Thursday, September 29

Rudimentary Realizations

The color of emotional pain: grayish blue, sort of like a cloudy day sky
How I feel emotional pain: Towards the beginning, quite numb. Then gradually that grayish blue takes over my insides and stays there for a long time.
How I wish I felt emotional pain: I wish the pain would sear me to pieces in a second, and then I would stay numb for an extended period of time.

Tuesday, September 27

What Remains

I was done with the kitchen clean-up, the kids were asleep and Tanveer was working on his school paper. So I decided to plop down on the couch and watch Oprah that I tape religiously on Tivo.

It was a very moving show, atleast for me. Her guest was Carole Radziwill, wife of Anthony Radziwill who also happened to be JFK Jr.’s first cousin. She was born in a middle class family and worked her way up the New York social ladder. She ended up as a news editor with ABC, met Anthony, fell in love and got married into America’s royal family. She later on met Carolyn Bessette, and the two immediately bonded and later became best friends as she said they both sort of felt like outsiders in the Kennedy family. Anyways, long story short, she lost the Kennedys and then three weeks later, lost her husband to cancer. She has written a memoir called `What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love’ which has been published recently. I know this question is going to be asked quite a lot, whether people would have been interested in her book if it weren’t for the Kennedys. Even Oprah asked her the same question. Her answer was she started writing the book about four years later after that dreadful summer to help herself move on. She started writing it for an audience of one – herself. I know a lot of people are going to be sarcastic about her comments. That’s where my two cents come in.

I just lost my father to cancer not so long ago. I could totally relate to what she was saying. It was actually quite shocking to me to see how raw her pain was even after all this time. I grieve my father every day in so many ways. This blog was one of the ways I thought I’d be able to release some of the pent up stress and depression in me. She said she thought people would be interested in this book even if it was someone ordinary, ‘cause it is a story of fate, friendship and love: that happens to every Joe, Mary and Bill (and Zeenat). I am sure there are people out there that try to milk every single second of their fifteen minutes of fame, but in this case I trust her and I am going to order her book from Amazon as soon as I post this blog.

Monday, September 26

Saying bye to Froggie

He lived for seven years. He has been dead for more than seven years. So much was her love for him, that she carried him with her from house to house, in a ziplock bag. He stayed in her freezer for more than seven years, and tomorrow he will be buried in a final resting place. No, this is not a thriller/mystery. It's a real life love story. He is a frog who was my friend's pet. She has finally found a place where she thinks he will be happy, because she is moving away from this area. I know it will be hard for her. I can't be there for his burial, but my dear friend, know I am there mourning Froggie along with you one last time. Froggie was fortunate to have you as a friend, so am I. I'll miss you dearly.

Sunday, September 25

Oh nooooooooooo!!!!!!

I've invited everyone to lunch next month for Zoya's bday celebration, and I completely forgot that Ramadan starts soon!! I've been caught with my hand in the cookie jar! I can never pretend that I am a devout Muslim! Also, I have invited some people that I know fast religiously! I'd like to see right now where I am on their good books!! ;-) Gotta think of a solution soon and get back to everyone....

Bishsho Behaya

I am sooooooooo naive. (I can see my sister thinking "finally!!") I get hurt by the same people over and over again and I seem to forget/forgive it in no time! From today, I am not going to play "nice gal" anymore. ( I edited this post, cause as you can probably tell, I was hurt/mad at the time I posted it. That's just not me!!!!))

P.S. See what I mean now by naive!! Setting myself up already for the next incident that's going to hurt me!! Some people just never learn!! Tsk. Tsk.

P.P.S. I was thinking about editing this post one more time, but Tanveer beat me to it! :-) Check out his comment.

Friday, September 23

Zoya turns one today

I am very emotional today. My little girl is turning one. I can't stop thinking what could have happened if her Pediatrician had not sent us to ER on March 16th, 2005. Dr. Hoover and Dr. Uscinski, I can not thank you two enough. Ever.

I plan to dress her up and take pictures with her once daddy gets home. Today is a day of celebration!!

