Chobi Mela VIII : Redefining “intimacy”

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What is “Intimacy” ? close bodies? close hearts? close people? Are we intimate with ourselves? to our souls? My views on “intimacy” not changed, but was shaken, after the exhibition “Chobi Mela VIII“. It started its journey on 2000, and after that, continued biannually.

I am not any photographer, nor I understand art or photography 🙂 But I love to visit all the exhibition of Chobi Mela in various galleries of Dhaka. This year, it expanded its spheres, and was organized also in open places of Puran Dhaka (old town), and Dhaka University Fine Arts premises.

I love to watch photos as a story, as a whole, so took these photographs from distance, with lights and shadows, with their presentations, with my ordinary mobile camera. I didn’t put any caption, as every artist has put their own on the website..and what I loved most? My heart got closer to these people, to those things, I never met, will never meet..

I’d just share one story with you, that by Andrea Diefenbach. Of an HIV/AIDS infected lady in Ukraine. First photo, family woman with her pet cat, happy. next photo, she got infected with drug abuse.. next her tensed husband.. next their war to win her deathbed.. next she died, just died..next her lonely husband..and next? two butterfly pins on the mat..thats it! thats all! Defining “intimacy” with the most distant one!

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I hunt for the golden stag

http://www.maamatimanush.tv/articles.php?aid=725
http://www.maamatimanush.tv/articles.php?aid=725

Blogging is all about friends to me. One of my friends, Debbie asked me today, to say something about Rabindranath Tagore, our most celebrated and closest to heart person..What might I tell about this extraordinary Nobel prize winner? Outside our continent, he is known as a poet, very spiritual one. But through his long life he did everything in creative fields. He is our first succeed short-story writer, novel writer, song writer, producer and director of dance-drama-cinemas, actor, singer, founder of two very different and famous universities, even the first co-operative founder in rural areas and an activist! And what I love most, his modern paintings in his last age.

Whatever I say, is less. He was inspired both by East and West, and that honed his great talent. The great man renounced his Knighthood, in response to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919.

I believe, any translation make a writing weak, but how could I express them to my friends in Bangla? I was too busy today, coudn’t gather enough links. Then tried a lot to translate a poem, from memory, a lovely one, “Ek Gaye”, very coincidentally it resembles to Edgar Allan Poe’s  “Annabel lee”. But I failed to make the feelings. So, there is a short piece, translated by Poem hunter.

 “I hunt for the golden stag.
You may smile, my friends, but I
pursue the vision that eludes me.
I run across hills and dales, I wander
through nameless lands, because I am
hunting for the golden stag.
You come and buy in the market
and go back to your homes laden with
goods, but the spell of the homeless
winds has touched me I know not when
and where.
I have no care in my heart; all my
belongings I have left far behind me.
I run across hills and dales, I wander
through nameless lands–because I am
hunting for the golden stag.”

 (Now, I can say some from my opinion. Here’s a story of the golden stag. As I know, in Ramayana, when Lord Rama, along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana, were in exile, Ravana made a magical maze. Ram saw a golden stag and ran after it to catch it..He was so blind to catch it that, when Sita was being taken away, and Lakshmana also searching him, he couldn’t know a bit…I guess, thats the golden stag among our souls also, we so blindly hunt for it, that we can see nothing else! )

My dear debbie, these links are for you, hope you’d check’m out, and love him as we do..and for videos, youtube is always there 🙂 You know, whether its happy or sad or problem time, we sing his songs, by heart, whispering or loud…Our recent and another celebrated novelist and his very fan Humayun Ahmed once said true, “Rabindranath made us a huge fuss, he’s written every impression and expression of our hearts, we just sing them what new would we write?”

