Sunday, December 23, 2007

Over The Rainbow by Harold Arlen (music) and EH Harburg (lyrics)

When all the world is a hopeless jumble
And the raindrops tumble all around
Heaven opens a magic lane
When all the clouds darken up the skyway
There's a rainbow highway to be found
Leading from your window pane
To a place behind the sun
Just a step beyond the rain

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
There's a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true

Some day I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemondrops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh why can't I?
Some day I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemondrops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh why can't I?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Imagine by John Lennon

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

How Can I Keep From Singing by Enya

My life goes on in endless song
Above earths lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation.

Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear its music ringing,
It sounds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?

While though the tempest loudly roars,
I hear the truth, it liveth.
And though the darkness round me close,
Songs in the night it giveth.

No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that rock Im clinging.
Since love is lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?

When tyrants tremble in their fear
And hear their death knell ringing,
When friends rejoice both far and near
How can I keep from singing?

In prison cell and dungeon vile
Our thoughts to them are winging,
When friends by shame are undefiled
How can I keep from singing?

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Spider and the Fly by Mary Howitt

Will you walk into my parlour? said the spider to the fly.
Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy,
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to shew when you are there.

Oh no, no, said the little Fly, to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair, can ne'er come down again.

I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high
Will you rest upon my little bed? said the Spider to the Fly.
There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest awhile, I'll snugly tuck you in!

Oh no, no, said the little Fly, for I've often heard it said
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!

Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, Dear friend what can I do,
To prove the warm affection I 've always felt for you?
I have within my pantry, good store of all that's nice
I'm sure you're very welcome, will you please to take a slice?

Oh no, no, said the little Fly, Kind Sir, that cannot be,
I've heard what's in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!

Sweet creature! said the Spider, you're witty and you're wise,
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I've a little looking-glass upon my parlour shelf,
If you'll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself.

I thank you, gentle sir, she said, for what you 're pleased to say,
And bidding you good morning now, I'll call another day.

The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again
So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready, to dine upon the Fly.

Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing,
Your robes are green and purple, there's a crest upon your head
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!

Alas, alas! How very soon this silly little Fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew,
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue

Thinking only of her crested head, poor foolish thing! At last,
Up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlour, but she ne'er came out again!

And now dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you ne'er give heed.
Unto an evil counsellor, close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

"Tonight I Can Write" By Pablo Neruda

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example, "The night is starry
and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance."

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is starry and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another's. She will be another's. As she was before my kisses.
Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Watch Me Grow

I believe its human nature to somehow take the good things in life for granted and forever mope around the not so good things in life. We tend to put aside our blessings, thinking of counting them another day, while running after things probably never meant for us in the first place.

It was a wonderful day today. People, who I had thought were lost, somehow came back into existence. Phone calls, text messages, e-cards, not to mention gifts all the way from kangaroo land and wonderful surprises the whole day.

A few of my crazy friends barged into my office with cake and flowers crawling with insects and sang to me. I was trying to be not embarrassed in front of colleagues who were trying to seem all indifferent towards the crazy situation. Some were desperately trying to sing along with my friends while chewing on to chicken bones. I got lots of hugs today, sweet words and wishes for a long and prosperous life. One even held up his hands, praying to the almighty; let this be the year of a ‘prince in shining armour’ to finally enter my life and sweep me off my feet. Sigh! The day ended with yet another birthday cake, with melting candles and three completely new friends at CafĂ© Mango Gulshan.

It suddenly feels like I am shedding my worn-out skin and watching the new one taking place with sparkles and hope in my eyes. I never imagined turning 25 without some friends who don’t seem to exist now at all. I guess I will have to do with the new skin on my back.

I will start over and learn everything from scratch. Counting sun rays through the curtains of my windows will be a thrill once again, and the moon would surely be following me around every night. Darkness will scare me out of my wits and it would be a thrill to make a new friend all over.

Living life would be an exhilarating experience all over, and I am willing to take a chance. Not giving up as yet, so watch while I fill the space with my stupidity, while you fill yours with vengeance.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Old Age and Trunks

I think I am going to have one of those days again, when hardly anything goes right. For one thing, I have to finish at least half of my cover story today, attend this boring Shakespeare class at 6 pm and then go all the way to Dhanmondi where I have to join my friends at Gazi's sister's holud.

