“War is Peace” : How totalitarian systems change the way we think

I always wondered how totalitarian systems function ; keeping millions of people subjugated could inevitably backfire in so many different ways. I knew why totalitarian rulers craved power, but I didn’t know how they preserved it. On that note, I feel reading the book “1984” enlightened me on “how” a totalitarian system might function , and continue to exist for decades.

“1984” is a dystopian social science fiction novel written by George Orwell. It’s a novel based on totalitarian rule in Oceania , one of the three totalitarian states ( other two were Eurasia and Eastasia). The state of Oceania was run by an organization known as “The Party” (led by Big Brother, the supreme ruler of Oceania) which constantly brainwashed its people with its propaganda, consequentially changing the way they look at the world. What fascinated me were the approaches they undertook in doing so.

For instance : “Newspeak“, a language invented by The Party that was adherent to “Ingsoc” (English Socialism) in Oceania. Every new version of the Newspeak dictionary contained lesser words than the previous one. Through eliminating certain unorthodox words from the dictionary , they limited the capability of a person to express unorthodox ideas in the first place. For example : all politically unorthodox thoughts were expressed by a single word : “Thoughtcrime”. As such , even if a person had rebellious thoughts , he wouldn’t be able to structure his thoughts or draw any conclusions because his ability to think was strangled by the language he spoke . Bad was replaced by “ungood”, very good was replaced by “plusgood” and wonderful by “doubleplusgood”. In this pattern , “Newspeak” limited the thought process , bolstering the Party’s influence over the people of Oceania in the bigger picture.

The Party also retained its influence by altering history, according to their own convenience. All the articles or artifacts that reflected how Oceania looked in the past were either vanished , or altered according to the convenience of the ruling class . Through altering history and preventing information from the outer world to enter , they erased all standards of comparison that may make people think that previous/foreign systems are/were better. The Proletariats (lowest social class in their society) who constituted the majority were constantly dehumanized and kept in ignorance . The Proletariats could never overthrow The Party , because they didn’t know how to. This reinstated George Orwell’s notion : In the long run, a hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. Through constant subjugation and exploitation , The Party kept the middle class and the Proletariats away from comfort ,convenience, and awareness(on top) , preventing them from united revolt.

An astonishing way The Party used in preserving “unity” was through reinforcing the slogan :

War is Peace

Freedom is Slavery

Ignorance is Strength

Through perpetrating the notion “War is Peace” among the general masses, The Party created a belief that Oceania was always at war with its surrounding nations , and that continuous war is necessary to attain peace. This thought always kept the citizens distracted towards the enemy. As the general mass were paralyzed in their ability to think or attain external information , everyone believed the state propaganda. Through uniting the nation against a common enemy outside the state, The Party preserved peace inside the state. The second notion, Freedom is Slavery, indicated that true freedom lies only in serving The Party , and that one will always be unsuccessful while operating in free will. It made people feel that the man subjected to collective will is free from adverse circumstances. Similar cases occurred in case of justifying the notion “Ignorance is strength”, which generated the belief that The Party’s judgements are always correct and informed, and anyone’s personal judgement would never be as correct as that of The Party. This made people consider their own thoughts to be baseless/invalid and thereby submit to the party, turning into collective strength. Through the aforementioned efforts, a totalitarian government generated a stable hierarchical system that exploited its people , ensuring that they never realized they were being exploited all along . And those who would ever want to vouch for a change , knew that regardless of what they do , Big Brother (the supreme ruler of Oceania) is always watching them!

It’s astonishing how the aforementioned slogans of The Party can be found relatable in modern life as well. However, let’s spare that train of thought for another day , shall we ?

