Writing 101, Day 5: Let social media inspire you

One of the goals for writing 101 is is to tap into new and unexpected places for post ideas.Today let’s look to Twitter for inspiration.Below you’ll see five tweets : each tweet is interesting in its own way, and we hope one will elicit a response from you.My pick is #5.

You study, study, study, and at the end, you are lucky enough to discover the greatest gift of education: that you know nothing at all.

I agree but  not everything I studied made me feel I know nothing at all. I remember, one fine morning I decided to teach in a school. I needed a degree in education to qualify for a teaching position.

I and a classmate of mine took a train to Mymensingh, Bangladesh, where there is a teacher’s training college.

Standing in front of the door of the college was the Principal herself. Looking at us curiously she inquired what brought us to her doorstep.

We were at a loss for words, we didn’t even think how we’d react to her questions. While I stood silent my classmate blurted out, oh we’ve come for admission at the Bed. faculty in your college.

She was furious, she said , “Do you know registration for the faculty is closed, where were you all this time?”

This time I spoke, we were preparing for our Master’s degree exam, we completed the written part yesterday and are waiting for viva which is next week.

Her attitude suddenly changed, knowing that we were not fooling around but finishing our exam, seemed a light went on, in her head. She called the Vice principal and instructed her to register us. Everything was happening so quickly it seemed to me I didn’t really make up my mind to study here. How will I tell her I need time to think.

We went back to Dhaka the capital of Bangladesh where we were students of Dhaka University.

I was unhappy, I did not want to study in that college. It was a dark dingy place, there were lights but they seemed very dim. It was like a ghost building, besides I’ll have to ask my brothers to pay for my tuition one more year. What will be their reaction, these thoughts scared me. Did I have a choice, at that moment I didn’t.

I sincerely asked God to help me out. I went to the common room to check the newspapers, I loved reading the classified section, you can call it my hobby. Believe me when I tell you, I saw an ad to apply for scholarships to study a whole bunch of subjects and to my delight, B.ed. was one of them. I tore the piece of paper and thought perhaps destiny is smiling, I applied and won the scholarship.

My joy knew no bounds, I told myself ,’Ranu you won’t have to ask your brothers for money.’

I flew from Dhaka to Lahore(Pakistan). I was received by the superintendent of the residence where I was to spend the year.

My classmates  were exceptionally nice to me. Every day I was excited about the courses, History of education, Psychology, English,Math etc.at the end of the year I passed the course and came back to my home town  Comilla ,Bangladesh. I was happy I had qualified to get a job.

Wait a minute,’I said to myself what did I learn in one year, did they teach me how to handle,the ten, twelve or five year old students I’d face  ? No was the answer. How will I deal with it?’

One thing is encouraging, your mind automatically takes over, you take those baby steps and voila after a few cuts and bruises you are injury free.

Yes I had a piece of paper that assured the interviewers, I was a teacher,  I knew what the  piece of paper said but in my heart I knew I know nothing at all about teaching kids, even though I had a certificate to prove I was a teacher!

……………………………. 🙂

Daily Prompt: Take a Chance on Me

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What’s the biggest chance you ever took?did it work out? Do tell!

We all take chances on a lot of things, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, keeping this in mind, I applied for a British Council Scholarship to study in London,UK .

I was aware there were a lot of applicants for this particular scholarship. I had three years experience in teaching,which was not enough to qualify for a scholarship. I was bold young and didn’t mind the fact I could be rejected.

Someone told me there were thousands of applicants , and they screen the candidates for interview.  I thought perhaps I may not be called for an interview. I kept this a secret from my Mom and the siblings. I knew mom wouldn’t make fun of me, my siblings were different.

The principal where I was teaching called me one day and gave me the news of my interview. It seems the secretary called him and told him about it. The interview letter hadn’t come yet.

I was happy when I got the letter. I was scared about going for the interview.

On the day of the interview the secretary told me to wait outside her office. While waiting  I saw my older sister, she  was visiting the office for something. “What are you doing here was her question?”

Before I could reply, the secretary replied, “She is a candidate for the scholarship.”

My sister was surprised but left the building hurriedly.

I waited a few more minutes, then I was called in . There were seven of them sitting around a large oval table, someone told me to take a seat. As soon as I sat, the interviewers started asking questions. I cannot recall what they asked and how I answered. I was relieved when it was over.

Two weeks later the mailman brought a large thick envelope, my younger siblings were curious, I didn’t tell them anything about the scholarship.

When I opened the letter, I found a letter informing me I was selected and the tickets. I could not believe I got the scholarship!