Okay, here you go 🙂

Poems:

http://www.poemhunter.com/rabindranath-tagore/poems/page-2/?a=a&l=1&y= http://www.schoolofwisdom.com/history/teachers/rabindranath-tagore/gitanjali/

Short stories:

http://www.readbookonline.net/stories/tagore/134/

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/33525/33525-h/33525-h.htm

Biography:

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/22217/22217-h/22217-h.htm

PDFs:

http://www.poemhunter.com/i/ebooks/pdf/rabindranath_tagore_2012_10.pdf http://www.kaurab.com/english/bengali_poetry/rabindranath3.pdf http://www.acsa.net.au/brochures/Tagore%20Poems.pdf http://www.iitg.ernet.in/scifac/krishna/public_html/hs_405/tutorials/2013%20assignments/Rabindranath%20Tagore.pdf

Paintings:

http://indiapicks.com/Indianart/Main/R_Tagore_Gallery.htm http://www.ngmaindia.gov.in/sh-rabindranath.asp http://www.calcuttaweb.com/about/people/rabindranath-tagore/tagore-paintings/ http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/r/rabindranath-tagore-poet-and-painter/

Holy Cross, we shall be TRUE !

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Teacher’s Pet.”

When I am asked to tell about my school-college-university journey, I feel somehow awkward..  somedays earlier, one of my colleagues said, you studied in 4 schools in your 10 years primary and secondary life? then, you couldn’t have a soul-friend!

Ya, she’s right! I studied at a kindergarten for two years in Chittagong, another city. All I could remember, loud rhymes, beautiful class teacher and lots of weird activities 🙂

Then moved to Dhaka and was admitted in  a government school. Here, the school compound was huge, and I met many friends from lower or lower-middle class society..We managed to make adventures in the horrified corners, trees, and as usual a ghost in the washroom! 😀 But as I said, class, here I learned how to love people whatever they are! Life is the best teacher though…

Then another school, one of the top and aristocrat girls school in Dhaka.. It was suffocating! grade six, when a girl needs care and mental shelter most, I learned what upper social class is!!

And finally, came to my HOLY CROSS, at grade 8, and the journey ended at grade 12. But did it end? Never! Holy Cross taught me whatever your class, religion, race, complexion etc etc etc is, you are lovable and respectable, and you must give the reward back! Try to do a single thing for another, littlest it be!

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My teachers, Sister Philomina Quiya, Sharmin miss, Jharna Mitra miss, Mrs Fahima Gias, Rezwana miss, Chandraboti miss, Pinaru sir, Ostadji (islam religion teacher), Sharkar sir, Mrs Sattar…how many names are peeping on my mind! The wonderful ladies were the living examples of what a LADY is! They were confident, erudite,  independent and affectionate!

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The most amazing lady of my life, Sister Joseph Mary! This wonderful lady came to our land, from another part of the world, and the whole life, lived and loved us all! When I found her, she was a very very old lady, but strongest than all! I can remember yet, how she used to walk on her shaky old legs, her normal skirt, flat shoes, climbing stairs, and finally teaching us English accent, in her own artful style!

Once she burst out crying and scolded us loud when she saw a girl sitting on the new building wall..We were bored to see a old lady crying! But when she told us, we were mum. One of her close friends died this way, that day I realized, preachers are human too! They cry out for their own family, whether its long forsaken, or whether its the new us! Next day, she started working on making safety grills on the walls! gratitude is so small for this extraordinary lady!

I wouldn’t lengthen my post anymore, just would song that we sang everyday..

“Hail to thee, our Alma Mater,
We, with loving hearts, proclaim.
Long may our college live,
Ever glorious be her name.
Orient skies smile upon us,
As we pledge our love anew,
Holy Cross, we shall be loyal,
Holy Cross we shall be true.
Through the years our song will echo
As we walk our paths apart.
Each note will bind us closely
To our Alma Mater’s heart”

The quintupled hymn

I was searching for the right word, to picturize the beautiful call for prayer, five times a day, the Adhan. Islam has already become the religion of debates, of fear these days, and I am not going to this path anyway. To me, the evening bells from mandir (hindu temple), the evening bells from church, or the evening adhan from mosque, all are equally respectful! But as a muslim, Adhan not only reminds me of prayer, but also reminds me the first days of Islam, when all were equal, the honor of first muazzin or adhan reciter was given to Hazrat Bilal(RA), a slave! And what have we made ourselves today! We have made even different Adhans for different muslim groups!

