From the age of 0-13, many events have made up my life and still are; within every person’s life memories are made and plenty are shared. There are a variety of autobiographies that are written- some are boring, some are exciting, and some are long and so forth... Therefore, lots of people don’t enjoy them (including myself) - so I’m hoping my autobiography will grab your interest and pull you in. Several facts and ideas of my life will now transform into your own memories (of reading an autobiography) as you read on. Through the eyes of another, you’ll go through the expedition of life – floating past and through: every chance- every dream, every ache- every joy and so on. Numerous memories get entwined into our brains and just don’t want to let go, and these are the ones I wish to vividly share with you.
One event that has upheld the most importance in my memory is the one that I’m present within but don’t remember- due to lack of age and inability to speak; one of the most excruciating aspects that was an imperative opening to my journey to where I am now containing many events and memories. It was one that had been told to me and not enlisted into my mind with my own doing. With the joy of my birth, a bubble of people surrounded me on the middle ward in St. Thomas’s hospital, while I lay with no knowledge that my Nan, on the bottom ward, and elder sister, on the top ward, were ill and helpless- though they were not majorly ill. My Nan, wiped out with an infection and my sister, with a fit and my early, blissful arrival made a full frenzied day for my family and the nurses.
Following onwards, countless events occurred but none that stayed with me with the gist of significance; although, a specific moment when my mind was open to keeping memories. At the age of four, I distinctly remember when my mum and I was obtrusively walking down the narrow path by its cracked concrete squares towards my Nan’s house just after picking up my elder sister (by eighteen months- Tahmina). My sister, who had learned how to skip, was excessively showing off, which had started to build up an escalator of bubbling jealousy rising in my throat, but words didn’t come out to ask her to teach me how to skip, my legs just ran on and tried to skip myself... I had felt a rushing sensation of air hit my face as I ran on and lifted a foot and then the other and ...’SMACK’... My left foot had hit a crack in the concrete as I felt all the air inside me drained away and for a few seconds I thought I had saw wispy strings of glitter swimming in front of my eyes; hit in the face, I could see a liquid like ketchup oozing gradually down from my nose and on to the abusive floor, feeling anger towards my own clumsiness. On the contrary, even though I was angry and not sad, tears ran alongside the dripping blood from hurt. Moments later, my mum and sister came rushing up, my sister just stared in shock while my mum began to clear me up with masses of tissue; in seconds my mum had started telling me off- for I could’ve broken my nose. I had zoned out of the lecture by the time we had reached my Nan’s. Even then I still had tears streaming down my face, but not because I was hurt, but due to the fact that I knew I would’ve been expecting another lecture when my Nan heard what happened...
A few months later, I was compelled to consider the horrifying idea of primary; my first day there (at Johanna Primary School) is a moment that has stayed with me till now. On this special day, the one thing I remember is seeing the glorious set of paints in front of my eyes- waiting to be used. I ran straight to them with a feeling of pleasure knowing I could use them, due to the fact my mum didn’t always welcome paints into our house as I usually made a mess. Of course, I first made a few friends and broke up with them and became their friend again all within two minutes, however, I spent most of my time near the paint boards, hovering over the exotic colours laid out in front of me. In seconds, I had indulged in to the clear grey and intense pink paint and began to draw a bunny rabbit. It had a beauty that glistened in my eyes all those years ago; on the other hand, that had been my child eyes looking out. If my present eyes had looked at it- I think that it would’ve looked like a disembodied blob. By the end of the day, I had finished my painting and it was time to go home- throughout the whole day I hadn’t cried for my mum, though now that I had to leave my painting at school, I threw an colossal tantrum which had my mum asking if I could take it home, but my painting had yet time to dry in the school rack. All the way home, I had managed to keep up my crying jag that had set a headache in my own head as well as my mum’s. Eventually, the next day had approached and when I saw my rabbit painting, a feeling of contentment engulfed me. Even now I think that precious ‘blob’ triggered my interest in art, as since I was young I’ve always had a loving taste for it- drawing, making and designing- and it expanded as I grew up, so now it has become one of my top three hobbies, which I carry out as much as I can with absolute delight.
