An Open Letter to Female Homo Sapiens

An Open Letter to Female Homo Sapiens

Hello! Greetings from a halfbreed. I call myself a halfbreed because, biologically I am a male and socially, in many ways, a heterosexual man. However, I find literally (and I mean, literally) everything most men do, think, and preach or practice, objectionable to various degrees. If that is not the definition of a halfbreed in your book, I sincerely apologize, but please bear with me. I hope by the end of this letter, you may find my offenses forgivable. Before proceeding any further, I must make a disclaimer – I am from a third world country, so what I am about to describe might sound Victorian in its essence, and perhaps obsolete. Though I wonder, how many kilometers or nautical miles separate the modern world from mine, especially when connectivity is the middle name of our age. I have a hypothesis though, albeit, completely unsupported and unverified so far; perhaps, every developing nation needs a queen Victoria and a Victorian society to advance to the next stage!?

 

But I digress! My troubles began after I wrote a story about a woman, who was seduced, sexually abused and dumped by one of her male lecturers during her first year as an undergrad student. Later that lecturer (now a professor, but full, half or quarter, I do not care) did the same to quite a few other students too. There are also rumours that the protagonist of my story was not his first prey either. Anyways, due to a diminishing but still widespread practice of marrying off female children as soon as they reach the legally acceptable age of 16, by the time the protagonist got enrolled in her undergrad program, she had already been married once and five childless years later, divorced consequently. In my opinion, individuals with such turbulent background are often more susceptible to sexual predation. 

 

The story also has a male character (other than the serial rapist) as a foil to the protagonist. What this character propounded in the story was the view (quintessentially Victorian, in my opinion), that is harboured by most men around me at least; or that was what I thought while composing the story. He is a batchmate of the victim/protagonist. Once she tells him about the incident, albeit hiding a little in fear of the judgemental nature of men, he tells her that it must have been her fault, because she did not know how to behave like a “proper woman”. According to this view, God created men to be easily arousable, both in terms of sex and violence. So it is always a woman’s responsibility to resist men’s advances. In brief, if a man successfully seduces a woman, as long as the woman is older than 21, it is her fault. She has sinned twice in fact; once by arousing the man and then by failing to resist his advances.

 

Being the naive fool I am, I had hoped that the woman readers of the story would find such beliefs abhorring and I was sincerely shocked when my eyes were pried open to the realities. I have lost friends for my socially unacceptable writing. I have been warned, with varying degrees of humility, not to make too much noise about the underlying issue, because a “teacher’s respect” and career is at stake. I can only gasp in shock! If a mere “teacher’s respect” provides one with immunity against such atrocities, I wonder, how much immunity does a celebrity’s or a political leader’s respect ensure! Then came this : “Since, a woman has more to lose from a sexual intercourse, if it does not end up in marriage, a woman must always be more careful than a man before committing to sexual intercourses.” I was completely blown away (not literally, though I wish I were!). Being a married mother of one, she has access to and knows about the existence of contraceptives. Before their invention and widespread availability (since 1960s), for hundreds of millennia, female Homo Sapiens have been fertile all year round, unless they are either pregnant already, or have one or more nurslings to care for. So, it was literally a female’s responsibility to choose the father of her children, very wisely and with extreme caution. Statistically, one out of every three intercourses could have resulted in a pregnancy. But the availability of contraceptives has finally freed the female from that biological burden.

 

The reason I have used the term “Female” instead of “Woman” in the preceding paragraph, is because I have learned and believe, Female/Male are biological categories, while Woman/Man are social constructs. One does not necessarily imply the other. Therefore, with the freedom of your own body and reproduction cycle, I believe a female Homo Sapiens can demolish the construed wall of differences between a man and a woman. However, I can only guess at how obscenely thick and rockhard that wall must be. The species, now with immodesty and incompleteness, named as Homo Sapiens (Wise Men), first evolved in East Africa around 300 thousand years ago. Since then we have eked out our living more or less like bands of chimpanzees, with weaker teeth and jaws for at least 75% of the time of our existence on Earth. So much so, that even now, “One on one, and even ten on ten, we are embarrassingly similar to chimpanzees…” (Harari, Y N : Sapiens)  Only in the last 70 thousand years, since and due to our cognitive revolution, we have been able to bypass our genome, and suppress biology with cultures and history.

