#Everyday Inspiration,Day Eighteen : Compose a Series of Anecdotes

Day Eighteen : Compose a Series of Anecdotes

Our First Trip to Bangladesh

I was a student in Rawalpindi, Convent school, I was in fifth standard. Our school was closed for Summer holidays.

Dad decided during the holidays, he’d take us to his beloved Bangladesh. It took him a whole month to prepare for the trip. I was thrilled we’d see a new place, which we heard of and never saw what it looked like.

When the day of our departure came. One member of our family i.e my eldest sister hated the idea of spending our holidays in mom and dad’s birthplace.

Regardless of what she wanted dad had arranged everything, such as tickets, airline reservation, the whole bit.

The day of departure my sister was in a bad mood, she refused to eat on the plane, she sat quietly, did not participate in anything. I could see my dad’s face getting serious and could explode anytime.

He offered her some food, knowing she hadn’t eaten anything that day. When she refused, he just lost his temper, he said, ‘why did you come?’

Those few words made me think, ‘I do not remember you asking who wants to go and who doesn’t.’

Dad did not realize his eldest daughter had something to say about this trip. She wasn’t as excited as he or other members of his family. The deed was done we were on the plane, nothing could be done about it, unless she wanted to jump out, but that would be foolish.

From Rawalpindi we boarded the plane to go to Lahore. I’m not sure how long it took to reach it. We took our stuff, got off the flight, and waited to board the next flight which was international . The plane was massive, there were a lot of air host and hostess( which they were known as then) eager to take care of passengers.

My eldest brother was in Lahore, he came to see us off on our journey to Dhaka, B.D. Before we boarded the flight I saw some square boxes carried by the workers to the plane. My brother whispered, ‘Ranu you see these boxes, in it there is food for the passengers.’

Our flight took off, the noise of the plane was unbearable . When the flight took off I felt sick and didn’t want to eat anything. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep it down which would make dad more irritable.

After what seemed like eternity I could see the skies of Dhaka city from the window, the flight landed smoothly. I was anxious to get off, the noise inside, the closed doors and windows was claustrophobic. I couldn’t wait to leave the flight and breathe some fresh air.

We were welcomed at the airport by our maternal and paternal uncles. Our paternal uncle took us to his house. In his house we met some cousins, male and female.

Our aunt prepared food for us, and invited us to eat. She was busy loading our plates, and we said, ‘enough auntie we cannot eat anymore.’

She warned us if we repeat the word, ‘enough,’ instead of stopping she’d load our plate twice.

Not knowing how to solve our problem, we thought we’ll stop eating. We couldn’t do that, it’ll be rude and mom reminded us by giving her favourite stare, which was enough to know what’ll come next.

After four days of torture with food and Auntie dearest telling us we didn’t learn to eat, mom and dad taught us to wear fancy clothes only.

Our next journey was by train to our maternal grandparents home in their village Cheora. I’m sorry indeed, but there is no Anglicized term for it. The Brits when they invaded our country didn’t care to give a name for any village. They were satisfied calling, “Dhaka,” Dacca. “Kolkata,” Calcutta and so on.

Let’s move on, we got off the train in “Feni,” ( a small town). Here mom’s brothers hired two taxis to take us to our grandparents home.When we reached the village I was overwhelmed to see such a perfect village. It looked like a little town not a village. There were concrete buildings. The homes of my uncles and aunts were impressive, only thing lacking was electricity.

We settled in the place comfortably. My grandpa’s hobby was gardening, he planted all kinds of fruit trees. We loved going to his little park and pluck the delicious fruits.

We loved our stay for almost two months. The only thing we missed was our grandparents who passed away two or three years before we went to their home.

Next on the list was to go back where we came from. We enjoyed our holidays in our grandparents home immensely.

When I went back to school, I went in the classroom and sat at the back of the classroom to avoid having eye contact with Mrs. Quieros our homeroom teacher. But nothing could ever bluff her. She announced with a very serious voice, ‘Chaman has arrived.’

Those words meant I had to explain, why I took three months vacation instead of two. I cannot remember how I explained it, but I’ll let my readers figure out what I said to appease her.

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Everyday Inspiration, Day Eighteen: A Series of Anecdotes

Day Eighteen : A Series of Anecdotes

Build a narrative of your personal growth!

You may never believe this, but I do not recall having birthday parties for me or any of my siblings. I have scattered recollection of anecdotes before age seven. One day my friends who were sisters, introduced me to their cousin, she was older than us.

They pointed at me and said : ‘You know they are Muslims.’

You may never believe what the cousin said : ‘You must never talk like this about anyone!’

You may never believe when I was seven, our neighbours raised their head from the wall that separated our houses, it was a warning: ‘Leave the house now, the riot has begun.’

You may never believe, all of us walked out of the house with a small suitcase, there were no clothes in it,  the suitcase had Mom’s Holy Quran and other religious books.

You may never believe the words from a man on a bike, he noticed the door of the house open: He screamed, ‘Loot the house, loot the house.’

Further down the road, some men smiled and said, ‘Where are you going?’

