Some of my earliest memories are of my father dropping me and my siblings off at school. On the short journey he would tell us stories and teach us prayers. He has been a practicing Muslim from a very young age. He is small in stature but is a big character with a booming voice and a hot temper. I have learned much from him.
An Intelligent Child at Primary School
The primary school I went to was attended by only Bangladeshis and Pakistanis, I had two close friends who I spent my dinner and breaks with. They are called Khaled and Lutfur, we rarely see each other but remain friends to this day. Khaled was funny, always cracking jokes and laughing and Lutfur was the sensible one, thoughtful and mature. They would listen attentively when I recounted tales about Islamic heroes.
I remember the head teacher relating stories to us in assemblies. I can recall to this day how interesting her stories were to me. Even at that time, I was quite talented, intelligent and very studious. I recall playing different games at break times, including tag, cricket and football. Now as I look back after the twists and turns my life has taken I appreciate how easy and happy life was during my childhood years.
My friends were addicted to computer games on the now defunct Mega Drive and Gameboy which were popular at the time. They would talk constantly about the latest computer games and Jackie Chan movies. In contrast, I preferred to read. I would get so excited before starting a new book, I still feel like that now. I used to fall ill regularly and had asthma so I would often miss PE and swimming classes.
“Due to my sister’s influence I grew to love books. “
There was tension between Bangladeshis and Pakistanis even at primary school and fights would sometimes occur. There is still hostility between them because of the 1971 war. Pakistanis feel they were betrayed and Bangladeshis feel like they were oppressed.
Living With My Huge Family
At that time all my family lived together, we were and still are a very close knit family. My two eldest sisters looked after the younger siblings and helped mum to cook and clean. My mum is the most kind and gentle person I know, she suffers from arthritis and other ailments but never complains. She is more concerned for me and my brothers and sisters than for herself. I have learned the lesson of patience from her.
I have five brothers and three sisters. Due to my sister’s influence I grew to love books. We used to visit the library every Saturday and take out seven books on our library cards. Over the week we would read the books and return to the library the following weekend. I used to get so excited on Saturdays before going to the library. I loved reading about the adventures of Tintin and Asterix and fantasy and science fiction stories.
Family are the closest people to you in the world as they share the same blood, arguments do occur but it is an unbreakable bond. I thank my family for standing by me through dark and depressing times, visiting me in hospital and supporting me financially and emotionally. South Asians have very close knit families, have you been supported by your family through difficult times? Please share.
I wrote this short poem for my family.
Dear family, with you there I never feel lonely
Over the years, you’ve always cared for me
In hospital and out, even when I used to scream and shout
Love and care, that’s what it’s all about
When I was down, you raised me up
When I was low, you’d lift me up
I am grateful because you’ve been so faithful
You have always made my life happy and full
Dear family, don’t be sad,
I am happy it’s not too bad,
Every day, without miss or delay,
Mum calls to check if I’m ok
After every hardship there is ease
I’m looking forward to my upcoming release