Moreover, I had gone through the rest of nursery with a blur, however, when it came to the time to go from nursery to reception, without a doubt, I remember this test our future teacher Pat was giving us to see which one of us was ready to go ‘up a step’; she had held up a huge red board which lent me a pair of sweaty hands and a feeling of dread for the whole time we sat down on the rigid, rough and dull carpet. Ten to fifteen students, including myself, watched as Pat made a marker’s top peep out from behind the board and asked us what it was. Relief had trickled through me as I realised that the test didn’t seem like it was going to be as scary as I thought it would be- though when it came to answering, fear overcame me so I just raised my hand to answer, whereas most of the kids just shouted it out. As a result, it showed I was a very good girl and I went on to reception – named as red class. Eventually I got through red class and went onto year one (orange class). Coming to the end of year one, my mum told me we were going out somewhere with my uncle, so I couldn’t go to school that day; not knowing what was awaiting before me- I willingly got on the bus with my mum and uncle Shamim. Already suspicious, as my mum told me I had to fast that day as well, I threw questions like a tennis ball at my mum- asking questions like: where are we going, can I have chocolate there, are we going to Nan’s house...? As we paused at our destination, I felt anxious with alarm and looked up at my mum and uncle, as soon as they saw my face, they hastily started to reassure me as my mum began to tell me that like the dentist had told me last week- I just needed to go to the doctor and he will quickly take out my eight naughty, rotten teeth.
On hearing the news, I squirmed and cried as my mum took one of my hands and my uncle took the other and frog marched me into the same hospital in which I was born in; after waiting at the reception awhile and going through the normal procedures, all three of us were taken into one of those hospital rooms. My uncle practically had to hold me down on to the antiseptic smelling bed- fortunately the doctor had come moments later, as my mum and uncle was trying to calm me down. A few nurses and the doctor walked towards me as the doctor explained to me very slowly that he was going to put me to sleep so I wouldn’t feel anything when they took out my back teeth. I felt fear spurt out of me as if I were the mouth of a volcano erupting hot rocks of lava that held a touch and thick layer of terror, as I saw the gas mask racing towards my mouth. Before the mask could reach its destination I started to shout out things like- you can’t take my teeth, I’m not going to sleep- and moved my mouth away from it. From the words that came out of my mouth, I had begun to set them as my goal and moved and wriggled as much as I could, until my mum and uncle came to my side as the doctor started to wheel me away to the ‘operation room’ and they held my hands down as the doctor cautiously began to put the gas mark around my head. Still squirming, I drifted off to a land that was and still is unknown...
I had started to come around after the operation in the recovery room roughly half an hour later with a gradually running liquid flowing in my mouth, I soon saw my mum and uncle were standing beside me so the uneasy feeling that had crept up on me had started to fade away. Moments later, the nurse a few steps away came into my line of vision and asked if I felt okay while she handed me a cardboard bowl and some tissue to stop the flow of the blood from the back of my mouth. Petite sparks of pain jolted through my mouth as the numbness was washing out- I was lifting my hand to gingerly touch my mouth and I felt my tears of distress that flowed down my cheeks, whilst the nurse checked my temperature and made sure everything was in order and that I was comfortable. One or two hours of recovery later, I was still crying, so my uncle carried me home with my mum. When I arrived home, most of my family was there for me and sat on the sofa and helped me with anything I asked for. Normally I would have loved that, but I didn’t at that moment as I wasn’t exactly in a comfortable situation.
Part of my journey had only begun, with the rights of a Muslim in my heart, when in the last few terms of year two and three I tried wearing a scarf- though I knew it wasn’t for the right reasons- at first I wore it because my friend wore it and told me to wear it too. My mum knew this, so at the beginning, she told me that if I was going to wear the scarf then I should make sure I was going to wear it with the respectable intention of a Muslim. Also, I was told that if I was going to wear it, then I should make sure that I was going to wear it day in and out and not just one day and not the other, otherwise that would’ve defeated the purpose to cover up. Though I was adamant, I realise now that at that moment I was experiencing peer pressure, however, at that exact moment I was unable to comprehend that, so I wore my scarf to school for a week and a half. Then, I understood that I should have waited until I was ready and for the right reasons, not because my friend told me to. Due to this (and because I couldn’t take the heat), I stopped wearing my scarves to school, although I started to regularly wear my scarf to school- approximately at the end of year five and throughout year six- when I was ready. From this understanding, I learnt that I should believe in what I want and what I am ready for.