It is said that, Dhaka is a city of mosques. We have thousands of mosques in neighborhoods, main roads, everywhere. Five times a day muazzins recite its beautiful rhythms, “Allah is greatest, I bear witness there is no God but Allah, I bear witness Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, Hasten to worship, hasten to success!” I love the beautiful part of the Fazr (early morning) salat, “prayer is better than sleep”..I am very lazy person, I cant wake up that time most of the days, but whenever this only line is recited I can’t sleep anymore!

One day, one of my friends called from Australia. Adhan (we call it Azan) was being recited, as always, on loudspeaker, my friend said, turn your voice down, how long I haven’t heard it! Yea, thats a sound pollution of course, when its started at thousands of mosques at a time, in this super duper noisy city, but is it really? No! as I repeatedly tell about the religious culture of our nation, its another example of it. Our non-muslim friends, regard Adhan as clocks! As the way, clocks in churches, in our country, when Adhan for Zuhr prayer is called, its 1 PM! simple!

Days become long, days become short, whole year round, we understand this by the changes in Adhan times. Children goes to field when its afternoon, when Aasr adhan is calling, come back home when its dusk, Magrib adhan. Don’t come home after magrib! moms from all religion, same language! When the sun is setting, first the Magrib adhan, completed, then the bells from hindu homes..no clashes at all! Thus in this peaceful country of rains, this hymn, simple, no instruments, only bare voice, only some lines, quintupled, reminds us of prayer, of that unity we have forgot in this mundane world!

A journey to the Swan Lake

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Once Upon a Time.”

Listen my little kitties, listen to your granny..It was a sunny, yes, very sunny winter day..I might be old today, but the day, I still can remember it. It was the day of January, 25, 2015. The date of today. No, no, don’t think I am making up the date..It really was 25 January, your granny’s not that old yet!

It was the day of “Saraswati puja“. Nowdays, you just don’t bother about old religious programs, but once they were great festivals. People from all religions, muslims, hindus, buddhists, christians, all gathered in the puja field..Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, with her four hands (mind, sense; intellect, reasoning; imagination, creativity; self consciousness, ego), her book of knowledge, her crystal garland of inner reflection, her water of purity and her musical instrument of all creative arts and sciences; called all her pupils… And above all, mother’s SWAN, not a normal one, her beautiful, enormous, snow-white swan..You know, why swan is her vehicle? because, you give her swan mixture of water and milk, it would able to drink the milk alone…Knowledge is not only learning, but the ability to differ good and bad!

Goddess Saraswati statue by Deparment of fine arts, Dhaka University photo courtesy: http://news.priyo.com/photo/2011/feb/09/19373.html, https://www.flickr.com/photos/arrajib/8557738043/?rb=1

I know, what you are thinking bunnies, that, I am a muslim, pray five times a day, don’t believe in Gods and Goddesses, wouldn’t take a mark of sindur or chandan on my forhead, then what was my relation with the veneration, isn’t it? Yes, you are right. On that day, people also asked that. But it was our country of harmony, that’s a rare word today.

Our University of Dhaka organized a big big big festival that day, actually for many years. All the departments, from science faculty, arts, business studies..54 departments established saraswati statue, in their own way, reflecting the theme of their department..You know, there was a statue from Islamic Studies department as well! Huh, what harmonious days they were!

But if the day was that easy, may be I wouldn’t tell you this story. The huge monsters of politics swallowed the whole country..No security, nothing, anytime you might be burnt in the petrol bomb! Boom! and you would be a lump of flesh! But dear, should we let the evil win! No, we couldn’t! We decided to visit mother saraswati, might we didn’t believe her, but we believed the power of knowledge, good and bad!