Even two years ago, this would have been just any other day. Getting up in the morning, attending a number of classes (let's ignore the bunking period, sitting and moping at Bashori!), going to work, assignments, homework, student activity clubs, exams, shows, phone calls, the plastic smiles and I could go on and on and on. And now, I simply can't manage a day where I can probably count off the things that I need to do on my fingers! I guess this is what you call old age?

I doubt it. I am turning 25 in September 2007, and that’s not really old, is it? Kaushik da says that once you turn 25, you lose track of time and suddenly see yourself as a 40-year-old. Ok now that’s scary!

The days are turning out to be so drab and depressing. Is it because of the heat? I wonder. This heat makes me crazy and mad and makes me want to do crazy things like, cutting my hair off! Now why would that be something crazy??

I have this eerie sensation of this huge trunk, weighing on top of my head, filled with things that I need to sort out before taking the next step. It's getting heavier and heavier by the moment and I don’t know when it will just burst open and spill everything on the ground. Things would get messier. Maybe I should think about fixing and sorting out the trunk as soon as possible, before it becomes all the more unbearable.

Going back to work.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Approaching the Battle Field

I am going to the impossible tonight.

No, I am not going jump off my third floor balcony and see if I can actually pull a Bionic Woman stunt. I don’t think I would scream out loud either, though I really want to. I so wish I could walk all the way to St. Martin’s and just go on walking till my legs get tired.

I am going to get everything back. My sanity, my sense of being, the genuine smile and enthusiasm over anything and everything under the sun.

I don’t think it’s silly to want to fly, sit on a cloud and watch the world down below. I want to believe that there will be world peace and eventually all men and women will be equal and there will be no more wars and we can all chase butterflies and paint flowers and make music. I want to believe in the goodness of mankind.

Curled up on a couch, reading Gone with the Wind in my pajamas and crying with Scarlet O’Hara, eating apples and mangoes from a bowl; its raining outside, making loud splashing sounds while the maid runs outside to get the freshly washed clothes from the line (sounds delicious, like freshly baked cakes!).

I remember brightening up every time I would get a whiff of the wet earth or burning leaves.

I am going to do the impossible tonight. It’s a step towards attaining inner peace. I’ll be getting closer to the spiritual being that keeps slipping away every other day.

I am going to clean my room tonight. God as my witness, no matter how long it takes, I will scrub every inch and throw every unnecessary bit of paper. A good beginning, indeed.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Temper Tantrums

I finally got done with the story. And of course, had a little help from the boss herself to arrange the paragraphs and the ideas a little bit. It doesn’t look bad. Lets see what happens this Friday.

I had a pretty bad day today. I have been trying to keep my temper under control, but the more I try to do that, the worse it becomes. Like for instance, the other day I was screaming at both my mom and my dad, basically having an argument with my mother where my father was the referee. Now the thing is, I have been telling myself for days, to calm down and not to start screaming with ammu especially when abbu is going to be around for a couple of months. The whole thing is so juvenile and immature. Why do I have to scream at people to prove a point?

To make matters worse, I ended up screaming at Ashish da today at work. It was a little embarrassing. I know I could have kept my mouth shut, but I am so tired of people talking about things that they know nothing about! He made a random comment about a judge on Drockstars. It was really nothing and I could have stopped myself from screaming. But I don’t know what came over me and I screamed at him. I literally screamed at him and created a scene.

My horoscope for today even says that I should be a little careful about relating my feelings too openly with people since I might create a scene. I wish I had read it earlier, before anything actually happened.

So much for trying to get a hold on my emotions!

Sunday, June 24, 2007


I am so unsure of what I am doing. I had assumed that working on this story would probably be better for me, but everything is just getting hazier and I can actually see numbers and figures doing somersaults in front of my eyes!! I so need to scream!

I should have worked on this longer or maybe just should have given it to someone else in the team to work on. What in the world do I know about the Bangladesh economy and how the remittance has increased from a 3.8 to a 6 billion USD? And these figures have changed so much in the last few months that it is so hard to keep up with them!

I can only see and understand the plight of the poor young men with big dreamy eyes who want to flee to a foreign country for the sake of a better life and three meals a day. They sacrifice everything, their country, their families and step into this zone, which always existed only in their dreams. They move on and face the hardships, in spite of the uncertainties that prevail.

