Writing 101,day, 17: A map your muse

IMG_1154

Assignment: Today let a map be your muse.

Tell us about your connection to a place.

I have decided to choose Bangladesh as the place ,  the lyrics  of  the song I am about to post are by  Rabindranath Tagore. I have translated the Bengali words into English.My connection is I am a Bengali and was raised in Bangladesh. My ancestors are from Bangladesh.

Map of Comilla

Pen a poem inspired by the area’s topography.

TRANSLATION:

Mother means Bangladesh in this poem.

Today, from the heart of Bangladesh

O Mother, when did you appear in such an exceptional way!

O Mother I repeatedly  gaze at you,

I cannot have enough of you.

O Mother the doors of your temple are unlocked today!

Your right hand carries the blazing sword,

Your left removes fear and apprehension.

Your eyes reveal affection,

while your forehead conveys fierce resolve.

O ,Mother what an image of you,

I behold today.

O my dear Mother your untied hair conceals thunder

The edge of your garment glitters in the sun.

I neglected to look at you,

thinking my sad mother ,

Is alone in the deserted house .

There is no end to her misfortune.

But where is your miserable attire?

Where is that  sad smile?

The sky is adorned with

The lustre of your feet.

On this night of misery

Flood the world with the flow of happiness,

Your courage resonates in  my heart!

……………………………….. 🙂

 

 

 

Daily Prompt: When Childhood Ends

pad2015-s1.png (308×60)

Write about a defining moment in your life when you were forced to grow up in an instant(or Instants).

After spending two years in the local college in Comilla my hometown in Bangladesh. I suddenly realized I was too unhappy to continue my education in the same college.I must look for a different  one, a girl’s college, but the only one I could go to was in the big city.

I packed my things and traveled by train at 3 AM in the morning to Dhaka, in Bangladesh. When I reached the college and met some of my classmates in the college dormitory, I realized instantly it was my time to grow up.

Mom and my siblings won’t be there to complain or talk about my new classmates, good or bad, I’d have to, ‘grin and bear it’ I had some help from a friend of my parents who lived in the same city, who did more than I could ask from a real uncle.

He invited me to go to his house every week-end. I was slowly getting used to living far away from my home. This is where my process of growing up was happening. Occasionally I felt a twinge of pain, I  tried to overcome it by starting a conversation with my uncle or  the classmates in college whoever happened to be there at that time, but  it was persistent, I tried to fight it off by concentrating on stories my classmates used to tell me, but it was not easy.

The only antidote for my pain were the songs I learned in school when I was in third standard, in presentation convent school, I used to sit by myself and hum the tune. Those childhood memories took me to a world where I had the most fun.

I grew up but it was not easy.

………………………………… 🙂

Writing 101, Day Ten: Update your readers over a cup of coffee

Today’s assignment: Write an update post in the form of a virtual coffee date.

Or

*Set your poem or short story in a cafe.

Or

*Go to your neighborhood spot with your laptop or notebook and free-write for 20 minutes, prompted by what you observe.

Or

*Love or hate coffee ? Tell us why.

I think, “Love or hate coffee” is one I’d like to write about.

I do not love coffee and I do not hate it either.

Here is why. I was introduced to tea at a very early age. Maybe because I come from a country where tea is popular, because it’s grown there. We export it to countries all over the world. It’s the main reason coffee was not imported in our countries for a long time.

Now because of the people of  my country travel a lot( Bangladesh). They have tasted it out of curiosity, some feel it tastes good, some think it’s not that tasty, they like it since it’s available all over the world and it makes them feel special and cool.It’s for this reason coffee is available in Bangladesh, but it’very expensive, compared to tea. The stores charge a lot of money for coffee mainly to discourage the inhabitants to pick up the habit of drinking coffee instead of tea.

For me nothing about it makes me want to drink it, since it is stylish, and the phrase, “Let’s go for coffee,” does not attract my attention.

I’m a creature of habit, I’ve had tea, since I started going to school. Rain or shine I had my cup of tea. It is one drink I love and am not about to desert it for something else, such as coffee, hot chocolate or any kind of juice. It’s all about pleasure in my case, the only drink that provides it is tea.

When someone visits our house first thing I’d say is, “Cha khaben?”( would you like a cup of tea?)To these same people if I say, “Coffee khaben?”( would you like a cup of coffee?)

Their response would be, “kee bollen?”( What did you say?)

It would mean so you have forgotten your roots. It is part of our culture. For me it’s part of my habit. I cannot think of replacing tea for coffee.

Daily Prompt: Que Sera Sera

pad2015-s1.png (308×60)

Do you believe in fate or do you believe you can control your destiny?

The prompt today, reminds me  of my favorite song, Que Sera Sera, whatever will be will be.

When I was a little girl I never asked my mother what will I be. I knew nothing about fate or destiny. I was living each day to the fullest, I played with my siblings, I watched my mother cook, sometimes imitated her. Then I’d sit on the grass beside my Dad’s easy chair and talk to him for hours, of course this was after school and my Dad was back from work.