Moral Dilemma

I received this from a friend. It was just too funny to not post here!!!

This test only has one question, but it's a very
important one. By giving an honest answer, you will
discover where you stand morally. No one else
will know, so you won't be fooling anyone but yourself
if you give anything but a truthful answer.

The test features an unlikely, completely fictional
situation in which you will have to make a decision.

Remember that your answer needs to be honest, yet

Please read slowly and thoughtfully, giving due
consideration to each line.

Here's the situation:

You are in Florida; Miami to be specific. There is
chaos all around you caused by a hurricane with severe
flooding. This is a flood of biblical proportions. You
are a photo journalist working for a major newspaper,
and you're caught in the middle of this epic disaster.
The situation is nearly hopeless. You're trying to
shoot career-making photos. There are houses and
people swirling around you, some disappearing under
the water. Nature is unleashing all of its destructive
fury. Suddenly you see a man floundering in the water.
He is fighting for his life, trying not to be taken
down with the debris. You move closer...somehow the
man looks familiar. You suddenly realize who it is.
It's George W. Bush, President of the United States!!

At the same time you notice that the raging waters are
about to take him under... forever. You have two
options-you can save the life of G.W. Bush, or you can
shoot a dramatic Pulitzer Prize winning photo,
documenting the death of one of the world's most
powerful men.

So here's the question, and please give an honest

Would you select high contrast color film, or would
you go with the classic simplicity of black and white?

Thursday, September 22

Second Chances

I am glad that there’s one such thing called second chance! I would have missed out on some good shit if I hadn’t given them a second chance!! Here are a few:

  • The English Patient - God knows why I couldn’t watch it the first time!! I think I was very sleepy and it was going too slow for me. I turned it off after the first half an hour and returned it to Blockbuster without watching the rest. I discovered Ralph Fiennes when I did get around watching it the second time! What an eye candy! After you ofcourse, Tanveer! ;-)
  • Mukul – Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Lets just say first impressions could be quite misleading. The first time I met him, he was quite drunk and told me a really dirty joke!! Now, you have to understand the background a little. Tanveer has been telling me for the longest time about this friend Mukul who is supposedly an awsome guy, very smart. My expectations were quite high. So I just couldn't understand why Tanveer thought the world of him!!! In his defense, this guy can hold down liquor like its no one's business. If he is drunk, that means he has been drinking quite hard and for quite some time!! I caught him on a very very bad day. Things were just not going his way and he was trying to drown his sorrows in booze!!! Mukul, you are an awsome guy! Without a doubt the smartest guy I know. I’m glad you are in our lives!!!!!
  • Tanveer - The first time he asked me out, I was completely taken by surprise. We were very good friends and I had no idea he felt that way about me!! I mumbled something like "I don't think of you that way" and ran away!!!! We were out of touch for couple of months after that!! I thought about him though all that time and decided to say yes if he asked me again. Thank God he did!!!!!!!
  • Misti Doi - This is a special type of sweet yogart made in Bangladesh. My first couple of encounters with yogart had been tart!! I refused to eat yogart for the next 5/6 years. Then, one of my aunts made me eat a bowl of yogart and I've been a fan ever since!! Anyone coming to visit me from NY, please bring me some misti doi from Alauddin's.

My Friends

I am one of those lucky few!!! I have been blessed with some very, very good friends. I don’t think I tell them enough how much they mean to me, or how much they have influenced my life. So here’s my ode to some of them, in alphabetical order! (So that no one gets mad at me!! Refer to Seinfeld episode where he gets upset when he gets moved down on his girlfriend’s speed dial)


My buddy!! Funny, witty, gentle, loving, off the beat sense of humor. He has the longest eyelashes I’ve ever seen on a human being! :-P We had some good times back in the days! No one can ever ask for a better roommate. I love the fact that he defends anyone and everyone just because he can’t speak ill of anyone, spends all day watching crappy movies on UPN 20, reads almost anything he can get his hands on (although I haven’t been successful in getting him hooked to Harry Potter!). He let me drive his brand new Jetta for months and he took the bus to work!!!!!!! He has the quirkiest nicknames for me: Jeanine Garafello (Am I as radical as she is?), Gina Gershawn(I wish I looked half as sexy as she does!!!) I never know what he is going to call me when I answer his call!!! He is like the brother I never had rolled into a best friend. Thank you for caring!!!


