The first time Avery asked about her mother, she was five. She didn't remember much. Just bits and pieces. But she did recall her and her dad were outside, sitting on their favorite bench – An old, worn-out piece of furniture they liked to lounge on to pass time. All starry-eyed, she asked her dad and got the standard, out-of-the-textbook answer. “She's in a better place hon,” he said, carrying her into his lap. She remembered looking into his eyes. “A better place?” She was confused. “What could be better than being with us?” He laughed and looked into the distance. “You're just going to ask her if you ever meet her.” Six years later, Avery finally understood what being in a better place meant. And to be honest, it didn't bother her as much as she expected. It had always been her dad who had been there for her. Plus, she had never met her mom before and didn't mind cutting her out of the picture. Personally, it was okay with just her and papa anyways. So, it could be imagined the shock fourteen-year-old Avery got, walking in on a phone call her dad was having. “You can't just –!” He was pacing up and down, a habit of his when he was nervous. “Thirteen years Kate! You didn't even call!” Avery moved her feet and began to climb the stairs. She knew when somebody needed their privacy. “But she's our daughter. Your child.” Avery stopped in her tracks. “Couldn't –” He paused. “Couldn't you come to see her at least once?” Silence. Then a muffled voice. And a sigh. Avery couldn't recall what happened exactly. All she remembered was the crushing feeling she had when she realized that her mum was actually alive and probably didn't want her. The shock went just as fast as it came. She made no indication that she knew, and her dad didn't deem it fit to tell her. So, life went on, until it didn't. At least for her dad. Avery was proud to say she didn't cry. Not when she found her dad on the floor. Not when he was rushed to the hospital by the neighbors. Not when she came to visit him and saw him all pale and haggard. Not when she heard the news. Not even after the funeral. She told herself over and over again that she would not cry, and she didn't. People she had never met. People she knew. Everyone told her it was going to be okay, that they understood. But Avery knew that they didn't. After the funeral, Avery had to stay with her dad's sister, Aunt Veronica. In order for that to work out, she had to move. New house, new school, new friends. It was all very strange for her. Everything seemed to be happening too fast for her to catch up. Nobody thought to ask her how she felt about it all, until she met Mrs. Ada. Mrs. Ada, the temporary stand-in for Mr. Jacobs, the English teacher, was petite, brunette-haired lady who was said to be too nice for her own good. After class one day, Mrs. Ada called her back. “Avery?” Mrs. Ada called. “Could I see you for a moment?” Avery took a seat, wondering what this was about. Sure, she wasn't a star student. But she definitely wasn't failing. And even if she was, Avery didn't think Mrs. Ada had it in her to chew her out. Mrs. Ada pushed her glasses up her nose, a comforting smile on her face. “I've noticed you've got a lot on your mind lately, and I was wondering if you wanted to talk about it.” She paused, scanning Avery's face. “I know being a new student and all that can be a little too much –“ She continued, “ – but I just wanted to say that I'm here if you ever got anything troubling you, okay?” Avery muttered something along the lines of a thanks and began to stand up. “Hold on.” Mrs. Ada interrupted. She bent to bring out something from her bag. It was a black notebook with some words on the front. “I heard about your dad.” She placed the black book in her hands. The front cover read: 'There's no greater agony than keeping an untold story inside of you' – Maya Angelou. Mrs. Ada winked at her, “It's my favorite quote. For times you don't feel like talking, it might surprise you how well writing helps.” Avery rushed out of the classroom, a stuffy feeling in her chest. When she got home, she brought out the book and stared. After a minute of silence, she opened to the first page and began to write. About her dad, the mom she never met, how she felt, her new school. About everything. And for the first time, Avery let the tears fall.
