Superheroes of Our Lives


A father is the most ordinary man who through love turned into a superhero! A superhero who grants all our wishes, supports us in our lives when the going gets tough and gives us a shoulder to cry on. For us he does everything! Who is always there to spoiled us with value and etiquette!. The one who motivates us to achieve our every dream by being our strong support system! The one who always stands like a big wall between us and the world when it tries to pull us down.

The only thing he will ask in return is our smiling face! He surely made us believe every person in himself is a superhero. A superhero we look up to no matter how tall we grow or how old we become, we still miss him when he’s not there.

Who needs imaginary superheroes when we have our fathers.

This is a tribute post to all fathers around the world. Although one day is not enough to honor these ‘Superheroes of our lives’, it is with respect and love that I’m publishing it to wish all fathers a very Happy Father’s Day.

Featured first on my Facebook page: GMB Akash

 

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© GMB Akash / http://www.gmb-akash.com

No sir, I am not the boss of our house. Now my elder daughter is the boss of my family.

Last week when she wanted to join the annual swimming competition at her school, her mother wouldn’t allow her to because she was afraid of people’s negative criticism and said, “What will people say seeing your 13-year-old girl swimming in the pond wearing her frock!?” That day, my daughter was crying the whole morning sitting in front of the door and her mother was completely ignoring her weeping! But I couldn’t ignore it. I gave my only t-shirt and towel to her while showing it to her mother and said, “Don’t come home again if you can’t win the race!” I knew she would win the race, because for the last month I have been observing her swimming near the pond competing with other girls of our slum and she was winning. That evening she returned home with 3 new plates as the winner’s prize. She had won all three different swimming races! I can’t tell you how proud I felt when she showed me my name on those certificates as the winner’s father. We are four members in our family.

Now my two daughters and I eat on our new plates. We didn’t share our new plates with her mother. This is her punishment until next year when she gives her permission to our daughter to participate in the competition again. She should learn that other people never want to see the best sides of others. So I am trying to make my wife understand that not caring about and even ignoring what people say about our girls is the best choice we can ever make.


_Manik Mia

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© GMB Akash / http://www.gmb-akash.com

I found out I was wrong my whole life. Throughout my life, I have been running behind a mirage: the mirage of winning and for winning everything, we need money! My whole childhood I saw that without money nothing happens, and no one cares about you, so I wanted to make money!

I am a day laborer and I never could give my family the basic necessities in their lives because whatever I used to earn I used it to buy lottery tickets!
I was so deeply involved in the process of becoming rich in an easy way to the point that buying lottery tickets was the only passion in my life. The more I was careless about my family the more I was up to date about the date of my lottery publication!

I can even remember all the lottery numbers I have ever bought all these years. All my life I have dreamed about winning lotteries! Every day I prayed about and imagined having my name being pulled out of the lottery box!

I have a son but I do not even know who admitted my son into school. I don’t know who took him to the school on his first day or even when he finished his primary level!But I remember, I have always scolded my wife saying “what is the point of going to school for poor people”? I told her several times to tell him to stop going to school and start working with us full time. But she never listened to me.

I had never noticed how time had passed so quickly in my life. But I noticed how hopeless I was becoming by losing the lottery with every ticket! I feel very ashamed when I remember about that day, how insanely I had beaten my son for stealing money for his JSC examination fees that I was saving to buy lottery tickets again.

After that day he didn’t talk to me for months. One day, after coming back from school, my son suddenly gave me a hug for the first time in his life and put his first 800 taka scholarship in my hand! And for the first time I realized, what love is! I realized what the real-life lottery is!

After that day I never bought a single lottery ticket ever again, instead I helped my son with his studies. Sir, he is doing his HSC and he earns his own money by doing tuitions. He says, “You do not have to work anymore after my graduation, Abba”. I can now understand how much he loves his parents.
He will never know how much he taught me; ‘love and success is never a lottery which we can’t win, we earn it with our everyday struggles and passion’!