 

Now, after 21 centuries since the advent of the largest organized religion in existence today, and 15 since the second one, how far have we come? I have no degrees in history, but from my reading I have realized that at least for the last 3,000 years – myths, legends, stories, fictions, collective imagination and imagined realities have been primarily the dominion of males. Unsurprisingly, they have constructed the social definitions of Manhood to suit their biological inclinations. The production of sperm cells is empirically cheaper and less cumbersome than eggs; so much so, that evolution has limited female Homo Sapiens to only 400 eggs for her entire fertile life. But males have bypassed their genome and some of them can even become a Pope to spiritually rule over more than two billion human souls, without ever having to contribute in the biological realm! Why must a female be limited to and judged by her capability to make as many or as little of her eggs as possible (depending on the prevailing socio-economic and political fictions of the time)? Unless of course you are freely choosing to do so. But, come on, do you, really?

 

Yes, Male and Female brains are different in some ways. For example, due to evolution male brains are usually more adept at registering sudden movements (to aid them in their hunting) and female brains are usually more adept at recognizing who is sleeping with who in a group (to aid them in their socializing). But at the same time female brains are more adept at caring and tolerance than male’s. Not only that, but your brains are also better wired to approach issues holistically, while my brothers’ ones are better equipped to solve the problems, one at a time, often without caring for the accumulated harm from their disjointed efforts. So I humbly beg you, can you not take over the world’s governments, religions, societies, corporations, markets, academies, courts, communities, families and let a handful of halfbreeds like myself, breathe in peace? If you believe in the existence of God, why must God be a masculine word, or referred to by the male pronoun, “He”?

 

What do you think, Almighty God cannot bless us with Her light?

 

Yours truly,
A Halfbreed.

তখন আর এখন

তখন আর এখন

তখন আমার বয়স ছিল উনিশ-কুড়ি। সবে উচ্চ মাধ্যমিকের চৌহদ্দি পেরিয়ে শিক্ষাজীবনের পরবর্তী অধ্যায় শুরু করেছি। বয়সজনিত সরলতায় আমার উচ্ছ্বলতা তখন আকাশছোঁয়া। নতুন পাওয়া বন্ধুদের মধ্যে আদর ছেলেটাকে ভাল লাগতো। কিন্তু অবচেতন মনেও তাকে ভবিষ্যত জীবনের সঙ্গী হিসেবে ভাবিনি কখনো। একে বয়সে ছোট, তাছাড়া তখনি প্রেমে জড়ানোর ইচ্ছেও ছিল না তেমন। তবে এর বিপরীতে আবার নিঃসঙ্গতাও ছিল মনের ভেতর। উচ্চ মাধ্যমিকের সময় সরল কিছু ভুলের ভীষণ জটিল বিচারের কারণে তখন আমি সমাজের চোখে সর্বস্বান্ত ছিলাম। তখন মনে হতো, জীবনে কেউ কোনদিন ভালবাসবে না আর। আবার আশাও ছিল, হয়তো কেউ সমাজের সেই একচোখা বিচারের অগভীর কলংকের কুঁয়াশা তাড়িয়ে আমার আসল চেহারাটা দেখবে; কেউ আমাকেও ভালবাসবে আবার।

 

নতুন শিক্ষাজীবনের তৃতীয় মাসেই বার্ষিক বনভোজনের তারিখ ঠিক হয়েছিল। ব্যাচের সবার সাথে আমি আর আদরও গিয়েছিলাম। সেই বনভোজনের প্রস্তুতির সময় তোমাকে প্রথম দেখি; কি নিপুন, দক্ষ হাতে পুরো আয়োজনের নেতৃত্ব দিচ্ছিলে তখন তুমি। সাংগঠনিক কাজ আমার ভীষণ ভাল লাগতো। কখন যেন নিজের অজান্তেই তোমার মত সংগঠক হবার স্বপ্ন দেখা শুরু করেছিলাম। সেই স্বপ্নটাই সম্ভবতঃ তখন তোমার কাছ থেকে, তোমার মত হওয়াটা শিখতে আমায় অনুপ্রেরণা দিয়েছিল। আনমনেই তখন প্রতিজ্ঞা করেছিলাম, আগামী চারটা বছর আমি তোমার মত হবার চেষ্টাই করে যাবো। অতীতের ভুলগুলোর কারণে তছনছ হয়ে যাওয়া জীবনটাকে তোমার কাছ থেকে শেখা সেই সাংগঠনিক দক্ষতায় গুছিয়ে নেবার আশায় তখন আমি বেঁচে থাকার নতুন অর্থ খুঁজে পেয়েছিলাম।