Dealing with Depression

The rising trend of mental health issues during lockdown period stems from the truth that our inner vulnerabilities become the strongest when we are alone. Given the impact it has on others’ lives, it’s important to know what to do when you are depressed during this lockdown. As such, I’ve mentioned 4 steps to deal with depression during this pandemic :

  1. Limit the time spent on news and social media

Social media gives us a false perception of what lifestyles we should lead in order to stay updated with the trend, constantly giving rise to an inferiority complex in many. News from different sources intensifies this situation by occupying our lives with an information overload, only stressing us more in the end.

  Next time, absorb every news with a grain of salt. Check its authenticity from multiple sources and then reach a conclusion. Don’t let the media manipulate your way of thinking.

2. Connect with your family

COVID 19 has already incentivized us to stay inside our own homes for extended periods of time. To survive in such a situation, it is important to maintain contact with the people that matter to us. 

Try having meals with your family members at the dining table, and catch up with how they’re doing. Opening up to your family members regularly will help you stay emotionally stable and strong during the lockdown. 

3. Stay organized 

“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed” – the quote of William H. McRaven is quite self-explanatory. To tackle the already existing stress factors, making your life organized is imperative.

Living in a well-organized space will create a positive impact on your mental health, and serve as a source of inspiration for life. Try organizing your room every day, and assist your parents in organizing the house too. A tidier environment is certain to make you feel better. 

4. Not being productive is completely okay

Many of us are stressed about the fact that we are not being productive during this pandemic, while our friends are. But what we don’t realize is that this is not a productivity contest. It’s completely fine if you haven’t filled your stories with certificates or crests. You are still alive and that’s what matters the most right now. 

To avoid the tension of not being productive enough, try reminding yourself of one thing you’re grateful for in your life, every morning. Gratefulness will in turn reduce the dilemma you’re facing. 

Thoughts at 3 AM

I’ve had a bad day, and I couldn’t even sleep. So I’m still awake, and it’s already 3 AM. I was thinking of watching some motivational movie on Netflix, primarily because I need to get everything back on track again. However, I crossed that off the list. I’ll probably get this article done and then take a refreshing morning walk. Morning walk gives me the opportunity for self-reflection, which I consider worthy of making a daily habit. 

Anyways, I was thinking about what I should do to spend the time. Is it only me who wonders at 3 AM where he is now and where he should be in life? I don’t know, but it happens to me all the time. If I have a big event tomorrow or had a big event today, I can’t sleep. Events make me think about my life all over again. And as I stroll through my good and bad moves in the game of life so far, I figure out that it’s already morning. Yes, I belong to the category of overthinkers.

And as I overthink, I open a Microsoft Word document and start writing about what’s happening in my life right now and what I need to do it. Somehow, writing about my problems gives me a sense of clarity and helps me prioritize my goals in life. I’ve noticed it before. Whenever I face a crisis moment in life, I start writing about it; I would probably throw that paper in a dustbin later, though. But what’s important is – writing about the events makes my mind clear for the rest of the day.

Overthinking is not the only thing I do, though. The other activity that I cry. Okay, don’t get weirded out. I sometimes cry because I need to feel lighter about life. Somehow it helps me do that. I cry way too often. Starting from a wholesome video to a cute scene on Netflix, my vision gets blurry all the time at small events. You can regard me as an emotional person. But I think being emotional isn’t that bad. Those who express more stay less suffocated on the inside; at least that’s what I feel. Also, crying should never be limited to any gender.

I honestly feel a bit relieved after writing this. It’s like someone just took a boulder off my shoulders. Thank you WordPress !

Anyways, what are your thoughts on 3 AM? I would love to hear them!

The fulfilling part about being a teacher

“The best teachers are those who show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see”

Alexandra K. Trenfor

I never thought that at some point in my life, I would incline towards teaching. The reason for not considering so is quite evident(at least around me!) Owing to the socio-economic condition from which I hail, people take teaching to be a noble profession. However, teachers don’t have the social status they truly deserve. As such, many students growing under this condition remain unaware of the fulfilling aspects that teaching might have.