Once upon a time, in a world similar to ours, a pandemic called Covid-19 spread across nations, causing economic decline, socio-political issues, and unexpected successes. In the small town of Willowbrook, nestled amidst green hills and a peaceful river, life came to a sudden stop as news of the virus reached the tightly-knit community. The lively marketplace, once filled with children's laughter and friends' conversations, now stood empty and deserted. Shop owners who once thrived now faced the harsh reality of economic decline. Some had to shut down their businesses indefinitely, unsure if they would ever reopen. As time passed, tensions rose in Willowbrook, and the town's socio-political issues became more prominent. Lines formed outside the food bank as families struggled to feed themselves. Unemployment rates skyrocketed, leaving many desperate and uncertain. The town's leaders faced the challenging task of balancing public health measures with addressing the socio-economic inequalities exposed by the pandemic. However, amidst the darkness, Willowbrook found glimpses of hope and achievements that would shape its future. Local businesses adapted and survived through innovative thinking. They embraced e-commerce platforms, offering their products and services online, providing a lifeline for the community. Neighbors came together to form support groups and community initiatives to help those in need. The town's leaders implemented financial relief programs and collaborated with neighboring towns to share resources and knowledge. Education also underwent a transformation. With schools closed, teachers and parents quickly adapted to online learning. Students explored virtual classrooms and discovered a world of knowledge at their fingertips. Although challenges arose, this new mode of education bridged gaps and ensured all students continued their studies. Willowbrook's triumph over the virus came through sacrifices and determined efforts. Healthcare workers emerged as unsung heroes, tirelessly protecting the town's residents. They faced the pandemic head-on, demonstrating compassion and resilience on the frontlines. The community rallied behind these dedicated professionals, offering words of encouragement, symbols of appreciation, and donations to support their endeavors. As the pandemic gradually diminished, leaving its lasting impact on the town's history, Willowbrook emerged even stronger and more united than before. The economic decline began to reverse as businesses reopened and new ones emerged from the ashes. The town also addressed the socio-political issues it faced, sparking conversations about fair access to healthcare, income equality, and social safety nets. Willowbrook became a shining example of resilience and camaraderie. The story of Willowbrook and its people is just one chapter in the global narrative of the Covid-19 pandemic. It serves as a reminder that even in the most challenging of times, hope can thrive, and achievements can be attained. By coming together, adapting to new circumstances, and addressing the socio-political problems highlighted by the pandemic, communities worldwide can reconstruct stronger and more inclusive societies.
The Brief Story of Eternity Arthur Stace was not a man that you would have spent your hard-earned money betting on to become a celebrity. Born to alcoholic parents in Sydney in 1885, he lived in grinding poverty. That led to stealing bread and milk and searching for scraps of food in bins. As a teenager, he became an alcoholic, was sent to jail at 15 and, in his twenties, he was a scout for his sisters' brothels. Arthur was 45 when he entered a church one day, probably to get out of the rain and hoping for a handout. The sermon concerned eternity. And, for reasons he could never explain, he immediately gave up alcohol and became obsessed with that word - eternity. Despite the fact that he was illiterate and could hardly write his own name legibly, for the next 35 years he inscribed the word ‘Eternity' on footpaths and doorsteps in and around Sydney. He always wrote in immaculate copperplate and used yellow chalk and it's estimated he did this half a million times. Along the way, he achieved world-wide fame as ‘Mr. Eternity', before his death in 1967 at the age of 83. Only one original still exists, inside the bell of the Sydney General Post Office clock tower, which was brought out of storage in the 1960's. It had been sealed up for 20 years and no-one knows how Arthur had been able to get to it. He inspired many artists (including Banksy) and writers, spawned an opera and even a film by Julien Temple, the video chronicler of the Sex Pistols and The Kinks. In 2000, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was lit up with the word "Eternity" as part of the celebrations for the beginning of the year 2000, as well as being part of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, in celebration of a man who became eternal though the use of one word.
I'm going to tell you a story, and it does not start with "Once upon a time...", but she might wish it did. For then, she too would be blissfully fictional and not painfully human. It is about the girl like any other. She liked the smell ground after the rain and hated the ultimate heat of the summer. Loved to get lost in the known parts of the woods and enjoyed how a creek can wash off all kinds of emotions. She loved dogs. Had two. She often admired her yellow cat for the simplicity of the days... Candles were for tough days and something sweet for every. Wind could make her feel alive and soothe the anger of raw emotion and strange people. She adored smelling that celestial aroma on her wrists, but often forget to put the perfume on. Loved ladybugs and nightingales, but never actually heard the exact lullaby. Fireflies were the magic and leaves could tell a story, though often a gloomy one. Spring could make her feel the pain of melancholy and autumn would make her feel alive again. Blood would make her wonder and people made her sick. Some days all the bottles of laughter she cherished so fondly were cracked and leaked in places, in time, melted with pain and grief. And when all that heroic pain became a burden, she'd start to grieve for the person she was before... the softness of a pillow, hot showers, and chocolate... the best thing for the worn-out soul. so that's when she'd realize that grief was just wild and forgotten love. Eyes are the mirrors and grin is a battle scar. Nothing can turn back time. Except for memories. And sometimes she hated that wretched window she could easily open. But through the image, the glass was already gone. So she would think of salt as an ocean and not a drop. Wild, ultimate, and free. The smell of the ocean always brought smiles and with the scent of pines, the moment of freedom. Cold is clarity for her and heat is too much. She likes the color blue and the sky with puffy clouds. In fields of green, she's frequently looking for clover with three petals, because that brings peace to the storms in the force of life around her. December sun can make her soul warm and she would smile like a new miracle was found. Every night they met, she often asked the Moon if she can make her full too because she was torn between the wonder of thoughts and wounds of reality; that didn't make her bitter, just more human than she knew. So, you see, all people enjoy Earth and what they think magic is in their different, but just another way of understanding the real world around them. Romanticized by the poets and worshipped by the nature. And sometimes air around you shifts and the path for the day goes well off the tracks... and the whole world is against you. Those days you frequently ask yourself about the mere purpose, but there's no known response that can bring you enough wisdom or happiness. It all belongs to you. All that pain and joy. Mind is a strange struggle itself, and I believe completely in that quote I bear in my mind; it sometimes creeps in, like a phantom and I find it sipping herbal tea, oblivious to my fear... "Not all those who wander are lost." So when our girl, that this story is about, goes looking for that particular wardrobe, blue box or huge hole near the tree... or even second star in the night sky... don't you dare to stop her! You can join her of course, and bring a book! She might not be fond of people in general, but I can tell that she likes humans with a rainbow in their eyes.