After office, I came out, whole monthly salary in handbag, lots of cash in a day of chaos outside. No, I didn’t have a horse, a white one as you see in fairy tales, but I made myself entered in a crowded bus..Our university was not far, but there was a fear everywhere. Anytime you might be hurt by thugs, anytime the whole bus could turn into ashes..Yes, it was 2015, but our politics might be from stone ages! (Nah, stone age was far more humane!). Each stoppage passed, a fear for next stoppage grabbed our throat.. I was alone that day, but you know, not really..My friend was coming to the puja from a long distant district, another side of the country, only to meet all!

We, the warriors arrived..Loudspeakers, as bugles, welcome us! many other friends, seniors, juniors..We took photos, we ate foods of veneration, yes, we are muslims, but we had a wonderful thought that time. Hindu friends ate as blessings, we ate as foods! We didn’t venerate the statues, but all shared the beauty of it in hearts.

In this world of religious fights, atheism-religion fights, there was a land of fairy tale. Extremists wanted to separate us, but we didn’t separate ourselves! In the year of 2015, we won! My little children, never let this harmony drowned, let mother saraswati’s swan swim…swim across the ocean of unjust, to give us knowledge of right and wrong!

More pictures of Dhaka University, Jagannath Hall Puja, 2014, (as 2015 pictures are not published yet), http://www.somewhereinblog.net/blog/sanjoymukharjeedumb/29923031

We fight to save a single flower!

When I look back to our Liberation War, 1971, feel, it was a bi-product of cold war! But was it really? No! This war not only gave birth of a country, but a nation, that we are not Pakistani, not Indian, we are Bangladeshi… I feel sometimes, why this bloodshed in the name of war? But feel very proud that we were not involved in a civil war, nor we invaded another country. We never press anything upon others. We live to live with all. And Allah gave us wonderful cultural friends, enormous helping hands from all over the globe during our war..

All these things I tell to give a bad news. Today the songsmith of our liberation, whose songs gave new strength to every soldier then, and every citizen henceforth, Govinda Halder  passed away (may his soul rest in peace)

I wouldn’t discuss about his life, his work, as I gave a link above. But I would like to translate one of  his songs. This single piece elaborates our whole war, our goal, our dream, our mentality. I am not good at translating, so just translated word by word, didn’t want to give a single touch of me in his wonderful work.

“We fight to save a single flower
 We raise guns to save smile on a single face.
   Land who embraced me whole life
   her river-water-flower-fruits portrayed my dream
   her blue sky gave wings to my mind
   rhythm of her soil I felt whole life.
We fight to write a new poem
We fight to sing a new song
We fight for a beautiful art
We fight today to save the world peace!
   For the love of that lady, heart beats for
   for that smiling child, whole world for
   for that sweet home, of heavenly couple
   We fight to save the peace of those peaceful lives!
We fight to save a single flower
We raise guns to save smile on a single face.”

Happy weekend folks!

I have my weekend on Friday and Saturday, so when the daily post notices, “happy weekend warriors!”, I am on the start zone of my weekdays 🙂 anyway, I tried to make a new introduction of me to my friends, a chef! I am not a good one, my mom cooks the meals, I am just an occasional one 🙂

Here, I thought you too show you a recipe, a very spicy one, of my country. Chana, ghugni, chotpoti, fuchka, velpuri, panipuri, all these Indian and Bangladeshi names has one thing common, lets show it to you 🙂 Its my first writing on cooking, so just watch it!

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1. Chop onions, green chillies, tomatoes (optional), ginger, garlic finely. you can use ginger and garlic as paste as well.

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2. Boil chickpeas, green peas or any kind of peas you want (Let me tell, this a recipe of “IMPROVIZATION”, you can add any ingredient you want 😀 use salt (some use pepper also) when boiling, that will make them boiled easily, and the masala will easily soak. drain them well.

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3. Smash the boiled peas, but don’t make paste of it. I used wooden grinder, you can use blender. you also can smash them during cooking, or not at all 😀

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4. Pour oil on the pan. Onions, green chilli, tomatoes, ginger, garlic..mix them. After they mix well, tomatoes are soft, then add the peas

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5. Pour all kind of  masala in your kitchen 😀 . Salt, turmaric powder, coriander seed powder, cumin powder, dried mango powder, lemon rind and obviously “Chana powder” which you can buy from any indian shop!