We continued our journey, stopped at a place which seemed safer, where my Dad hired a few horse driven carriages. We stopped in front of red Fort, where there were tents, the staff told us to make ourselves comfortable in one of them.

You may never believe we spent two days in the tent. on the third day we found out we’d go to the train station for our  journey.

There was a lot of shooting between the Indian army and those who wanted to stop the train. We managed to go forward until we reached the border. There we met a lot of smiling faces, who gave us water and food.

You may never believe we stayed in the train station for the night. Early morning  a man took us  to another platform, where waiting for us was a train ready to take us to our destination.

You may never believe I never had a birthday, I did not know what birthday parties look like. I sure had the darkest experience of riding a train where any time we’d face death!

…….………………………………. 😦


Everyday Inspiration, Day Eighteen : A Series of Anecdotes

Day Eighteen : A Series of Anecdotes

“Twelve Ways of Looking at Water.

1) Years ago I remember travelling on a train to go to Rawalpindi, Pakistan. The compartment was full of people, we were quiet, because making any kind of noise was harmful for all of us. Suddenly I was very thirsty, I asked Mom for water, she said, she forgot to carry water. For some reason the train stopped at a deserted place, where I saw a dog bathing in a puddle of water. I was thirsty it didn’t matter if it was dirty water, I agreed to drink it, someone I cannot recall who, got off the compartment with a little glass to get water for me. The water was muddy, the color was reddish, I drank it and did not ask for it any more.

11) My Dad took us to Bangladesh for two months. We stayed at our maternal Grandpa’s house. Grandpa had a large pond,  we used to go on the shallow waters for hours, one day my cousin asked my sister to go over to the cleaner water, this spot was deeper, my sister could not control  herself and almost drowned, thanks to my mother who saved her. We were not allowed to go near the pond, the fun was over.

111)  I got an opportunity to visit Malta for teaching practice in Valetta, Malta. While there my friends and I  were invited to go for  a ride on  a speedboat to visit the ‘Sixth Fleet’, anchored on the Mediterranean sea. It was a rough ride, I was dizzy I could not lift my head to see the rough waves of the sea. The captain of the boat apologised, ‘I’m so sorry,’ he said, ‘You did not enjoy the ride.’

1V)   I went to my husband’s home in the village, it was surrounded by water. On my first day I was very nervous when I had to ride on a rowboat, it was the only way to visit the village.

V)   I taught in a residential school in Dhaka city for two and a quarter years. It was a boys’ school, I was in charge of seventy-five of them, ranging from five to twelve years. One day a group of boys started water fight while bathing, the water flowed out of the bathrooms to the verandah. There were two boys who went crazy, they slipped, bumped into each other, one of them lost two front teeth. The staff called the Principal, he came  right away, he asked me where  was I, what was I doing. I said, ‘I was in my room resting.’

A few weeks ago I gave him my resignation letter. He quietly left, but did show his temper with the ward boys.

V1) Our felines, Gabriel, Raphael, and Sophie love drinking water from the fountain, this love is not extended to taking a bath with water. If they are a nuisance we use our spray bottle to discipline them. You have to spray Raphael several times to stop his bad behavior, Gabriel runs when he sees the bottle, you do not have to spray him, but Sophie she is so scared she runs away when she sees a bottle in my hand.

V11)   Everyone told me I must learn swimming,I tried for a few months. I learned to put my face on the water in the pool and hold my nose and wet my whole body, this is it, people like me will never learn to swim.

V111) Once in Bangkok I wanted a drink of water, ‘which one is it’,  he said ‘carbonated or plain.’

I had no idea which, I asked my husband, with a  broad grin on his entire face, he said, ‘Carbonated.’ I bought two bottles for us, my husband drank his in a jiffy.

I took one sip screwed my face and yelled, ‘you like this?’

1X)   I was making soup for supper, I put enough water so the meat would come off the bones, when I went back to the kitchen, I got a foul smell, there was no water and the bones burned.

X)  I asked my friend to make lentil soup how much water I should use, she said, ‘just guesstimate it, it’d be fine.’

X1) The lesson I learned from that experience is, ‘if you cannot guess, do not leave the kitchen.’

X11) I’m so excited this is my twelfth one, I Wonder why Samuel  Taylor Coleridge said, ‘Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.’ If there was water all around him why couldn’t he take a handful and drink it, provided he was riding a boat. Perhaps he was on an  airplane  circling the Pacific Ocean, which will make sense if that is where he was, of course he couldn’t get a handful of water if his plane was circling the sky. How silly of me!

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#Everyday Inspiration, Day Eighteen: A Series of Anecdotes

Day Eighteen: Compose a Series of Anecdotes

Gander, Newfoundland: It is a small town we moved to from Montreal, my husband got a job as an Ophthalmologist.  He made the move because he thought we were only going to live there for two years.  He needed two more years to get his Canadian citizenship, which was a requirement in the province of Quebec, if the individual wanted to start private practice His boss encouraged him because he said, ” In two years I will retire, and you can come back and take over my Ophthalmology practice. My hubby was delighted and so was I.

Next year we went to Montreal for a trip, I saw my husband’s boss, we had a long chat mostly my husband and he. I was the listener.