I can't seem to write a proper sentence anymore. There is no coherence, no sense, no impact, and no soul. I have no enthusiasm and I practically see everything in black and white and grey. I think I need to go home and sleep. It's almost 11 pm and I am still at work, typing away nonsense and have no idea what do for my cover.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

A weary-eyed cofession

I am SO PROUD of my abilities:D

I believe that I am a true communicator, or probably getting their soon. I can talk to people, smile at them, make them believe that the sun is really made of gold. My eyes can speak loud and clear, they define the all-worldly aura, pure sophistication, comprehension of the mind, soul and the heart. I understand. I am one of you. I am a part of you. I know how the world can get to you, sure, I have been there, done that. I am here for you. Look at me smiling out, shining and standing out in the crowd.

I am proud of my written word. Silence can sometimes work as a way out of many dilemmas; silence is strong, powerful. However, the written word takes over silence and gives it shape. You fix your points, defense and all the vocabulary you can gather. You make a list of your aims and targets and predict a probable future. You pick a point and talk about the pros and cons. I do that all the time, and smile at my success. The pen (in this case the keyboard) is indeed mightier than the sword.

But, you are too powerful for my words and all my worldly reasonings. I, thus, bow down to you, to your superior being, to the power of your dominance and the glamour that you showcase. You light up the dark with your stature, with a mere look, a shrug and a nod.

I suffocate yet I wonder at the space you create.

I bow down to you and look at you to write my fate . I now have silence for you, a peaceful and sweet silence for you to taste.

Now I belong to you.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Memory Attack - (i)

There are many a time when I get hit by a rush of memories. Sometimes they make me sad, at times they make me laugh out loud, smile secretly or just cry like a baby. It is an usual scene for me, so it really is not a big deal:) Recently, however, I have been getting these rushes of flashes and memory-attacks a whole lot more than usual.

During the Gulf War (the first one of course), we had to flee to Jeddah, the Western Province from Dhahran, the Eastern Province, where we lived in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I was not more than 7 or 8 and used to have tons of fun with my cousin Kashfi, who used to go to the International Philippines School back then. I asked her to teach me a song that she learnt at school.

It was a very sweet song, and I loved the childlike flow to it while singing. I put the lyric below, though I am sure I forgot a few of the words.

Smile the while you kiss me sad adieu,
When the clouds go by I'll come to you,
La la la ta da ta da,
Till we meet again, my dear.

Wedding bells will ring so merrily,
Every tear, will be a memory,
So wait and pray each night for me,
Till we meet again.

Now when I remember this song, or just hum it to myself, I realise the sorrow being expressed here. It's beautiful yet sad, especially when one sings it. Whoever wrote it definitely has a way with words and also has a beautiful way of saying goodbye, very moving.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Lighting a Candle for the Martyrs

The best part about Independence Day to me is the night before when the survivors and the witnesses from the war relive the moments and share them with the world. I was watching people like Shireen Haq and Sultana Kamal on television last night and was listening to what they had to say.

More than what they had to say, what intrigued me was what their eyes had to say instead. When Bangladesh was declared an independent country, names of several intellectuals and people who actually made a difference in the country were being announced on Betar. Names like Munier Chowdhury, Shahidullah Kaiser and many more were being announced, when Sultana and her little sister heard their mother’s name being announced as well, as one of those who had to sacrifice life in return for freedom. She had to hear it on the radio, that along with all the intellectuals who were brutally killed, her mother was one of them. As she said, it was very difficult to absorb.

My imagination, which sometimes crosses its own limits, led me to actually see reflections of houses burning, people running away, murder and rape in their eyes – all the more vibrant, expressive and scared.

Lighting a candle for each martyr is probably not enough.

But I have so much to be thankful for:

  • three meals a day
  • a roof on my head
  • the option to choose my way of life (well…..)
  • spending a holiday doing absolutely nothing
  • taking life for granted

And so much more.

This write up might not make much sense to some, but I was just writing down my thoughts, trying to figure out what I would have done if I were a child of the 70’s and watched my family being dragged to the hell hole, screaming and crying and scared and absolutely pathetic. I guess you would need more strength to watch a loved one suffer and rather take it on yourself.

Nonetheless, the spirits of those are in fact walking around, at least I believe they are, watching us, listening to us speak, in fact even watching me write this silly entry. Maybe they are even screaming, trying to stop those who are corrupting and re-writing history.

I walk free and question those who block my path, not that I get an answer, but I still ask.

For an independent Bangladesh, on its 36th year: March 26, 2007.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Anything but that

Oh! To get drunk and jump off a roof!

Flying and flying, and floating in the air,
The wind blowing; it's a dark dark night.
It's a dark dark night and I can see through everything.

As Meatloaf sings,
"I would do anything for love...
But I won't do that.."

