This is an opposite day post. I normally write non- fiction, today is opposite day,I have posted a photo.This was taken by my friend Evie. I am sitting on the grounds of Holy Cross college.
Today’s prompt: Who’s the most interesting person(or people) you’ve met this year?
I have not met anyone interesting this year. I did meet someone very interesting when I went to Dhaka to pursue my education in , ‘Holy Cross college’.
In Dhaka I was so homesick I could not concentrate on my studies, I only wanted to go back home. During this time I met Mr. Bazlul Karim, my mother suggested I should see him, he was my parents’ friend for many years.
He lived alone after the death of his wife. He loved company, he welcomed everyone , I was the fortunate recipient of his love and affection. I did not tell him I was homesick.
He had a son who lived in another city with his family. When I went for a visit he recognized my problem, he said nothing, he told me,I should visit him on week-ends.
He was the Secretary of the local Jute Board and was well respected.
I found him affectionate and understanding, he made me feel like a family member, every Friday he picked me up from my college to spend the week-end with him. I addressed him as “Khaloo”( uncle), he and I would sit and talk about my college, the students and teachers. Slowly I was settling down, I was no longer depressed , I saw him every week-end, this made my life bearable.
Uncle Karim was a very generous man, he helped everyone, his friends came whenever they needed help, whether it was to find a husband for their daughter or a job for a family member. He loved helping them. He once told me,” you know if I can help my friend’s daughter find a husband, I get reward from God which is equivalent to building a mosque.”
At times I’d joke and ask, “Khaloo how many mosques have you built ?”
His face would be beaming with a smile, “I’m waiting to build two more,one when I get you married and other when I get your sister married.”
He had a heart of gold, he kept his cupboard full of saris to give away. His house was a haven for people looking for a job, they’d stay at his place he’d provide food and clothing for them.
Once he spotted a woman begging on the street she was wearing a torn sari, he told his servant to call her in, he instructed him to give her a sari.
He had a stroke in the middle of the night, it paralyzed his right arm and leg. He did not lose his cheerfulness. He was the same Khaloo we all loved and respected.
He was regular in his prayer, he had a table at the side of his bed, at prayer time he’d have someone move the table and lay the pillow so he could pray.
After completing my education I took a teaching job, I rented an apartment in the city with five other girls. I continued to visit him on week-ends. One week-end for some reason I could not go , I called him and told him I’d visit him next week-end . He said he was sorry, he had bought all my favorite foods.
I was sad I could not go. It was a Saturday when I called him.
Next day for some reason I looked at the ‘Obituary Page’, I was shocked to see Khaloo’s name on top, I do not know why. I wished I had gone that week-end to see him, it made me sad when I realized I’d never see him again!
Dear friends, I am sorry if it’s too long, I tried to shorten it, but could not. All the best to you all!
You have the choice to erase one incident from your past, as though it never happened.What would you erase and why?
This incident took place when I was studying in “Holy Cross College” I my classmate and two other girls made plans to go to the movie hall to watch a movie.
We got permission from Sr. Joseph Mary our teacher, the condition was we’d have to get a chaperone to go with us . My classmate asked her aunt who agreed .
A few minutes after we got ready, the aunt informed my classmate something’s come up she won’t be able to make it. While we were thinking whether we should cancel our plan, my classmate suggested we should go. Sr. Joseph Mary doesn’t have to know.
One of the girls in our group named Hasina was somewhat of a scatter brain, no one could really tell what her reaction can be from moment to moment.
She was asked if it was okay with her, if not she didn’t have to go. She promised she didn’t mind.
With her assurance we left the gate of the college,hired a cab and went to the movie hall to watch the movie. Everything was fine we came back happy we were able to watch the movie.
About an hour later Sr. Joseph Mary called one of the girls, she said: I am unhappy to know you broke the rule and if Hasina hadn’t told me I would not have known.”
One by one she called us, it was my turn she said: “Chaman I did not expect this from you, why didn’t you tell me you went to the movie without a chaperone?”
I felt I was in front of a judge who was questioning me about the crime I committed, and worst of all I did not have the decency to tell her before she found out.
I thought my voice left me with the saddest tone and tearful eyes I replied, ” I thought you’ll be angry!”
That day I realized I wish I could erase this sad incident of my life!
Open the first photo album you can find –real or virtual, your call–and stop at the first picture of yourself you see there. Tell us the story of that photo.
This is a picture of me, it was taken by my friend, Evelyn Baptist, here I’m sitting on the grass, it is surrounded by some shrubs and plants, this is my residence in, Holy Cross College, Dhaka.
That day most of us were thinking of starting an autograph,where we could get our friends and teachers to write something and sign our names, Evie went a bit further she wanted me to wear a sari and get my picture taken to paste on the first page of my book. I agreed, if you see this picture, I’m really not sure if you can tell I was nervous in my sari,I feared the pleats may come off, and make me look like a fool.I always avoided wearing a sari, this day Evie was firm, she said, “you have to wear it.”
I must have borrowed the sari from one of the girls, I didn’t have any. I felt at ease with my Shalwar Kamiz.