 

সেই বনভোজনে যাওয়ার সময় এবং ফেরার পথেই আমার জীবনের মোড় আরেকবার ঘুরে যাওয়া শুরু করেছিল। যতবার বাসচালকের মাথার ওপরে থাকা আয়নাটায় চোখ পড়েছে ততবারই দেখেছি, তুমি আমাকে দেখছো। প্রথম দিকে মনে হয়েছে হয়তো কাকতালীয়ভাবেই আয়নাতে চোখে চোখ রাখছো তুমি। কিন্তু একটা পর্যায়ে বুঝতে পারলাম, না, তুমি আমাকেই দেখছো। আমার চেহারায় তখন অবাক বিস্ময় আর আরক্ত লজ্জার লুকোচুরি খেলা শুরু হয়েছিল। কিন্তু তার আড়ালে হতবাক হয়ে ভাবছিলাম, আমার মাঝে কী দেখছে তোমার মত একজন সুদর্শন, মেধাবী এবং সম্ভাবনাময় পুরুষ! তুমি কি আমার অতীতের কলংক-গ্লানির কথা জানো? তখন জানতে ইচ্ছে হয়েছিল, তোমাকে সেই বিচারের রায়গুলো জানাবার পরেও কি এইভাবেই আমাকে দেখবে তুমি। আবোল-তাবোল ভাবছি ভেবে যতবারই মনকে শাসন করে আয়নায় চোখ রেখেছি, ততবারই দেখেছি তুমি স্নিগ্ধ হাসিমাখা চোখে আমার দিকে তাকিয়ে আছো। কি আজব ব্যাপার! কী দেখছো তুমি? আমাকে জানাবে একবার? আমি তবে নিজের মাঝেও সেটা দেখে একটা অবলম্বন খুঁজে পেতাম, বেঁচে থাকার।

 

শহরে ফিরতে ফিরতে রাত নয়টার বেশী বেজে গিয়েছিল। বাস থেকে নামার পর বিদায় নেবার সময় তুমি জানতে চেয়েছিলে, “বাসায় ফিরতে সমস্যা হবে না তো? হলে বলো, আদরকে বলি তোমাকে বাসায় পৌঁছে দিতে!”

 – “না, স্যার, সমস্যা হবে না। আমি পারবো।” আমি সলজ্জ উত্তর দিয়েছিলাম। আদরের সাথে আমার আগেই কথা হয়েছিল, ও আমাকে বাসায় পৌঁছে দিয়ে নিজের বাসায় যাবে।

– “তোমার বাসা কোথায়?” তুমি জানতে চেয়েছিলে।

– “ধানমণ্ডি, স্যার।”

– “ওহহো, আদরের বাসা তো গাবতলী। আমিও তো ধানমণ্ডিতেই থাকি। একটু অপেক্ষা করলে আমার সাথেও যেতে পারো।”

– “না, না স্যার! আমি পারবো।” চকিত উত্তর দিয়ে মনে মনে স্বস্তির নিশ্বাস ফেলেছিলাম, ভাগ্যিস  কার্টুনের মত বাস্তব জীবনে মানুষের চোখ দু’টো কখনো কখনো বৃত্তাকার থেকে উল্টানো পান পাতার আকৃতি ধারণ করে না। 

– “আচ্ছা, পৌঁছে তবে জানিও। আমার ফোন নম্বর আছে তো?”