It all changed in January 2021 when I started taking Basic English Classes from Instant School’s platform. In every class for the entire hour, I would remain stressed; I had to deal with the pressure of network inconveniences, audience reactions, and class quality. My shirt would soak in sweat at the end of every class. However, at the end of the LIVE, when people commented that they learned a lot from the LIVE class and are grateful for the handwork I put into it, all of my efforts seemed to pay off. I started feeling better about myself.

After noticing my growing passion for teaching, I started teaching some more students personally. From the surface, it appeared to be a strenuous task, given the handwork and commitment involved. But as time passed, it became the new normal for me. It’s been only four months, yet I already know that teaching is something I want to hold on to for the rest of my life, regardless of where I go.

Now comes the wholesome experience that I encountered a few days back!

It was the 8th May of May, at around 8 PM. I was idling on my chair and listening to songs as I had a pretty hectic day. At that moment, a student called. He was learning Basic English Grammar from me. So, I thought he probably wanted to talk about a grammar topic or clear out a concept. I picked up the phone with slight reluctance.

And I couldn’t be more wrong than this!

He told me that his purpose of calling was to send me an Eid Gift via Bkash ( A mobile money system in Bangladesh) and that he needed my number for that. When I heard this, my heart melted. I never really thought of it this way. A student doesn’t always call to give you trouble.

The amount of money was not important. Rather, the gesture was. These are what inspire me!

If you’re a teacher and have encountered wholesome students in your teaching career, please feel free to share your story!

5 pandemic habits you don’t want to miss


I believe journaling is a great method of keeping track of the events of your life. Journaling enables you to channel your thoughts out, making you feel lighter and better. A journal might be an excellent companion for those who don’t have friends to share their daily happenings. Besides, a COVID journal will stay forever with you as a memory worth sharing.

When you get old and your wrinkles get bold, your journal will be a gateway to the distant past and help you dive into good old times.


Done the proper way, meditation can help you prioritize your daily goals, and give you a sense of clarity. Meditation also helps in reducing stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts. In this period of confinement, all you might need is to take a deep breath, exhaling your frustrations out, and reflecting on your life for a while. A session of 20 minutes every day will eventually improve your overall well-being as well. So, why not give it a try?

Increasing family time

Spending more time with your family can help you stay stable. It paves the path for empathy, unity, and eventually, happiness. I have even written a blog on how the pandemic has shaped my relationship with my family.

In such a stressful period, spending quality time with family will make you feel less vulnerable and comfort you with a sense of belonging. So, instead of staying locked up in your rooms all day and getting bored, try spending some time with your family and see the difference!

Reading books

For those suffering from isolation, books offer an escape from reality. They teach us how to imagine besides widening our perspectives about life.

There was a book I finished yesterday. It was “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger. The main character in the book is a teenager who doesn’t find interest in school and remains depressed quite often. While reading the novel, I could relate to him in many cases, which eventually made me feel less lonely and less vulnerable. So, if you are bored like me, try diving into the world of books. Set a reading goal for the week/month and see the difference at the end!

Personal hygiene

I consider personal hygiene as one of the most important habits many of us have learned in quarantine. Owing to the COVID circumstances, we all find it imperative to follow all the health rules, regardless of where we go.

From wearing masks to using sanitizers, COVID habits centered on personal hygiene certainly protect us from many infections and diseases. These habits, made permanent, can eventually help us live a healthier and happier life.

If you’ve found a habit that helped you surviving quarantine, please feel free to mention it in the comment box. Have a good day ! 

An escape from reality

There are moments in our life when we wish we hadn’t existed. During those low moments, many of us crave something like a sense of escape from reality. What provides us with this escape is a question that doesn’t have a constant answer. 

For me, exercising while listening to high-volume music provides a sense of escape. Every time I feel like I need a break from all material thoughts and worldly anxieties, I start running. With instrumental music running in my earbuds and adrenaline running in my veins, I try to focus on the running. With every breath I take, I create a synchronized rhythm in my steps. As I keep running, I increase the music to a high volume; I do it for a reason, though. The music gradually gets louder than my inner thoughts and helps me forget about my tensions and frustrations centered on life, love, and happiness. It might sound a bit weird, but it works for me.