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Tying the Knot Tight

White weddings charmed me as a little girl. They still do sometimes. Owing to volumes of fairy tales in my collection, and of course all the Hollywood and 'Bollywood' flicks that I have been watching repeatedly over the years, I naturally fell in love with stories ending with a 'and they lived happily ever after'. I took it for granted and expected every story that I read or watched on the tube to end in the very same way.

With eyes aging a little more than five-years-old, I watched in wonder the glamour and the glitter on television. As I sipped on my homemade orange juice, I watched intently as the happy young couple finally got what they wanted, a chance to be together for the rest of their lives. There were horses, a carriage, a jewelled umbrella, the blushing bride covered in red and gold, a handsome groom sitting next to her wearing a traditional turban and a sword by his side, ready to slay any dragon that would cross his lady's path. I would sigh and wonder about my knight in a shining armour, riding a white stallion, sweeping me off my feet and taking me far, far away from the wicked witches in the castles, ogres under the bridges and also from all those bullies at the playground at school. I was clearly tired of the woes in my life by then and was looking for a way to freedom.

Over the years, the vision of this knight on a white horse lingered on for quite some time, before fading away with the rest of my fairytale characters. I stopped building castles, fighting pirates at sea and asking my father questions about how magicians do their magic. I realised, while growing up, that if by default, being a girl had automatically made me a part of certain institutions, philosophies and social nets created by the people themselves. I was suddenly being judged and dictated. Words like decorum and dignity, as Julie Garwood would say, were being drummed into me. This time I had a different list of questions to ask.

Still a buff for glitter and mushy movies from 'Bollywood', I was obviously taken by the title 'Vivah', starring Shahid Kapoor with his heart stealing smiles and the sweet Amrita Rao. Though topping the charts in India, I was fairly disappointed with the ideas that prevail in our society, shown through this movie, though it was indeed an eye-opener for many a hard core patriarch. At the end of the movie, the heroine is seen suffering from severe burns from a fire that starts at her home, amidst all the joyous wedding preparations by family members and neighbours living in the colony. As she is taken to the hospital, her family is shown shattered, merely for the fact that the girl now, will not be able to get married the next day as scheduled. In fact, with her burns, she might never be able to get married at all. In a nutshell, she now has no significant purpose for surviving in society.

Even today, in a society like ours, a man, with a stable job, a proper bank account, a flat or two to his name and finally a wife to look after him, bear him heirs and look pretty and cheerful at family get-togethers, is defined as a complete human being. A woman, on the other hand, is never close to completing her sense of femininity if she does not marry, no matter how much she has worked to become a financial and a social equal to her male counterpart. Indeed, marriage plays a very significant role in defining as to who one really is, especially for a woman.

I remember a few months ago, while I was standing in line to pay the cashier at the super market, I spotted a girl of about 12 with her mother standing in the line next to mine. The mother, a dignified and a soft-spoken woman was explaining to her friend, waiting in the same line, as to how many dentists she had to consult for the sake of her daughter. I noticed that the little girl had a tooth missing right in front, which she had lost with a bad fall while playing at school. I figured that her mother was talking about one of those artificial teeth, which would cost her a fortune. I was suddenly feeling warm and fuzzy inside. Here was a mother who was genuinely worried about her little girl and was doing all she could to fix her tooth. Motherly love thought I, giving a thought or two to my own mother who was waiting at home for the grocery. “She won't get any good marriage proposals if we don't do anything about her tooth now, bhabi,” I hear her say next. “Oh yes!” replied the bhabi. “Now you will have to pay a fortune for both her tooth and a grand wedding when she is older.” That very day, the little girl learnt yet another lesson about growing up as woman in our society.

Right from the birth of a baby girl to the day she is finally married off, the parents are constantly doing everything they can to build their daughters according to what a probable suitor in the future would want in a wife. They are taught how to cook, not to develop their survival instincts, but to please their future husbands. They are taught to sew and knit, not for the beauty of the art, but to mend the button or the torn socks in a future household. There was a time when women were not sent to school since no one would want a wife who knew more than her husband. Women were then sent to school, since their husbands wanted wives who could at least read and write, but many would never finish university since it was not necessary, especially after getting married. Men then wanted 'working-women' as wives, giving rise to many a woman taking up a subject under Humanities at university for a respectable teaching position at a local school or college. Even today, parents think twice about funding an education in subjects like Physiotherapy dentistry for their daughters, for the fear of a suitor who would refuse to bear the tuition fees in the future.