– “জ্বী স্যার আছে। এখন আসি, দোয়া রাখবেন।”

– “ফি আমানিল্লাহ।” তুমি দোয়া করেছিলে।

আমার আলসে মন ভাবছিল, এমন একজন ধর্মপরায়ন, যত্নশীল মানুষ যদি আমার জীবনের দায়িত্ব নিতে চাইতো, তবে আর কষ্ট করে নিজেকে সেটা গোছানোর পরিশ্রম করতে হতো না। তোমার মত একটা সন্তান বড় করার সুযোগ পেতাম।  

 

গেটের বাইরে আদর তার বাইকে ওঠার সময় জানতে চেয়েছিল, “রিকশা খুঁজে নিতে পারবি, না কাউকে বলবো, খুঁজে দিতে?”

– “মানে? তুই পৌঁছে দিবি না!”

– “না, মানে স্যারকে তো বললি না, যে আমার সাথে কথা হয়েছে তোকে পৌঁছে দিবো।”

– “আদর! ফাতরামি করবি না। স্যার যদি ভাবে আমি তোর সাথে প্রেম করি!”

– “ও, আচ্ছা! আর এখন বাইকে উঠে যেতে দেখলে যদি সেই কথাই ভাবে?”

– “তুই এত জটিল কেন? দরকার নাই আমাকে পৌঁছে দেবার। তুই যা তোর মত।” এইটুকু বলে আমি আদরের সামনেই ধানমণ্ডি রিকশা ঠিক করে চলে গিয়েছিলাম। আর পরের যে কটা বছর সহপাঠী ছিলাম, এই ঘটনাটা নিয়ে আর কোন কথা বলেনি আদর।

 

আমিও আদরকে বলিনি তখন, সেই রাতে অর্ধেক রাস্তা এসে আমি রিকশা ঘুরিয়ে আবারও ফিরে গিয়েছিলাম। তখন কোন জীবন-জুয়ারীর প্রেতাত্মা মনে হয় আমার ঘাড়ে সওয়ার হয়েছিল। তুমি তখনো সেখানে ছিলে। আদরের জটিল ভাবনার বিরহে চোখে অশ্রু নিয়েই তোমাকে প্রশ্ন করেছিলাম, “স্যার, বাসায় পৌঁছে দিবেন?” এরপর, পথের কোথাও আমি নিজের সব কান্নাগুলো তোমার কাধে উজাড় করে দিয়েছিলাম। আরো পরে, অন্য কোন ঘরে, নিজের শরীরটাকেও তোমার চরণে সমর্পন করেছিলাম। তারপর, তোমার বিষাক্ত নখ আর দাঁতের আঘাতে ক্ষতবিক্ষত হওয়া শেষে জেনেছিলাম, তোমার এখন আরো লেখাপড়া প্রয়োজন। তুমিই বলেছিলে। আমার কথা শুনবার বা শরীর কামড়াবার সময় তোমার হাতে আর ছিল না তখন।

 

কয়েক মাস পর, শেষ পর্যন্ত অনেক সাহস করে আমি শুধু সেই বনভোজনের রাতে নিজের ফিরে যাওয়া ছাড়া বাকী কথাগুলো আদরকে জানিয়েছিলাম। আদর একটু ভেবে বলেছিল, “শোন, এক হাতে তালি বাজে না। তুই সুযোগ দিয়েছিস বলেই সে ঐ কাজটা করার সাহস পেয়েছে। মেয়ে হিসেবে তোর আরো সংযত থাকা উচিত ছিল। যা হবার হয়ে গেছে, এখন আর বিষয়টা নিয়ে হৈ-চৈ করিস না। অকারণে একজন সম্ভাবনাময় এবং সুযোগ্য শিক্ষকের সম্মান আর ক্যারিয়ারে কলংকের দাগ পড়ে যাবে। এইটা করার কোন অধিকার নাই তোর। মেয়ে মানুষ পাত্তা দিলে পুরুষ এই কাজ করবেই। আল্লাহ এইভাবেই মানুষ সৃষ্টি করেছেন। তোর কোরআন পড়া উচিত। নিয়মিত পড়বি। না বুঝলেও, না বুঝেই পড়তে থাকবি। মন শান্ত থাকবে। নিজেকে অশ্লীলতা থেকে দূরে রাখতে পারবি। পুরুষদের উত্তেজিত করা থেকে বিরত থাকা সম্ভব হবে। বুঝেছিস?”

