Abid Shahriyar

Copyright 2018 by Abid Shahriyar


Photo of Abid at college.

Peace is not a distant bird somewhere in some bush. It is often perching right upon our own shoulder. Often we fail to recognize it unless it flies away or gets taken away. Once my little sister was mortified by the disagreements that brought upon her family members.

Our whole family went for a hang out on that day. My sister said with affliction to me, ''Tomorrow will be a new year for us but everyone is not in a jolly mood''. My elder brother insisted on buying a new bicycle. Father, mother and brother were conflicting about that.

Father told to him, ''Can't you use your old bicycle? You just know how to spend money! You have become an extravagant person now-a-days''.

Mother also said him, ''The economy is not in a good condition, why don't you just use the old one?''.Brother angrily said, ''The old one breaks all the time, you can use it! I won't!''

Father then said to mother, ''You are responsible for this. You have spoiled his life!''.

My little sister asked me, ''Can you tell me how to make everyone happy for the New Year?''.Then I told her, ''Yes I can give some suggestions about...." my elder brother stopped me and said, ''Look! Some people are coming towards us''. My father said, ''I know them, they are my friends''.

Friend #1 said to my father, ''Hi, how are you? You look emaciated, what's the matter?''Father said, ''You know, family matters. Some disagreements are going on''.

Suddenly my brother asked, ''Uncle, which is the most important thing in man's life?''

Friend #2 said, ''I think wealth''.

Friend #3 said, ''I think success''. Mother stopped them and said, ''Surely wealth, because if we have wealth we can have a comfortable life''.

But brother disagreed and said, ''No, I think success, I want my family to be proud''.

Mother exclaimed, ''Wealth''.

Brother exclaimed, ''Success''.

Friend #4 stopped that conversation and said, ''Peace''.''If you have peace and harmony, success and wealth will follow'', he said. He also said, ''Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means''.

My sister then said, ''Now, after a lot of discussions I have understood that peace is what mankind needs most". Everybody appreciated her.

Father also added, ''Until anyone extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace''. Friend #1 said, ''We have to go now".

They went away and we rode on a bus for going to market for shopping.

I saw a black person in the bus. Many people were ignoring him. They were telling to each other that he was like a ''caged animal''. He had been tossed plenty of awkward and offensive questions from other people. One asked, ''Where are you really from?''.Other said, "You look so exotic''.

My little sister asked my father, ''Papa, why people are ignoring him, what's going on?''.My brother told her, ''He is black, that's the problem, it is called racism''.

Mother asked, ''How can we fight with this?''Father said, ''You don't fight racism with racism, the best way to fight racism is with solidarity''. I asked, ''But how can we eradicate it?''Father said, ''You can't delete racism, it's like a cigarette. You can't stop smoking if you don't want to, you can't stop it if people don't want to''.

There was a conflict going on between that man and the people for underestimating him. So father told them,'' Peace, we are all human and I reckon racism is not good at all. Please say sorry to him and make peace because peace is the beauty of life, it is the advancement of man, the victory of a just cause, the triumph of truth''. Then they understood and said sorry to that man and we all realized the importance of peace on that day.

We went to the market and did our shopping. When we were returning home, my sister said,'' Look, rainbow''. Then she asked, '' Papa, is this rainbow bears the testimony of peace?''. Father started to tell her a story about that, I also knew that. He said,'' Once upon a time all the colors in the world started to quarrel; GREEN said,'' Clearly I am the most important. I am the sign of life and hope. Look out into the the countryside and you will see that I am in the majority.''

BLUE interrupted,'' Consider the sky and the sea. It is the water that is the basis of life and this is drawn up by the clouds from the blue sea. The sky gives space, and peace and serenity. Without my peace you would all be nothing but busybodies.''

YELLOOW chuckled,'' I bring laughter, gaiety and warmth into the world. Everytime you look at the sunflower the whole world starts to smile. Without me there would be no fun.''

ORANGE said,'' I am the color of health and strength. I serve the inner needs of human life. I carry all the important vitamins. I don't hang around all the time, but when I fill the sky at sunrise, or give you a majestic sunset to admire, my beauty is so striking that no one ever gives another thought to any of you!''

