Be the reason someone smiles, someone feels loved and believes in the goodness of humanity. Life is a beautiful journey between a Human Being and Being Human. Let’s take at least one step each day to cover the distance.
Sharing ten real life stories of humanity
Featured first on my Facebook page: GMB Akash
I had never seen any love or care for us in anyone’s eyes. When I work people give me a feeling that I came out from Hell. We cannot sit anywhere to have a cup of tea. People look at us like they look at dirt. There were days when I hid my tears after being insulted by strangers for no reason. I was sure there was no love left in this world for the poor.
Ten years ago, I was working beside a children’s school. My job was to clean the drain and repair the site. We blocked the road and it was taking a few days so the children had to walk to their school. I attentively did my work every day without noticing anyone who could again insult my job. One day a little girl arrived, smiling widely at me and said, ‘Why are you so dirty?’ Before I could say anything, her father dragged her away by saying, she should never talk to strangers. I felt horrible; imagined he must be telling her daughter how disgusting workers like me were. And then for a week, she came to me every time with same question, why was I so dirty. I never got a chance to speak as her father was always there to drag her away. I could not sleep those nights by thinking about a beautiful reply, ‘why I am dirty’. The poor cannot be clean all the time; we are born in dirt, raise in dirt and die in dirt and no one cares when a dirty thing left the world. I could not say any of this to her. I wanted to quickly finish the job and never wanted to see the girl ever again.
On the last day when we were finishing the work, it was Ramadan afternoon. I was very tired and down. The school was closed and the baby girl did not arrive. I felt relieved, packed everything and was about to leave when suddenly I saw the little girl coming to me by running. She could not breathe properly when she arrived. I was waiting to hear the same question, but she did not say anything and just smiled. Then I asked her where her father is. She showed me a car parked far from us. I waited to hear the same thing. And then she opened her mouth, ‘Uncle, do you like the color red?’ By bringing a packet from behind her she put it in my hand. Her father honked the horn and she quickly said, ‘I cannot clean drain, but I can help you to be clean. This shirt is for you, Uncle.’ I could not say a word and she rushed when her father repetitively honked. The girl left me in tears. She proved to me, humans still care for humans. I do not know where she is now; what she might be doing. I pray to God every day, wherever that little angle is, may God clean all the dirt from her life.
I am very thankful to Allah. I have a home to sleep in, food to eat, children to love. There are homeless people who are living near this train station who suffer from the cold at night; beg for food in afternoon; have no one to look after them. When I see them I stop complaining to Allah about the little problems I have. Though I live in this vulnerable house, eat rice and lentils for lunch or dinner and suffer from illness, I am grateful to The Almighty for all the blessings he has given me.
But I have never done anything for anyone. Poverty made me unable to do something for the people who are less fortunate than me. This thought gives me pain all the time. I often think, what I will take with me when I will die.
Also, I do not know, if I can manage to live another winter or not. People of my age badly suffered this time. No one notices us. When you are old and poor, you suffer silently because there will be no one to hear your pain, no one will come to you to give you warmth. In this crucial season, some of us gather together beside a fire every morning; all of us are waiting for our deaths because every winter one of us is dying. Last year, Safura died from pneumonia. We do not know who will leave us this year.
Life is not easy for me. I have never had any new cloth, but that is okay, there are many people of my age who even do not expect what I have. A few days ago for the first time in my life, I received a winter Shawl. I was not able to open and wear it for days. I keep looking at it and when I decided to wear it, I saw Mariyum, my ninety-year-old neighbor, who does not even have a proper saree. I gifted my shawl to her. I badly want her to survive this winter. If my shawl can keep her warm for some time than it will be the best reward of my life. And what about me? I can manage with this old shawl….and when I feel too cold I do prayers; you can believe it or not, when I pray I feel warm. – Morsheda Begum
Every Friday for almost seven years along my grandma, I continue to go places and I ask people, ‘Do you know me?’ Some days I felt tired and asked her to return. But she always held me, kissed my forehead and asked me to ask the same question to more people. Most of the days we only have green chili to eatwith rice. My grandma is a beggar; she has severe knee pain. She made a wooden stroller for herself and sometimes I push her all the way while begging. She continually told me I need to find my parents. I feel horrible when she tells me one day she will find my parents and then she will give me back to them. But she has no idea how much I enjoy her cuddling and I know no one other than her. But she is always reminding me that I have a family somewhere.
I was lost at the age of three. My grandma found me on the roadside, crying alone in the middle of strangers. No one was able to tell her who was I and except her everyone left me alone on the road. She took me to the local mosque and waited there with me for a week. I had no memory of these things. I am familiar with only the mosque where she forces me to go every Friday along with her. My grandma nicely kept my cloths which I was wearing when I was lost. I continue to walk miles with her and asking people if they know me.