……………………………. 🙂

Blogging 101 Day Six: Make an Irresistible “About” Page

Today’s assignment: create and publish your About page,then either adapt it into a widget on your home page or add it to your menu.

I used to wonder why I love ‘Nature’ so much until I thought of my given name “Chaman”, it means a garden. I dislike plucking the beautiful flowers around me, I know when I pulled them out from their habitation . I am killing them. They look awesome in their own habitat. Who am I to displace them, I certainly wouldn’t want someone to remove me away from my lovely abode.

I’m fond of all the colors nature presents us. I have a certain affinity with blue,in  my childhood any dress I wore had to be blue or else I would rebel if my mom tried some other color.

I was an okay student,my teachers were never worried about me but felt I’d be amazing if I could spare a few minutes of my playtime and concentrated on books. It never happened I went along on my own pace, I could not get the enthusiasm as my classmates did to be the top student in my class.

Things took a slight turn, when I became conscious I was in post graduate class, that my performance had to be better than okay. Destiny was alerting me it’s now or never as it does if one wants to change it. The lover of garden ,nature or what have you transformed into a lover of serious studies. I did not abandon nature but I spent less time strolling around to be Wordsworth. My time was limited, I could not ‘wander lonely as a cloud.’

My transformation awarded me scholarships which I was delighted to receive. I saw a part of the world which would not have been possible. I didn’t have the financial backing, my brothers helped me with my education, it would be selfish of me to ask for more support to go to England to study.

Here I am a plain human being who joined the blogging community to learn more about myself and the rest of the world!

…………………………. 🙂



Daily Prompts: The Heat is On

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Do you thrive under pressure or crumble at the thought of it?Does your best stuff surface as the deadline approaches or you need to iterate,day after day to achieve something you’re proud of? Tell us how you work best.

I do not have a specific pattern doing my work. Sometimes I work best under pressure such as deadlines, I feel scared of them, not being able to meet them, is my worst fear. It depends on the type of deadlines.

Once I was applying for a scholarship, there was a specific deadline or else my application would be rejected. I knew my application had to go through the Principal of the school where I was working, I knew he will slow down the process so my application reaches late and I’d be disqualified. I got in touch with the secretary who was handling the applications, I asked her if it was possible to send my application to meet the deadline, so if the school delays it, I’d still be considered . She told me it was perfectly all right that I am allowed  to send it. I sent my application and I was glad I took that route. My Principal was not in favor. He told me,”Why are you applying for this, we will send you after two years?”

I knew it wouldn’t happen, I believe in the phrase,”A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.”

I’m glad I did what I thought was the right thing to do. I am always glad I thought of sending my application earlier.I was awarded the scholarship which I wanted so badly. Sometimes it needs a bit of creativity to handle deadlines!

………………………………………….. 🙂



365 Writing Prompt: Four stars

Write a review of your life –or the life someone close to you –as if it were a movie or a book.

He was my younger brother, his name was Nurul, my father named him. As a little boy he seemed bright, but we could not gauge his brilliance before he started going to school.

On the instruction of my eldest brother I registered him In “Our Lady of Fatima Convent”, none of us took the time to teach him the alphabets or the numbers. His classmates were well ahead of him.

One day his classmate who sat next to him  was far ahead of him in Mathematics and Bengali, Nurul requested him to teach the numbers, it took him probably a month, he was able to go ahead in every subject of his classmate from whom he learned the numbers.

From that month onward he was speeding along in each subject, no one could beat him in any subject. When he was in grade six he asked me to pray for him for he was planning to compete in the sixth grade scholarship exam. I remember I stayed quiet, I did not give him too much hope, I had no idea about these exams.

When the results came out he was one of the boys who was successful. Two years later he competed in the eighth grade scholarship, he quietly asked me if I thought he will get the scholarship. I only said “I do not know how good you are, I can only find out by asking you  some questions from History.”

It was the subject I took for my post graduate course.I was clearly amazed how much he knew,it was  as much as I did, and he was only in grade eight.

I told him then , “If you know this much in History, I have no doubt you will get the scholarship.”

He stood first in the scholarship exam.

After that success he never looked back. he kept doing better and better in grades nine and ten. In the final board exam, he scored three hundred out of three hundred in general Math,Additional math and compulsory math. His scores were unbelievable in every subject. He secured first place in the exam in the whole district.

He chose to study in Dhaka city, he registered in the catholic college. In those days there was stiff competition between the catholic college and the government college students. Unfortunately the government college principal made it his mission to stop the catholic college students do better in the final exams. Before this the catholic college students  always topped the list in the final exams. The year my brother was in the final it changed, the government college students did better.