The dream of a 'good marriage proposal' becomes the standard line for every other girl, or rather her parents. I wonder at the parents who used to bury their newborn baby girls years ago. There are times when I feel that maybe the parents were actually doing the babies a big favour rather than committing a crime. A life, with the purpose of being a showpiece and a glittery object in a new household, is not worth living.

Volume 6 Issue 9 | March 9, 2007 |

Copyright (R) 2007

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Drawing a Line with Reality

There is no suicide for which all society is not responsible. - Cyril Connolly

Sometimes, life just gets to be too much of a hassle. With an everyday growing need to be the best in whatever one does, eventually, one simply loses the initial enthusiasm and the innocence involved behind doing something one really loves. In a society where the battle between the weak and the strong are defined and judged in terms of finance, gender, religion and social class, there is always a clash with an emerging group whose actions and thoughts reflect peace and equality in the form of creativity and art. Young people in particular conjure up a world of their own and desperately try to draw a relation between reality and their dreams. Practically speaking, in spite of all the long after-dinner discussions about how we should all work towards a better society, somehow we are the ones who actually shirk away from it.

In the last four years, other than the incidents that I read about in the papers, four people I knew took their lives. What strikes me, is that all four of them were artistic in nature and actually defined the phrase "creativity within one's own soul". Something else that hit me was that all of them were bright and young women between the ages of 18 and 24. All of them were students in leading private educational institutions and had a circle of friends of their own. They unconsciously were out to make a difference around them with the extraordinary abilities that they had.

Monica was a second year student at a leading private university and was part of a writing club. Just starting off her life at the age of 21, she would use her sensitivity about the happenings around her and write them down. She wrote poetry and fiction about the social condition, dirty politics within friends and relationships between parents and children, lovers, even between nature and living beings. One fine day, she kills herself merely because her work and proficiency would not get recognised by her family, friends and society. One might relate this incident to the famous poet Sylvia Plath who took her own life, and point out the romantic essence that goes with all kinds of deeds performed by writers and poets. However, in a society like ours, there might be many more reasons than actually meet the eye.

These youngsters somehow become frustrated at the fact that their abilities do not get recognised or given due respect by their family members merely because they happen to be girls. Other suicide cases involve upcoming public speakers, talented musicians and outstanding photographers. Each of them opted to give up on life, instead of facing the everyday challenges, which turned out to be harder and harder to keep up with in life.

Experts say that the idea of misinterpreting reality is called Psychosis, which actually results in suicide attempts because the incorrect perceptions can cause severe suffering and a false belief that no hope exists. People usually need to believe that there is a purpose to their lives. It is a spiritual issue rather than a medical or psychiatric one. Stress at home, work, and in the entertainment and information media are causing more reports of people "cracking," or mentally "breaking down," than ever before. Somehow, the mind of a creator dwells on a level which normal people cannot seem to get or comprehend.

In our society, women are still restricted to areas where their ideas, thoughts and creations are not acknowledged by others. Even at home, these young girls do not get the support that they require to trend on their chosen paths. Most parents still think that girls should not have an outlet to expose their inner talents or creativity, so that they don't miss out on a well-to-do marriage proposal. Since marriage seems to be the solution to every single problem, sometimes, many young women are also forced into it, through emotional blackmailing, a threat to stop their education or being locked at home.

Obviously we as a society have a greater responsibility to promote and encourage the creativity of young people and also recognise the warning signs of when they cannot cope with in reality. Unless we are more vigilant and compassionate towards our young, we will continue to lose such bright, beautiful individuals.

Volume 4 Issue 51 | June 17, 2005 |

Copyright (R) 2005

Being Young

Life begins at 40, they say. But even 40 year olds might just be a little bit nostalgic about the fresh flavour of youth, of a tender blush on the cheeks, of the enthusiasm over the simple budding of flowers and living on the verge of danger.

Youth comes but once in a lifetime as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow put it. Just once do ripples on the pond seem amusing, the reflection of a loved one on the face of the moon seem real and the so-called realisation, somewhere at the back of the head, of forever living on a bed of roses.

The young cling on to these innocent dreams to survive, creating their own worlds and building an urge to conquer and make the universe a better place. The more experienced or the elderly merely smile at these thoughts, even wishing back to the good old days, when thinking the impossible was a habit and building castles in the air was a favourite pastime.

Lately however, I have been wondering what the children, held hostage in Russia, were thinking about when they were cramped together. I wonder what spectacles of youth they missed in those three days, not to mention what they will be missing now.