Before the pandemic, I lived in New York City. On one of my mom's visits, we were sitting side by side on the subway heading downtown. I think we were talking about what to do about dinner that night. Suddenly she turns and asks me, “so, how many men have you slept with?” I'm used to questions like these coming out of the blue. Luckily, she says it in Greek. I began to argue with her, also in Greek, in a half-empty subway car, in the middle of the afternoon… about sex. Particularly how it wasn't really any of her business. “You came out of me,” which is her argument whenever I ask for privacy. Which I'm certain is a Greek thing. “Just tell me that there have been men!” She shouted. Was she asking if I was a lesbian, or if I was a virgin? “It's just sex, it's like a sausage going in and out, it's no big deal.” She was calling me a prude. “Okay, please stop talking, I have had sex,” I might have shouted in English, my mother then sighing in relief and going quiet. I would be remiss if I didn't say this is how most of our conversations go; me exasperated and mortified, she going silent or moving on to some sort of small talk. Our relationship has always been a tug and pull, mainly between my mother's traditional Greek ideas and values, and my yearning to be just like any other American Girl. My mother only come to the country in her early twenties, newly married, and not knowing one word of the language. Even so, she adapted to some American thinking and raised her three daughters with notions of getting an education, being independent, and never having to rely financially to anyone; especially a man. But some of the greek traditional ideas leaked through now and again. And then the entire world stopped. I was in New York when the pandemic came to the United States. We quickly became the epicenter of the crisis, sirens wailing at all hours, make-shift hospitals being pitched up in Central Park, and millions of people all around us completely devastated. It became too much for me. I started having panic attacks, not sleeping, and worrying about how I was going to survive. New York is expensive at the best of times, so I decided that it was best to move back home to save money. So I'm back in my childhood bedroom living with my mom and our cat Violet. I'm 30. I quickly had to set some ground rules. See, mom doesn't really know what a closed door means. She comes into my room without knocking. This would not work if I was in the office in the middle of a zoom meeting or filming a self-tape or writing. So I had to explain if the door is closed, you cannot come in. No, you cannot come pee while I'm showering. Have I mentioned my mom is bad with boundaries? She thinks I'm messy because I leave plates in the sink and she has accused me of loving Violet more than her. We've had a lot of difficult talks. Some even about sex. I told her about a guy I invited to stay over after we stayed out really late; how he offered to sleep on the floor and that nothing had to happen. “So he slept on the floor, did you give him enough blankets?' “No Mom, he slept in my bed because I wanted to have sex.” My mom shuttered. “I thought you wanted me to tell you about this stuff?” “Yes, but not all at once, Niki.” She's learned about online dating which she calls appointments for sex. Which I encourage because it's hysterical. On our family trip to Greece the summer I was 13, my aunt, my older cousin Eleni and I were sitting in a cafe. A really obnoxious sports car drove by, I think it was lime green, and my cousin said how much she liked it. Without a second thought, my aunt told my cousin, “if you marry a rich man maybe he'll have a car like that and you can ride in it.” I was shocked, so I asked my aunt, “why couldn't Eleni get a car like that for herself?” She looked at me with pity, “that's harder for girls to do.” My mother would never have said that to me. If I wanted a fancy lime green Ferrari she would say, “you'll have to work very hard.” I realized how different the two women were. My aunts do not know how to drive a car, they don't own their own property, do not have a bank account separate from their husbands, and don't work. Leaving in her early twenties made all the difference, not just in how she carried herself and lived her life, but how my mother raised her daughters. I'm brave because she was. I'm moving back to London in September and my mom is not very happy about it. She's just always going to worry about me when I'm somewhere alone with only me looking out for me. That's just the way it's always going to be, because I'm her kid. We keep having our hard talks, she keeps walking into my office without knocking. But we make sure we have an outing every Sunday, and she makes me laugh because she's the funniest person I know. And we talk. I haven't told her how many men I've slept with but I put the dishes in the dishwasher now. She's still learning about boundaries. And that's okay.