Subsequently, after going through the years of junior classes, when getting to year four, my primary school used to treat us to a special little project and trip combined together- to go to the magnificent, striking Paris. At the time, I thought the only reason children went to primary was for trips, like our four day visit to the capital of France. It was filled with curiosity and a feeling of adventure had me telling my parents the first day our class was informed that we were going to Paris in February. In the instant I told them, I could see the doubt in both their eyes- so as soon as we all were seated and my uncle was there too as he had come to visit us- I asked them what was wrong as I could see that there was a possibility that they might not let me go. As the conversation started I could see that my parent’s focal point of the problem was that they thought that I was too young to go, although, as soon as I realised this I was very quick to point out that when my elder sister went in year four she was one year younger than I was in year four back then. Luckily, I had made a good point so they took it but somehow found a lot of other problems; on the other hand, they weren’t enough to keep me back. So in the few months we had before we went off to Paris- I excitedly packed a selection of clothes and some footwear, while my mum stuffed in cookies, sweets, and a range of different food for the journey and when we get there.
The months just rushed past and the day to go dawned, my whole class and my mum, dad, uncle and Nan had gone to accompany me to the Euro star train with my class and their relatives early in the morning. I was pretty excited so I didn’t cry; on the contrary, I was a bit worried because this was my first trip without any family and with my class and teachers. As my class mates were saying their farewell to their families, my dad had felt unnecessarily worried and had silently went off to my (previous) best friend and had asked her to look out for me in Paris- I had only found this out in France when my friend had told me- at first, I thought I should have felt a twinge of embarrassment, but a feeling of endearment took its place. Soon after the farewells, my whole class boarded onto the Euro star and wiped away their remaining tears as excitement filled the air. Throughout the journey, in each different compartment of the train, clumps of friends came together and we all started to talk in animated curiosity about Paris and how it was going to be and who we were going to be sharing our rooms with. I was thrilled that I was sharing my room with my (previous) best friend- we were said to be ‘two peas in a pod.’ Hours passed by, until we reached the station in Paris and we all took off to find the hotel in which we were going to be staying in. Fortunately, our teacher at the front, Adam, had a map with him in English, so after minutes of trudging along we arrived at the soaring hotel; each pair were given their codes to put into the computerised lock to open up our hotel rooms- when we were handed ours we headed off with our deputy head, Liz, and went up to find our rooms. In the four days, we explored many places, and regrettably, as we stayed there for a short amount of time- we didn’t have much time to settle in, since half an hour later we were already getting ready again to go out so we wouldn’t miss a second of Paris. That day, we explored the simple features of Paris- the buildings that sat in front of our faces- and just looked in awe at the many skyscrapers and the exquisite surroundings that emerged all around us. Coming to midday, everyone, including the teachers felt a whirlwind in their stomach’s which had taken our breakfast and was then waiting to be replaced with some lunch or a snack; upon reaching a sweet aroma filled shop, our teacher went inside and found out the shopkeeper was pleased to make pancakes for thirty people. As Adam- our teacher- went around asking what we wanted inside our rolled up pancake, I asked for the sweetest filling I could think of- sugar and chocolate. We all sat on the edge of the thick pavement and eat...
After looking around, we headed back to the hotel to rest, have lunch and unpack ‘everything’, obviously, the second we were alone, we all went around going to our friends room and started talking, but every fifteen minutes, our teacher would stick his/ her head out and tell us to: ‘keep the noise down.’ Dinner came and went; we had gone to an Italian restaurant with long tables, at first I didn’t know what to pick- so I just randomly asked for pasta, however, I couldn’t stomach the thin sauce that went with it, so consequently, I ended up picking at it. Paris turned from day to night and had come with the time to sleep- I slept through three quarters of the night, yet I woke up missing my family, with my friend peacefully sleeping on the large, bottom bunk, I crept down and went to take out my family picture I had taken with me. Although, I wasn’t silent enough, so my friend woke up disgruntled and annoyed, but she let me snuggle into the side of her bed and fall asleep. Moreover, in the morning the next day, we had a full French breakfast with mini sugar encrusted bread with swirl croissants and hot chocolate... Along with having a French breakfast, this was the day we were going to visit our French pen pals from the elementary school, we arrived there at mid morning, as a mix of French and English, we sang in unison all the songs we were taught and played scores of games together. Eventually, we left to see the profound Eiffel tower, with its misting silver veil colouring it- we went up and up and looked across the place before us, making sure we didn’t drop anything from high above that may have come down to hitting someone below. We had left in the drizzling rain with umbrellas from our teachers that we were allowed to keep- even now, that umbrella is still with me.