My brother was heart broken, yet  he continued his studies and successfully completed his masters degree in Physics.

He then came to Canada to work on his PhD.  in Space  Physics, he was unable to complete it as he fell victim to cancer and could not survive!


Writing 101, Day Twenty: The Things We Treasure

Today’s prompt: Tell us the story of your most-prized possession. Today’s twist:.We extolled the virtues of brevity back on day five, but now , let’s jump to the other side of the spectrum and turn to long-form writing. Let’s celebrate the drawn- out, slowly cooked , wide_ shot narrative.

At fifteen I crossed the hurdle of high school and landed on safe grounds. The only option opened for me was college and that too a co-ed college. There was no such thing as a college for girls in my hometown in those days.

I happily registered myself in first year Arts faculty, Arts you might think how boring! But for a fifteen year old lacking the blessings of a father, it was a pretty good deal. I’d rather not bore you with all the subjects I had to take, there was one important enough to mention which was responsible for my decision to change my school or college I mean. The subject was Urdu, you might think ,”Aren’t you a Bengali?” “Why would you study Urdu?” Believe it or not I didn’t have a choice, I studied Bengali in the lower grades it was not enough to enable me to take Bengali as a vernacular, which brings the question how much Urdu did I know and where did I study it.

My father worked in Rawalpindi where Urdu was spoken and in a school where the medium of instruction was English, we had to take a different language and  Urdu was the only other language taught.I started right from the alphabets and slowly was able to read and write. I spoke it before I knew how to read or write it. This was my background in Urdu. Unfortunately I was the sole female student in the class the rest were boys. The boys day in and day out would tease me about everything when I spoke and when I  didn’t.

It was unbearable for me I complained to my mother, how difficult it was for me to be in that class. Mom promised me she’d make arrangements for me to pursue my studies in the big city, where they had a reputable girls college.

After two years I left the college in my town and registered in Holy Cross College in Dhaka city. Nuns were our teachers, I was used to the nuns. I studied in a convent in Rawalpindi. Things were going great, I settled into my routine, I was residing in a hostel with thirty-two other girls who were kind and friendly. I was doing well in school, but I frequently missed home, my siblings and my mother. Whenever we had a few days holidays I’d pack up and go home.

It was in one of these journeys I got very scared ,I was traveling by train suddenly the window of the train was opened by  a man from outside,  he   looked in, I was afraid he’d come inside the compartment, there were other passengers in there  who were   unconcerned, I was petrified when I saw his face, it was one of those I had never seen, it seemed his nose and his mouth was barely visible.

Today from reading books, talking to physicians I know it’s a birth defect,back then I had no idea. I came home told my mother how it frightened me to see that man. She taught me some verses from the Qur’an which she wanted me to repeat in times of danger. On the day of my departure to Dhaka she gave me a small square shining silver case where there was the Holy Qur’an to carry  on my person to keep me safe when I traveled. She said, “Ranu you have nothing to worry you’ll be safe wherever you go.”

Once I was on a plane flying from Comilla to Dhaka city, it seemed the pilot was experiencing problems, I think he told the crew about it, two of the flight attendants were running back and forth. I sensed there was some problem with the plane, why else would the plane circle  over Dhaka city for more than an hour. It only takes twenty-five minutes to reach Dhaka by plane. I breathed a sigh of relief when the plane  finally landed, the landing was not normal, the pilot had to use up the fuel to avoid fire, because he had to make a belly landing. It was weird the plane suddenly landed straight down.

It was  the  first time I had this experience. After the plane landed I overheard one of the flight attendants, saying, “Thank God they are safe.” I was absolutely sure we were alive because of  my precious souvenir .

Another time my husband and I were traveling from Chicago to Montreal, right before the landing the pilot announced that there was something wrong with the brakes and the landing would be rough,he told us not to worry, I was afraid, amazingly enough the pilot made a smooth landing.

The memento from my mom has traveled long distances, before leaving my house I make sure it is in my handbag.It gives me complete joy when I look at it, the memory of my mother comes alive, it feels as if she is saying you have the most precious thing with you, take care of it, do not misplace it. You cannot attach a value, it is invaluable, it is rare , it cannot be replaced.

I have taken it with me to examination halls, it never failed me. I took it with me to the interview for a scholarship to study teaching English as a Foreign language in London, England,I got the scholarship, never in my wildest imagination did I think I’d be successful. My dreams became a reality, the credit goes to my priceless keepsake given to me by my mom!!

