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.