_Motaleb

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© GMB Akash / http://www.gmb-akash.com

My daughter’s hair was very long. Every morning before I went to the field I combed her hair. Even when she was thirteen years old, I combed her hair. She brought our lunch to the field every afternoon. During Hut day I took her with me to buy little things for our house. Once she bought a mud bank where we saved money for floods. I can clearly remember her face that day when she was sitting near my feet and cried for no reason. I asked her several times what had happened. She hesitantly said she had a fever. I went to the village doctor for medicine. And when I returned, she was gone. My dinner was covered and the mud bank was on my bed. I searched for my girl everywhere, in every house of our village. I thought maybe she was angry with me for some reason or maybe she went somewhere to bring something for the kitchen. Everyone tried to shame me, but I did not feel shame. I was very afraid for my only daughter. When I found out she flew with a boy, I did not trust that. And I waited for her every day. I cannot remember the last time. when I slept peacefully But years have gone by and she never returned. Now I am even more fearful for her, because I know wherever she is staying, she ought to come back to me. Villagers asked me to stop looking for her. They told me to accept that maybe something very bad had happened to her. But my heart did not give up. My heart is still traveling the whole world to find my daughter. Sometimes at night I have nightmares. I hear my daughter telling me she is suffering. I cry in my sleep. I cry and beg to God to return my daughter to me.

– Osman Ali

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My younger daughter has a great sense of humor. She tells a lot of jokes and makes us laugh all the time. The elder one is a bit slow. It takes five minutes for him to understand anything. If he goes to buy anything he will wait to ask until everyone leaves the shop with all their goods. My wife is worried for the elder one most. Whenever they go outside together she gives the responsibility of the elder child to the younger one. My wife gave them their nicknames: Bhola and Biccu. It’s been one year since I have been able to go to the village to see them. Every day I call my children from my neighbor’s phone just to hear their voices. I usually pay for three minutes to talk to the three of them. In those three minutes the three of them only ask when I will be returning to them. After one year I am finally with two of my children. I brought them here to spend a few days with me. They have been cuddling with me since they came. I am not going to work today; I decided to spend the whole day with my children. I usually earn one hundred taka every day. But today is a different day, I do not want to work today. I bought fresh milk and two bananas for my children. They love these things very much. We are laughing because when I asked my younger one what she wants me to buy for them. She said, ‘A pond full of milk and a banana garden!.’

_Hossain Ali

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I poured my blood and sweat into educating my son. For the last 20 years I have been carrying tons of stone on my shoulders from morning till evening in order to pay my son’s educational fees and make him a better human being. My wife and I never spend a single extra penny so that my son would not have to suffer in his college. I forgot the last time that I bought a new shirt for myself or a saree for my wife.

As a father of an undergraduate student, I believed in him and gave him everything I earned for his education. But my blind belief in him become the curse of our lives. Last year I found out that he became a serious drug addict.

There is no difference between an animal and a drug addict. Every night my son fights with me and beats his mother for money. We don’t have any belongings nowadays in our house. He has sold everything we had.

Yesterday after finishing work when I was returning home, I was feeling very thirsty. I went to a shop for a glass of water. I saw that a box of breads was looking at me. But I did not spend a single taka. For the last year, I have been saving every single taka to take my son to a rehabilitation center.

I just came from hospital to work. Last night my son took extra amounts of drugs and sleeping pills. His mother was very worried. But the doctor said they washed out his stomach thoroughly and now he will be fine soon. I asked the doctor, “We saved money to care for him, can you please wash out my son’s brain, heart and soul and everything else to make him fine and good again?” The doctor didn’t give any reply to this old uneducated father.

I am old now. I can’t take the weight of this drug addict son anymore on my shoulders. It hurts and it’s far more painful than any weight I have ever carried in all my years as a stone carrier.

_Jainal

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The night my elder brother married I was only 10 years old. I was so amazed to see the beautiful angelic bride. Everyone was visiting her like she was a queen. Shamelessly, in front of everyone, I said to my brother I will marry a beautiful girl like her! My brother and everyone laughed loudly.

After the marriage she become the favourite person of everyone in our house. She used to take care of everyone. People in our village was very jealous because of the beautiful bride. Eight years passed as in a blink and the only difference was that we got two new angelic daughters in our house as family members.