Thank you Michelle and Dr. Miller. I thoroughly enjoyed Writing 101. I’m ready for the next one. I could not make it a thousand but am close. My writing 101, day twenty is ready to publish. ……………………………………

Writing 101,Day Four, Serially lost

Today’s Prompt: Write about a loss,something( or someone) that was a part of your life, and isn’t any more.

I had just completed ‘Bachelor Of Education, from Punjab university”. I was back in Dhaka my original home. My next plan was to visit the,”M.Ed. Research Institute” to register for the course. I had no doubt in my mind I’d be able to since I had the prerequisite required to get in was a B.Ed degree which I successfully completed.

I was young and did not know that despite the degree there were other requirements, I did not have, thus I was not qualified to get admitted in the program.

I got an appointment to see Prof. Dr. Elliott, the head of the institute, I must have sounded quite bold, Professor Elliott looked at me, he smiled and said: “B.Ed. is not enough, you need teaching experience and you are too young.”

I remember pleading with him Please Dr. Elliott I said,”No one told me I need teaching experience, all they told me was get your B.Ed. degree and I did.”

My facial expression must have softened Dr. Elliott’s heart, he immediately said, “go to the admissions office and ask for the tests.”

I was delighted to know I may have  a chance if I pass these tests. After completing the tests I waited to know the outcome.

I was selected, this news made me so happy I would have screamed and told everyone who’d listen, I am selected.

Little did I know at that time, good and bad news travel together. I went back to the school I had just started teaching, I handed in my resignation, I told them I was accepted to study M.Ed. at the research institute.

The Principal must have thought, ” you naive young woman, you cannot leave, you have signed a contract.”

I felt dejected, I wrote to the institute, I’m not allowed to leave the job now, but I was certain I’d be able to register next year. I received a letter saying they’d hold my spot for next year.

I considered myself very lucky, I waited for the year to be over and I’d be able to start my studies at the institute.

One day I went to the staff room to get the newspaper, I had the habit of looking through the classified section, what I saw completely amazed me: The headline was, “British Council Scholarships”I knew there will be thousands of applicants but I felt why not I apply, I told myself, I did not stand a chance, I still went ahead and applied. I was always interested to study in England, but I had no financial backing, so I kept my feelings in check.

To my utter disbelief I received a letter advising me to come for an interview.

I presented myself accordingly, there were seven of them, all eyes were on me.I tried hard to look at the walls, I knew if I looked at any of them it would be all over,I would freeze, the questions continued to be directed at me. I know I answered all of them, but what I said or what they asked was completely blanked out of my memory.

My joy knew no bounds when I received a letter of acceptance and the tickets to fly to London, Heathrow.

I’d have to wait another year to register at the institute,was I feeling the loss of studying at the institute, not yet , they had given me another year to register.

Fate was playing a trick on me, I was back from London after a year, I should get myself registered for the course I thought, if I failed to go this time the Institute and Professor Elliott will give up  and I will not get another chance. This time I got married and this ended my quest for studying M.Ed.





DP Daily Prompt: But No Cigar

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Tell us about a time things this close to working out —but didn’t . What happened next? Would you like the chance to try again, or are you happy with how things worked out?

There was a time when I wanted to Study M.ed and prepared myself by completing B.ed.  I met Professor Elliott, who was the head of the research institute , I told him my reason to see him. He was a kind man , he told me I was too young and I had no teaching experience. The people they select were at least thirty five years  old   and I looked no more than twenty two or twenty three.

I had never seen rejection at that time. I continued to tell him I would be able to do it.He was impressed, he agreed to let me do the tests to find out how capable I was. I must have done well, they sent me a letter of acceptance.

But I was teaching in a school and they refused to accept my resignation. I informed the school authorities I’d like to join next year. They agreed.

The following year I received a scholarship to study in London, I could not give up this opportunity. I delayed my studies in the research institute by another year, they were eager to have me and were ready to have me a year later.

I had studied about destiny that we can change our destiny whenever we want,now that I think about it I’m sure it’s not always possible. I could not change mine, my aim to study M.ed was not happening.

This time it was my marriage which meant I’d move out of my country indefinitely.

I do believe in the phrase: “Man proposes, God disposes.”

I’m not sure whether I am happy or sad because I could not fulfill my ambition. Only thing that keeps me motivated and happy is , at least I am doing great with the education I have.

k: https://sabethville.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/dp-daily-prompt-but-no-cigar-2


365 Written Prompt: Cliche

Cliches become cliches for a reason.Tell us about the last time ‘A bird in the hand was worth two in the bush’ for you.

Years ago when I was new in the teaching profession I was promised a lot of things which were never meant to be fulfilled. I was in my early twenties, I took a job in a “Residential Model School” and I was told it was a step in the right direction.