Two days later we went to Chicago for three weeks, I saw a few of my husband’s friends, among them was a very jovial Angie Dizzone, she was a great person to hang out with. She invited us to dinner of Meat Balls and Spaghetti Italian Style, Angie was an Italian and it was her favorite dish, I must admit she was a great cook and an amusing person.

In the evening we went to visit Auntie Jean, an American, she was very fond of my husband, they got connected on a Thanksgiving Day, from then on my husband always visited her, going back to the evening Aunt Jeanie had a friend who was an awesome singer, she was invited too, her name  was Juliette a tall friendly lady, Angie Dizzone also came  for a visit. Aunt Jeanie requested Juliette to sing a song, since it was Christmas Season,Juliette sang, ‘O Holy Night,’ her voice was mesmerizing. We were all quiet, suddenly, Angie yelled out, “She don’t need a Mike,” we started laughing.

Three weeks in Chicago seemed like a dream, before we left the big city we went to visit our American Friend Jean Finley once more. After the visit, we were on our way back to Gander by Air Canada, we had a stopover in Montreal. We always stayed with our friends, Dilruba and Raqib Chowdhury. The evening we arrived, Dilruba took me aside and said, “have you heard the news?”

“What news,” I said.

“Dr. Duclos( my husband’s boss) passed away.”

I was speechless, we had seen him only two and a half weeks ago, how could he die?

Apparently Dr. Duclos and his sister went to New Brunswick to visit their friends. On their way back Dr. Duclos  was driving his  car, suddenly it was hit by an oncoming vehicle, Dr.Duclos died instantly, his sister survived.

After this news my husband was broken-hearted, his plan to go back to Montreal was put on hold.

The following year my husband had a massive heart attack, this time my husband gave up the idea of going  back to Montreal for good, with a sickness like that it was not advisable to go for private practice in an area where there would be a lot stress.

Which brings to mind: “Man proposes, God disposes.”

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Writing 101,Day 18: Compose a series of anecdotes

Assignment: Today, tell a story through a series of anecdotes(also called vignettes): short episodic scenes or moments that together read as variations on the same theme.They can each be as short or long as you see fit they don’t have to be the same length.

Today my story in the form of anecdotes is all about my brother Rafique.

Sorry my brother dear,

You do not have to fear,

I’m just saying what is true,

Even though you do not have a clue!

As far back as I can remember, there were times I felt like disowning him. He’d do things he knew would annoy me, but he thought it was a joke.

The little stories I’ll write are in no particular order.

Once I went for a walk with my uncle Malik, On our way back; just when we were close to the gate of our house, he exclaimed! “I made a terrible  mistake.”

“What is it ?”  I asked.

“I forgot to buy chocolate for you.” He said.

I was very outspoken those days, I said, “No you did not, you made sure you’d be close to the house, so I won’t be able to make you go back.”

He was stunned, all he could say was, “One of these days I will bring you a box of chocolates.”

One evening my uncle came to the house with a box of chocolates for me. When he knocked the door, my brother Rafique answered the door. “Where is Ranu ?” he asked, “I brought this box of chocolates for her.”

“She is sleeping.” My brother replied.

Uncle handed him the box and told him to give it to me in the morning.

Rafique was preparing for his high school exams, curiosity got the better of him. He opened the box and ate one, I suppose the stress of the up coming exams did something to him. One by one he ate the chocolates until he finished them.

Next morning he opened the door,he looked at me with a broad grin. “What are you smiling about?” I asked.

Still smiling he said, “Uncle Malik left a box of chocolates for you, I ate them all.”

All I could say was, “Wait till he comes back, I’ll tell him you ate all the chocolates.”

Uncle Malik was transferred to Bangladesh, I never got the opportunity to tell them, who ate the chocolates.


Once at the airport, we were called one at a time to the flight attendant’s desk to be weighed. The gentleman announced, “Now would the baby come forward to be weighed.”

We the other siblings told Rafique, “Go he is calling you.”

Rafique stood up grumbled why Dad gave his nick name. He then marched forward and promptly stood on the weighing machine. The flight attendant was confused, he said, “Are you sure you are a Baby?”

We laughed so loud our stomach was hurting.

My Dad unaware of the whole incident, Indignantly said, “Children you should know how to behave in public, I thought I registered you in a school where  they teach you manners, what’s wrong with You?”

I wish I could reply, “Rafique is stupid.” But I did not want to push my luck!


One day I found Rafique at the back of the house holding a loaf of bread, as soon as he saw me, he started devouring the loaf in huge sections. He was afraid I’d ask him to share.

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This one is an anecdote of my sensible brother, Rafique. Whenever he visited us from Sylhet to Comilla ,he’d bring a heavy suitcase with him. He’d take the suitcase and say to me, “Ranu this is for you.”

I’d say to him,”every time you come you  give me the suitcase and say this is for you, what if I refuse to share what is in it  with every one, what will you do?”

“I know you he’d say, you will never take everything, this is why I always hand it to you.”

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These episodes bring to my mind the song : those were the days my friend we thought will never end!

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