This is what I wrote on the first page:
Use your pen and brains
And do not let me ask in vain
When many years have passed away
And evening shadows round me play
Then shall this book of jest and truth
Recall the memories of my youth
Dear friends I once again invite
A few lines in my book to write.
Signed : C.S.
I grew up in a large family.My father was an assistant secretary in the ministry of defense,my mom was a housewife.I was a very curious child. My Dad or Mom or my siblings,always had to explain in detail, my why questions. My eldest brother was amused by my constant questions.More than once he reminded me that, “curiosity killed a cat”.It did not make any difference. I did not change.
I don’t know how old I was when I started going to school. I probably did okay in school. My Dad did not hire a tutor for me. He did hire one for my older siblings. I had to get up early to catch the school bus.It came to our gate at 6 a.m. My teachers gave me a lot of homework.One day I was unable to complete it. I did not know what the punishment will be,so I stayed home.That morning the bus driver kept on honking,I knew Dad will ask,’Ma Ranu ‘, aren’t you going to school?’I quickly said,”Dad I am cold”. My sister yelled,’it is not a reason to skip school’. I thought Dad doesn’t mind,who cares what Khuku thinks.
My Dad died suddenly,we had to move to our original homeland,Bangladesh. We were not thrilled with the move and no one cared what we thought. I finished school and took admission in a local college. I attended it for two years. I told my big Sister I want to study in Holy Cross College in Dhaka. Arrangements were made and I was there another two years and completed my Under Grad. degree.
My next move was to get admission to do masters degree.I wanted to study Economics,my sister thought I was not hardworking enough to pass the course. I took admission to study history. I did well and took admission for B.ed. course.After completing the course,I taught for three years. I then applied for a scholarship,fortunately I was successful. I studied in London,England for a year.
I got married and came to Canada.I am a Canadian citizen.I live in St. John’s, Newfoundland,Canada. Here ends my boring story.
Yes I am still in Holy Cross College.I was not happy.I missed my Mom and my siblings.I was aware I can only see them when we have holidays.The next best thing I could do was to visit my uncle on week-ends .My uncle was a very affectionate person,he came to pick me up every Friday after school.Fortunately he passed by our school on his way to work daily.My teachers watched me leaving every week-end.After a few weeks I was called in,and my teacher Sr. Joseph Mary said, she was worried because I went to my uncle’s place every week-end since I was there. I have to change this routine.I was there to study,she didn’t think I was studying a whole lot.
I was unhappy but I chose to study outside my home town.I am not in a position to blame anyone.I had no choice but to ‘grin and bear it’ as the saying goes. I met a girl who was as unhappy as I was,her reason was quite different from mine.She couldn’t speak English,not her fault, she studied in an Urdu medium school.I asked her name,she said it is,Aziz.I thought I heard wrong,I asked again Is it Aziza? She started laughing,she said everyone asks her the same question. I asked because I knew Aziz is a boy’s name.Aziz was a nice girl,she was happy because I could speak Urdu.
I was trudging along,then came the month of December and for the twenty-fifth,i.e Christmas day,the nuns had a party for us,after supper they took us to nearby houses to meet the people who celebrated Christmas.We were taught the Christmas carols in our Music class.I loved singing,so all thirty-three of us went to these houses,on our way, we sang the carols.They were thrilled to hear us.The evening went well. Sr. Rose Bernard gave me a whole bunch of candies to distribute.As I was giving them out she was watching me.After I gave out the candies to all of my classmates,it was my turn to take some.I don’t remember how many I gave each of them.There were quite a few left. I took the same number and gave the rest to my teacher.She had a big smile on her face,she said,’Did you not know Chaman,the last person gets the lion’s share,these are all yours.’ No I told her I cannot take more than them,it is cheating’. And I did not take the lion’s share,so ended a very pleasant evening!
Don’t be bored,I have some more.Oops!
Yeah,I said I am in college now. It was a co-ed. college. My classmates stared at me,like I was someone who dropped from the sky without notice.Actually I didn’t study in any of the schools they went.The question in everyone’s mind was, who is she,where did she come from,can she speak Bengali,why is she taking Urdu,instead of Bengali? I said, ‘wait, I will answer all your questions.’ It irked them because I wore Shalwar Kameez and not a Sari. It’s all changed now,every Jill,Mary and Penelope wear nothing but Shalwar Kameez.My how the times have changed.
I started my classes in Victoria College,Comilla. I liked all the teachers,at least they didn’t have a whole bunch of questions about me.I found the Urdu class the most difficult.I found the atmosphere tense.I was the only girl in this class,the rest,you guessed it,were boys.I was so nervous,I hardly spoke.One day the teacher asked me a question,the boys were all ears,waiting for my reply.One of them said out loud,’Yeh bol sakti hai.'( she can speak).The teacher kept quiet,pretended he didn’t hear it.The two years in that college proved very uncomfortable.I told my sister I wanted to continue my studies in Dhaka.My sister suggested to take admission in the university.I declined,it would mean co-education again and I heard the boys were much more difficult to deal with than the local college I went to. I told her,no I want to go to a girls college.Okay she said if I didn’t do honours in under- grad,there will be a lot of hurdles to overcome.I wasn’t old enough to know the difference,so I got admission In ‘Holy Cross College.’
To be continued!