Tahiya Islam:

Tahiya Islam

In every family, there is a person to whom everyone looks up to. When you are growing up and figuring out what kind of person you want to be in your life and what do you want to do in life, you kind of bound to be lost for a bit and that is normal. Specially, for a girl, to do something in life, family’s support acts as the biggest contributing factor. Age never determines how much of a settled person you are. Maybe you are a 16 year old girl who has already taken up all the responsibilities of life and familyor maybe you are still 27 year old and have no idea how to get a hold of life. For all the situations in life, there are some people who you need beside yourself; sometimes for keeping yourself grounded and sometimes, just to be sure that you are not going off track.

I am that kind of person who needs people around herself to keep her on the track. I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by such women who seemed to understand me and my confused approaches toward life. These women are strong both in their personal lives and professional lives. They are a testament that women can actually do everything starting from looking after their families, managing household chores to ruling as queens in their workplaces.

The first woman who has been and is still with me through thick and thin is definitely my mother. She is extremely well balanced as a person that is scary sometimes, because I feel I am nowhere near in becoming like her. She completed her Masters’ from the University of Dhaka and started her career as a teacher in Management in Siddheswari Girls’ College.

She is the glowing star in any get together. She is the protector in every horrible situation I have ever been on. If I look good in any outfit, it’s because she is the designer. She has solutions to every problem of mine starting from major to non-existent made up problems inside my head. She is the one who praises me when I do something nice and she is also the one who brings me back to the ground from cloud nine. Arguments with my friends, problems in my university, ups and downs in my studies and in battling with my insecurities and depression, she has always stood beside me as a rock. She is an extrovert person who involuntarily taught me to be an introvert. Being with her had taught me to express my feelings through writings and not through words.

When I talk to my old classmates, the second question they always ask is how is my mother doing? It’s both worth admiring and nerve wrecking. Because it pressurizes you to become more and more like her. The only major thing that we both have in common is we cry a lot, even in the smallest issues, we cry. But that helps you know? We cry, we hug it out and we go back to being normal. I have always tried following her values and thoughts. I have denied on my mind thinking- “No no, this is how ammu would do it but I will do it my way”. But I have always ended up doing things her way. Because it always turns out that her way is the best way. I have been raised by my mother as an independent human being with overwhelming emotions. One of the things that she put inside me while growing up is- “Don’t consider yourself as a girl; you are a human being just like everyone else around you. Treat yourself and others as human beings and not as a boy or a girl. The more you will learn to be like this, the easier your life will become.”

The second woman with whom I had the absolute honor to spend my 24 years of life is my paternal grandmother. My dadu has been an interesting and encouraging personality to me always. Because the day I gained senses to understand relationships, I got to know that my grandfather passed away when my father was in grade seven. So, it was my grandmother who looked after her four beautiful children with love, affection, knowledge and values all by herself. She is the most vibrant and positive person when it comes to preaching love, ethics and positivism.

When I finished college and just started university, she used to show me the news articles and interviews of successful young people and go-“I want to see you here. I know you can do it one day.” She used to always boost me up saying- “Only the sky should be your limit and nothing else. Do what you want to do in life. Enjoy and be a nice and dignified human being.” These words are strong; strong enough to create the adrenaline rush. From time to time, I have let them down but my grandmother never stopped believing in me. Even in my worst times, she used to only boost me to do better.

The last time I visited her was before living for Malaysia. Her words were- “I have high hopes from you.” At 83 years of her age, she stands as the strongest woman in the room. She did not learn to show her weakness though there were times when she was massively weak. She went through social and emotional obstacles in her lifetime and still she is the one person to go to when I need some reality check or boost up.

These two women are obviously the two pillars that have helped me grow up as a progressive human being. They have taught me to love and respect everyone irrespective of their class, gender, creed and behavior. They always forced (in a good way) me to stand my ground. They have encouraged me to be a feminist but not by hating men. They are the aspirations that women of this generation need.

Tahiya Islam completed her graduation from the Department of Pharmacy of East West University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. She is currently living in Selangor, Malaysia. Apart from her love for writing, she has  a knack for public speaking as well . Her career goal is to become a teacher and be a motivational speaker.
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