On every one of those days, they were probably hoping for someone to come and take them out of the mess. An unimaginable clutter, in which they had never even dreamed that they would get themselves into, maybe not even in their nightmares. With no food and water, these children were deprived of the simple task of imagining for more. All that they could have a taste of was their own fear and an uncertainty of whether to accept death or be granted with life again.

I am sure that they could very well hear the wails of their parents, hurdling outside the school area, screaming incomprehensible words and noises, trying to have a peak at their child or at least hear a simple word, and make sure that they were alive.

For three days, the youth in another part of the world lost their ability to dream and to think the unthinkable. Their desires were merely limited to a plate of hot food, water, and a place to sleep, free of the thoughts of slow and torturous death.

I also wonder as to what struck the children when they were on the verge of their deaths. The letters which were supposed to be written to the long lost friends, the childhood photographs of the slumber party from the summer of 1996 to be arranged and marked, the Friday night concert, a sorry to your best friend for the horrible and meaningless fight you picked with him last week, daddy's hug after coming home from work, mummy's raspberry pies and the innumerable scolding for sitting down to do homework.

I wonder what the world was doing, when these kids were dying of hunger and thirst and hat to gulp down their cries for fear of being shot. I wonder what everyone was up to when these youngsters had to get their brains blown out in the blasts or had to get shot at while fleeing from their captors.

I know what I was doing. I was probably planning my 22nd birthday party. I am sure I was listing out the 35 people I had to invite, arguing with Ma about the menu and making my room as comfortable as possible for my friends. When the survivors, dripping with blood, were being shown to the whole world, I think I was doing my last bit of shopping for Pringles, coke and the latest series of Friends for everyone to watch, cry and smile over Rachel and Ross getting back again.

Well, is that not the essence of youth? Laughing and crying over petty situations even though unreal, giggling on the telephone with the person you have a crush on, travelling with buddies to far-off places during semester breaks, staying up nights to finish the project due the next day at university, planning a 6-a-side cricket match and throwing a surprise birthday party for your friend. It is the little things that matter, which have the youth so excited about living, in the real sense of the word.

Volume 4 Issue 12 | September 10, 2004 |

Copyright (R) 2004

Moments before she left

She practically flew out of the conference. Everything blurry in front of her eyes, somehow she managed to hail a cab and instruct the driver to take her to 27 Sherard Road, East Ham. After settling down in the taxi, realisation dawned upon her that it would take her at least an hour and a half to reach the hotel. Maybe I should just head towards the airport, she thought. The return ticket to Dhaka was lying in her hotel room, Oh shucks! She reminded herself. All she could do was just sit, wait till she reached her hotel, and pray for everything to be as it was before.

Just 30 minutes ago, she remembered that her cell phone was still switched on. Oops! Don't want it to go blaring right in the middle of my presentation. That's when she found the sign of an envelope blinking on the screen of her phone. I must have missed this one in the London traffic with all it's blaring horns, she rolled her eyes. Ever since she reached London a week ago, she could barely keep up with everything around her. Even though it was her second trip to London, she was having a tough time getting used to the different time zone, hardly able to keep her eyes open during the daytime and redefining insomnia at night. However, she was very excited to be there. Being part of a junior linguistics research team in Dhaka, she worked very hard on a paper, describing her ideas and concepts regarding teaching foreign languages to second language learners of all ages.

It was on the main conference day, when she received a text message from her brother. Apuni, come home asap. Ma doesn't have much time left. Reaching her hotel, she leaped out of the taxi and ran to her room. Grabbing her travel bag, purse and taking five minutes to cast a last look around her hotel room, in case she missed anything important, ran out of the hotel and took the taxi all the way to Heathrow International Airport.

With passing moments, she couldn't keep herself calm any longer. It seemed like an eternity before she could actually reach her family back home. She let the tears flow when an image of her mother's face hovered in front of her eyes. I want to be there when they take that machine off her. Her family was struck with fear when they realised that the ever-jolly aunt and the fun mom wouldn't live long, when she was diagnosed with blood cancer. She, along with the rest of her siblings, was pleasantly surprised with their mother's ability to fight the disease and go on for a few more years.

As she got on the plane and strapped herself with the seat belt, she couldn't help thinking of the times when she and her siblings were younger and life back then was simply a routine, which everyone had to follow, never worrying about the hardships in life. Life was a bed of roses for all of them, especially with a mother who herself was a little more than a child. She would laugh heartily with the rest of the kids while watching TV or try to get into the gossiping rituals, with her daughter and her friends during their sleep- overs, much to her daughter's embarrassment.