On the third day, we went walking around the shops; we were allowed to go in to quickly buy little souvenirs, my auntie’s birthday was coming up so I bought her a mini bag with Paris across the middle and a pink top for my little sister and a vast Eiffel tower model for myself. I didn’t forget about everybody else- on the other hand, we didn’t really go out to the shops again, so as we were crossing the street I saw someone selling these adorable Eiffel tower key rings, so I bought a dozen of them for my family. Soon after, we boarded onto a tourist coach. At the beginning, I had looked out with delight, nevertheless, the last few days of exhaustion- that was covered up by a coating of excitement- had caught up with me, therefore, midway, I fell asleep when some of the landmarks I wanted to take a picture of passed by. Only after they had gone by, I woke up as my friend tapped me awake. Our teacher could see that we all had begun to get tired, so after the tour, we were taken back to the hotel, but as soon as the teachers went to their rooms and we took our coats of, all of our fatigue had shimmered away. We all came together and planned that afterwards we would have a little pyjama party of our own- we decided that it could be in our room and we should bring any food and drink we had, so all that food my mum packed hadn’t gone to waste... Nonetheless, our last day in Paris had come and we were invited to the French elementary school for a ‘goodbye’ party- we ate delicious food made by their parents and took countless photos of us with the other students. Then we went on back to the hotel making sure we packed everything and we all went out to take a good look at the elegant and stunning Paris; at our last dinner in the Italian restaurant, I didn’t know what to have. The previous meals I had eaten there hadn’t really appealed to my taste buds- thus, alternatively, the waiter asked me if I would like to try one of their olive pizzas, unfortunately, I don’t like olives, but there was no other toppings, so I had said yes. As I had to wait a while, I had taken funny pictures of my friends eating, finally, the waiter had come, as soon as I saw him, I felt slightly confused and suspicious, the waiter had come with a pizza box, I thought: why would he bring the pizza in a box. My suspicions had arisen, as I held the box which had felt as light as an empty pencil case, as I opened it I saw that inside wasn’t the pizza, but someone’s pizza crusts, laughter had erupted around me, as I saw this was their little parting joke. While the chef came out to give me the real pizza, he said his goodbye to us all, while I said goodbye to France in my head...
Year five whizzed by with a variety of projects and activities. Amongst the class a feeling of anticipation grew, as our head teacher announced that some of the year fives would be promoted to year six, due to the class numbers and some people’s capabilities. I must admit I was surprised when I was told I would be moving up with my friends, but I was anxious and petrified. Henceforward, my last year at Johanna Primary school beckoned; I entered into year six with a diminutive feeling of fresh fear at the back of my mind by just thinking of the upcoming SATs. On the other hand, I was more excited because I was one year away from leaving Primary- I was exactly like everyone else on that matter. I thought secondary would be better than Primary so I didn’t appreciate the years I went to Johanna enough, although, I wish I did now. Ultimately, my friends and myself had become the eldest in the school, so we were allowed to take a little experience in our school office as they needed some help. I enjoyed the times I went in there, but I was kind of afraid that I would do the wrong thing, so I always used to go in with a simple: hi, and sit down before I got so nervous that I’d run away. Year six was like any other year, apart from a few facts, like we were getting ready for our SATs. When they came, I was close to terrified, in each and every test, I tried to sit in the same seat, always had my water bottle with me and I sat with the same person, as we were both really anxious- doing all of that, I thought I could find some balance in the acts to keep my mind clear and my heart calm, somehow I felt reassured. For our English test, two students had received a different paper from the class- one of them being me, which had horrified me, because I wasn’t even sure I could do the normal test, let alone the second one. In contrast, I had thought the science test had gone okay, despite it being one of the subjects I disliked; undoubtedly, maths has always been my best subject, however, when it came to doing the test, I panicked... I had completed half of my test when I glanced up at the time to see how much of the forty five minutes were left. Getting worried, I reached down to take a gulp of water from my bottle- there wasn’t a drop left, that little push kicked in the panic. Not knowing what to do I thought if I should ask if I could refill my bottle, when another part of my mind told me I shouldn’t, because then I’d lose time in the test, the second thought won over and kept me in my seat. Accordingly, I went back to my test, but my mind couldn’t focus on all the graph questions that were left to be answered. In the end, I just kept going over the questions without them really registering; so with just over five minutes left, I gave up and closed the paper. A month later, at the end of the year, we were given envelopes with our results inside them, with it being our year six special assembly everyone’s parents came, including mine. Packed with dread, I opened up my results, I had received the levels: five, five, and four. My predicted results were a triple five, so I felt extremely disappointed with the fact that in my most top subject- I got the lowest result. Although I knew I should’ve been appreciating my other level fives, but it seemed hard to be thrilled with them when I was feeling down, except that when my family found out they were very elated for me. The air of bliss had eventually turned contagious, so when we went over to my Nan’s house, my uncle went out and got food in for all of us, to celebrate.