She sent me to school but I hated the place where everyone asked me about my lost parents and how I feel being raised by a beggar. There was a question in the book, ‘What does your father do?’ And I answered ‘I do not know’. My teacher punished me for writing that. Then I never went back to school again. I started working for my grandma, because I do not want her to beg with her knee pain. I do not like when people yelled at her by asking us to leave. While one day my grandma was feeding me I asked her if she can live without me. Then she started crying and replied she has no one in this world without me. After that I stopped asking the question, ‘Do you know me?’ I do not want anyone to know me, my grandmother is my everything and I only want her to know me well. – Abdullah
I cannot sleep at night because of the pain in my knees. I have to carry 1000 bricks every day and then I get 100 taka. I cannot rest at night because at this moment I am suffering from cold and fever. But I have to work for myself and Munia. My husband brought his second wife Munia when my son was one year old. You will not understand how it feels to see your husband living in the same room with another woman. I hated her so much! Ten years ago in a bus accident my husband died and Munia lost her legs. Now for all these years I am taking care of Munia; whatever I earn I spend for both of us. Relatives tell me many times to throw Munia from my home but I can’t. Like me she has no one to go to. My only son never comes to see me. I know very well how it feels to be abandoned – Lijiya (50)
When I arrived from my village I was seven years old. To get one piece of bread I turned into a dog. Whenever I looked into the sky I felt my world was moving very fast, everything was buzzing all around me. I looked into the dustbin; saw how people were throwing food with filth. I wanted to run and snatch the leftover food from their hands; I imagined how good it would feel to have all that food. I wanted to say, ‘do not throw it away’, ‘please give it to me’. But people were stranger to me; they looked at me like the way they looked at a stray dog. I was hungry for two days and two nights. I drank very little water. Whenever I sipped water I felt I would vomit. Water tasted bitter and I was day dreaming for some food. Then I went to the contractor and told him I could transport five hundred bricks; he just had to give me some food. He looked at me and said, I was of no use for him, because he could count the bones on my body. Then what he saw in me I do not know. He gave me the first chance. That day when I had food I felt nothing in this world has meaning without food. My contractor asked me what I wanted to do when I grow up. I touched my plate and said, ‘When I will grow old, I will share my food’. It’s been twenty years every day I am feeding two hungry children: one in the afternoon, and another during dinner. I have no idea from where these hungry children came to me. They also know they are only welcome for one time. After having food they will be asked to write down the name of Pagla Hasan. Many times I smiled to myself after realizing they do not often recognize that I am the Hasan. They only know there is a Hasan who feeds hungry children. I thank God every time when I touch my food. There is no greater pain than hunger. When these children eat beside me I see myself in them. I feel so content when they burp and smile after having a peaceful meal. People of this world have no idea how valuable two grains of rice is for a hungry stomach.
Billu was injured when I found him beside the train track. He was walking with pain and looking at me for help. I am from a very poor family. Even sometimes, my housemaid mother has to beg for rice so that she can equally feed her three daughters. Taking a cat as a pet does not suit beggars. I looked away and tried to cross the road by ignoring him. When I looked back I saw him looking at me with despair. Then helplessly I went back and embraced him.
We, three sisters hid him from my mother’s eyes for three days. Then one morning, we woke up when amma was screaming in anger. Billu tried to sleep in her cozy blanket and when she screamed in surprise he peed on it. My mother briskly took him and headed for the rail line; three of us begged her not to throw Billu away but she listened to no one. The whole day none of us ate anything….with great surprise Billu returned to us secretly at night by himself. The next morning, my mother took him to a far away place. And informed us the cat could never be able to find us again. But the genius came back again. And again my mother furiously took him with her and left him in a place that we never heard of before. That night we were wide awake to welcome him at home but he did not come back.