 

তখন সত্যিই বুঝিনি, আদর।

 

এখন আমি বুঝি। কিন্তু আদর, তুই কি জানতি না, আমিই সেই পশুটার প্রথম শিকার ছিলাম না? বা শেষ শিকারও হতে পারিনি? আমাকে লেখাপড়ার ভণ্ড অজুহাত দিয়ে সে তার পরবর্তী শিকার ধরার ফাঁদ সাজাতেই ব্যস্ত হয়েছিল। আমরাও তাকে সফল শিকারী হিসেবেই টিকে থাকার সুযোগ দিয়েছিলাম। এখন তাই জিজ্ঞেস করতে ইচ্ছে হয়, “আদর, শুধু নারীই কি পুরুষকে উত্তেজিত, সম্মোহিত করে? না কোন পুরুষের মায়ায় সম্মোহিত হলে তার দায়টুকুও নারীর ওপরেই বর্তায়? এখন আমি জানি, সেই রাতে আমার ফিরে যাওয়ার ইচ্ছেটার পেছনে সারাদিন আমার চোখের সাথে ঐ পশুটার খেলা করার বড় ভূমিকা ছিল। না কি বাইশেই আমার আঠাশের মত বিচক্ষণ হওয়া উচিত ছিল, আদর, নারী হবার অপরাধে? সেই দিন কি তুই পুরুষ হয়ে আরেক পুরুষের পক্ষে দাঁড়িয়ে অবচেতন মনে নিজের বীর্য ছেটানোর পথটাই পরিষ্কার রেখেছিলি?”

 

এখন আর তোকে এই প্রশ্নগুলো করার সুযোগ নাই। তুই এখন বঙ্গোপসাগরের কোণায় সম্মান নামক মূর্তির উপাসনায় ব্যস্ত। আমি প্রশান্ত মহাসাগরের কোলে, মানুষের গান গাই। কিন্তু এখন আমি জানি, সেইদিন তোর আর আমার নীরব থাকায় দরবেশগুলোর পশুত্বটাই নরমাংসের ভোজে হৃষ্টপুষ্ট হয়েছে আরো। তাই আর চুপ থাকবো না, আদর!

 

এখন আমি একাই বলবো! 


#MeToo

Falling

Falling

Falling is almost always painful, be it in love or in the tumult of a whirlpool. Even when the fall is spontaneously reciprocated by the other side, love’s sad satiety imbues the union with a sour taste of emptiness. How mundanely blessed our lives would be, had falling been all there is to love. But hell no, it is not even the beginning of love, let alone the end. Then, what is love – surely neither the possession of a pretty face or the right of petting, nor the means of convenience to run in the rats’ scuttle. Zeus had no love for Hera, nor did Aphrodite for limping Hephaestus. Rather, true love is nothing but a complete and absolute annihilation of one’s ego, desires and prejudice. That is why I have always been in love with the goddess of the hunt, my dear Artemis!

 

Yesterday, a friend asked me, how many times I have been in love. What could I have said in return? Usually one expects to hear a number after asking a question like that. Once upon a time I too tallied but since 2012 I have lost the count. After betting on the wrong side and earning bankruptcy at the gambling deck of life in that year, I have been living on love. Life became covertly simple. Each day began with a fervent hope that at night I would not come back to my bed, alive. Disappointingly, every day I did. Then at nights, before losing consciousness I prayed to make this night my last one, being too tired to witness another rising sun and shoulder the shackles that dogged life’s territorial woes. That pining too was done in vain.

 

However, in between the end and beginning of those daily doses of unconsciousness, love kept digging pits for me at every twist and turn. I too responded gaily, falling in each of them without any second thoughts, that too at the first sight. In most of the cases despite the fall I survived with just a few cuts and bruises. In more than a few though, I bled to death before crawling up to the ground with my teeth and nails. I had to. Afterwards, only a few words, perhaps a complete line or two if luck happened to be with me that day, remained. A few of such fall culminated in a poem. Honestly, each of those sagas felt like a marriage to me where I, the wife, after conceiving, had been forced to live on my own with a child, the poem, growing inside my heart and soul.