As she slowly dozed off to sleep, she went back to a time when she was just six years old. Her four-year-old brother and she were trying to hide the expensive piece of flower vase from their father, now broken.

They fixed it up with super glue, at least they thought they did, and placed it back up on the shelf, beside their mother's precious crystal horse. They did get grounded though, when they were found guilty of the 'crime' and were not allowed to watch Voltron, Sesame Street or Mr. Rogers on TV for the rest of the day. She was especially hurt when she wasn't allowed to watch Care Bears that evening and couldn't help thinking of how horrible it was to live with her parents. I can't wait to grow up, she cried to herself. That was when her mother amused them with her magical abilities. Her mother sat down on the ground and asked the children to close their eyes and concentrate hard. When they opened their eyes, abraca dabra, she came up with oranges, within seconds and that too from thin air! Even though her brother did claim that he had seen their mother cheat, when he had opened his eyes slightly and peeked at her. She had a bowl of oranges hidden behind her.

Finally reaching Zia International Airport, she was too exhausted to think of what was happening around her. Getting on yet another cab, she reached the hospital where her family was waiting. Waiting for what, she wondered. Her mother to die?

Life without her mother was simply unimaginable. In spite of all their fights, tears and screaming at each other late into the night, she needed her mother to be with her and listen to her non-stop chattering. She needed her mother when she was angry and had to scream at someone. She needed her when she had to call someone and share the silliest of information and just see her mother's fuming face when she would come home late.

She slowly stepped inside the room, where her mother was breathing softly. Her mother looked peaceful and strangely relieved, not at all scared or tensed about going to a new place, as was her habit. She knelt down and held her mother's hand. She held me when I breathed my first. "We'll have to take the machine off now," a voice spoke to her. I want to hold her hand when she breathes her last.

As the family gathered around, seemingly to witness her mother's soul go away to a place unknown, she could actually imagine her mother happy and smiling to have the whole family together. "I would have to be on my death bed to see the family standing together under the same roof, holding no grudge against one another," she remembered her mother telling her aunt, clearly upset over the little squabbles that went on forever in the extended family.

The machine beeped for the last time. Her mother's breathing became slower, eventually dying away to a whisper. She held her mother's hand and told her the one thing she hardly ever let her know. She loved her and she was sure that from somewhere in God's own abode, she heard her mother respond, in her smiling and playful drawl.

Volume 4 Issue 46 | May 13, 2005 |

Copyright (R) 2005

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Springing back to life: Amar golpo

I write this story
To see my dreams,
To make them real,
To have you near.

I write my story
To hear you breathe,
To watch you smile and
To feel your touch.

Yet, my unfinished story
Is left unheard, untouched, unfelt
Cold and lonely
Dark and stormy

Springing back to life: Porajoy

I believe – that one day you will unveil those tears,
That you will smile and so will your eyes,
That you will feel the ice cracking beneath,
And won't choke on the wishes that you make
Every sleepless night, upon the star that you pretend to see,
And let them flow free…

Springing back to life: Gaanwala

I paint you with my music.
Smoothen that smile on your face
And colour your heart on the canvas.

I seem to be losing the colour,
The music that I create and
The heart on the canvas,
A world now empty.

Springing back to life: Ke

It must be you shining in the sky,
Tugging at my heart
Every time it rains.

Springing back to life: Tobuo

… but what is love without a little sorrow,
With no tears pouring like the rain.

It is all about being a silent crust
Cracking within.

About watching your dreams
Crashing down to pieces,

Suffering in solitude,
Withering in pain.

… I smile amidst the tears and
I love you

Springing back to life: Shesh

With you and your
Words in my heart,
My story had no beginning,
Neither does it come to an end.

Springing back to life: Bristy

Let the rain wash away
Those sweet memories,
Long gone tales of
Building a home together,
Growing flowers and
Climbing those far away mountains.

Springing back to life: Ghum ashena

Yet another sleepless night and
I wish could fly.
I wish I could touch the moon and
Light up the darkness lingering within.

Yet another sleepless night and
I hear music.
I fondle it softly with my fingers,
And carry the tune until sunrise.

You are on my mind,
And it's you that I see.
It's for you that I sing
Sleepless tonight.

Springing back to life: Boka manushta

She flies away
From my shadows,
Never turns to peek
Or watch me watch her.
She is now the blue sky,
Lost amongst
The white clouds,
But I still await her return,
Laugh with her tinkling voice,
Sing in her memory.

