Understanding Release: From the Perspective of Broken People

Wafi Aziz Sattar
Published: 2019-07-30 15:00:00.0 BDST

Depression by Nino Kobaidze

What I am about to write in this blog is hard to put into words. It is hard to talk about but I hope it will be read and will help someone somewhere truly understand broken people better.

The greatest strength a person possesses is the strength of patience. Patience is virtue. But patience is also a challenge that can be hard to encounter and conquer in the face of absolute loss of self-control.

The inner demons that constantly wrestle with the mind of an individual is deeper than what they may portray on the surface.

Some individuals find purpose in life solely through being of service to others, ensuring the well-being of others are met. Personal struggles are often hard to talk about as those who they wish to talk to may not be available to hear them out. What seems like constant whining may actually be a cry for attention, seeking help. What seems as paranoia is actually self-doubt and they want those who they open up to, to understand it. More often than not, these loved ones often don’t care, usually selfish (as in, they care, but not as deeply enough as the other), and do not give the same priority to the broken as the broken give them.

There are those who wish to help, they are the ones who wish to find out and are there by the side of these broken people, but often their sympathy becomes a burden for the broken and they shut them out. “I don’t want to talk about it now”, “I will tell you about it later”, “go away”, “leave me be/leave me alone”, “please don’t ask” are defensive mechanisms. Empathy is important and neither parties can provide it.

The mind is a dangerous place when the sufferers are left alone with their thoughts. Sleep is impossible. Endless apologies, effort and services offered voluntarily to those who the sufferers care for and want attention from to help address their problems and help them heal are often met with no courtesy.

Such people who seek happiness in the happiness of others prefer time over “thank you” and crave for long talks and not much else. What comes thereafter with the talks may heal or break more, but that time that was given to them is the only gift that they truly desire for from friendships they know can heal.

Broken people don’t want much. All they want is a little tender loving care.

Broken people when they shut themselves out, do so to try to heal, but the noise, not voices, inside their head becomes too much to take. When they are asked to sleep to heal, it is not always possible. When the head hits the pillow it’s the damaging thoughts that come to play at the playground of self-loathing and feeling of “not being good enough”.

Self-harm is a form of relief. The thoughts start small and then grows. The tools go from harmless to more harmful. Emotions are overwhelming and the pain is releasing. The self-harm is better than the next worst thought which actually feels like a good idea – the ending.

The ending actually seems a better option by the broken because it is the ultimate release. While their departure may leave many broken, what difference do the broken truly make when they are here? No matter how many positive words are spoken by many, the ones who need to speak are silent or do not care enough and that silence is the final push most broken people need for their exit.

The concept is simple. The feeling of guilt is non-existent when there is no mind left to think when then broken person is gone.

The personal hell of the broken may lead to their personal heaven, or so they think.

Depression is real. Those who care should be calmer and those who should care should pay more attention before it is too late – and it is usually always late. When the broken do speak up to the latter group, they are often met with “have you ever thought of how I feel” type of statements and often respond with “sorry” and resort to the violent space inside their head which causes much more self-harm.

Pay attention. The end is nearer than you think.

My Grandfather Now Lives Inside My Heart.

Wafi Aziz Sattar
Published: 2017-08-02 2:50:00.0 BDST


It’s 2:04 AM here in Dhaka right now. As I have been working through these last few hours, something felt a little amiss.

As I minimized Microsoft Word, I got my answer as Facebook open on my web browser showed me it.

There he was. My paternal grandfather. The man I loved so much and who loved me back so much more, looking straight back at me with the most beautiful placid smile I have ever witnessed on a human being.

I felt restless. I still feel restless. The feeling is unknown, unnamed. I left everything on in my room and headed upstairs, blank and dazed, in the dark, stumbling, my mind numb.

Through the open floor blanketed in complete darkness I walked straight to his room. I don’t know why I just did so, but I did. Perhaps hoping to feel his presence. No, I wanted to feel his presence. I wanted to see his smile. I wanted to see him smiling that placid smile.

As I turned the lights on, the room was empty. His bed is still here. Resting on it is one of his favorite shirts and bottoms. Both freshly washed. Still, his clothes smell of him.

As I lie on his bed right now, I write this not because I want to be heard, but because I want to know what this feeling is of. This yearning for those whose physical presence is gone but memories linger on so strongly.

I just realized something. I took that handsome picture of my best friend on August 2, 2013. Today is August 2, 2017. It has been 4 years to this day that he smiled at me for that photograph. I guess it just felt like yesterday when I saw it a little while earlier.

