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Growing Up As The Ninth Child

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Growing Up As The Ninth Child

It's tough being in family of 15!

It's tough being in family of 15!

Image credited to Maleehah H.

It's tough being in family of 15!

Image credited to Maleehah H.

Image credited to Maleehah H.

It's tough being in family of 15!

Maleehah H., Writer

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!Jamshed pressed his face against the small talking box. His eyelids drooped and he slowly fell asleep. Suddenly awake, he looked around. The small box was nowhere in sight. Confused, he woke himself up and got off his bed. “Today in  Dhaka…” a small voice could be heard from the room next door. Jamshed snuck in and saw his sister with the radio laying next to her.

This happened often in the family of 15. People say that they often fight with their siblings, and those without siblings may question the actual probability of this. I am not a reliable source for this, considering I am an only child. So I asked my dad how he treated his many siblings. He told me the stories of his large family in the once-developing country of Bangladesh.

At the time, many of its citizens did not own phones, televisions, or other assorted technology. However, luck bestowed itself upon my dad’s family, and they were able to afford many leisures. These leisures included two radios and one television. “We used [bamboo sticks] and placed the antennas on the top to get a better signal,” my dad recalls. “We then connected them to the television in the house.”

Historically, Bangladesh has had a large percentage of people in poverty. In 1972, the poverty rate was 85%. By 2016 however, numbers had improved, as only 14% were in poverty. Today, It is still common to see a homeless or starving family in Bangladesh, despite attempts to change things. At the time, what my dad and his family owned would make them among those considered very wealthy.

To pass the time, my dad and his siblings played games. Since their oldest sibling was 16 years older than my dad, he did not play with my dad very often. The older siblings were in college, so they rarely came home. The younger siblings, however, enjoyed playing many games including Ludo, Ha Dodo, and soccer. Another hobby among the siblings was stealing baby birds from nests and taking care of them.

“We tried to raise birds. We thought they were eating the tree (bark). We tried to feed them rice but they did not eat, so we thought that we should cut the tree branch and feed them.” My dad recalls slicing open part of his left index finger while trying to cut the piece of wood. His finger is still missing that part of his skin. His finger is not the only evidence of a wound from long ago.

My dad once injured his leg in a running competition with his other relatives. “When we ran, we stepped on a [snail shell] and it broke. But it was so sharp and for some reason, I tripped and cut my knee.” He’d sliced himself open on a broken snail shell or piece of a shattered bottle. Fortunately, his cousin, who was knowledgeable in first aid, was there to attend to his wounds. The scar is still on his knee to remind him of that fateful day as the many of his other scars also do.

Now that these 15 siblings have all grown up, they’ve become much more mature, with their own families and careers. They lead very content lives as accountants, CEO’s, engineers, and more. They get along well (often spending too much time together) and likely will for years to come.

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About the Writer
Maleehah H., Writer

Maleehah likes to draw, write stories, and take pictures of what she thinks is beautiful. She has an allergy to peanuts and fur. Her dad has 12 siblings...

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Growing Up As The Ninth Child