My main man, my very best friend. He is such a cool guy, my geek who doesn’t look anything like a geek!! He is my most severe critic. He knows which buttons to push to get me mad as a bull in three seconds flat! He drives me crazy by leaving the wet towel on my side of the bed. When I ask him to do something, his generic answer “korbo” (will do) drives me up the wall. (It doesn’t get done for at least three weeks) Yet, I love him with all my heart. I can’t think of anyone else loving me as much as he does, even with all my idiosyncrasies. (Yes, I am aware of some debilitating faults I possess!!) He holds me tight when I cry. He makes me laugh. I love when he speaks geek speak. I can tell him anything and everything and know it will be ok. He has a big heart and loves everyone like there is no tomorrow. I’ve seen him not lose hope in his darkest days and work hard to get where he is today. I can’t even begin to think what I would have done if he wasn’t there during my tough times. I admire him a lot and I don’t think I tell him that enough times. He is a great father, an outstanding son, wonderful brother, an awesome friend. I want Raffae to be just like him when he grows up (except maybe a little more tidy!! There’s always room for improvement! )


If Tanveer is my main man, she is my girl!! My Jaan. My Tanuputi. She and her lovely family was a big part of my teen life. I am who I am because of a lot of their influences! No one had parents cooler than hers! No one had a more adorable brother to play with and a nerdy enough sister to lecture us about stuff. I practically lived with them at one point, and they gladly welcomed me in their lives. We have this connection that I do not share with anyone else. We can talk to each other without speaking a word. (We do need to be in the same room to do that!) She knows me like no one else does. Even after all these years, I know I will find her listening ears and open arms whenever I need it. She is smart, gorgeous, intelligent, artistic, understanding… I can go on and on and on and on about her! I am beginning to see why all those guys were crazy for her at high school. :-P


She is my lil sis. You wouldn’t know it from the way she bosses me around!!!!! From what I hear, she had me wrapped around her pinky the day she was born. (I offered to give up my favorite spoon, all my dolls and their clothes for her). She tagged along with me all the time and I had no problem with that. She is one of a kind! Who else picks out their own name!!! (In Bangladesh, you get a nickname when you are born. Parents usually pick a proper name when you go to school. At 3 ½ years old, she knew she wanted to be named Tarana and I don’t think any other name would have suited her) I sometimes feel like I forced her to grow up faster. After all, when I started noticing boys, she was only about 8/9! But I had to tell her what I was doing and get her approval! J She boosted up my ego after my first heartbreak, listened patiently to my nonstop chatter even if it gave her daily headaches (she claims), gave me half her slice of chocolate cake after I devoured mine in seconds!! She was my first best friend and always will be. I had millions of names for her… Lizu, lichu, piaju, buchi, khedi are to name a few. Lizu, I still think you are the better-looking one in the family. ;-) I wish you all the best and more in life. Thank you for being there for me.

Wednesday, September 21


She weighs barely 100 pounds and I could probably wrap my hands around her waist. She is our office crusader. She wants all of us to eat better, ban foods containing Trans Fat, recycle everything. She has two dogs one of which is Diabetic. She refuses to put her down. She loves to make jewelry. In three weeks, she is going off to New Orleans. She volunteered at the Red Cross. She will receive a day of training and then off she goes. She has no idea where she is going to stay or what she is going to do once she is there. That doesn’t seem to faze her out. She is hoping to bring back a dog from there. We need more and more people like her in this world.

My hats off to you Petra.

Tuesday, September 20

Where's the thief?