Then one morning at about ten AM . I heard a loud scream coming from Dad’s bedroom. We were playing i.e  we the young ones. We stopped and rushed to  Dad’s bedroom. There to my utmost horror I found my mother crying and my Dad was dying.

In one hour everything changed, we were crying , we had no idea our Dad had left us for good. Within six months we moved out of our precious home to go to an unknown place, it was my parents original homeland. There was no home waiting for us, my elder brother made arrangements to go to our maternal grandparents home in the village, until he could buy one in the small town nearby.

After six months my brother found a house for sale and bought it. If I were to guess what all this was called, I’d say it was our fate. We couldn’t control our Dad’s death, it would happen, it is here that God takes the reins in His hands. My Dad’s time was up, we couldn’t implore God to give us more time, His decree was final.

Sadly we understood,no one can change fate. It took us a long time, but we learned to accept it, and how cruel it is.

Destiny however was a challenge, I was twelve, with Dad’s passing there was no income, although  Dad was an Assistant Secretary in the Ministry Of Defense, his family was denied pension, their argument was, he died before  he was fifty-five years old, hence his family was ineligible for pension.

My Dad had provident fund where he had some money and life insurance. It probably was sufficient for us to live on for a while. Here my brother played with destiny and almost lost all of it by trying to invest in a business.

We realized soon enough we can change our destiny if we seriously studied and got a good education. Most of us siblings did that , accomplished our goal, except the two black sheep in the family, they had no desire to change.

I believe it’s possible to change our destiny if we put in the effort. I studied, got an education which helped me  get a job. Had I done the  opposite, I wouldn’t be doing this prompt today but struggling to survive!

…………………………….. 🙂

 

 

Blogging 101, Day Eleven: Make a prompt personal

Today’s assignment: Publish a post based on your own, personalized take on a blogging prompt.

Daring greatly : It takes courage and vulnerability, to, “dare greatly.” For this week’s inspiration, explore the significance of sincerity,vulnerability, and courage in your writing.

My quest for recognition came in the latter part of 2011. At this time I dared to register in an online course, which seemed to cater to the needs of Pakistanis. It was all about the great Poet and Philosopher, Allama Iqbal. I read two verses of one of his poems and went looking for more. The saying I believe is true,”Seek and ye shall find.”

I read this on the cover of a book belonging to my eldest brother.My brother pointed out the lines to me and said,Ranu read the lines and tell me what it means, I was about nine years old then I told him from my nine year old mind, “look for it and you shall find it.”

At that time my brother smiled and said,”I can see there is hope for you.”

That was then but this is now. I registered for the course. I could sense I wasn’t received well by the participants because I was a Bengali , in their mind I am a traitor, the reason I was an East Pakistani and we are noted for separating from West Pakistan, and have conveniently carved out a country named Bangladesh for ourselves,. I knew they hated me, why was I blamed I had no part in it, the politicians in their own interest did the damage. Let’s come to what’s happening now at this moment i.e same situation with different players.

This year a new group of Pakistanis have joined the course, I quickly told on the blog I was from Bengal. Well the attitude towards me did not change.

In our course we get a lesson every week, we are required to read and answer one question from the four given. The participants are encouraged to write their comment on the reply by each participant. This is where it got interesting, the Pakistanis left their comment on everyone’s reply, except mine. Can this be some kind of oversight or was it done deliberately. Well I think the latter makes more sense than the former.

In this connection I’d admit two Pakistanis wrote their comment, One is an O level student who seems to have some humanity in him , the other one has studied in the US  I assume this may be the reason.

…………………………….:)

 

 

Daily Prompt: Three Coins in the Fountain

pad2015-s1.png (308×60)

Have you ever tossed a coin or two into a fountain and made a wish? Did it come true?

The opportunity of  tossing coins into a fountain failed to present itself in my case. But I had the privilege of visiting a place in Chittagong ,Bangladesh with my mother.

This was a shrine of a famous saint. There was a garden of trees with dead branches but were decked with amazing crimson red threads. I was told thousands of people visit here, they are given crimson pieces of thread to tie around one of the branches and make a wish.

Next step was to go back and untie the thread if their wish is fulfilled.  I asked my mom, ‘how will I identify the thread I tied?”

“You don’t have to”she said, “you untie any thread.”

This was the time when I had just  written my high school exam and was afraid of failing. My mom handed me a piece of thread and asked me to make a wish.Of course I made a wish to pass my exam.

Yes you are right I made a  wish to pass my exam and luckily I was successful.. Whether I went back to untie one thread I cannot recall!

………………………………….. 🙂

Daily Prompt: Lookin’ Out My Back Door

pad2015-s1.png (308×60)

Look out you back window or door__ describe what you see,as if you were trying to convey the scene to someone from another country or planet.

