The Alchemy of Mother


A mother’s womb is the place where life and love begin. In her heart we never grow up. No one smells like her and she remains the same even after hundred years. And when she dies she leaves a part of her soul for us; wherever we go her existence follows us. A mother’s heart can travel any time and any distance. There is an invisible chord between us which our mothers continue to nourish forever. This blog post is a Tribute to all mothers. This is for honoring the most irreplaceable person of our life. No one knows the alchemy of mother, she remains the one, no one can take her place.

Sharing Ten heart wrenching real life stories of Mothers, featured first on this Facebook page.  GMB Akash

mother 01

Like everyone you are also thinking that I am a beggar. But I never begged for a single day of my life. But strangely every day after I wake up I found money beside my head. I stopped wondering at generosity of strangers. There are many street children who love to stay nearby me. Because they had seen me giving away my money to other beggars. I never gave money to children, but always bought ice cream for them. My grandson loved ice cream a lot. My secret savings was for his ice cream. The day I was coming to the city with my son for my eye treatment, my grandson hugged me and was not letting me to come. He was telling me I won’t be able to come back, I was laughing on him as he always spoke about strange things. Then I told him to always remember, at the end, everything will be okay. I was sitting on the bench of the train station for almost two days. I waited for my son to arrive with a rickshaw, he told me not to move no matter what happened. The street boy who was selling water repeatedly told me, he saw my son leaving by the next train, he had heard him telling someone that he already got rid of a sick old woman. I did not trust him. I could not trust a street kid more than my son. I was not able to see clearly but as much as I could I was looking forward for his arrival, my ears were alert to hear his voice. I terribly wanted to go back to his house and give my grandson a hug. The street kid stayed with me for all the time, told me his father also left him in that station, assured me, he knew how I was feeling. No, no one can fell what I was feeling. I lost terribly in life many, many times. From the day I arrived to this strange city I never asked anyone to help. But I am asking you. Can you replace my heart? It’s been bleeding all the time without any sign of blood. I am having a terrible pain inside my chest, a feeling of pain that someone has crushed me with this world’s weight. I need peace, rest and love. But in this world there are people like me who may never get any of this. And that’s okay. Because at the end, everything ends.

– Jahanara Begum

mother 02

My life had always been different. There were some cold nights when my step mother punished me by keeping me outside our home. She wanted me to leave my father. But I couldn’t. I stood all nights outside their door and cried. Their door, liked their hearts, always remained closed. I was deprived of my father’s love and later on, of his property. After marrying me off, they directly asked me to never visit them again. To confirm that decision, my father gave all his property to my step brothers before my father died. I accepted and never questioned my father. You can’t fight to get love, it has to come on it’s own.

I lost my mother during my birth. I learned how to survive cruelty, as the world’s most unfortunate is the one who loses his mother during birth. I was also unfortunate to never know how it felt to be loved. When my husband shut his door on my face as well, I not surprised. I had been losing the battle since my life’s day one. And that day when my husband threw me away, I did not know what was about to come. I had no idea that a life was growing inside me. When I knew about my child, it was too late and I did not want to go to that house where I was beaten by everyone for the crimes I never did. Surprisingly, when I started living on street, I was happier. I slept hungry in my father’s house and as well as my husband’s many nights, but I never went to sleep hungry when I lived on my own in the streets. There was always someone who shared their food with me. There were beggars who gave me food, and laborer who gave me clothes. I was not alone among the strangers but I was so lonely among my very own family.

When my son was about to be born, I started having the fear of death. But we both survived. I passed hours looking at his face and often pinched myself it make sure it wasn’t just a dream. I have never felt such joy in my thirsty years of life. Though there was no one beside my child, I could never say his father’s name, no one cared for him without me, but together, we found happiness in our fragility. I continued to fight for our happiness.

A few days ago, when I had to bring him to this hospital, the doctor told me they will try their best to save my son, but I should prepare for the worst and stay strong.That moment I refused to be strong. I refused to be strong anymore. I refused to let go of my life. I spent the whole night on my knees. praying to God with every word I know, with all the belief I had. For how much longer would God keep putting so much of weight on my chest? When would he understand how hard it was for me? I refused to take any more pain. I do not know how I passed that night . After sun rise, a nurse arrived and asked me to visit my child. I rushed to him. And discovered that God had answered my prayer; he had given back me my life. I won’t let him go anywhere.