My Paradise: Now i am going to share my own life story which i underwent when i was 9 or 10 yers old. Let me give you first background general information : when i was 9 our family used to be one of the poorest one in our countryside my dad and mom had nothing to do and no job like other parents, once or twice in a month only my dad used to visit another countryside and he used to came back with a less amount of money. that would be enough for our living expanses, that said , ironically my father was addicted to alcohol , he was alcoholic and used drink even though we had no money for bread. So he spent half of his money for purchasing alcohol drinks. There was always conflict between my mom and dad . Whatever as i was young, immature boy i did not care of anything. I could not get on well both with my mom and dad , instead I had the best family member of us and the best friend of mine his name was alpha and actually he was my dog and both best friend. Today my story is wholly devoted to him, to his memory . i remember whenever i had fight with my father mostly due to his unconciousness i used to go away from home mostly to the hill of the nearest mountain to our home with alpha and rarely i used to cry, weep over everything I do remember once I was going to my frends home for some schoolworks almost by sunset and of course my friend Alpha was going together with me . As usual situation I faced some bullies maybe 3 or 4 , they were just hiding their facewith masks and startood to approach me , I was so proud that i had my brave friend with me . he just sprang up and went to the bullies with barking like the Lucifer , he tried to bite them, that said they ran away and did not come back again . Due to such events i was loving him more and more, day by day as buddy. we used to get, understand each other fully , whenever i came back from school firstly i used to hear the " Welcome home" bark from Alpha. several months maybe a year passed, as usual i came back home from school. hmm but I did not find Alpha he was not home so i went inside of the house there were my parents and brother all together sitting . my dad showed his kind and said " Come on son today your mother cooked soup for you, today is happy day becouse we are going to eat enough meat" . I was happy also I had not have breakfast that day i was starving. i went and sat down I ate couple of bowls of soup and probably 300gramms of meat. I was stuffed. I had never eaten such and I was feeling like a king becouse of lush food . i was a lad who always cares of his friend , I callected all bones which we had cleaned the meat of it and wanted to give them to Alpha. S o I went out and called " Alpha,Alpha come on where are you i have surprize for you". After my dad said " come back son he can not hear you now". I went to him, set down and said " did he go somewhere". Dad said " Yes now he is with you, sitting with you together ( I thought he was on good mood and joking around ) " i said " I am asking seriously, i thibk Alpha is hungr too so let me give these bones to him". Dad laughed a bit and said " No dog eats it's own bones son you now just ate your dog. Whatever I needed to do this becouse we all were hungry also we will not catch cold . do not get upset you will get used to live without him , he was just a dog". I could not say a word only , i was shocked . i felt burst of anger , i raised my noice ,c ryed and sprang up and striked my father several times. Of course my punches were not powerfull so my father asked to stop it and slapped me on face. the flood of tears were on my face i ran to the restroom, put my finger into my throat and vomited voluntary. i was almost unconcious... that is how our friendship ended up. Years passed my father went to Kazakhistan to earn money and fund us. every week i try to find a daily work for some money to pay for my Ielts courses. sometimes as this month I struggle to find 30 bucks and be needed to miss my courses for a month. I hope one day to be a rich person and provide all poor people to be the knowladgable . that is why i am trying to read and learn more everyday . THE END
The coronavirus pandemic is the defining global health crisis of our time. This virus has spread to every continent except Antarctica. That new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan (China) in December 2019. We all have been affected by the Covid-19. However, the impact of the pandemic and its consequences were felt differently depending on our status as individuals as and members of society. Before beginning of the pandemic situation the life was usual and was very exciting. Unfortunately, that infection caused to many health problems and even death in every single country. In order to prevent the public health, the government announced a quarantine. Our president also suggested to work at home, to study online instead going out at that disastrous time. Loads of markets, factories, universities, schools all is closed until the vaccine was created. At that times I was one the applicants who were preparing the entering tests of universities. I was studying hard to pass the test even to acquire higher band score from IELTS examination so as to be exempted from English examination. I was going to register the exam for May but after having announced the quarantine I cancelled that and all my hopes were dashed. I started to learn at home with the helps of my friends and my teacher. Really that times I was very impressed by the pandemic and I thought that is impossible for me to pass the examination. Beginning of the summer days the situation was eased and my tutor called me to suggest to learn grammar with another teacher. And I started to participate to the grammar course. But increasing the number of patients was the main reason for the government to ban to go out again. Exam dates had been postponed due to the pandemic. Finally, it was announced that my exam will be held in September and my teacher advised me not to harry, not to be nervous if I don't find the answer during the test. And all was worked for my success for exam results. After the results were announced, I found out that I was also a university student. Currently, I am junior student of the Jizzakh state pedagogical university. In conclusion, always being optimistic and active and realizing what I need and putting exact priorities and never stopping trying to reach them motivates me to go forward.