5. Here comes the important part. The cooking of chana largely depends on the amount of masala, and how you mix them. Thats why, we all prefer roadside ones, than our own preps !

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6. I used tomato sauce once, that is also nice

7. When the paste is thicky, pour coriander leaves, or persly. We eat quite spicy food, so I pour some green chillies also 😀

You can eat the chana masala with anything like bread, puffed rice, taco, paratha. Just squeeze a lemon on it, or make some chutney using tamarind, or coriander or yougert.. sweet, sour, spicy! as you wish!

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I coudn’t even plated it, all were eating from the pan! above is a preparation of another day, with another kind of peas.

Cook it all! Happy weekend 😀

yes dear, BANGLADESH it is!

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I am patriotic, not in a nationalist way, rather of a natural kind, was born in this country, so love my mom, like this way. No offense to others, no defense either. At this time , we are a critical generation of Bangladesh. We love our country from the core, can do anything (a fashion way or a serious way, both) from own positions, feel proud for our liberation war, our language movement (which is the only one in modern times, pride, isn’t it?) and we all hate violent politics. As we already realized that nothing is in our hand, we set them free!! They are doing whatever they want, we pay a damn, and doing our things. A garment worker is sewing a foreign jacket, whereas a software engineer is developing things, scientists are doing large things from tiny lab set ups…but we are doing things, making ourselves ready to stand beside the developed world (personally, i don’t like the classifications, each nation is developed in its own ways!)

Anyway, I am stretching things far to tell a story. I heard a “nice to meet you” from a foreigner today, which felt like he was cracking a coconut with his teeth! knew someone who described Dhaka as a living hell! and one’s wife made him promise not to eat or drink a single thing in our nasty country! I met many till, they were warm and nice, may be dislike the system, or the country, but not this kind of hate!! the thing is also true for some of Bangladeshis, they curse their fate everyday to be born in this horrible place!

Yes dear, with the densest population, our Dhaka is a garbage of slums, but do you think, the maid coming to your home everyday for household chores, or the rickshawpuller, where they live? in these slums! The shirt, or the pant, or the jacket, you are wearing, with a exclusive brand tag, where did it come from? A garment worker, may be a teenage girl, sewed these in her hands! Our food, sure they are formalin wrapped, dangerous, really, but don’t forget bird flu, swine flu, SARS, hemorrhagic E.coli or salmonellosis dear, THAT were not in Bangladesh!

Today was the “Akheri Monajat” of Ijtema, I was watching people going to the field on train, I couldn’t believe my eyes, if I wasn’t born here. The train was completely invisible. The similar picture is seen when people return to their village homes in Eid festivals. Anyone can think these people are THAT religious! no, we are THAT festive! They were holding national flags, as they were going to a international cricket match! We carry our flag from the bi-cycle to the Everest, cause we love it personally! THIS is Bangladesh dear, where the completely unknown lady beside you on the bus will ask you,” what are these rashes on your skin girl? you just don’t take care of yourself! use this paste or that cream, my cousin’s niece’s sister-in-law is completely well now!!”  There’s no Mr.X or Mrs.Y or Miss.Z here, all are mama (uncle), khala (aunt), apa (sister) or vaiya (brother)..from top to bottom, from bus conductor to office boss! When loudspeakers from Durgapuja pandals are paused during the Adhan  time, or young people sing folk songs along with John Denver or Bon Jovi,  dear, that is our BANGLADESH!