 

Five years later, now, the pages of my life are teeming with more than a thousand such children, sired by love and borne by me. Yet I shall boldly claim that there is and has always been only one Krishna in my dreams. It is I whose perceptions, like Radha, have evolved and changed with time. So, human beings truly can fall in love once and once only, no matter how many faces might push them over the edge in life!


 

The Real History

The Real History
Watch the Audio-Visual

Hello, let’s talk about time, particularly the time that is collectively referred to as the past. Each of us has our own version of it, spanning the length of our life that we can recollect. Though among kin and like-minded individuals these versions can overlap, often they remain mutually exclusive. Then there are national and regional pasts, often expressed through haughty words like ancestry or heritage.

However, instead of losing our way inside this labyrinth, let’s start with the smallest one, the individual past. Last month I turned 37. So, let’s say I have a past that is three and a half decade long. Now when I recall something that happened to me three years back, it does not seem to be an awfully long time ago. But at the age of 15, recalling something that transpired when I was 12, felt as if the event took place in another life. Well, there is a simple reason behind such distorted perceptions. At 15, 3 years was literally one fifth or 20% of my lifespan. So, proportionally it should take more than 7 years now to invoke a feeling similar to what 3 years felt like at 15. Consequently someone who is 80 years old that threshold should be around 16.

But enough about individual past, what I really want to talk about is the commonest of all our pasts, which unfortunately is also the most neglected of them all, the past of humankind. According to science, modern humans or Homo sapiens emerged around two hundred thousand years ago. But before moving ahead, let us connect the dots we skipped as we jumped from 80 to 200000.

A hundred years ago the Indian subcontinent was still a part of the United Kingdom and the whole world was busy fighting the Great War. Exactly two centuries ago it was the infamous year without a summer, caused by the massive eruption of Mount Tambora in the Dutch East Indies. Four hundred years ago in 1616 Shakespeare officially breathed out his last breath just a few months after Galileo confronted the Catholic Church. He said Copernicus’ Heliocentric theory of the solar system is correct but the Church in response issued a notice forbidding him to speak of Copernicus’ theory. A thousand years ago the official map of the world consisted of Africa, Asia and Europe only and two thousand years ago the top two religions in today’s world simply did not exist. I know the list is becoming tedious but we have connected only one percent of the dots.

In fact the Roman era to us is almost 500 years more recent than the first Pyramid in Egypt was to the Romans during their imperial days. But it was still 500 years more recent than the Mesopotamian civilization was to those Egyptian pyramid builders.

You see, with the average lifespan of around 70 years, it is very hard for us humans to comprehend the span of two hundred thousand years. So let’s try to shrink the span of two hundred thousand years down into a more comprehensible amount, instead. Let’s assume in an alternate reality one month roughly equals 500 years of our time. That makes two hundred thousand years equal to 400 months. If we start counting backward from October 2016, according to our special calendar, homo sapiens or humankind as we know it was born in June 1983. The “Scientific Adam & Eve” or the most recent common ancestors to whom all the existing Y chromosomes in males and mitochondrial DNAs in females can be traced back respectively are estimated to have lived in East Africa around this time.

For the next 130 months according to our calendar or 65 thousand years of normal time, outwardly we did nothing except hunting and foraging across the eastern and southern shores of Africa, though inwardly we were evolving as our brain became larger to accommodate a more complex social structure. We were also making progress in our use of language. Then in April of 1994 or 135 thousand years ago, we migrated out of Africa for the first time, inhabiting Middle East and South East Asia.

Despite the onset of the last Ice Age in June 1998, within 35 thousand years of that migration we started using weapons to hunt down large games. And by February of the year 2000 in our calendar or a hundred thousand years ago from now we had started showing early signs of various ritualistic burial practices.

Then in February 2005 or 70 thousand years ago, we moved out of Africa for the second time and reached as far as Australia within the next 20 thousand years. It took us another 10 thousand years to reach Europe and colonize the entire old world.

Within a few months of reaching Europe, by December 2010, we seemed to have settled down enough to start painting images of the wildlife around us on the walls of our habitats.