In the eighth year my brother died during a very simple fever and the scene at home started changing so fast. No one wanted my sister-in-law to stay in our house anymore. Everyone started blaming her that my brother had died. Lots of her faults were suddenly coming out of everyone’s mouths after eight years! Everyone was blaming her, saying that she is cursed and that even her shadow is also ominous for us now. They accused her of being a husband eater. My parents told her to leave the house. She looked in my eyes I saw a worried mother helplessly looking at everyone. At the age of 20 I took a big decision to take the responsibility of her and her two little girls. I said I wanted to marry her.

Everyone looked at me like suddenly they discovered a ghost in front of them. No one agreed when I wanted to marry a widow. My mother cried out and said, “She will eat you too!!” My father wanted to throw me out with them but I didn’t changed my decision to take the responsibility of the woman who is 10 years older than me. Holding two daughters with two hands I left my father’s home 40 years ago.

I don’t believe that only giving birth makes you a good father or mother! For the last 40 years I have been the father of my two daughters. I tried my best to become their father. Everyone says that they look exactly like me. This makes me happy. In my childhood everyone used to say I looked like my elder brother!
In my life I took only one right decision and that was to marry that widow! During my whole my life she loved me more than I love myself and gave me two beautiful angelic daughters; caring daughters who don’t understand anything else except their father.
I am very happy today I became a grandfather this morning! It’s a boy! My daughters named my grandson with my name ‘Mostofa’. Lots of guests come to see Mostofa in our home. I am here to buy some packets of sweets for the guests.

_Mostofa

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When we are able to cook something good, I always hide it from my wife, Buri, and take some to my son. In the moment, it is impossible to stop thinking about my son, Afjal. But Buri always catches me when I go to my son’s house to give them food. My son lives separately, opposite our house, with his wife and son.

Last week I caught a big fish from our Kaliganga River. I can’t remember the last time we ate a large fish. Nowadays I can’t go fishing due to my chronic health condition and cold I’ve had for a while. At my age, I am not able to do any work. Sometimes my wife and I go fishing together. Most times we catch a few tiny fish and then collect vegetables from the riverbank. This is how we’ve been surviving for the last few years.

After cooking that big fish, I secretly tried to take two large pieces to my son, but my wife caught me and started yelling at me.

“You have no shame! When will you feel some shame? They never send anything to you; they never visit you for months. Why do you need to share with them every time I cook something nice for you?”

Yes I feel shame. I feel terrible shame at lunchtimes when I smell chicken or beef being cooked at my son’s house. At those times my wife looks me in the eyes and I am unable to swallow my food. She knows that I love to eat chicken and beef. My son and his wife never share anything with us. Afjal never cares how his mother and father are surviving in their old age, all alone. And we live just steps away from their house.

But I have no regrets. I always pray to Allah that my son and his family will have a wonderful, blissful life – that they should never suffer for want of food or love. I pray too that when they are old, their children will love them, unconditionally.

_Amser Mia (80 years old)

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During our whole marriage, we always wanted a boy. We have three daughters. We gave up hope for a son or for any other children because of our age. But in our old age God give us a son as a gift. I was very ashamed and at the same time very happy when he was born. His sisters gave him his name “Rajkumar” because of his beauty. He is very much younger compared to my age. People used to make fun of me when I used to take him with me to the market calling out, “Why do you bring your grandson with you?” He became my cane in my old age. He was everywhere helping me with my work. I used to look at him surprisingly and used to pray for him to God to please protect him from bad eyes.

He wanted to go to Dhaka to work four years with his friends. I was not agreeing with my wife. I asked her why he needs to go to Dhaka to work when we have everything! But his mother gave the permission and that permission brought tragedy into our lives.

When he called me ‘abba’(father) when returning home after only one year, I couldn’t recognize my ‘Prince’. I was astonished as if looking at a stranger. He was looking very ill and unhealthy! I started crying holding him and yelling to my wife that I don’t need money. I will not let him work anymore.

Like thousands of uneducated parents, I also knew almost nothing about drug use, needles, phensedyl, a codeine medicine, nor addiction. I realized the truth when he started stealing and selling everything we have. He started stealing from our neighbors and everywhere. I thought marrying him off would make everything normal. But nothing worked. We lost our respect, our peace, and our wealth. We lost everything for him. We couldn’t sleep at night. One night he hit me and hit his mother to take money. He was out of control for everything. I tried to control him with my love and anger. But there’s no such thing as control when it comes to addiction. And it takes only one person’s addiction to destroy a whole family. We became more and more worried because he was dying every day. After three years of staying in the village he was just getting worse and he also became the father of a newborn son.