Springing back to life: Ghumparani gaan

Goddess of the sky,
Princess of my heart,
Your smile shines through
The darkness in me.

As you close your eyes
And enter the world of
Dreams and fairytales,
I will be there watching you,
Singing this lullaby.

If ever it may be,
That you should forget
My lullaby,
I shall sing to my heart's content,
Remembering the Aura
That once filled my being.

Springing back to life: Obhiman

The sky can be as blue as ever,
And the sun may smile and shine,
Dew drops gather outside my window,
Where the music seems to get louder and louder.

I have lost my smile,
Lost my soul and
Lost the desire to live.
All I want is a voice to
Sing out loud in silence.

Amar Ekush

I speak:

thoughts, colours, festivities, greatness, sorrow, happiness, pride, envy, greed...

people, culture, race, education, land, nation...

fields, birds, flowers, trees, forests and rivers...

history, battles, bloodshed, chains, freedom, independence...

I stand proud,

I speak of my identity.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I got this new phone (Sony Ericsson K750i ;) ) and something that I discovered was the thrill of capturing anything and everything with the camera (2 mega pixels). So I took it to Chittagong with me during the Eid-ul-azha break to take pictures of all my cousins, nephews, nieces, uncles, aunties, grandparents of all sorts. Frankly speaking, I think I could have enjoyed the trip much more if I was not under the pressure of visiting the thousand and one relatives that I happen to have there. To make it all worse, it would get colder in the evenings.

After two days of 'vacationing', we reached Dhaka at 4:30 am in the morning, shivering in the cold, waiting for the car to come pick us up. It was horrible and I promised myself that I would never go back to Chittagong in the winter and that too without any proper shields from the winter air. While I was feeling sorry for myself, a man dressed in a torn shirt and trousers (rags basically) passed by. He was filthy, was thin and barefoot. I chose not to see him, though I could not help peeking once in a while.

Then I looked up at the sky and saw the full moon. At the cost of being all dramatic, the sight of that moon actually took my mind away from all my so called trouble. It was not stunningly beautiful, though. In any case, it helped me to gaze at something literally out of this world and just for a moment, remember the times when I used to sit up at the back seat of the car, while my dad would drive, and watch the moon following our car. Sometime in the middle, I would fall asleep and then wake up to find the moon still shining down on my face.

I wanted to hold on to the memory, but I know that it would get lost in the middle of all the chaos that we are so used to in our daily life. So, I took a picture of the moon instead. Well, hail to technology, that’s all I can say. :)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

To begin with this year...

I did not do much on New Year's Eve, except for sitting and wondering what to do. I did in fact think of giving my room a good spring-cleaning. But then, I simply did not have the strength to do so. Since I am not very fond of parties in Dhaka, where all you are expected to do is drink yourself to insanity and hook up with random people (I know I am being unfairly judgemental), I prepared myself, like every New Year's Eve, for a bowl full of Doritos, a bottle of coke and a movie on my hone theatre system (it was DVD time on my pre-historic PC monitor).

What drained my energy next was thinking of what movie to watch. The Shawshank Redemption? Too depressing in the beginning, though an excellent picture I must add. I have been meaning to watch Lost in Translation for a while. Ok, that could be a start. I kept dwindling in my mind for another movie. What if I decided in the middle that the movie was boring, or depressing or way too optimistic or very unreal or too mushy for my taste? I did wander about the oldies for a while. My all-time favourite, Audrey Hepburn. Breakfast at Tiffany's maybe?

Drained, drained, drained. Thinking of all these movies drained away my energy completely! I closed my eyes for just a minute, taking long gulps of breaths to steady my restless mind. I opened my eyes and it was 10:30 am in the morning, the first day of 2007 and Eid-ul-Azha in Bangladesh.

Well, I must not complain. A few days later, I received mail. I don't mean emails, but real-life mail sent via the post, where they crossed over miles and miles to get to my doorstep. The first one was an Eid card / New Year's greetings all the way from Santa Barbara from my childhood friends, the twins Tina and Gina and their sister Habiba. The second one was a calendar from a beauty parlour, Persona, one of those places where all the big names go to in Dhaka. The third and the fourth ones were bills of various kinds, the Internet, newspaper etc. The next one was from Hearst Newspapers in Houston, letting me know that they were very happy to receive an application from Dhaka but unfortunately I did not make the candidate list.

Oh well, I guess good things come in small packages.