Finally as the last Ice Age started nearing its peak some 25 thousand years ago, in April 2012, we set foot on America through the resulting bridge of ice on the Bering Strait.

The Ice Age ended about 12 to 13 thousand years ago, which is in September 2014 according to the calendar. The resulting rise in sea levels drowned the Bering Bridge and separated America from the rest of the world. I believe this ought to be a good spot for archaeologists to start looking for the existence of a scientific Noah but let’s move on. Three months later in January 2015 we began domesticating plants and animals.

By June of 2015 that domestication culminated in the Neolithic Revolution, also known as the Agricultural revolution. Consequently we were building cities in Mesopotamia in July and inventing the wheel in September. The Bronze Age began in October, the same year and by November there were early forms of writing.

In December 2015 or about 5 thousand years ago city states began to grow and so did territorial wars.

The rest we have covered earlier but still let’s browse through them again. In January 2016 the first Pyramid gets built. One month later in March Moses leads the Exodus. In May, the classical era begins with the rise of Socrates in the west and Buddha in the east. Jesus is born on the next month and in July the rise of Islam begins. In August, the Normans invade England and in September Europeans rediscover America and Australia to give them their due places in the world map.

Finally we have returned to the current month. So everything from the Renaissance to the Industrial revolution, from the occupation of the Indian subcontinent by the British to the destruction of the Berlin wall in Germany happened within the past couple of weeks. In fact the Berlin wall was built around Noon 3 days ago and was brought down only yesterday.

Anyways, the point I am trying to make is that our past, the past of humankind is really long and for more than 98 percent of that time we had lived in mutual coexistence. What I cannot understand is how just a week or two’s worth of difference can create the illusion of eternity in the mind of millions, if not billions of human beings, educated and illiterate alike.  How would we treat a fellow individual, boasting of an exclusiveness based on a change of status for a month or two? Humankind as a whole should equally be discouraged to boast of things based on a change that happened a mere 500 years ago. Because if we define our existence by the span of our collective learning, then 500 years for humankind is as brief as a month or two would be for an individual. And if we use words like Heritage or Ancestry we should never limit its scope to a few decades or centuries, as our true heritage is at least two hundred thousand years old. Of course I am a big fan of diversity as it is both precious and inspiring but a denial of the underlying similarities is neither diversity, nor a valid argument in its favor.

That’s all for now! Hope to see you in the next episode! Take care till then and may the force always be with you!

6 Years of Blogging: A Flashback

6 Years of Blogging: A Flashback

In the afternoon WordPress wished me a happy anniversary through its notifications menu. I realized six years ago on 4th August 2010 I started posting my works to this blog. The floodgates of nostalgia were flung wide open as memories rushed in and overflowed my consciousness. So many things happened over the course of these years. Things that were both significant and trivial, sad and delightful, glorious and humbling. In brief, the journey has been and still continues to be almost as adventitious as life itself. A few of those found a place in some of the posts but most remained buried in a faraway island that I call my heart, an island that owns nothing but is owned by nothing either.
 

Anyways, the year was 2010 and in March that year I seemed to have finally settled down in a career after some jumping around. Though I was writing in English for four years by then, it was all limited to my personal diaries. With both my personal and professional life in complete disarray, I could hardly think of the luxury of sharing my words with the world. Of course the quality was at best elementary, if not outright questionable as well. However, once the job security was there I started thinking about sharing my poems. I found WordPress in August after trying a few other poetry hosting sites like poetrypoem.org. I stuck to WordPress mostly because the interface was more user friendly than the previous ones I tried.
 

So, in August 2010 I started posting to this blog and ended up publishing 86 posts in one month. Those were from all the poems I wrote in the previous four years that I found good enough to share with the world. By the end of that year I added 14 more to the tally, December being the most productive month with 8 posts. Back then one thing I liked was the way after publishing each post, WordPress encouraged me to achieve my next target of posts. I forgot the sequence of targets but most probably it was 25, 50, 75, 100… as far as I can recall the encouragement stopped after reaching 200 or 250 posts. I wonder whether that feature is still available for the newcomers or was later removed from the site.
 