My dad used to work for the Telegraph and Telephone Board. We lived in a gated community where couple of buildings was used to house cables and other equipment. One morning, there was a gathering in front of one of those buildings. When my mother enquired about it, the guard at our house told us they have caught a thief that night that was trying to get in the building. Most probably to steal something and then sell it to get some money. It was a thrilling event to a nine/ten year old. I begged my mother to go down and see the thief. I got the permission after annoying her for over an hour. I held the guard’s hand as he led me to see the thief. He was bleeding from various cuts. Apparently, all the guards, drivers, gardeners appointed at various houses and some local people had taken the law upon themselves and had beaten the thief to teach him a lesson. He was probably barely conscious when I saw him. I came back home and went to school and forgot all about the thief.

Years later, I read a similar story, where the girl supposedly saw the thief and said, “Where’s the thief? That’s a human being.” I tried to remember that story when I read this article today.

Sunday, September 18

Thursday, September 15

A bad day

I’ve started defining my days as “Good Days” and “Bad Days” now. Today is a bad day for me. I can’t stop thinking about you today. When I think about you nowadays, I think of your eyes first. What were you trying to tell us? Those big, brown eyes staring at us from the sunken face. You wanted to go home so desperately. You had lost your voice by the time I got there. You still asked to go home everyday. Did you know the end was near? Did you want to see all your familiar things one last time? You used to get so mad when the guys came to clean your bandages. Did it hurt a lot? Did it hurt when they cleaned inside your throat? What did you think all those time when you used to stare out the window? Did you think of things you hadn’t experienced? Did you have any regrets? Did you want to have one proper meal for a change? Did you want to tell us something before you let out your last breath?
I have so many things to tell you. So many things I want to ask you. You didn’t get a chance to meet Zoya. You didn’t have time to enjoy your retirement. You didn’t get to see Lizu get married. Why did you have to leave so early!

Tuesday, September 13

Random Katrina Thoughts

Over the weekend, I was watching last week's Oprah Winfrey shows. She taped her shows in Louisiana and Mississippi. More than one show pictured celebrities helping out Katrina survivors. Watching them hand out food, water, diaper etc to people, I thought why couldn't FEMA be there the next day? Andersoon Cooper seemed able to get to places where survivers had not seen any government presence. Maybe we should give FEMA authority to newscasters.

Even disturbing, though quite funny, was Salmaan Rushdi's comment on NPR this morning. He compared the devastation of Louisiana, the government's feeble relief effort to yearly flood occurences of Bangladesh, my county of origin. Never thought I'd hear US compared to Bangladesh in any way.

Peoples' resilience amaze me though. Listening to people talking about going back to their homes and building their lives back again bring tears to my eyes every time. I wish them all the best.

Monday, September 12

Mr. Perfect or Mr. Right?

I'm always trying to get my single friends to meet someone I know or know about!! I've had couple of successes to brag about too!! I was at it last week again when I was trying to convince an ex-worker of mine to meet one of my very good friends. After I went on and on and on about what a great guy he was, and after she saw his picture, she said she needs to think about this.... Ok, that's a polite no. She complained he was bald. Well, he is losing hair and has cut it really short. He is not bald! He still has hair on his head! She said she is not sure if she is attracted to him or not. I think I am at a stage in my life where I know looks aren't everything! It seems so childish to reject someone just because he doesn't have the right looks! I happen to know this guy for a long time and I know how my co-worker is. I think they will get along great. She is just being really anal about it. She is looking for Mr. Perfect, when this guy could be the ultimate Mr. Right for her!! I was getting quite annoyed with all her complaints, when a thought struck me! Who am I to tell her to she settle for Mr. Right? Hey if she keeps on looking, she might actually stumble upon mr. Perfect! I just hope she won't be heartbroken once she finds out Mr. Perfect picks his nose just like everyone else, or has hair where other people don't!!!! :-D

Friday, September 9

Full of contradictions

I am muslim. I was never that religious, but I was very conscious of the fact on September 11, 2001. Sure I've seen war pictures on TV and Newspapers, read about Palestine and Israel, Iran and Iraq war growing up, but never was I effected by all these atrocities directly. This time it was my adopted country that was getting hit. Buildings where my friends work were crumbling down in front of my eyes on the Television. For the first time in my life, I was watching the power of hatred unfold in front of me. I still couldn't understand how can you hate someone so much that you would be prepared to do so much damage to innocent people, let alone kill yourself. I just couldn't grasp the idea. The fact that these attackers were muslim was not helping me either. I remember I came home, sat in front of the TV all day, watching numbly all the devastation. In between, I was trying to call all my friends in New York to make sure they were ok.