I would request to all, please don’t come to Bangladesh with a hope for taking or giving something…no help, no good memory, no bad food, nothing…come to visit us, we will also sometimes, we all are relatives in this tiny beautiful world, and in human culture relatives don’t give or take, we all just SHARE 🙂

To you, my precious

Photo courtesy: https://evenifministries.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/410/
Photo courtesy: https://evenifministries.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/410/

My precious,

How are you? I never wrote you, cause I didn’t find your address. A large address book of mine, thousands of people living there, but, you? no sign, nothing! How could my letters, my postcards, mails or tweets reach you, when you are living above the skies! My postmen, personal or virtual, no one can deliver you my love..My dear cutie pie, my love, my UNBORN,my SHORT-LIVED, yes this letter is to you!

In this blogging topic, I have been asked to write for my dream reader, about a topic, new to me.. But my dream reader is you. My writings might reach to anyone in this world, but you? You are too unreachable! But you will always be my dream reader, a spiritual one. You are NOT a SINGLE person, you could be anyone. In any family, in any society, caste, clan, religion, in anything. If you were alive, you had a name, we would lit up candles on your birthday cake, sing lullabies at bed, or scold for homework or video games! But, your steps were too short in this world, we couldn’t fit you a shoe!

Working at a hospital, I experience hundreds of your names, unborn, still birth, aborted, miscarriaged, short-lived…As biologists, we try our best to help you to live, when a vaccine, a medicine, a method we can establish, it feels like heaven! when one neonate is out of severe diarrhea or pneumonia, it feels like heaven! The seed will grow up, stand still on mother earth, listen the music of rivers, blow in the rhythm of wind, and finally make a huge tree with thousand leaves of deed!

My dream reader, believe me, we try…But sometimes life becomes so tough! You are forcefully aborted in many countries, in many cultures, because you would be a GIRL! We can’t bring you to this grave world, when you become a BI-PRODUCT of nasty war strategies! war maniac’s rape strategies! If we say sorry, with our tears and bloods, could you forgive us, for our cruelty?

Some say, you become a star, some say, you become a spirit, an angel carry you straight to heaven …In Hinduism, you can return back as a new person, with your own soul…I don’t know, how, but I want to tell you that, we miss you…When I watch my friend crying every night in prayers, watch a relative staring at children helplessly, I feel a deep sigh in me…

I don’t know where you live, how you do, but wherever you are, miss you my precious! Life goes on, many come, many go, many remain, your memory fades….But like a mirror maze you remain in our deeper selves, we look into ourselves, and your face reflects from all corners….regards dear!

Amphibian me!

When I decided to write about the second assignment on the theme and tagline, it was night already, and was so tired. When I woke up, another topic was already published! It was, say hello to neighbors ! I thought to write on both in one piece, and its night already 😀

As I said it earlier, my English is quite clumsy, as it wasn’t my first language…I didn’t read much English literature as well. But these days, I wanted to fly in  different skies, meet new birds, and English gives nice wings for that! That’s why, I am here!

My tagline, ” stories of mountains is history, stories of pebbles is life”- came from an inspiration. I am reading a book these days, “Love in the land of Midas” by Kapka Kassakova, there is a line, “These are the forces of history and I’m just a pebble tumbling down the hill before the great avalanche” . Yes we all are pebbles here, we won’t be in the history, so what? let tell our stories ourselves! Probably, that’s why Literature was born 🙂

Oh my, joining the neighbors! That took the soul out of me ! It was harder than our neighbor aunty’s, “could you give me some this? or that? or the whole!” When I searched for topics, I was scared, what am I doing? I was trying to hide myself from science, take a breath in history, novels, mythology etc, but I was searching topics like microbiology, cell biology, virology…In a second again arts ones…Started following all, and soon my reader section was a mess!! what should I read and what not!! Feeling like a frog, amphibian one, swimming in arts, and staying in a science hole! So, I put my original soul in “about.me” section 😀

I found lots of people here today, who are just like me, rather they are, Jack of all, and master of all! so, I started thinking of  writing about both…But I am very confused in this matter…After a blog on streets, or street people, suddenly stumbling in a blog like Protein synthesis or some virus, how would it look like?? Again, anyone can find them easily on internet, so should I write them in a blog?  If I do, should I write a new blog about that? But it’ll be very difficult for me to run them two…now, what should I do??