It had been a very tough time for my area since the covid 19 break out. We are living in a remote area at the end of the border, south Punjab, Pakistan. We had merely been coming out of covid 19 outbreak when suddenly the flood hit the country across all cities. The most affected region is South Punjab along with Baluchistan. Even though the situation was devastating but the local people aiding each other on their own set a heartwarming example for standing the humanity. Today, this story writing contest and taking advantage of the power of writing itself will enable people across the world to witness the bravery and kindness of the people. On 22 August 2022, I walked through shelter homes with my father and my cheeks rolled down with tears seeing people homeless and flood washing off their years of crops, homes, and families. There was chaos among people. Rescue boats were in search of people yelling for help in the midway pouring water into their mouths. I couldn't help but wrapped a box full of a few clothes, shoes, and other necessary things, especially for women and children. The local government authorities though showed helplessness and fewer resources due to huge-scale devastation, but the local NGOs jumped into the field and their motivation was at its peak. This is where my motivation summoned up to never give up on my own people. I could hear my colleagues saying why I came back to my own area despite the fact my career was at its peak in a big city. I, the first generation, graduated from university in 2019 in the aviation field, but it was my ultimate life-changing decision to go back to my community and start from zero to set a new change for those, especially those who are underprivileged. I'm even back in that remote area where most of the time the rest of the world even couldn't know what happens to you. No technology, no freedom of expression for girls, and reluctant to change their mindsets. I even heard people saying there is no power in the pen which is why I deny it today by portraying fine examples of our work which we started for the young girls. Through the power of writing and the pen, I was able to communicate with a different organization where we started one of the most popular literacy programs for young rural girls, the conversational English language program. It is a kind of program that encourages young rural girls to participate by breaking language barriers. It not only teaches them a new language skill rather enables them to participate in different character and capacity-building activities. This is where we started to provide identity to those girls who were never knowing or recognizing their own skills. It was though difficult to resume such literacy programs in post-flood effects. We are grateful to organizations like “The International Alliance of Youth writing Centers” which provide a great collaboration for such literacy programs in such underprivileged areas. And it is equally important to let the world know how true determination and will to start from a little change can bring a greater impact on someone's life. Till now two batches comprising 60+ young rural girls have been passed out which depict fine quality environments for young rural girls and their remarkable journey to showcase their real talent. Such literacy programs shall be promoted to let girls stand on their own. And no doubt, it's the power of the pen which is enabling me to convey the real message across the world. We might be distant and apart, but writing plays a greater role in bringing new collaboration and people together. I have learned so many good lessons; uplifting others brings you joy in return, little change can lead to a big impact, and living in your own community enables you to find root causes and real solutions. CELP for young rural girls is one of its kind sole program we founded in order to smartly get rural girls into something which can easily break social and cultural barriers. CELP is originally running in a very remote area in Pakistan named Choti Zareen where the girls' participation in social and outdoor literacy activities was seen as taboo. This program enables young girls to develop their capacity and character building by engaging in healthy workshops and classroom activities. This program is one of the fine literacy programs for adults in order to polish their interpersonal skills and make them realize what potential they endowed. CELP isn't just a language program rather it promotes urban-rural cohesion and removes gaps in providing young rural girls an opportunity to connect with the world by breaking language barriers. Through this literacy program, young girls witness a new change in them; peer-to-peer learning, individual self-awareness, team building, connecting with world leaders, transforming mindsets, eradicating norms, and shifting stem stereotypes. CELP is one of examples that should be seen by the world.
