Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 15, Tuesday October 5, 2004







Rain and Romance

Does rain and romance have a strong connection? Perhaps so, because a drizzle does spark a passionate light of love in many human minds. It is often the lovers and poets who have a special fondness for rain. It is a common belief that those who love to watch rainwater splash on their windowpane or like to get drenched during a downpour or enjoy riding a rickshaw with the hood released or listen to melodious numbers on a rainy day are people who understand ROMANCE better than the rest. The rain lovers can arrange for a perfect surprise treat for their loved ones, write beautiful letters (in these days, emails and SMS) or talk amorously hour after hour over the telephone.
These are just beliefs though, but I guess every statement has some degree of truth in it. Only a few weeks back, this Dhaka city was inundated with a heavy shower and many of us remained protected at our own comfy homes, hardly stepping outdoors. During that dull period of one week, I talked to numerous people over the phone, and bothered them with one question "How much do you love this seemingly never-ending rain?" To my surprise, about 90% of answerer said that they loved this rain and that a cloudy weather was bringing in mind the thoughts of the people they love. Well I myself am not a rain lover. And one of my friends once went like, "you don't love rain because you are unkind and unforgiving…" Well, I don't agree with her on her declaration, and I do also disagree with the fact that a person who's not fond of rain can't be romantic. After all, what's so special in a Bangladeshi downpour? A shower means that the roads of Dhaka will be submerged by overwhelming sewage water within a matter of half an hour or even less. And think about the day labourers, who go unemployed when a rain hits the town. The non-stop rainfall of the past weeks halted the city activities. Rain appears to be a sort of unproductive natural event in this small and busy capital of ours. I myself can't help but wonder what infinite beauty lies in a rainfall that can make hundreds of people homeless, uproot trees and plants, crack roads, overflow puddles and cause mouldiness on the walls of houses. Rain is not romantic in a country where majority of the people can't afford to buy an umbrella, let alone a plastic raincoat.
The people I asked in the beginning were individuals belonging to the upper stratum of the society, these are people like you and me, who can sip warm tea and read newspaper in a drizzly morning. People who know that even if they miss a day at office, they won't go starved. To us, sitting by a window and staring at the heaven is fine because we can afford this much of extravagance. But those living in the lower or the lowest segment of the community, to them rain is a cause of stress, anxiety and starvation. The bua who comes to work at our home at 9 in the morning couldn't come to work for 4 days because her small tin shed home was flooded by rainwater; she lived on her feeble bed for days. I (maybe it was impolite) asked how she managed going to the toilet…She only gave a coy smile for a reply. I still don't know what she and her family did for those four days but whatever they did would probably not sound pleasing to many privileged people. As a social being, I find it tough to enjoy a romantic rainfall when people I know so well remain fixed to beds with bedsteads that screech, and wince from pangs of hunger as they can't get down from their shelter and come to work. Rain, in reality brings miseries even more miserable than the above-mentioned story relates.
I am no philosopher or philanthropist yet my heart sometimes does ache when a 7-year-old is spotted cold, bare and hungry when heaven soaks the world beneath it. I can't afford to sit by a window, gaze at the grey sky, hear the clouds thunder or write a piece of poem when thousands others awkwardly munch coarse, uncooked rice to kill their unbearable hunger.
Weather like my mood/ Rain beating against window/ Singing her sad song, / Beats against my soul window/ I feel a sadness inside.

By Wara Karim

Reader's Chit

Down memory lane

I never knew how precious pictures were until I finished my O'levels. Suddenly I was in a whole new 'grown up' world, and had nothing binding me to my carefree O'level days, except a few pictures and many memories. Suddenly I began collecting pictures like crazy, and before I knew it, I had finished filling up three albums of pictures of just my last year at school. However, I was in for a shock when I went to check for my pictures of class 3 to 9. I always took so many pictures, but alas, never succeeded in taking good care of them. Nearly all of my previous pictures were spoilt, and I felt sad knowing that now I had nothing to remember those beautiful days. Did you know that black and white is actually much safer than colour pictures? Think about using black and white film as well as colour film when you take photos. Otherwise, consider turning some of your more important photographs into black and white prints. Black and white is made of silver and not dyes, so it lasts longer than colour. No colour pictures are permanent. Store photographs and negatives where the humidity and temperature don't vary much. Cooler is better, but room temperature is fine. Avoid heat ducts, damp basements, laundry rooms, bathrooms or any room where something wet will be introduced. Some of the best storage areas tend to be bedroom closets. Always remember to take good care of negatives and original transparencies, since those are the only way to make copies if the prints fade. Don't store photos in a garage or anywhere where they'll be exposed to gases like nitrogen oxide or sulfur dioxide. If you live where the photos are stored, the pictures are probably safe. Remember that any visible light, not just ultraviolet light, will fade photographs. If you display photographs, don't put them in direct sunlight. Don't buy scrapbooks with magnetic pages. To make your own quality, inexpensive scrapbook, buy a good quality three-ring binder with a cloth cover. Purchase high-quality paper. Don't glue down the pictures. Try not to do anything that can't be undone. Lastly, Take your photos out at least once a year. You'll not only enjoy looking through them, but you can also check for dampness, fading pictures or discoloration. Remember that they are not just pictures, they are records of your life as it passes by.

By Jennifer Ashraf

The real victims of a divorce

Every year there are millions of kids who have to face the life of living with a single parent-its trauma and sometimes even its humiliation. What makes me so different from all these kids? Nothing! I am just another kid whose parents are divorced and who had to grow up trying to explain why tWo people who frown upon anything unconventional or abnormal. My parents divorce has had, and is still having, the most significant and permanent influence in my life. I want to reflect on how difficult a divorce can be on the children.
For the first eight years, I was in denial. My parents never officially told me anything about their divorce which questions whether or not they care enough about me to let me know about it. Nobody ever asked anything because I made sure that I put up a face which showed that nothing was wrong. I even had to hide the fact that I once witnessed my father hitting my mother. Sometimes, when I would call my friend and find out that he is out on a family dinner, I would find myself wishing I had a normal family and that would be really hard on me. But I still never talked to anyone about it because I was scared of what they might think.
My relationship with my father is more like a financial one. Whenever I needed it, I called him up and asked for money, and if we had the time, we would say "hi" to each other in the process. I remember crying when I found out that he has a new wife with two new kids, not because I thought he loved me any less, but because he did not have the decency to tell me about it himself. I find it hard to trust my father with anything because of this. My mother tries to make my life as normal as possible, but I can tell that sometimes she is unable to take it. She ends up saying things like "If you screw up then your father will be really happy because it will mean that I have failed". My father makes me feel like a test, which my mother must pass, and my mother makes me feel like something she has to take care of so that she can show my father. Together they make me feel like a battleground for their revenge.
Experiencing all this has taught me to never take anything for granted, not even the happiness derived from a simple family dinner. It has gotten me scared and often pessimistic about the whole concept of a "loving family". I cannot say if I would have been a happier person if my parents were together, but life would have been a lot easier, for me and my brother. From personal experience, I think the real victims of a divorce are the children. All parents should give a second thought about that before they start splitting up.

By Farhan


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