Like any enterprise, the starting months were tedious with little or no return. At the end of the year, the 100 posts on the blog received 335 views in total. As the stats page in front of me shows, the number in the likes and comments columns are a meager 14 and 13 respectively and the Visitors’ tally was not available until 2012. The most viewed poem was Vow, published in October with 44 views.
 

In twelve months on 2011, I added 72 more posts and September was the most productive one with 14. For some now forgotten reasons February 2011 has been the only month so far when I did not publish a single post. Though the view count at the end of the year was a little less shameful than the previous one with 1326, the comments and likes columns continued their meager streak with 16 and 80 respectively. The most viewed poem was Life, Dreams, Memories And Me, published in March with 109 views.
 

In 2012 a further 142 posts were added and with 17 of them published in December, it was the most productive month of that year. WordPress started counting the visitors sometime in this year and at the end of it, my blog had 170 of them with 3595 views, 473 likes and 69 comments. The most viewed poem was Humayun Ahmed: The Most Popular Writer of Bangladesh with 65 views. Published in July that year, as a tribute after his death, this poem has been the most viewed piece on the blog for four consecutive years, with 279 views in 2013, 343 in 2014 and 482 in 2015. Even in the running year it is the 20th most viewed poem with 111 views. I think you can very well imagine the popularity of the person the poem is about.
 

In 2013, 158 more posts were added. At the end of the year my blog was viewed 3898 times by 1654 visitors but both comments and Likes went downhill with 39 and 159 respectively. The most viewed post was unchanged from the previous year, as you know already. The most viewed post published in that year was I’m A Tree with 44 views. It was published in May of that year and November was the most productive month with 21 posts.
 

2014 was the year I added more than 200 posts for the first time with 217 in total. According to the figures displayed on my blog, of all the months July seems to be the most productive one. However, as there was a war between Israel and Palestine in that month, I reposted a few antiwar poems written by fellow poets. Now I think it was December with 25 posts, as from the trends I can see winter is more productive for me than summer. The most viewed post written in that year was The Fire in Her Eyes with 77 views, published in September. In all 1471 visitors viewed my posts 4072 times with 1329 Likes and 120 Comments. This year is also special for me because an anthology, Nature and Human beings: Individual and Collective, of my poems was published from Amazon  in March.
 

Finally, in 2015 the stats started looking more similar to that of a newbie. I added 212 posts in that year and my blog received 10,751 views from 2993 visitors who rewarded me with 7952 likes and 785 comments. December once again was the most productive month with 40 posts published.  The most viewed poem written in that year was A Cold Goodbye, published in July with 166 views. July was also the month I resigned from my job after five and half years and decided to invest all of my time and efforts into creating contents for the world in both written and audio-visual formats.
 

This brings me back to a familiar point, having a tumultuous professional and personal life. After a year of unemployment, last month I have finally found a way to be self-employed by monetizing my creative contents on a YouTube channel @ Amit Rahman and a Blogspot page @ Amit’s Two Pennies. This way of securing sustenance has more freedom as well as self-accountability. At the same, if successful, the monetization would not only provide me with money but recognition too and that also from a wider berth of people than is available in private services. However with only 32 subscribers so far, even the minimum sustenance seems a dream as distant as the afterlife itself. The fact that almost all of the subscribers are Gmail account holders but not active YouTubers is even more disparaging. So, my dear poets and fellow bloggers, I would truly be grateful if you kindly subscribe and watch my videos. I would also urge you to return to my channel regularly if you find its contents useful or interesting. Currently I have three series in production at the channel, they are:

  • Five New Words: In this series I offer five English words with their etymologies, pronunciations, meanings and examples in each episode.

 

  • Two Pennies: In this series I offer my two pennies on history, philosophy, literature, religion, psychology, politics and current affairs.

 

  • Poems by Amit Rahman: This one consists of the readings of my poems with their texts being displayed on the screen. Of late I have also begun to include a brief context of the poem being read at the end of each episode.

 

 

Hopefully I have not dragged this too long to lose a reader halfway through. If you have made it to this far, let me not bore you anymore and end this piece by earnestly praying for your kind support and patronage towards my humble enterprise detailed above. This is my anniversary pledge to you, my readers.

Thanks a lot for your time! May you be in peace!

.