I am a Bangladeshi, born and raised in Abu Dhabi as the second child but the first daughter of the house. It goes without saying I was a pampered child who was constantly showered with love, affection and attention. I grew up in a land where fast food was readily available and where living in an air-conditioned apartment was not a luxury but a necessity. Every thing I fancied–from my favourite chocolates to a fancy doll–was just a phone call away; a phone call to my dad of course!
Cherished memories of childhood
I have fond memories of my childhood, especially the weekends we’d at spend at a place called Corniche. It was an exotic garden next to the sea shore where people would walk, cycle or simply sprawl under the open sky, gazing at the stars. My life in the Middle East was carefree, laid back and easy going. I completed high school and then my undergrads and was looking forward to pursuing higher studies from a prestigious college.
One day, without any warning or prior discussions, my father came home from work and declared that he’d taken voluntary retirement. We were to leave the beautiful sunny lands of the UAE and head to Bangladesh for good. This came as a big shock. I had never thought of this as a possibility, let alone be mentally prepared for such an eventuality. The next few days went by in a blur, busy as we were packing all our belongings. I went through huge moments of despair. How was I to ‘pack’ my entire childhood and take it along?
Shifting to Bangladesh.
Once we reached Bangladesh, I realised life was not a bed of roses. Things which I had earlier taken for granted, now seemed way out of reach. To make matters worse, I found people around me to be very cunning, shrewd and selfish with weird ideologies. I struggled to understand or trust everyone and it took more than sometime to make friends.
But life took its own course and with the passage of time, acceptance crept in. I decided there was no point in lamenting for what I didn’t have. I had to make the best with what I did have. Slowly but surely, I learnt to deal with all crafty and egocentric people in a most diplomatic manner. Determined to look ahead, I took up a job as a teacher in a reputed school and alongside, I completed my MBA with a CGPA of 3.96. I had learnt to survive by adapting to the biggest change in my life.
Marriages are made in heaven
A few years later, in 2014 to be precise, I met my to-be husband at a public speaking and leadership-based community club in Bangladesh. We got married the same year. Life suddenly began to seem like a dream run once again. We loved travelling and would spend weekends exploring new cities within Bangladesh and those abroad too. We were having the best time of our life!
Three years later, we were elated when my daughter, Nusaibah was born. They say motherhood is the most beautiful phase in a woman’s life and that the smile on your child’s face makes you forget the entire world. But for me, nothing of this sort happened! Because from the very moment she came out of my womb, she started crying! And she then kept crying every single night, for five hours at a stretch, for three consecutive months! The doctors said she had an extreme case of colic and hence cried for no apparent reason.
I did not sleep at night for three whole months
All I did was keep rocking, patting and carrying my baby the whole night. I felt like a zombie. There were days when I would break down and wondered how on earth I would survive this phase. And then three long months later, Nusaibah suddenly stopped crying and began to sleep through the night. It was then that I actually began enjoying motherhood. I would cuddle her, nurse her and hold her close to myself. Motherhood has been a struggle but the happiness, love and fulfillment she brought into my life has been worth it all.
Today when I look back and reflect on the two most difficult phases of my life, I am reminded of Charles Darwin’s famous quote. “It’s not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change.” I realise that had I not adapted to the drastic changes in my life, I would not have reached where I am today. It is because I graciously accepted every challenge which came my way, that I have managed to come out a stronger, more resilient and patient person. I am confident that I can now face any obstacle, change or challenge in life, with a big smile.