Dada, I love you and miss you terribly. You are always on the back of my mind and will always be in my heart, my thoughts and in my prayers. My mentor, my first idol, my hero, my teacher, my best friend. Take care in heaven old man. Heaven was made for people like you.

I love you. I miss you. I cannot repeat it enough times to make anyone understand how true those feelings are. I will always remain selfish when claiming you as my Dada because you will always be MY Dada only as life had given me the blessings and the privilege to be your only grandchild to have spent more time in the same house as you than any of the others.

Stay well and please watch over us. I know you are here in spirit. I love you to the moon and back and through to my afterlife.

The Trial and Death of My Hair!

Wafi Aziz Sattar
Published: 2016-10-18 1:20:00.0 BDST


Photo: Wafi Aziz Sattar

My four-year-old son hates haircuts. He has beautiful, soft, curly hair. It’s all fluffy and makes him look super cute, but it does need to be trimmed down every now and then or else he looks like Mowgli and gets all hot in the humid Dhaka weather.

So I was looking on Amazon for a hair trimmer he might be okay with, and fortunately at the same time my father got one for him.

After giving it a try earlier yesterday afternoon when he was asleep (he did not like it last night when I introduced him to his own, personal hair trimmer), and failing miserably, I tried to acclimate him to it later in the night.

I played and read his favorite book of nursery rhymes with background music, played a couple of rounds of Digimon Heroes on my phone with him because he loves it, and then put on his favorite ABC songs and all his favorite nursery rhymes on YouTube. Doing this helped in me getting him to take the trimmer from me, and despite being hesitant, he was okay with it, but as soon as I took it back and trimmed a tiny bit of hair from the side of his head, he freaked out at the sight of his hair coming off (oh darn it!).

So unlike the traditional father, I did what modern dad’s do. I played it by example. I let my little munchkin have at it on my head. He freaked, he was okay, and then when I pretended to cry, he had fun. He drove it like a lawn mower on my head, and I let him.

So after the abstract hair art on my head was completed by him, I approached to trim his hair again, and again he freaked out. I let him watch me size up the hair on my head. He watched me, and also his favorite rhymes on YouTube, but he kept checking up on me, making sure I was there, entertaining him!

And when I was done and it was his turn, he took the trimmer from me and turned it off (see picture), and as I tried to take it from him nicely, he shrieked out loud, dropped it on the floor and ran to his grandparents upstairs!

So what’s the real bummer in all of this? After trying for an hour, I lost my hair, I would be totally okay with it if he’d let me trim his hair down. And tomorrow my mother will freak out at my buzz cut (or maybe now if she’s awake and reading this on Facebook).

Ah the trials of a modern father. It’s fun, but the kids are getting naughtier these days. In all honesty though, I don’t think we should change a thing.

P.S. I’m balding!

Significance of Peace.

Wafi Aziz Sattar
Published: 2015-09-21 13:30:00.0 BDST

International Symbol of Peace

Good day folks,

Sorry if this post bores you, that is not my intention. You can skip this and watch your cat videos if you wish to. For those who choose to read on, if ignorance is bliss and oblivion is what you dwell in, I hope this post makes you think a little bit harder about togetherness with all those you consider ‘different’, and some (if not a lot) negativity towards divisiveness.

What is the significance of peace? In fact, what is peace? These questions may seem silly to most people who already ‘feel’ they understand the meaning of peace and are for it, yet secretly or unknowingly go about doing things in their lives that go against everything peace stands for. This hypocrisy is not due to misunderstanding what peace is, but rather a lack of will to learn the whole meaning of what peace is, and furthermore, a lack of willingness to practice it for selfish reasons.

Unity, community, understanding, amicability, accessibility, open-mindedness, respect, empathy, sympathy, peace, love and oneness is what peace is all about globally.

Racism, religious hatred, communal hatred, xenophobia, chauvinism, ethnocentrism, misogyny, sexism, semitism and antisemitism, prejudice, bigotry, nativism and even resistant traditionalism are all forms of extremism and bias against peace, friendship and respect towards each other.

Change yourself if you wish for the world to be ‘nicer’ to you. No matter how ‘negative’ the other person may ‘seem’ to you and how much of that you may have actually made up in your mind, remember, when you are judging, it is you who is making that conscious decision to judge. And when you spew hatred from your mouth, it is you again who is making that deplorable action. Unless the other person or persons is literally poison for you and have caused you literal psychological, physiological, or in this fake world, material harm, the problem of judging someone based on your preconceived notion that they must be bad because you must be good, makes you the problem. Change yourself if you wish to change the world.