– Mayeeda

mother 03

No one ever loved me. When my mother left me, in shock I could not able to talk for a year. It was not her crime. But I wanted to sleep in her lap for at least one night, but I could not. My father never bought a hair lace for me. I could not remember if anyone loved me for a while. No one kept their hand in my head to give me courage. One day I lost myself. My aunt willingly left me in a ferry station, knowing I would never make it home. I was so afraid and cold. Just felt like the day when my mother left me alone. A girl, ten years old in an unknown, strange world, where there is no love, empathy. Since then years had passed, I did everything to survive. People used me in so many purposes. I wanted to die but surprisingly found out dying is harder than living, I could not throw myself in river water, I kept loving and hating me all at once. When I first felt my daughter’s movement, I was hungry, there was nothing to eat. There is no bigger pain than hunger; my tiny girl could not sleep inside my womb because we were hungry, hungry for food and love. The day when she was born there was no one beside me, when she grabbed my fingers; I felt for the first time – someone arrived to love me, whom I will never let go.

– Reshma

mother 04

‘One day madam bought a girl of nine years old. Her stepmother sold her to a brothel and then spread the news that she had been lost. The stepmother was satisfied to get rid of a stepdaughter for a life time and 3000 taka was just a bonus of selling a human being. My madam gave the little girl to me to prepare for clients. She was a doll, her pink chubby cheeks and big brown eyes melted my heart. When she cried and cuddled me at night I felt like that baby was made of milk. I went through forced abortions two times; for me Putul was my lost fetus. I bought her a doll to play with. After seven days she was able to speak, her first question was, ‘will that madam cut my hands and send me for begging’? I closed my eyes and whispered, ‘they will do much worse than anyone’s imagination’. Madam was impatient and gave me one week to teach her all the tricks of the business. And I planned something else by putting my life at risk. The day before they fixed a client for Putul, I communicated with one of my old admirers to talk to an organization who was working with orphans. I knew they would kill me if they found me while or after transporting the girl to the orphanage. But that time I did not care about my life. I was able to get her free from this hell. She left her toy doll for me as her memory. I know there must be thousands of such hells waiting for the girl but at least I was able to save her from the biggest one. Please pray for my baby; may she get all the happiness and love in her life; may her chubby cheeks always gets rosy from laughter.’

– Purnima, a sex worker

mother 05

I used to think with every passing year I might forget every scar I have. But that did not happen. Even by passing time I tend to remember all tiny memories deeply. I had a past that shattered my present and future. My parents married me off when I was nine years old. Before I knew what is the rule of a husband I was married. My first daughter was born when I was ten. By the time, my husband and in-laws had sent back me and my daughter to my home as my parents were unable to pay them dowry. To me, my daughter was nothing just a lively doll to play. And again before I could play with my doll enough they snatched her and married me off with my current husband. My mother sent off my daughter to a far flung location that still now I have no idea who have adopted her and where she might be. My bitter life started and my current husband continued to question me about my past for the rest of my life. I gave birth to three sons and by the time they know about my past all were adult and educated. They rejected me and continued to insult me with their father. At the age of eighty five I urge to be with my lost daughter. She is just ten years younger than me but when I recall her I can only remember some tiny fingers holding me tight, I get a smell something like cinnamon, I see those big eyes wondering at me. I keep living in my past; I am still a ten years old mother.

– Tahora Khattun (85)

mother 06

I never called my mother ‘maa’. Calling her maa was prohibited. My mother gave birth to me secretly. I heard that my father never returned to take her back. No one knew where he went. On the day of my mother’s wedding she held me in her chest she cried a lot. I was five years old and never allowed to call my mother ‘Maa’. Her sandalwood smell enchanted me for long. I told her, ‘Aunty your smell is amazing.’ Like everyone, my new father knew I was the daughter of her late sister. He pointed at me and told my grandmother, I should never visit their village. My grandma laughed and snatched me from my mother saying I would never visit them. When my mother was leaving I was locked inside our kitchen but my heart was running behind her. I was crying and saying, ‘Aunty, come back.’ Calling Maa was forbidden.