In the middle of one night last year he came into my room. I was very scared seeing him in my room. But in a very mild voice, holding my hand he said; “Abba, please help me; please save my life. My newborn son called me ‘abba’ tonight for the first time.” When my son looks at me he doesn’t see a junkie, he sees his father,He holds my fingers tightly and pleads, “Abba, I want to live!”

‌‘Robi’, my cow, is like another son to me. He has been helping with my farming for the last 4 years. I never wanted to sell him. I don’t know how I will sell this “second son” for saving the life of my other son. I Have not eaten anything since yesterday morning. Whenever I think about selling Robi, I can’t hold back my tears! But I have no other option to save my ill child. I have nothing left for my son’s treatments anymore. I came here to sell my last bit of wealth to continue my son’s treatments. And I want to make it possible for him to be with me during the next Eid Celebration and not in his grave. I want to bring him back from death. I can’t let my child die in front of my eyes!

_Fotik Bepari

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I and my wife, Khalecha always wanted to have a daughter. We married 35 years ago. But every time we had a son. We have four sons and after that we gave up trying for a daughter. My four sons also have four sons which mean I have only four grandsons. Not a single granddaughter!

I am working as a village policeman for the last 30 years. My father, Hossain Ali also was a village policeman. After his death I got this job.I started with 220 taka salary and now my salary is 3200 taka. With this salary it is very difficult to run my family. So I also work in my field when I get free time.
I have great feelings for having a daughter. I lost my mother when I was very young. I wanted a daughter my whole my life so that I can call her “maa”. Maybe that is the reason I have great affection for daughters.

Several times I saved school-going girls from evil teasing by bad boys. One evening while I was coming from the field suddenly I saw a girl running to the river and then she jumped into the river water. For a second I couldn’t think and then in my mind there was only one thing: I had to rescue her. So I dove into the dark water and saved her. Then I took her to her parents’ home. She had fought with her husband and wanted to kill herself.

The next morning I arranged a meeting with both sets of parents and solved their problems. From that day Sheuli has been calling me father. I finally got my daughter after 29 years of waiting!

_Hamidul Islam, 70

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I have been cheated my whole life by my wife. She left me 20 years ago. Every second during these long years afterwards, I have been realizing how badly she cheated me. My only son always yells and complains about me, “Why doesn’t this old man die?”He thinks I don’t hear properly, but I hear! I Always ask God why he doesn’t listen to my prayers and take me to him out of this world?

Last week I was very sick. After several times of calling, my son entered my room in the afternoon. I wanted his help to get down from my bed to eat my lunch. When he held me to get down; I also held onto his shoulder tightly for support. It felt very comforting to me to give my weight to him. I can’t walk properly anymore at the age of100 years. After helping me my son started shouting and yelling again. He was telling his wife, “Never help him to walk; he is just acting and he can walk by himself.” After that, I couldn’t eat.

I remember when my son was only 5 years old. He loved food and was healthy. One day he was crying for some sweets to eat. I took him on my shoulders and walked the entire length of the sand island which is almost 10 miles long, to reach to our village sweetshop to feed him sweets. When he was eating and smiling at me, I forgot how far that whole way was walking in the sand and carrying him on my shoulders.

This world is very selfish. As my wife was.Otherwise, she could never have left me here in this cruel world alone. My wife always used to pray to God, “Please God,take me to you before you take my husband!” I never understood why she did that! I never felt so helpless as I have been feeling these last 20 years after her death. I never knew how ugly and cruel this world was before her death!

My wife betrayed me! She kept a beautiful screen of this world over my eyes all the time. She convinced me how humane this world is. From her, during my whole life, I believed this world was kind and selfless. She never let me know about the ugliness of this world. She betrayed me; because of her I never knew how unkind, selfish, cruel and ugly this world is!

_Nizam Uddin, 100

GMB AKASH

Photojournalist & writer, received over 100 international Awards, speaker at TEDxPorto and TEDxHyderabad.

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