Remember that a good life starts when we all can coexist in harmony. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had said best,

“We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. This may well be mankind’s last chance to choose between chaos and community”

Hoping for peace, love and a better world from all of you, I am signing off this post on International Day of Peace and wishing you all have a blessed pro-peace and hate-free life.

Wafi Aziz Sattar

Kontho Joddha: Voices of Freedom, for Freedom, by the Free

Wafi Aziz Sattar
Published: 2015-04-03 09:00:00.0 BDST

Kontho Joddha Shukti Mahalanobish Chowdhury

Photo: Pritam Chowdhury

The history books of Bangladesh have taught us a lot about the valiant freedom fighters of the 1971 Bangladesh War of Liberation but seldom has any of them talked about the heroics of the “Kontho Joddha” (Voice Warriors) who played a pivotal role in raising the confidence and creating a positive psyche in the minds of the freedom fighters and the citizens of Bangladesh during the war.

I had the opportunity to interview one such silent hero, Mrs. Shukti Mahalanobish Chowdhury, who along with her elder sister Bulbul Mahalanobish formed the core of the group of singers for Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendro back in 1971. Below are the excerpts of the interview:

Wafi Aziz Sattar (WAS): Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your childhood and upbringing.

Shukti Mahalanobish Chowdhury (SMC): Hello, my name is Shukti Mahalanobish, Chowdhury after marriage. I was a singer at Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendro. I am a “Kontho Joddha”. I was born and raised in Narida, Old Dhaka. My hometown is in Bikrampur, Pachashar. I have never been there. We are 6 siblings, 4 sisters and 2 brothers. I am the 3rd child.

WAS: Let me ask you first, how did you get involved with Shadhin Bangla Betar Kenro and how did you travel to West Bengal in 1971?

SMC: I can’t remember exactly, most probably in the middle of April or May. I went there along with my family. We were living in Kanchara Para, my sister was involved in a renowned drama titled “Jallader Durbar” on Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendro. Mr. Raju Ahmed who played the lead role of Yahya Khan was our family friend. He offered Didi to join the Betar.  I would accompany my elder sister Bulbul Mahalanobish to the Betar Kendra. It was then that I got involved with them.

WAS: Please tell us a little bit about your feelings and experience of that time. How was the lodging and food situation for you back then?

SMC: I was about 13 or 14 years old back then. We had to leave our house, our country and go to an unknown land where we were refugees. But we never lived in a refugee camp. My uncle lived in Kanchrapara, West Bengal. We rented a house in the railway colony since my Mesho (aunt’s husband) worked in the railway and we could manage to lower the rent. My father lived in Kuchbihar, he was there for his work. He would send us money with which my mother would manage all the family expenses. Then Didi and I started singing for Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendro. We were paid a lump sum amount from the Betar.

My mother would manage all the expenses. Of course as refugees we did not get to eat good food. When we were in Dhaka, we never ate things like Water Lily, but there that was what we had to eat very frequently. My youngest sister was 4 then. She wanted to eat eggs and meat which was unimaginable for us to acquire at the time. My mother tried her best with her cooking skills to make the food edible for us. At Betar, we did not get food. Once in a while maybe some snack.

WAS: Were you often reminded of your relatives and other loved ones? What were your thoughts on the future?

SMC: My entire family moved to India. I had never encountered war before and unlike the matured children of today’s time, I was not matured enough to understand what war was or of the consequences it brings, but I could guess it from my mother’s face that it was bad. She was worried all the time. I did not like the life there; I wanted to come back as soon as possible. I wanted the war to end soon. There were so many people who suffered. My sister had just got married, and my brother in law (Mr. Sarit Kumar Lala) had joined the war as a Freedom Fighter. We wanted him to come back to us safe and sound. Thankfully, he did come back to us alive and well.

WAS: How did you get into music?

SMC: Didi was the one who took music lessons. Her teacher would come to our house. I would join to play the Tanpura. All my siblings were students of Konchi-Kanchar Mela, a music and art school established by Rokunuzzaman Khan Dadabhai. Mr. Shukhendu Chakraborty was our teacher. So music was a part of my family tradition. I later joined Chayanot as a student of Rabindro Shongeet.

WAS: How was the relationship between the artists there? What of the other refugees and locals? How helpful were they?

SMC: All of us were refugees there. So we were all a tight-knit team and had a strong bond among us. We knew this was how we were serving the country during its time of grave crisis. Poeple around us were very helpful as well. They were empathetic.

WAS: Did you often have to travel afar for singing?

SMC: I was not one of those who had to travel and sing. I only sang at Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendro.

WAS: When did you first get to know that we were liberated, that we were had won and become a free nation?