My grandfather planted a coconut tree when my grandma conceived my mother. That tree was same age as my mother. She taught me to call that tree ‘Maa’. For twenty years I called that tree ‘Maa’. I never went to see her and she never arrived to see me. Sometimes I secretly embraced the tree and whispered how much I missed my mother. It was very difficult to sleep at night; I wanted to have her smell. Without that sandalwood smell it was impossible to fall asleep. Most night I cried and cried bu did not utter the word ‘Maa’.

My mother sent all my expenses but I was raised alone. On my wedding day, with everything my mother also sent me her wedding saree, the saree that my father gave her on their wedding. She was not allowed to attend my wedding. But I did not miss her, I was wearing her wedding saree which had her sandalwood smell. I had no idea if she missed me or not. No idea if she ever wanted to tell me anything. After my mother’s death they wanted to take me to see her for last time. I did not attend her funeral. Even now to me my mother is an eighteen years old beautiful girl, whose long hair and big eyes are enough to fall in love, who smells like sandalwood. Whenever I close my eyes, I see those big eyes, filled with an ocean of tears. In my dreams I tell her not to worry, I tell her how happy I am without her. Only sometimes I wanted to scream and call her ‘Maa’, ‘Maa come back’.

– Suraiya

mother 07

I did not want to kill him. I wanted him to be in my life. I knew that if anyone could find it out, they would kill him. But I was able to hide him for many months. Then sometimes in morning when I went to sleep I asked myself why to punish someone by bringing into my life which has no hope, no tomorrow. But he was the only one with whom I talk like a child without being afraid, without being someone else. He also responded in my stomach like a butterfly by assuring that he will never leave me.

The day my madam found out I was pregnant; she wanted to kill my child. She was trying to kick me and I held her legs. I screamed, begged her to give me a chance to live. I did not leave her feet for how long I cannot say; then she stopped pushing me and asked me why I wanted to bring lifetime suffering. She left without hurting me anymore.

Then the time arrived. During delivery I had eclampsia and severe blood loss. Through the entire time I did not stop talking to my child, I whispered to him that we had to make the journey. Till then we survived many miracles. He was then three months old, his only favorite thing was bird. But we were caged; I was not able to show him any bird. We had no room and I had to go back to attend clients. With every passing day, I was afraid that one day my boy will hate me most. But whenever I looked at him he always smiled by assuring that all I had is him.

He was three months twenty days old when I handover him to a childless couple. They were crying after holding my baby. I looked from distant; felt he was in the right hands. My madam requested me to keep Murad, told me that I won’t survive without him. But my mother heart felt Murad will be happy with them than me. When they were leaving, the woman came to me, put a packet of money in my bag and said they will keep his name Murad, they will not change it. I said nothing. Then the man came closer to show me Murad for the last time. Told me that when he will grow older they will bring him back to me and if he wants to be with me, they won’t stop him. I looked at my child, he smiled to me like always. I said, ‘Never tell him, his mother was a prostitute. Never let him to search me. He should never know he was born in a cage. I want him to be a bird, to fly in the sky, if you can, helps him to do that.’ I returned their packet and was able to come back to the brothel without looking back; I do not want my child to smile at a prostitute.

 – Momota

mother 09

I turned eighteen last month. I am a single mother, living alone with my only daughter. The day my husband left us I had to spend that night in train station. Because we had no place to go. My father asked me not to bother him and my step mother by any means. I did not want to disturb anyone. My struggle was not only about money or food; it was mainly saving my respect. When I was sitting in train station, wondering where I would go next morning, many men came near to me and whispered to my ears. I went freeze by holding my daughter close to my chest.

It was always a battle to earn respect for myself as a single mother. Because I felt that being a single mother is a crime. Every woman I know thinks I am after their men. Every man I know somehow tried to exploit me. My neighbor woman asked me to shut my door after evening, as her husband spends his free time at our open yard. I shut my door tightly even in day light. I do not let light to come at my house or any man.

