This story is about one of my friends in real life.
I remember I got admitted to grade 9 in a new school. I had many unknown faces to get acquainted with. One, for example, had dark hair and trim shape, looking very attractive.
We all wore school uniforms, but during special celebrations and school parties, we were allowed to dress as we loved and put on light makeup. Everyone looked good, including the girl I mentioned above.
Her name was Natalia. She didn’t excel in her studies as much as my best friend and I did. She wasn’t one of my best friends either.
But she was a friend. Years later, when I met her, I was surprised to see her. She had completely changed, and I was unable to recognize her.
The reason I am writing about her on this page is that she had been through a lot of difficult struggles and yet, remained good-spirited and thrived. There’s something we can learn from her life story.
After we had completed grade 10, we sat for O-Level exams in the British Council Center under the University of London.
Natalia fell sick through the series of exams and couldn’t appear in all of the exams.
A-level classes resumed in school. Many dropped out and opted for English Medium HSC (Higher Secondary Certificate) classes in colleges under the Board of Dhaka. But still, some retained, and I, along with them, carried on A-level studies at school.
However, Natalia waited for six months more to appear in the O-level exams she missed. After she was done with them, she got herself admitted in A-level classes, 1st Year when I was in 2nd year.
Time carried along, but Natalia dropped out of A-level classes. However, I pushed on, appeared in A-level exams, and got myself admitted to a university in Dhaka.
I heard from friends that Natalia had gone to her home district, where her parents wedded her to a man they chose for their daughter. No parent would ever like their children to be married to a wrong and deceitful guy, but unfortunately, the man Natalia married according to her parents' choice was a top flirt and played naughtily with other girls he came across.
Natalia tried to get her husband's attention and attempted everything to bring him within their home and bud a family. They had a son by now.
But Natalia’s husband couldn’t take his eyes off the new girls he got acquainted with through his work and social gatherings.
Natalia thought it was high time she alerted her parents, and together, they filed a divorce against her husband.
The divorce was approved in court. Natalia got custody of her only child.
For years, Natalia supported her son by working in English medium schools. Since she was elegant and single, both young and old men got attracted to her and gave her marriage proposals. But Natalia denied them all.
However, paying the home rent was becoming an increasing pressure for Natalia. But by God's Grace, she had a dying maternal grandfather who had built a home recently in a reputable residential area of Dhaka city and left it for Natalia and her son in his will.
How much that grandfather understood and loved her is quite obvious from his benevolent act.
Natalia and her son lived in this grand home for years. She didn’t have to worry about house rents any longer but still, she needed money for her son’s education.
Her son, being deprived of a Dad's love and care, had to go through a lot of trauma.
Both Natalia and her son went to therapists for help. A good therapist told Natalia she had to be strong and make new friends and stay busy. Then her son would copy her and commit to the responsibilities of his life as well.
How right the therapist was! As soon as Natalia started being responsible for her life and enjoying life with friends, her son started gradually to pay attention to his studies and go out and enjoy himself with his friends.
For years on, Natalia pulled her little family by working in various English medium schools of her choice until she had met with her accident by falling from a rickshaw onto the streets after a reckless car driver hit her rickshaw.
Natalia survived the accident, but her spinal cord was affected, and the doctors warned her not to work in schools but to stay at home and go on occasional chores only.
Natalia had aged gracefully by now. She was nearing her fifties. I guess now she worked online from the comfort of her home and got paid enough.
That was how she overcame all her hurdles in life and gave her all to her son who would soon be finishing university, and then probably he would relieve her Mom by beginning a career of his own and burgeoning a family as well.
I wish the mother and son every joy, happiness, success, and peace in the present and future. It was solely because of Natalia's positive attitude to life that she managed to survive, bring up her son benignly and eventually soar high admirably.
© 2021 Rosina S Khan