SMC: I don’t exactly remember when that was. We were hearing of the possibilities, and it was most probably on the morning of 16th December that we heard that Niyaji was to surrender to the Indo-Bangladesh joint army troops.

WAS: When did you come back to free Bangladesh? Please tell us a little bit about your feeling back then.

SMC: Sometime in mid-January we returned as a family. We came back to Dhaka. The feeling cannot be expressed in words. I was almost accustomed to the war living and then suddenly the sense of freedom. Coming back to a free land felt like I was able to breathe again. But this time it was different, I could breathe free.

WAS: How do you feel when you reminisce of your days at Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendro?

SMC: Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendro was born during a time of crisis. All the members of the radio station gave it their all to help the country, but I feel that our task is not over yet. Recently we have been united again to spread the original history, the real songs, the original tunes, the names of the original lyrisists, music composers and singers to the new generation. We did not sing for recognition, but now that we have a country of our own, I feel it is our just duty to ensure that history of the times passed exists.

I feel very proud to have been a part of Shadhin bangla Betar Kendro. Although I never held a rifle, I used my voice as a weapon for the cause of freedom. I feel priviledged to have been a part of the Bangladesh War of Independence. I have raised my two children, a son and a daughter, with the same spirit of becoming a responsible citizen of Bangladesh.

WAS: Thank you very much for your time and this insightful interview.

SMC: Thank you for your interest in knowing about us, the group of Kontho Joddha of 1971.

A Promising Start for the Adventure Club Bangladesh

Wafi Aziz Sattar
Published: 2015-03-26 09:00:00.0 BDST

Inauguration Ceremony of the Adventure Club Bangladesh

Photo: B-Cube

The Adventure Club Bangladesh held its inauguration ceremony at the prestigious Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel on March 25th. The event was held to bring together all stakeholders, decision makers and influencers who deeply care and want to change the tourism industry of the country.

The Adventure Club is an organization that is officially patronized by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, Government of Bangladesh and is an initiative of the Build Better Bangladesh Foundation (B-Cube Foundation).

The purpose of this ceremony was to introduce the functions that Adventure Club Bangladesh wishes to serve in the tourism sector by creating a network and engaging the youth of Bangladesh in the tourism sector to help create trends through adventure, thereby branding and presenting Bangladesh Tourism in an entirely new, trendy and glorified manner.

The chief guest at the event was Mr. Rashed Khan Menon, Honourable Minister of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, and the special guests were Mr. Khurshid Alam Chowdhury, Honourable Secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, Mr. Akhtaruz Zaman Khan Kabir, CEO, Bangladesh Tourism Board, and Mr. Mario Hardy, CEO of Pacific Asia Travel Association.

Mr. Menon spoke highly of the initiative and highlighted the positivity that the organization will bring through its work for the development of the tourism infrastructure by ensuring community development and it’s special focus on policy advocacy in affiliation with the Bangladesh Government. Panelists at the preceding discussion reciprocated their support and offered valuable insights and ideas to all attendees at the event.

The half-day long inauguration ceremony expressed much positivity about the organization and its goals which is surely a promising start to a great initiative to bolster the hot and cold tourism sector of Bangladesh.

Valiant Tigers Robbed Of Game Changing Chances

Wafi Aziz Sattar
Published: 2013-03-19 9:00:00.0 BDST

Flawed Umpires

Photo: File Photo

At 147 for the loss of 3 wickets in the 34th over, India were not really cruising quite the way they would have liked. Suresh Raina was the new man in, having played 16 balls to get his 10 runs while Rohit Sharma had worked hard to get to 72 runs off 87 balls. Bangladesh Captain Mashrafe Mortaza steamed in and fired the second delivery of the over that struck Raina right in the middle and the Tigers went up appealing for an LBW. The umpire, Ian Gould of England turned it down. The review was taken and it was deemed as a marginal decision and the benefit of the doubt went India’s way.

Fast forward 6 overs and it India were now cruising at 197 without the loss of any further wickets, Raina heavily capitalizing on the reprieve he was offered, and this time it was Rubel who charged in to bowl a beautiful delivery to have Rohit pull the delivery straight to the midwicket fielder Imrul Kayes who clealy took the catch. Unfortunately however, even before the ball had reached the batsmen, Pakistani Umpire Aleem Dar standing at leg had dubbed it a no-ball and almost instantaneously so did Ian Gould. The Bangladesh team was in shock. Not a second was wasted in giving the decision. The ball according to the umpires was over the waist line, but not only did the Bangladeshi players, all the spectators know that was not the case, so did the batsmen Sharma.