Ten days after I joined the school, I was ready to quit. I found the principal too overbearing I felt I must leave this place immediately or I’ll forever hate the teaching profession. With this intention, I wrote a resignation letter and  took it to him, he looked at it and showed a puzzled look , “Is this a resignation letter he said.”

I nodded my head indicating yes, it is.

He then started cross examining me, “It’s only been ten days you’ve joined this school, what could have happened in such a short time?”

I did not have the guts to tell him, “You are the reason.”

Two years passed since that day, I was still teaching in the same school. I was looking for an opportunity to get out of that awful place. Luckily I saw an ad of opportunity to study in UK offered by the British council. I wrote my application and sent it directly to the office, indicating I had the intention of sending another one through the school, which was the usual procedure. My excuse I was afraid it may not make the deadline if I sent it through the school.My fear was the principal may delay sending it to reach it  on time.

The council was okay with this and when the application came through the school a few days later it didn’t matter.

The council phoned the school and told the principal I was selected for the interview and they already sent me a letter giving the time and place where I’d have to go for the interview.

About two months later I received a thick envelope by mail, informing me I was selected to study English as a foreign language in the Institute of education, university of London UK. I was overjoyed not only I’d finally leave this school but I will also get a chance to study in UK.

After this the principal came to me he wanted me to refuse the scholarship, he said, “Wait two more years, we will send you to UK for higher studies.”

I looked at him said nothing, in  my mind  the words, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”  was ringing loudly!

k: https://sabethville.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/365-written-prompt-cliche/



DP Daily Prompt: Teacher’s Pet

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Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her?

After completing my post graduate degree, I decided to register for the B.Ed. degree in a town named Mymensingh in Bangladesh. My classmate and I took the train from Dhaka city to Mymensingh.

We arrived in the afternoon and went straight to the Training College, we met the Principal, she didn’t seem to appreciate us arriving in her college without notice,what was worse we were two months late.

She asked us why we were late and why didn’t we apply before we landed in her office. I explained we were doing our exams, and could not contact her earlier. She seemed to understand, and said, she was impressed by our guts,even though all the places were filled she’d make arrangements to admit us by cancelling the registration of two other students who had registered before us . The Vice-Principal tried to convince her it wasn’t fair, but the principal stuck to her decision.

We were taken to show all the classrooms and where we’d be staying. As I was walking along I noticed the building was dark and looked like a ghost house, I was disappointed I was not happy that I’d have to stay there a whole year.

We went back to Dhaka ,we had a part of our exam left. I thought about my decision to study B.Ed. in that ghostly building. Back in Dhaka for some reason I got hold of the newspaper and read vacancies in different fields of education, it did not motivate me until I saw an ad of scholarships offered to students interested in various fields, mine was education, to my absolute delight scholarships were offered in my field i.e., education was on the list as well.

I tore off a piece from the newspaper, next day I wrote a letter to the authorities stating my interest in education, two weeks later I received a letter informing me to go for an interview.

I did not tell anyone in my family about it, to be called for an interview in my mind does not guarantee anything, my mom or siblings need not know about this was what I thought.

On the day of the interview I reached the place on time, I said the prayer my mom taught me whenever I needed help. When my name was called I was scared of rejection, but said my prayer again and entered the office. There were three or four of them, they asked me all sorts of questions which I answered. I was not confident I will get the scholarship,but I knew I have a place in Mymensingh if this one fell through.

About a week later I received a registered letter informing me I was selected for the scholarship.

I went to Comilla,Bangladesh my home town to give my mom and my siblings the good news. A week later I flew to Lahore, and went to the college where arrangement was made for me to register in the course.

At first I was happy because compared to that ghostly building this college was large and the students were friendly.It was probably the same evening or a day later, I felt very homesick, I missed my mom and my siblings. I could not imagine staying a whole year in this college without seeing my family.

When I thought I would not be able to concentrate, because I felt so lonely. I spoke to one of the teachers I told her I did not want the degree I just want to go home. She looked at me, smiled and said, “No chaman we have made up our mind we will not send you home without the degree,go back to your room and get ready to start attending your classes.”

I knew the verdict was firm and I must never bring up the subject anymore.

The girls in the college were very friendly, the residents and the non-residents made it a point to see me daily, and took me to different places in the city. Thanks to these friends and teachers I was able to complete the course successfully.

Now when I look back and recall those days I’m thankful to the teacher who was firm with me, had she given up on me I would not have qualified to be a teacher, I’d miss teaching all those wonderful kids who made teaching fun for me!