RED shouted out,'' I am the ruler of you all. Life is blood. I am the color of danger and bravery. I am willing to fight for a cause. I am the color of passion and love, the red rose, the poinsettia and the poppy.''''

After father I added, ''PURPLE rose up to its full height. He spoke with great pomp, ''I am the color of power. I am the sign of authority and wisdom. People do not question me. They listen and obey.''

INDIGO spoke quietly but determinedly, ''Think of me, I am the color of silence. You hardly notice me but without me you all become superficial. I represent thought and reflection, twilight and deep waters. You need me for balance and contrast, for prayer and inner peace.''

And so all the colors went on boasting, each convinced that they were the best. Suddenly there was a startling flash of brilliant white lightning; thunder rolled and boomed out.

Then RAIN spoke, ''You foolish colors, fighting amongst yourselves, each trying to dominate the other. The creator loves you all, He wants you all. He will stretch you across the sky in a great bow of color as a reminder that He loves you all, that you can live together in peace, a promise that He is with you ,a sign of hope for all for tomorrow.''''

Father added, ''So whenever He uses a good RAIN to wash the world He puts the RAINBOW in the sky, and when we see it we should remember that He wants us all to appreciate and live with each other in peace. ''My sister then said, ''Wow, it's a great story. ''Father finished the story and we returned home safely.

After a few minutes we heard a knock on the door. Mother opened the door and saw a boy. I recognized him because he was my college friend. But he was looking exhausted. Mother asked, ''What happened''. He said, ''I heard shots coming toward me. I didn't see any faces. I just heard 'ping, ping, ping'''. He recalled while casually browsing pictures on his cell phone. He again said, ''All the time I was thinking, I want to get home. Then I checked my body to see if I was wet (with blood) anywhere.''

With the sound of gunfire trailing him, he made his way down the street, through an alley and to the back door of the weathered two-flat where we live.

I asked, ''Why there is so much violence now at night papa?''.Father said, ''Because tomorrow is the first day of New Year. So people are enjoying today....''I interrupted and asked ''People are enjoying but why violence?''.Then my friend said, ''A group of terrorists attacked some people using bomb and guns. So police came and started to shoot to stop the violence''.

As the city tries to grapple with the carnage that claimed 1039 lives last year, according to data collected by the Tribune, it is worth considering what life is like for a young man coming of age in one og the city's poorest and most besieged communities.

We were trying to soothe him and called his father .His father came and shocked to see the condition of his son. He was angry and said, ''Where there is no human connection, there is no compassion. Without compassion, then community, commitment, loving-kindness, human understanding and peace all shrivel. Individuals become isolated, the isolated turn cruel, and the tragic hovers in the forms of domestic and civil violence .Art and literature are antidotes to that''.

My father also added, ''Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. I am not unmindful of the fact that violence often brings about momentary results. Nations have frequently won their independence in battle, but in spite of temporary victories, violent never brings permanent peace''. When my friend was feeling well, his father thanked us for the hospitality we showed to him and his son.

Attaining peace of mind is the most important and ultimate goal of life. We take care of almost everything in life, but almost never care about spending time in peace. We had gone through a lot on that day and personally I learned a lot of things. I learned how peace can uproot violence ,conflict and racism .On that day my father said, ''I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality....I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final world''-which I will always remember throughout my whole life.

I sat at ease in my chair, an ease alike of body and soul, in the little patch of ground ,half orchard and half garden. After the stress and noise of that day, the repose and peace struck on my senses with an almost dramatic intensity. Time and space seemed to lose their meaning and their abruptness; the minutes slid away into hours, and the meadows and fallows sloped away into middle distance, softly and imperceptibly. And over the whole scene brooded the sense of a peace that had almost a quality of magic in it.

I was sitting at ease in the rustic seat beneath an old medlar tree, and decided that there was the life-anchorage that my mind had so fondly pictured and that latterly my tired and jarred senses had so often pined for. 

Abid is a college student in Bangladesh.

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