Running also helps me vent out my emotions in a non-violent manner, something that’s important for anyone who has anger issues. I usually listen to motivational music when I feel low, primarily because they make me believe that I still have goals to achieve and dreams to chase. When I wash my face afterward, the splash of water makes me feel like I was in a different world a while before.

Regardless, running is not the only thing I do to get a sense of escape. When I get bored, I turn on a high-volume instrumental beat and start rapping to it. I rap since I was in class 6; I’ve always liked listening to songs that are more rhythmic and that have high beats. Rap, meeting all the categories, has been my friend when no one else was there to heal me. There were times when I wrote random thoughts in the form of lyrics, only to throw them away later. However, they did the job. Every time I start writing about how I feel, I feel better. After composing a rap, I try it out with some instrumentals to see how it goes.

There’s a beat on YouTube that I love because it’s comparatively easy to rap with any lyrics in that beat.

As I keep rapping, I feel like I’m telling my story to someone. It’s a human instinct to feel light whenever we share our emotions with others. The same happens with me in the case of rapping. It helps me vent out and feel better at the end.

I believe finding something that gives a sense of escape is important for anyone in life. Anxiety is more or less present in everyone’s lifeso everyone needs it at some stage or the other. So, if you have any such activity that provides you with a sense of escape, please feel free to share it! And if you don’t have any such activity till now, then please start looking for it. 

Thank me later  ❤️


Today is Eid-Ul-Fitr, one of the biggest festivals for Muslims. It’s a day of celebration at the end of Ramadhan, a day of joy and happiness. To me, Eid means attending the Eid Jamaat with my father (Jamaat – A group of Muslims offering prayers together). To me, Eid means visiting our relatives and friends and exchanging greetings with them. To me, Eid means inviting guests to our home and serving them mouth-watering dishes prepared by my mom. Whenever I think of a happy Eid, I go back to my old days when the world was not suffering from a deadly pandemic.

Never in my life did I imagine a time would come when we would have to celebrate Eid gloomily for two consecutive years.

Regardless of what I feel, the reality doesn’t change. The lives of millions of human beings come first, and I am aware of that. I am not insensitive to the catastrophe faced by my brothers and sisters across the globe. The thoughts of people dying from the virus and getting killed by armed conflicts do disturb me mentally to a great extent. I pray and hope that the situation comes back to normal and the violence comes to an end. Regardless of the difference in agendas, I pray for the sake of humanity. That’s all most teenagers like me can do. 

Today is Eid. And I know that it will not be a normal Eid. Safety precautions come first, then the celebration. And here comes the question: What am I celebrating? Should I even celebrate?

I couldn’t fast because of the condition of my health. Gastric Ulcer is such a bad word. I thought that it went away completely, but it didn’t. Whenever I tried to fast (fast – abstain from food and drinks ) for a long duration, I got burning sensations in my chest. It inevitably leads me to stop fasting because it’ll be a disaster for me if a stomach ulcer gets worse. Regardless of my health, I felt sad because I, as a grownup, couldn’t complete an obligation upon me as a Muslim who is capable of fasting.

And it’s not even about me anymore. Every second, we see and hear horrific news about what’s happening in Israel-Palestine. I am not here to determine who is right and who is wrong. All I can care about is: People are getting killed amidst a pandemic, and this needs to stop. It hurts me when I see a child mopping away the blood of people on the floor. Imagine yourself in his situation. The child doesn’t understand politics or state agendas. What he does understand, however, is that he saw someone die a painful death and is going to live with this trauma for the rest of his life.

I was watching a video of Trevor Noah, a person whom I admire for his humor and personality. In the video, he talked about this issue from a different perspective, drawing my attention. No wonder why so many people admire him.