The next day, we did not take any food or water, including my mother. During the evening she rushed to search for Billu, by skipping her work. My mother found Billu injured in the same place she had left him. Local people informed her some boys had beaten up him for fun. My mother spent her one month salary on Billu and because of our care he is now fat and naughty. I asked amma, why she allowed him to be with us. She said, our father left us in an abandoned place and fled because he never wanted daughters. She could never do the same even with an animal. Billu is now our naughty brother, who eats most of our food and sleeps only with my mother. – Rojina
I am a care taker of a mosque. It was my mother’s wish that I should spend my life in the path of Allah. I accepted it after her death. I studied in the village Maktab and took the responsibility of taking care of the mosque I am serving now. I have met different kinds of people the last twenty years. Some are very pious, some are not, some tell lies all the time, some always speak the truth, some help the poor from their heart, some just want to show off. But I met someone whose story I will never forgot. He used to always arrive at the mosque first in the morning. I have never seen him talk to anyone ever. He was not even from our area. Every day after prayers when everyone left the mosque he stayed there and spent hours there by crying alone. Many days I had goosebumps and wondered what made this man so sorrowful. Eventually I learnt that he is a very rich man who lives far away from our place. He established a mosque, a madrassa, a school and an old persons’ home. He has everything that a man can only dream of. After knowing all this I became more interested in knowing the reason of his arrival in this particular mosque and what made him cry so much. One day when he was distributing clothes and food among beggars and the poor, with all my courage I questioned him. He was looking at me for some time and then surprisingly, he said he will answer me the next morning. I could not even sleep that night. That morning when everyone left, he came and sat with me. Then I got to know what I did not even imagine in my worst dreams. The man was left outside this mosque when he was five to seven days old. When his father (who eventually adopted him) came for his Fazaar Prayer he saw a dog trying to open the tie of a folded cloth and started to push towards him. He went there and opened the cloth where he found the baby boy fighting with death and not responding. Without finishing his prayer he took the baby to a doctor while the Imam helped him all the way. The man who had no child adopted him afterward, and tried hard to find the baby boy’s actual parents. But there was no trace of his identity. They raised him perfectly; he is following Islam with all his heart. But since the day he knew about this truth, he was no longer able to rest in peace. He wanted to know from where he had come, who were his parents, why someone wanted to kill him and threw him in the road. He was wrapped by a mustard coloured cloth which implies that he might not even be a Muslim by birth. When he was talking to me about this I lost the words on how to console him but I tried with my heart. I told him, ‘You are the best human being I have ever met. Know that Allah knows everything and whatever happened to you, there must be a reason for that. You should not spend a single day with this thought of sadness which is insulting your current parents’ love and Allah’s love for you. If you believe in their love, you will not hurt your heart anymore. Please do not come to this place ever again; it will not let you forget your past.’ He did not answer me and left. Since that day, he never came here again, I do not know if I did right or wrong, but I felt being human should be our first identity, and all I wanted was to ease his pain as another human.
– Jainal Abedin (36)
The time I needed my family’s support, they left me alone. I was vulnerable and heartbroken. At that time Potu’s mother gave me shelter. Despite our religious differences, differences of my cast and creed, she treated me as a family member. No one ever talked to me nicely but Potu’s mother was the one who showered me love and respect. I celebrated Eid with her and she gifted me new clothes in my puja. I know how difficult it was for her to take me into their house after facing economic and social problems. But she often said Allah is the one to judge, not the people. She passed away while giving birth to Potu. For me he is my blood grandson. I taught him everything his mother should teach him if she would be alive. Every morning I wake him up for his prayers. I will give him the love that I learned from his amazing mother. Now he is my world.
– Al-Amin’s (Potu) grandma
No one has any concern. Even if somebody dies, even if the whole world gets destroyed, no one really cares! What kind of times are we are all living in? Human are no longer human! Now people do not think of anything else but themselves. After one hour of continuous efforts, I alone brought the fire under control. To bring water I had to cross the bridge and fell so many times, but no one came to help to stop the fire. ‘The fire will not harm my house even if the whole area is destroyed.’ That was the attitude of all viewers. By neglecting our requests, factories, tanneries throw wastage here daily; they do not even care for school-going children. Today may be someone’s cigarette created this fire and it might destroy the whole area. Even my neighbor stopped me from coming here, lightly advised, ‘why endanger your own life for others’? What’s wrong with us? I am very tired; I am very depressed, I feel ashamed as a human being to see how hundreds of people find entertainment by watching me from far, without helping a bit’
– Sumon (27)
‘I lost many things in my life and by standing at the end of my life, now I can tell you how I gained everything back that I had lost. My husband died when during flood, a tree had fallen on him. I was standing just ten feet away from him in water. That night, I was seven months pregnant. After losing my husband, my house and everything I had, I felt like committing suicide. But I became a mother after waiting for twelve years for a child. I had to survive for my child, so I came to the city to search for work. After so many struggles I gave birth to my son. The midwife told me, my son had problems and asked me to be prepared for his death. When he died after seven days, I had no one beside me and had no money. Even if you die you need money but no one came forward to help me. Only some orphan-street children gave me money, so I could do his last work. After I buried him when I returned to my hut, I didn’t cry. From that day, I no longer look behind at what I had lost. Since that day, for thirty years, I have feed one orphan each day from my food. I lost my child but I kept giving the portion of his love to every miserable child I met on my way.
For the last five years, I have been suffering from tuberculosis and heart problems. Now all those orphan children grew up and are taking care of me. I lost one child but now I have hundred’ – Maa Asha