All the memories came back to me today when I heard a story on NPR this morning. This gentleman lost his Fiance on 9/11. He was narrating what he felt like with her, what he learnt from her. At the end he said he would be in love with her forever and he will see her again in heaven. He said "I'll do enough good to make sure of that". That sort of got me thinking. What good do I do to the world? I like to think I am a good person. But do I consciously help someone every day? I thought I'd create a list on my blog and I'll post what I've done to help others. But now the question is, what do I expect to gain from it? As I said at the beginning of my post, I am not really that religious. So getting points in Allah's book does not rock my boat!!!!!! And I know there are no "virgins" waiting for me at heaven anyways! Then why do I want to help others or do good to the world? Cause I want my children to learn from me. I don't want them to ever learn to hate others. I want them to learn that it gives you mental satisfaction to help others without expecting anything back from them. And if I really really want to be honest, there is a tiny tiny voice inside me that I almost don't hear, screaming, "What if there is heaven and hell and Allah"?

Full of contradictions. That's my middle name.

Want Fuchka!!!!!!!!

We had Indian for lunch today at work. I was looking at the menu half-heartedly; after all, I can make these dishes at home for half the price when my eyes caught something on the appetizer menu!! Chat-papri*. Flashback to 1988. Standing in front of the school gate. Eating Fuchka** from the open cart. Flies buzzing all over the cart. A big truck zooms by and a coat of dust covers the Fuchka mix now. I can swear I saw the Fuchkawala*** scratch himself in couple of unmentionable places and then go back to mixing the Fuchka mix. The Tamarind Water looks like it came from the overflowing drain by the roadside!!!! But boy was that Fuchka good or was it good!!!!! Call me sentimental, but I ordered Chat-Papri. It didn't taste the same and I paid fifty times more for a plate!!!!! Life is not fair!!!!!!!

*Flour crisps, potatoes, chickpeas mixed with tamarind, cilantro, yogart etc.
** similar to Chat-papri. Instead of flour crisps, you get a sort of flour ball. You punch a hole in it, spoon in the mix, top it with watery tamarind chutney.
*** The vendor

Thursday, September 8

How many times?

How many times can your heart shatter into million pieces?? Can you pick up all the pieces and join them together with love? Does it make your heart whole again? Or do you lose a tiny little piece of your heart forever?

My angel

She was five months twenty three days old that day and she was undergoing a brain surgery. My precious little angel. Zoya. It broke my heart to see her small hand, jumbled with needles and tubes going in and out of her body, strapped to a small plastic board; so that she can't pull out the needles. She was so brave. We held her close to our hearts. The unspoken fear hanging around in the dark hospital room. What if this was the last time we get to hold her? We knew she was in good hands. She was in one of the best hospitals in the area, with the best surgeons and very very caring staff. Still.. she was only five months twenty three days old and she was our little girl.

I took pictures of her. She was holding Tanveer's finger. Eyes as big as saucers. Sucking on her favorite pacifier. Still I see a smile behind the pacifier. "Fight, my little angel" I begged her silently. The nurses come in. It was time to go.

We sat at the waiting room. We cried. Held each other tightly. Nothing else mattered. I couldn't even visualize how Raffae looked. I was only concentrating on Zoya. I was in intense negotiations with God. Take me if you have to, but don't do anything to her. She hasn't even started her life yet. I want to see her crawl, walk, run. I want her to talk gibberish. I want her to try on mommy's shoes, jewelry. Paint on the walls with my lipsticks.

The surgeon came out after almost two hours. Everything went well. She was in recovery and responding well and we could go see her. I walked in and saw her half shaven head with a half-moon cut on it. All I cared for was she was breathing..