In the beginning when I collected my wages, the contractor always tried to touch my fingers. May be he thought like all other men that I am too available to have. That day, I slapped the man on his face, pulled his collar, pushed him on the ground and kicked on his chest. Everyone was afraid and I was screaming like a wounded animal. I did not know that kind of woman existed on me, but I am glad to find that woman that day.

My crime is I never played victim, even when my husband fled with another woman. I broke, I crushed, I cried but I rose again and smiled. My daughter has no birth certificate as it required a father’s name. I assured my daughter we will find a country in this earth where mother’s name will be sufficient for any birth record.

– Yesmin (18) with her daughter Meem

mother 08

Inside a cotton bag I used to keep everything I had. In that bag there were my mother’s wedding saree, my children’s first clothes and my husband’s spectacle. I kept everything very dearly. In my life I have had only a few moments of happiness and I never wanted to lose those. At the age of thirty I lost my husband. I was a widow with seven children. I was not able to spend one day quietly after my husband’s death. The next day after his death I had to plough the field. At that night I went for fishing alone. After catching some fishes I cried by sitting at river side by calling my husband’s name. My house was broken which had no door. I remained alert, stayed awake all night by putting my children at sleep. I went to jungle to collect foods, I climbed in the tree, and I moved from places to places to feed my children. I spent countless days by starving, satisfyingly watching my children to eat. Whenever I went to jungle my youngest son would always follow me. He held my hand and assured me that one day when they will grow old he will give me everything I want. They grew old and I along my cotton bag kept moving in seven places for twelve months. I become a shadow for the children who were my life. I heard my elder son asking his wife, when she thinks I may die, I heard her replying ‘Not soon’. Last year when I went to live with my youngest son, I asked him to buy me a pair of glass. I showed him my empty medicine box and gave him my prescription. Suddenly he started shouting with me. He brought me out from his house, placed my cotton bag in my hand and dragged me outside far from his place. He placed me in the road; asked me to beg, told me that women of my age can manage their life by begging. He left very quickly while people were gazing at me. I felt shame, I tried not to cry, tried to hold something to get up on my own. Someone picked me up, asked me where I wanted to go. I did not reply. That moment I badly wanted to become thirty again, wanted to go to the field, to run into the jungle, to live my life. When I was slowly leaving the village a part of me was crying for my youngest son, a part of me was telling that he would arrive any moment, will hold my hand as he used to hold in his childhood. I shamelessly waited at the river side. And then I threw away my cotton bag in that river where once I used to catch fishes for my children. After that I never cried, never felt hungry for food or love.

– (Maa) Nureeja

mother 11

‘I am v-e-r-y afraid of airplane. I have claustrophobia. My son and daughter-in-law were not at all ready to leave me but I pushed them to go. My grandchildren were crying for me. But I decided to live in this old home and said if they could call me every day then I will be okay. That’s why everyday my son call me. Telling you the truth boarders envy me when I tell them how my grandchildren do skating and where they go for vacations. Last year all of them came to visit me and forced me to go with them. You know, they all are waiting for me and I will fly as soon as I will be no more afraid of flying’

                                                                                                                                                               
After three years when I went to visit her, she went far away, in a place where there is no fear or waiting exit. I came to know that she was waiting for her son’s call for past five years. Three days authority waited for a reply from relative to handover them the dead body. The address and phone number were nonexistent. No one ever come to see her except me.

 

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4 thoughts on “The Alchemy of Mother

  1. I love the quiet melancholy in these pieces especially Suraiya’s account of the smell of her mother. Not being able to call her ma….not being able to declare that love…a mother not being able to acknowledge her love nor claim her child as her own….the smell of sandalwood on her mother’s sari on Suraiyas wedding day compensating for her mother’s lack of presence. This is the most painful type of love imaginable. So this is about more than a mother’s love. It is about the pain of being unable to express that love. Beautiful pieces as always, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Mr. Akash, thank you very much for sharing these photos. They are wonderful, but at the same time they make me thinking a lot. You are doing an outstanding job. I hope so much that lives of all people living in want can improve, also thanks with his beautiful picture. I know it’s difficult, but we have to go on.

    Like

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