I feel guilty celebrating Eid while people are dying all over the globe. I know that a lot of people like me might be having this same feeling. Reading this article might make you feel sad, but I believe we all need to be human beings first and then anything else in this world. We all have our differences, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But can’t we create a world where we can co-exist in peace and harmony together? 

Maybe we can. And I am looking forward to it, as an optimist. I might seem to be irrational, but sometimes it makes you feel a bit less guilty as a human being. Try being irrational sometimes.

Lastly, Eid Mubarak !

Let me know your thoughts on Eid. Remember, you matter to me. You matter to us.

Living In Nostalgia

The colorful days of Comilla still emerge in my mind when I become bored with the monotonous struggle of life. But is it only me who still wants to go back to his childhood? Or are there other folks with the same wish?

Whenever I think of my childhood, wholesome memories start flooding in from nowhere.

Every morning, my father turned on Cartoon Network so that I wake up for school. I attended a kindergarten located on the top of a hill. Walking up the slope required real effort, but it was worth it; running down the road was a thrilling experience, after all. I could feel the wind against my shirt every time I ran down. And it was not just the school location; there was a plum tree in the back of the campus, which I visited during every tiffin break. I would collect the plums in my tiffin box with never-ending enthusiasm. There were even times when I got into fights with my friends to bag the larger and riper fruit.

Imagine if non-living things could speak!

That small edible substance would probably laugh at us, and feel proud at the same moment. Today, whenever I buy that variety of plum from the market, I see a glimpse of my childhood in those fruit packets. The phenomenon is amazing when we think about it; wholesome memories embedded in such miniature objects.

Comilla days were full of such events. But the ones that attract me the most are those of rainy days, windy afternoons, and stormy nights; there seems to be something different about nature that draws me towards it.

Pappa (my father) would drive us through the cantonment at night in his Toyota. Relaxing in the backseat, I used to stare at the wonders on the side of the road. Pappa would turn on the song – Coffe House at least once in a while. In addition to the soothing tunes of the music, the body spray that he used created a very cozy atmosphere in the car. As I made myself more and more comfortable in the back seat, I would wish that the night never gets old.

The roads looked empty, but we knew that we had company.

More often than not, we caught the sight of a porcupine or two passing the road or heard the synchronized howl of a pack of foxes nearby. There were lots of foxes in that area, and they would inform us of their bold presence every night. I sometimes wonder how good times pass in the blink of an eye.

It has been ten years since we left that place.

I still imagine going back to 2008 and experiencing the same events again; I never seem to get tired of it. Even today, whenever I feel fed up with life, I decorate my room with fairy lights, use the same body spray that my dad used, and lay quietly on my bed. I close my eyes and turn on the same music he used to play while driving through the roads of Comilla Cantonment. As I keep listening to the same tune and lyrics, I start feeling something.

It is the year 2008, and it is Comilla.

I find myself in the back seat of our car. Pappa is driving through the Cantonment, passing hills and bushes on both sides of the road. The fragrance of Maxi (his perfume) and the song -Coffee House playing in my ears do far more than what a goodnight lullaby would.

Unfortunately, good moments never last long. I feel someone patting my shoulders.

“What is it, mom ?”

 “Sabik, you slept with your earphones plugged in again”! 

Mental health during lockdown : How late is too late ?

Till now, COVID 19 has taken away more than 3 million lives. Today, wherever we look, we see people who lost their family, friends, and jobs. We see the destabilization of state infrastructures. We see the most powerful swept away by the force of nature.

Amidst all these burning problems, mental health might seem to be an issue of a far lesser magnitude. But I, as a teenager, can guarantee that it’s certainly not as irrelevant as it may seem to many, at least when we consider the implications.

