New Year’s resolution of a poet

News Hour:

Someone from home asked me to suggest a few good books for her little sister to read during the winter break. It was a sudden request, I was not that prepared, but got overwhelmed with joy. Someone, in the year 2016, still wants to read book and thought of me as a person who could be of help! That’s what I call happiness.A feeling of accomplishment touched me like a gentle feather, made me happy. However, in the very next moment, I got lost!

My childhood was full of memories and most of those memories were full of wonderful books and most of the books were published from Sheba Prokashoni! I loved the books which covered World War II; of course, those were translated into Bengali from English. I could not remember the names at that moment but suggested her to find a catalog of Sheba Books and recommend her little sister to read any Sheba Onubad she might find because I know those built up my past and kept me running until now! A feeling of accomplishment touched me like a gentle feather, made me happy.

However, in the very next moment, I got lost! My childhood was full of memories and most of those memories were full of wonderful books and most of the books were published from Sheba Prokashoni! I loved the books which covered World War II; of course, those were translated into Bengali from English. I could not remember the names at that moment but suggested her to find a catalog of Sheba Books and recommend her little sister to read any Sheba Onubad she might find because I know those built up my past and kept me running until now!

The writer in front of University of Toronto

I asked her to find the books All Quiet On The Western Front by Erick Maria, A Farewell To Arms Ernest Hemingway, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer and read!

Just after few minutes of my suggestions, she told me she lived in Chittagong and asked for my advice about where these books might be found! I had no clue. All of a sudden I felt sad! Chittagong being the second largest city of Bangladesh, it’s not yet a good place to find good books for good little souls! How horrific that could be for the new generation. If they continue watching the unrealistic melodramas on televisions and lead to a world that doesn’t exist or be poisonous like the characters on those serials, whom are we going to blame really?

Are not we the ones who failed to create a better world for them? Even when we were kids, we could easily manage to rent books in our neighborhoods! We used to rent books to each other, had those books all stamped and dated – we were just so excited! I asked her to find whether The British Council has its branch in Chittagong or The American Center. I feel bad because where I live; my daughter can get access to thousands of books in probably more than three libraries if she is willing to walk just for 15 minutes.

I now know our children are the genius. Although we don’t give them the basic facilities they need, they are doing just great. They are running the country, settling down and making us proud. Some of them are flying to big cities and making us proud in those places too. What could be our new year’s resolution? If you ask me, I would say, make many more libraries where our children can go and read peacefully.

And if you guys ask me what’s my New Year’s resolution? Well, let me tell you guys, I want to read hundreds of books, watch hundreds of movies, write a few poems, edit dozens of short stories and start the novel I have been planning for so long. Stay with me so that I can update you all. It’s snowing outside, I shall be heading towards the Nathan Phillips Square for the New Year’s party in an hour or so!

On a very serious note, wishing you all a very Happy New Year 2017!

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Shamim Ahmed is a public health professional and a development economist. Currently, he is a Ph.D. student at the University of Toronto and pursuing doctoral research on Social and Behavioral Health Sciences. He is also working as a Teaching Assistant of Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Shamim is a published author. He has four well-acclaimed poetry books. Being a public health professional, he is known to be a philanthropist for his regular columns on diverse issues from politics to social science, poetry to diplomacy, and what not.
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