Thank you very much for participating in the Biopage Storytelling Writing Contest! The results are now available on the contest webpage: https://www.biopage.com/contest It was a very difficult decision to make! We received a large number of high-quality essays from around the world, it was so difficult to pick the winners. The winners will receive separate emails regarding award certificates and prizes. We are sorry that most of you will be disappointed; but remember you are all winners! Many participants appreciated the contest as an opportunity to stay away from the noisy social media, to really start writing again to express themselves, and to tell stories. Please keep in mind that this is a recurrent contest; you are welcome to write another story and submit again! Please continue to stay in the community of Biopage, using the website or more conveniently the iOS app or Android app to continue to write, and to stay in touch with your friends and other writers. If you use the iOS app or Android app, please rate and write a review at the App Store or Google Play. We are giving out an Amazon gift card to each user who wrote a review about Biopage at the App Store. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your App Store or Google Play ID name and a screenshot of the review, and the gift card may arrive in 2 weeks. A certificate of participation of the writing contest will be available upon request by email. Thank you and happy writing! The Biopage Writing Contest Committee
If you ask any South Asian kid what their least favorite food is, you will always get one of two answers - karela (bittergourd) or khichdi (a rice dish made with lentils, resembling Italian risotto). Traditional Khichdi does not have the richness or sophistication of a risotto, reserved solely for sick days when a child has the flu or a bad cold. It's usually a soggy mush of lentils and rice, tinged yellow with turmeric and seasoned with salt and pepper. Seems like a far leap from the rich curries and vegetable dishes associated with Indian culture, right? But, at my house, Khichdi was never a boring affair. My mother was raised in a tiny village tucked away in the shadows of the bustling metropolitan city of Kolkata, called Shantiniketan. Bengali cuisine, if you're unaware, is known for the sharp taste of mustard oil, setting your palate up for the tantalizing flavors of fresh fish and vegetables simmering in the most luxurious broth. Any dish is incomplete without small mountains of fluffy white rice, adorned with a small teaspoon of clarified butter or ghee and a dollop of fiery red pickle. I would watch as my mother would stand on her tiptoes, her silver anklets jingling softly as she tried to reach the far back of the wooden cabinets. She was too short, and would call for my dad with a “soon cho?” (are you listening?) instead of his name. I have never heard my mother refer to my father by name, and true to her call, he always listened. He would put down his newspaper and walk into the kitchen, silently retrieving the tarnished container of lentils, with the special type of daal reserved for sick days. She would reach into the container with her bare hands and grab fistfuls of the tiny yellow grains, adding them to a pressure cooker with short-grained basmati rice. He would share a look with her, probably reveling in some kind of inside joke, as she asked him to put the container away. She would giggle, swat at him and tell him to get out of the kitchen. Maa would wash the mixture three times, until the cloudy water would run clear, and fill it with fresh water to the top. She would then reach for her trusty jar of turmeric and add in heaping tablespoon to the concoction, along with some salt, and I would run away as far as possible. I hated the sound of the pressure cooker, the huffing and puffing seeming like the world's worst steam engine, building up to the dreadful moment where the steam would escape with a loud whistling noise. I would count in my head every time the whistle made me want to jump out of my skin, one… and when I least expected it, two. It always made my mum laugh, and she would gently smack my head saying, “beta (child), it's just the whistle.” I would follow her to the kitchen, and watch as she chopped up some red onions and tomatoes into small cubes. It never made her cry, unlike my Dad who would start sniffling while peeling the skin. She heated up a small pot with mustard oil, waiting for the right moment to add the mustard and cumin seeds, freshly plucked curry leaves from our small garden and freshly ground spices. It was my favorite part, I loved watching the spices bloom in the oil - bright red chillies, black pepper and earthy coriander blending into the most wonderful symphonies of flavor. She would add the onions and tomatoes last, barely cooking them so the onions were still translucent and had a slight bite to them, and the tomatoes retained their fresh tart flavor. She would then open the pressure cooker, greeted with a cloud of hot steam as she poured the mixture into the rice-lentil concoction. The colors would change; the khichdi would go from a dull and boring yellow to a vibrant vermilion shade, studded with onions and tomatoes and curry leaves. It had to be served steaming hot, on the nice ceramic plates reserved for guests, adorned with a heaping tablespoon of ghee. It did not matter what ailment you were suffering from, neither did it matter if your head felt like it was stuffed with cotton, or your body was burning with a fever. I've been sick a lot of times in the past few decades, with friends and lovers offering comfort in the form of their home remedies. I have been fed comfort foods from all over the world, be it Arroz Caldo from the Philippines, Italian Pastina, or bright red Borscht. A past boyfriend would make me chicken soup from the can, boiled in a saucepan with a dash of pepper and a generous pour of sriracha. My best friend makes the best rasam, a fragrant soup originating from the South of India, flavored with fresh tamarind and tomatoes. Yet, every single time I wake up with a bad cold or when life seems to get the best of me, I reach for the container of red daal at the back of my kitchen cabinets. I make it just the way maa would, relishing in the warmth of a hug that has traveled through generations of Bengali women to reach my little kitchen.
Inspiring, uplifting, and heartwarming stories are wanted! With Covid-19 still lingering around, economic slowdown, social and political issues and setbacks, we are desperate to hear your feel-good stories! Pick your best story and picture to participate in our storytelling writing contest. Biopage is hosting a writing contest to remind people the benefits of writing. Each story (or one chapter of your stories) is limited to 5,000 characters or roughly 1,000 words. You can win $300, and five runners-up can win $100 each. (We decided to change the prize amount and award numbers, because we received so many excellent essays and wanted to give awards to more writers). How to enter: 1. Register for an account at biopage.com (or download and register on iOS or Android app). 2. First complete your profile, write a bio to introduce yourself, and make your profile as Public. 3. Click “Update” and post your essay there. Please include a title and a picture or video. Use "writing contest" as one of the tags. 4. On a computer copy the web address of your post, come back to this page, and click “Enter the Contest”, and paste the web address of the post. 5. Share your essay with your friends, ask them to like and comment. The winners will be determined by the quality of the writing, and the votes by other users' likes and comments. The contest is open to anyone from everywhere, every country, every corner of the world. The current contest ends July 31, 2022.