This is an imaginary dialogue with my brother, who’s visiting me from Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Me:    Hey Riaz, come and see the scene from my back window.

Riaz: Ranu, your backyard is large, don’t you grow some vegetables and flowers?

Ranu: We have a bed where we planted some perennials.

Riaz: What are perennials?

Ranu : These are variety of flowers, like tulips, daffodils and peonies,petunias. Once you plant them, you do not have to plant them again they come year after year. This way is cheaper, not like annuals they have to be planted every year.

Riaz: Who mows your lawn, it looks beautiful, I like how green the grass is?

Ranu: I used to mow the lawn one time but as you can see the land is not flat, I found it challenging to continue mowing. I had to  hire the lawn care people. Their company is called, “Affordable Lawn Care,” I’ve often told the owner the  name of your company should be named , “Unaffordable  Lawn Care”.

Riaz : Who owns these trees?

Ranu : One  beside the driveway on the right side, belongs to us, the other one in the middle of our lawn and the neighbor’s, belongs to my next door neighbor.

Riaz: the leaves of these trees are very interesting , what is the name of the trees?

Ranu: They are maple trees, in the Autumn the leaves fall off the trees and the trees are bare. When you see them in the winter, you might think the trees are dead, but this is not the case. In Spring the leaves begin to show up by summer the trees are covered with leaves.

Riaz: I see your neighbor’s roof, what is it covered with?

Ranu: They are shingles, they last for over twenty years. Now that you’ve seen my backyard what do you think?

Riaz: Your backyard is awesome, it is worth it to hire professionals to look after it.

……………………………. 🙂

 

365 Writing Prompt: The road less traveled

Pinpoint a moment in your past where you had to make a big decision.Write about that other alternate life that could have unfolded.

When I was in Dhaka, Bangladesh, I saw an ad for a teaching job in Islamabad, Pakistan. I applied for the job,the headmistress of the school came to Dhaka to interview the applicants. There were six of us competing for that one job. I was called in first, the headmistress was a nice lady, she asked me about my experience,where I taught and how I learned to speak Urdu.

I told her I lived in Rawalpindi Pakistan, where my father worked. We left the city  after my father passed away.

I was immediately offered the job, though there were other applicants yet to be interviewed. I thought about the distance I’d have to travel from Comilla ,Bangladesh, to Islamabad Pakistan. I asked her if there was a hostel nearby where I could stay.

When the headmistress  told me the nearest place to stay was forty miles from the school, I was concerned, I wasn’t sure the distance from the hostel to the school would be convenient for me to travel everyday. I asked my sister, she told me it was a bad idea to take this job.

I declined the job and carried on with  my job in the school where I was already employed.

Had I taken that job the alternate life  that  could have unfolded for me would be frustration for accepting a job so far away from my original home, I’d probably dislike myself for taking a stupid decision. Eventually I know I’d quit the job and come home.

…………………………… 🙂

 

Daily Prompt: The Kindness of Strangers

pad2015-s1.png (308×60)

When was the last time a stranger did something particularly kind, generous, or selfless for you? Tell us what happened!

In 2010, I was travelling from Dhaka Bangladesh to St. John’s, NL ,Canada. It was a long trip. It took six hours to land at Doha ,Qatar, Middle East. We were barely in the lounge when an announcement was made that our connecting flight to London,Heathrow was boarding, after another seven hours we landed at Heathrow airport, we were told we’d have to go through  customs before we boarded the flight to Montreal.

Lack of sleep and rest was taking a toll on my body. The flight from London to Montreal was over seven hours. This was the first time we were not expected to board the next flight immediately. I remember sitting on the bench in the lounge. Next thing I felt was someone shaking me I opened my eyes and found a very sweet flight attendant asking me if I was all right. I was embarrassed I told her I didn’t mean to fall asleep, it just happened.

Going from one airport to another without rest in between exhausted me. I recall telling her all the airports I went through and how tired I was must be  the reason my body could not handle the stress  anymore. She was very understanding, she told me she’d take me to the  the aircraft cabin before the other passengers were called for boarding. I was very thankful to her for being so kind!

Qatar_Airways_A340-600_A7-AGB_LHR_2014-03-29.png (1199×799)

 

……………………………………. 🙂

 

365 Writing Prompts: Moment of Kindness

Describe a moment of kindness, between you and someone else–loved one or complete stranger.

My friend Asha was interested to learn how to make our famous dessert of Bangladesh. It is called in Bengali, “Rasho Golla”, the English translation is Cheese balls in Syrup.

She lived close to my house, she told me before she cannot figure out recipes, if I’d be willing to go to her house and show her exactly how it’s made.

I asked her to get the ingredients I needed, she bought them and called me. I went to her house showed her how to make them from beginning to end.She was pleased. Her husband came into the kitchen with “Dopey Eyes”, looked at the dessert and said to me , ” you have used so much sugar to make this?”

Well my kindness was unrewarded!

………………………….:)