The inevitable lockdown circumstances have given rise to yet another new set of problems. Problems that, perhaps, wouldn’t catch our attention on a typical working day. Our inner vulnerabilities become the strongest when we are alone and have nobody to open up in front. This situation explains the rising trend of mental health issues during this lockdown period. It goes without mentioning that the worst sufferers are people with stress and anxiety disorders, inferiority complex, low self-esteem, and depression; many of them ultimately give up on life.

It’s saddening that such issues are also the most stigmatized ones of our society, accompanied by “the shame element” wherever they go. However, society doesn’t stay indifferent forever to the cries of the quiet. It wakes up with the light of candles lit on the streets, with the loud slogans of youths who lost their friend, with the shares of the last post that their friend gave. But maybe it’s too late by then; that friend’s messenger call would’ve better served its purpose if we gave it when they needed it the most.

And that’s where the question arises, ” How late is too late ?”

As human beings, we all have emotions. From the most carefree individual to the most sentimental guy in the group, everyone has some vulnerability or the other. These vulnerabilities make us human and not some invincible hero from a fictional movie. 

It’s not about being vulnerable. It’s about being too reluctant to admit it. Often, this reluctance leads us to bottle up our feelings within ourselves. And just like a glass overflows when it can’t take any more water, we go through a mental breakdown when we can’t keep our vulnerabilities within ourselves anymore. Some people survive it. And some people don’t.

We can tackle mental health problems, but only if we are willing to solve them. To reduce mental health issues, we need to start looking at mental health from a different angle. The sooner we remove the shame element, the sooner we can deal with this culture of negligence. Instead of talking about mental health for the sake of talking about it, we need to reach out to the sufferers. Often, they are the ones who stay isolated from the crew, wandering alone in the dark corridors of untold sorrow and unshared pain. However, to bring them out, all we need is a text that says :

” Hey! You okay there? You can share with me if there is something that’s bothering you! Remember I’m here for you, dear.” 

Sometimes, all it takes to save a life is a text. Just make sure that it’s not too late!

Lessons learned during quarantine

Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray

That this mighty scourge war may speedily pass away

Abraham Lincoln

The fight against COVID 19 is nothing less than a war. And just like a war leaves its scars on the people involved, COVID 19 will leave its ever-lasting impact on all of us who witnessed it. However, the effects may vary, and so may the scars.

I am not a COVID patient. Neither was I affected by it. Regardless, this pandemic has taught me some important life lessons so far, one of which I’m going to share with you all. And I believe a lot of us will be able to relate to my circumstances after reading this article.

The most important life lesson I learned from being quarantined is valuing my family members. It’s indeed shameful that it took an entire quarantine to realize that my family is the most important group for me. While I resided in Cadet College, a pre-military school, I never realized how much my family members matter. Owing to the movement restrictions imposed by this pandemic, however, I had no other option but to stay at home, which eventually gave me an ample amount of time to interact with my family. Due to lockdown circumstances, our household help couldn’t come for quite a while, ultimately creating a burden for my mother. My father then advised us to lend her a hand whenever she needs, while doing household chores.

As the days passed, I realized that it’s not only my mother’s responsibility to cook food, wash dishes after every meal and clean the house. It’s not any mother’s responsibility to do all these alone. It’s supposed to be done by the united effort of everyone in the family. There were instances when my mother was sick and my father busy, leaving me and my sister to manage the entire house by ourselves. We found it overwhelming, indeed. With every passing second, I found innumerable reasons to be grateful to my mom for the effort she puts in every day.

My emotional attachment towards my family increased with every dish I washed in the kitchen, with every breakfast I made, and with every room, I cleaned. I will never forget the smile my mother gave when I would lend her a hand in the kitchen or the expression on my sister’s face when I would offer to help her in arranging the clothes. As time went by, I felt more connected to my family, more attached to our humorous conversations at the dining table, and more compassionate towards each member. I felt more like a part of my family. And I will carry this lesson for the rest of my life.

If you are reading this, please feel free to share how the pandemic affected you and the lessons you have learned from this quarantine. I would love to hear your story. We would love to hear your story !