COVID-19 it is a long story that hasn't been simple and will stay for a history. This disease catastrophe spread so quickly all over the world resulting in almost 20 millions of dead. COVID-19 brought rapid changes to the lives of the that never have such situation occurred before. People had to stay at home because of quarantine . Isolation had a big effect on people's both mental and physical health. Everyone had difficulties to adjust quarantine regulations. Especially, unusual behaviours: depression, anxieties were often seen among adults. ,,STAY AT HOME " we can see this repeatable words everywhere. Surviving from Pandemic become obsession. Regarding of impacts of on physical health, during the Pandemic most of the people turned their lives into passive lifestyle. Because, we are living technology age, they bought everything, range from foods to clothes, at the touch of the button. Besides, during the Pandemic majority of people lost their jobs and they had to live in a difficult condition. But COVID-19 has taught us a valuable lesson. What I mean by this is that, people have understood health is wealth and family is the most important. Nowadays there aren't as many close-knit families as before. Because for some people earning money is their first priority. Before the Pandemic people didn't dedicate their time for family. They were so occupied with their jobs. Quarantine gave the chance of being in the family circle. They realized something that their parents who are getting older want a nice chat. Saying,,Mom Dad only God knows how much you mean to me " is the best gift for them. What about for their children? While they were working day in and day out their children might not felt any financial hardships but spending even a little time with children by either helping with their homework or playing some sort of the game are another things. Here I want to share my own story which may bring tears into your eyes.We lost our loved ones because of the virus. In 2022 December of 18 I lost my grandfather. After only two days my grandmother also passed away. You know what, because both of them infected by the virus. It is the worst days of my life. Even we couldn't be together and hug them in their last days of this world. If you have grandparents please take care of them and show your kindness as much as you can . Many rich people also died .Their money could not help them. It is , therefore, l am saying COVID-19 opened the people's eyes the life is not all about the money. Everything is secondary except family and health.
Quarantine. Of course, this word is more frightening and frightening than any other scary word. Because all people have experienced this scourge - quarantine. The plague of Covid-19 fell on the heads of every state and every nation. Because of this contagious disease, all people have seen strange events called quarantine, isolation. Everyone realized that these things were a catastrophe that would keep a person in and out of the house, and they experienced this catastrophe in their own lives. Quarantine also locked up all the powerful, all-powerful people in their homes. This was to counteract the spread and spread of Covid-19 disease. Due to the pandemic, the President and the Cabinet of Ministers passed a law to quarantine and isolate everyone, so that no one should leave their homes unless necessary. All workplaces, companies, industries, studies, schools, public and private affairs, universities, colleges and all other workplaces were suspended. The readings were conducted online. only state military bodies, doctors in the field of medicine, hospitals, pharmacies were able to operate. It was as if life had come to a standstill. Because not all places work, people do not go out on the streets, busy roads have become deserted roads. Even the calves did not work for some time. Everyone was confused and scared. Various quarantine and disease prevention instructions were given on television and radio. As a result of the shutdown of all businesses and the closure of markets, people began to face difficulties. Many people died of the disease. Many began to mourn the loss of a loved one in their home. And this thing was growing day by day. In particular, a close relative of our family also died due to Covid-19. This thing was very sad for all of us. Losing one of our closest people was hard for all of us. even now when I think of that man, tears come to my eyes. Because that person was also a very close friend to me. We walked around with him, in short, we always had fun with him. Unfortunately, the disease caused the death of such a wonderful man. Like all people, my family and I were quarantined. Our family consists of 5 people. There are also benefits to quarantine. Thanks to quarantine, we all sat at home together in the arms of our family, doing different things. My father also stayed at home because the work centers were temporarily closed due to quarantine. Since they had a lot of free time, they did the housework with us. We cleaned the houses, planted flowers in the orchards, plowed the soil, and did all the other work. One day I went out and saw that my father had stopped a car carrying an oven on the road and bought an oven. It was one of the most necessary things to bake for the bread. We, as 3 people, slowly put the oven on top of 3 pieces of meat. Because a single wrong move could have caused the oven to break after class. Because the tandoor is a quick-breaking thing that can be done very carefully. The reason is that the tandoor is a cylindrical body made of a mixture of water, soil, and sheep's wool, which is baked over a long period of time and dried in the sun. Then one question came to our minds. --"How do we set it up?" The reason was that even the masters did not go out to work because of the nature. It was then that I remembered my father's childhood. Because my father grew up in the village as a child, he built a tandoor at that time. Remembering the cooking methods of that time, my father and I worked for exactly 4 and a half hours and set up the oven. In addition, my dad and I poured cement around the flower garden outside our house. This made our outside beautiful. Yes quarantine has also shown us that it has its advantages. We lived in the arms of our family, in short we did all the housework. Although we took advantage of so many good aspects of proper quarantine, we also faced challenges. For example, because of quarantine, we were forced to ride bicycles because we were not allowed to drive on the street. Imagine riding a bike for more than 25 miles. Wonderful. We also went home on a bike ride over it with so many things after picking up what we needed from the market. First of all, thanks to quarantine, I realized how precious life is. Because no matter how good your home is, I felt that being able to walk freely on the streets, freedom, the continuation of life, the crowds of people outside and the cars, were all valuable. Man cannot live without such people, without interesting daily events. Communicating with the people around us, working as usual, going to our office to work on our daily work, and working harder for our own development; engaging in activities such as chatting with neighbors, friends, relatives, and loved ones gives a person pleasure, further increasing his desire to live life. Regardless of quarantine, a person should enjoy his environment and life!