Both of these were chances that if they had gone in the favor of Bangladesh would have turned the match on its head instantly, however very suspiciously they were both not declared correctly, almost purposefully. Eventually India cruised to a fighting total of 302 runs at the end of 50 overs.

As if these two decisions were not bad enough, during Bangladesh’s innings, Mohammed Shami was bowling the 17th over, and during the last ball of the over, the in-form Bangladeshi batsmen Mahmudullah Riyad who had just come into the match after scoring back to back centuries against England and New Zealand pulled the ball at long leg, where Shikhar Dhawan took what seemed like a sharp catch, but upon closer replays turned out to be a 6! Yet again however, the decision, this time conferred to the Third Umpire, England’s Steve Davis, was given in favor of India. Bangladesh slumped to 73 for 3 and it was very clear that there was something seriously wrong. Despite the full extent of technology being available, the on field umpires time and again did not use it against India but did so during Bangladesh’s batting innings and where the third umpire did come in, he blatantly supported the Indian team despite the evidence suggesting otherwise.

Cricket legend turned commentator Shane Warne openly criticized the decision as did many current and former cricketers who took to the social networking platform Twitter to share their disgust for the blatant and shameless bias. Fans in Bangladesh were beyond upset and at the end of the match when the Bangladesh Captain Mashrafe Mortaza was asked about the flaws the umpires made he simply shrugged his shoulders and replied “You all saw what happened.”

The ICC website has also mysteriously taken off the controversial ball that was supposed to dismiss Rohit Sharma, off from the match review section of their website. The ICC President Mostofa Kamal was visibly upset as well and said he will look into the matter and BCB has already formally lodged a complaint against this incidence with the International Cricket Council.

Only time will tell for how long the cricket world will be mired in such partial behavior against the Bangladesh cricket team and for how long such possible corruption at such a high level will continue to plague this once gentleman’s game.

Rotary Club Bangladesh District Conference 2015 Held

Wafi Aziz Sattar
Published: 2015-03-15 09:00:00.0 BDST

The Rotary Club Bangladesh District Conference 2015

Photo: Wafi Aziz Sattar

The Rotary Club Bangladesh held its District Conference 2015 at the Bashundhara Convention City in Dhaka from March 13th to March 14th. The event was chaired by Past President Rotarian Mr. Humayun Rashid of Dhaka North and presided over by the current District Governor Rotarian Mrs. Safina Rahman and the was attended by Mr. Ku, Chineg-Cheng (Tiger Ku.), the HonoraryRotary International President’s Representative. The special guest for announcing the commencement of the event was Mr. Abul Mal Abdul Muhit, Honorary Finance Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

The two-day long event was attended by all Rotarians from every chapter from all over Bangladesh. There were multiple sessions and panel discussions at the event all discussing the various successes and upcoming projects that are to be undertaken by the Rotary Club Bangladesh chapters to bring development, peace and prosperity across all levels of society.

Some of the key projects to be undertaken by the Rotary Club this year are CPR training, solving water and sanitation issues in the slum and rural areas, making a difference in communities through implementation of sustainable service projects, administering a successful microcredit program among the ultra-poor, and tackling the literacy mission in Bangladesh.

The program successfully ended on the second day with reflection on the year passed, introduction of future Rotary leaders, the Rotary Foundation contribution and recognition and a cultural show.

Cocktail Bomb Explodes Outside Banani Office: 3 Injured

Wafi Aziz Sattar
Published: 2015-03-13 09:00:00.0 BDST

Molotov Cocktail

Photo: File Photo

The bombing took place at the end of office day at around 8:00 PM at Faruque Rupayan Tower located in Kemal Atatturk Avenue, Banani.   From eyewitness reports, it was learnt that as a SUV was pulling out of the underground parking lot and was at the exit, a cocktail bomb was dropped from above and it exploded near the left rear tyre of the car. While not much damage came of the car, the nearest people standing by the exit came to be harmed.   A security personnel and a passerby had minor cuts and bruises and acoustic trauma from hearing the loud explosion from so close, the third victim, identified as a guest chauffeur, was critically wounded as he was standing closest to the explosion and the shrapnel severely ruptured his Achiles tendon.   The victims were rushed to the nearby Labaid Specialized Hospital where they were treated for their wounds. While two of the minor injury victims were released, the third still remains in critical condition at the hospital.   This incident comes on the heels of other such random acts of sudden violence that have broken out in the area in recent weeks and it is allegedly the work of cadres hired by the BNP-led 20-party alliance who have been enforcing indefinite political instability since Janruary of this year.