I hardly watch local news. Who got shot in Los Angeles or which county is having the best “Fair of the Summer” is hardly my thing. But the other day I was surfing channels and saw the news that a 13-year-old boy, Jordan Romero from LA, had become the youngest person to reach the top of Mount Everest. It was mid May and coincidently I also found that someone named Musa had become the first Bangladeshi to reach the Mount Everest peak. Huh! Did they go there together? That was the first thing that came to my mind, and honestly I was kind of surprised. My reason was a bit different. I honestly thought someone from Bangladesh must have done it before! I mean Mr Brojen Dash crossed the English Channel in the ‘50s, so I thought someone would be adventurous enough to try to go on top of the world! May be some people tried and failed or maybe Musa is the first in that category too. What ever it is, Kudos!
It shows our youth is not rusting their brain but also trying to find challenges for themselves. Good to see there are so many young eager minds doing mountain biking in the Hill Tracks and now adventuring with a group of Nepali mountain climbers to reach the peak that would be named Bangladesh-Nepal Friendship Summit. Oh, so sweet, I feel so good! My friends like hiking here in California but I’m too lazy to enjoy the nature in such laborious manner, but good to see Bangladeshis working together to win such challenges. Gives a sense of purpose and hope, doesn’t it? If we want we can do anything. Wait, did I say ‘working together’? Sorry about that, there’s nothing we can do as a unit. Even to say “hats off to you my friend” takes a lot of effort for us and we have shown our true colors-again.
Right after Musa’s news came out, he became every ones hero. Being an optimists I started thinking of accolades that I would write for this young achiever. Before I could be a little more romantic, my blogosphier friends shot the balloon down. All of a sudden I saw people writing articles, giving expert evidence and sharing the write-ups on the likes of leaked paper on the murder of Kennedy to prove that Musa’s Everest quest was a hoax. There’s media conspiracy, and then there’s fraud. Musa’s achievement was a project worth Five Hundred Thousand Taka, OMG!! We could’ve solved so many problems with that amount of money. Poor Mr Musa, I don’t know him personally but it’s not hard to imagine he was happy, he was on top of the world, so he must have been thinking of all the hard work he has done, all the support he got from others. What he didn’t realize was, when you are at the highest point of the world, it would be all downhill from then on. And didn’t we make it a snowball ride!
Honest to God, I really don’t care if he reached the top of Mount Everest or not. I don’t know his socio-economic background. May be he has the leverage to be a bit adventurous or may be he dreamed of doing something and he made it possible. Bengalis are not from a mountainous location and please Chittagong Hill Tracks really don’t count as mountainous region. Yet someone dreamed of climbing mountains, took the training, did all the hard work and went for his goal. He knew what his dream was, he did everything that was needed to achieve his goal, found all the required resources and went for it. Did he go all the way to the top? 8,000 meters or 7,000 meters is all the same to me. He walked his talk. And I say, “Hats off to you my friend.”
When I saw the news of Jordan Romero on television or next day on Yahoo, I didn’t see anyone asking the question if it’s possible for a 13-year-old to endure that kind of physical challenge. No one asked how much his sponsors paid for this little adventure in a time of recession. Everyone said, look at this kid; he is not legally allowed to drink, drive, vote or fight for his country but he reached the top of the world. Hats off to your efforts. I’m sure that those pointing fingers at Musa are just a few who haven’t done anything worth noting in life, but even if the number is four or five, isn’t it sad? We are wasting all this time trashing someone, and tying to find some sense of achievement out of it.
Musa is just one example. I can give you another one. After Shakib Al Hasan started playing county cricket, someone wrote the entire history of Worcestershire in friend’s status; not to highlight the team Shakib was playing for but to prove that the team was from Second Division and therefore really didn’t count as an achievement. Huh, second division cricket in England!! Sure they just got promoted to first division and the entire British media said Shakib was one of the catalysts! I mean anyone could’ve done that right!! I don’t blame that poor fellow. You can’t condemn someone for an illness, can you?
Another one for you: boy, am I on a hypocritical bus ride or what! A while ago we had something that actually presented a positive picture of Bangladesh. That’s Dr. Yunus. I don’t want to look at what the interest rates of his microcredit loans are or how many of those loans were defaulted. I’m happy to see him on Simpsons on October 3rd! And I’m damn proud of it. He gave a new idea to the world that everyone else embraced and we are busy publishing books on the loan sharks that Grameen Bank has created. Before you point at his wrong doings, why don’t you start a project, where you will monitor the ones who might default their loan and help them to overcome it. Or let’s say, monitor cases where the interest rate is unfair and help the poor negotiate their loan payments. Oh no, we won’t do that! Who has the time to get up and do all that, it’s so much easy to just make a comment and feel satisfied.
Unfortunately, we like to take the later option too often. I don’t know if we just became super pessimist for a reason or is it a cultural or genetic issue. Why do we have to be so negative about everything? People say ‘oh we are so corrupt, we are always looking out for our self interest.’ I don’t think we do all that because we are greedy. I believe greed, in it’s purest form, is actually a good thing. It drives people and a society to become aggressive and achievement oriented. Western capitalism has really cute words for it: “Optimism” and “confidence”.
I think we like to add our two cents to everything, because as soon as we see someone else’s success we become jealous. This jealousy comes from a subconscious section of our mind. I’m sure I’m also a victim of it, but I do believe this is becoming a disease. The guy who’s making a fortune on the black market is making me jealous, so I start doing the same. The guy next door just bought a car, I have to assume he hasn’t earned it with his hard work, “Hell No!”. I believe that, because as soon as I saw the car, the shine of that windshield just burned my inner skin like a vampire under the sun. We have become pessimist out of our jealousy, and I have started to believe it. Those who are pessimist out of frustration are the victim of not having any success to show for. “Nothing will happen” “Bhallageyna” type words are used at one age just as a fashion statement but soon it becomes a part of their core believe when they see all this negativity. Even when you open a newspaper, success stories are a Friday Feature, how sad and sarcastic can that be.
Why don’t we start talking about our successes a little more. Why don’t we do something in our classrooms so that our next generation would learn to give credit to people who deserve it. Instead of looking at each other as competitors to score a little bit higher in a math test, we’ll teach them how to work together, or something like that. I’m sure there are enough bright minds out there to find ways of changing this attitude. For starters, stop putting question marks on others achievements.
Musa (?), Shakib (?), Dr. Yunus (?), should I dare add Bangabandhu to this list. Show me one person whose success has been embraced by everyone; without putting a question mark beside it. We don’t have much, but whatever little we do have, we must show them as role models or examples of success to our next generation? Forget about them, they might be drowning in 50 years anyways, what about us? Who’s our source of inspiration? Why won’t an entire generation feel disoriented and frustrated if they have no one to look at? Why won’t they just leave the stage for dogs and savages, when that’s the only unanimous story of success in front of them? When someone climbing to the top of a mountain becomes such an opinionated question mark, what else did you think the result would be?