We spent the night at the Pavilion. Not from a lack of homes to return to, or beds to sleep in, but of anything better to do. We spent the night on one of the benches separating each tulip garden from the next–in the company of homeless Samaritans and hoodlums looking for trouble. Memories leading up to this point are fuzzy. Unsurprising. After all, no amount of parenting, good or bad, can purge the innate teenage tendency to overindulge. *blank* Kids, which we undoubtedly were back then, on their pilgrimage through narrow cul-de-sacs and empty boulevards, impatiently waiting for the dawn chorus. A ritual entrusted for millennia to blackbirds and robins but in recent history co-opted by bakers rushing to work on barbaric two-wheelers. Kids following the vibrations of the Notre Dame's bell past the old town zing, across the canals zing, and through La République, unaware of time passing by. Not understanding the fleeting power of their youth. My memory came back alive when strolling down the park's grand avenue. The sun had not yet risen giving the amber streetlights reason enough to accompany us as we approached the Pavilion. None of us could divert our gazes away from its art nouveau panes depicting fornicating nymphs, elves dancing around a fire, and a lonely gnome sitting cross-legged in the shade of an oak, meditating on his friends' actions. We sat and waited for daybreak, so we could all return home. I slept for a moment then woke up. My brain was clockwork, commanding the neuron firing squad to understand where exactly I was all over again. She thrust my body upright, stumbled forward, spent excessive minutes fumbling with my trousers' zipper, trying to unzip it, only to realize it had been open all along. Silly me! I took a wee on the tulips. Flowers that mere centuries ago–not long in the grand scheme of things–would have been worth a fortune, were now being watered but with a liquid other than water. It was impossible to suppress the thought, if only there was some way to recreate this magical process but instead piss all over collateralized debt obligations, options, and anything ending in dot com; fleece them of their dignity the way they did everyone. Return the favor, to put it kindly. But alas, Mother Nature will not oblige… After all, tulips never hurt anyone… Unlike some other permanent residents of our Pavilion benches. Crooks by circumstance, the latter absolving them of all crimes and wrongdoings. Here we have it, nurture putting its dominance over nature on display once again, forcing people down paths had you told them they would go down in the maternity ward right after birth, they would reply “not a chance fool!”–if babies could talk, that is. Among them was a particular fellow who went by the name Leon, Siberian Leon. The closest man ever got to bear, and an old friend of ours. See, he lived under a bridge near the old tavern where we wasted away, lived off favors and garbage, had a kid somewhere in the Ukraine–no recollection of him ever mentioning a wife or lady, although, being extremely enterprising that he was, one might suspend disbelief and imagine he said, ‘screw god' and gave birth himself–anyways, he always, always needed a fiver for a pint of blonde. Close your eyes, picture this, a tall glass, slimmer and blonder than a Scandinavian supermodel, fizzling, waiting to break loose at any moment, extremely sensitive to movement, a mother nine months in, the most beautiful pint you could imagine. Until you sip and taste piss. Stuff invariably looks better than it usually is. Leon dragged himself over to our plot of land and asked for a fiver. Predictable bastard. I gave him it. Ditto. In due time the bakers begun scuttling by, the blackbirds and robins chirped in a crescendo, soon the tits, sparrows and finches lent their voices too. Our neighbors overcame their drunken stupor. It was time for us to go home, act fresh, greet our families, eat breakfast, be organic, regular, mundane! Act like nothing ever happened. Surreal. Only a muddy tulip in my back left pocket to prove it.