All through the swift summer, I was in and out of the house buying everything I could possibly need for secondary school, with half of the stationary not even used till this day. I had rushed through the introduction day with a blur and hadn’t really taken in where all the classes were- I had this terrifying feeling I was going to get lost in the three floored building of nerves. Although, I always tried to reassure myself that I wouldn’t, because the girls in Madani Girls School weren’t dreadful, and my sister was in that school as well as my friend- who I always used to be with. My first day at Madani made me realise, that as long as you stayed with most of the class, everything was okay. We all found our way to our lessons by asking where the class was and going together. Throughout all six lessons we were fortunate enough that in every one of them, we spent them introducing ourselves and didn’t have to do any work. I thought that I would have trouble with finding someone to sit with, but, in the end I always sat with my previous friend; I knew that I should have made some new friends that day, but I just couldn’t gather up enough courage to. When lunch came, it meant that it was time for all of us to buy our books from the tuck-shop; luckily- as we were year sevens- we were allowed to go at the front of the line and buy them. If I hadn’t found out that the line was so long, it wouldn’t have been an enormous deal that we were allowed at the front. As the day went on I kept on passing my sister’s class, and when they saw me, they all started teasing me saying- oh hello Zamani- (my surname being Zaman), as a joke; I thought it was kind of weird at first, but as the day dragged on, I had started expecting to hear it. Countless people think that their first day at secondary is the worst, in distinction, my third day was worse than the first. This was not due to any school matters, but the fact that in the morning I had an argument with my primary friend- who was my best friend for seven years... Until, we had on and off arguments, within the years five and six in primary. By the end of year six, we had decided that we didn’t want to hate each other, so we would just be friends. Therefore, when an argument stirred and heated up again in year seven- it severed nearly all the ties between us, leaving me deeply hurt inside (and probably my friend too). Though this upset and angered me, I knew would be good for us as well, so we could make other friends and not just stick with each other. Auspiciously, today we both have great new friends and although we hadn’t spoken for months after the argument, we get along okay now.
Whilst my secondary school provides me- as a student- and the whole school with most of the normal state school subjects, our secondary is a Muslim school; it also offers Islamic lessons, consisting of Arabic, Quran and Islamic studies. My parent’s wanted me to go to Madani to learn more about my religion and to become an enhanced Muslim- I’ve been a Muslim since the day I was born, and have been learning about my culture through my parents and teachers. The majority of my secondary school is Bengali- including my family and myself; they have helped and supported me and have always been with me. Hence, many of my memories have been built by my family life. A memory that is embedded into my brain is one where my whole family went out to the river Thames, when I was seven. This remembrance has always stuck with me, as the outing brought out the closeness between all of us, and strengthened our bonds by spending the day together. It was also my first outstanding boat trip overflowing with thrill and pleasure. We had rented a medium sized boat- at midday we went on, and though we had lived in London all our life, it was remarkable looking at London from a different view- a sight from below, a river view. On that outing, the boat ventured far, but we returned shortly to enjoy some luscious lunch, and due to the startling sunny weather, we went to enjoy an appetizing ice cream, and with joy, the day had stretched on.
It could be said that where I am now, and what I have achieved, is down to getting older and growing up. However, I think it’s down to everything I have experienced in life, the understanding from them moments are reflected in my memories. I’m hoping that there will be more memories that will be able to show that in the future I am a maths teacher. Ever since I was old enough to say what my ambition in life was- I always used to say a teacher, because I was surrounded by them; despite the fact I said it just because I didn’t know what to say. As I got older I realised that I loved maths, for that reason, I wanted to share my knowledge and fervour for maths. Also, I saw that I didn’t just have to be a teacher, because when I saw my uncle as a maths teacher, and him working two different jobs before, I realised that I could do something else as well, like perhaps a nursery nurse or a writer (as I love reading)... Thus, I have many possibilities as what to become in the future. Above all else, although I am only in year eight, I think I’ve achieved a lot of things, for example: gaining an education, memorable moments and being able to write this autobiography. I’m keen to perceive my character build up and develop throughout the coming years and see if I can achieve my ambitions...
Sultana Zaman 8A 2010