the extremity of their
suffering and sacrifice if they cannot get a proper glimpse of someone’s
excruciating life in those days, I pondered to myself. From that day on, a newly
built reverence and patriotism had arisen in me, all thanks to this poignant and
P.S. Hope you all enjoyed this piece which I carved out when our(Bangladesh’s) 50th Independence Day was just around the corner because I strongly believe that we, as the youth of a nation that had to move heaven and earth for its freedom, must have, if not much, then at least a tinge of patriotism within us, which is fading with time. Staying true to my roots- I wrote an emotional story that I strongly believe will rouse your souls or in more Bengali terms-( আমি নিশ্চিত এটি তোমাদের বুকে তোলপাড় সৃষ্টি করবে)।