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Under a different sky

By Iffat Nawaz


I Didn't fight for freedom; I felt it the first time I breathe, in a small clinic in the middle of Dhaka where I was born, a good few years after 71, and freedom was all over me. My parents, freedom fighters of the Bangladesh Liberation war of 71 brought me into a free Bangladesh, and welcomed me with beautiful adoring words of Bangla, I didn't understand but I felt freedom all over me.

I didn't fight for freedom, but I heard how it feels not to have it. To not have your own rights, to be threatened that someone will take away your mother tongue, snatch the language from your mouth, your expressions, your words, and your identity. I have heard people die in 1952 for Bengali, the language my mother sang lullabies to me, the language my father used when he wanted to tell me he loves me. I heard, I heard it all in Bengali and I will never know how it feels to fight against the threat of someone robbing expressions out of my mouth.

I didn't fight for freedom, but I saw in books and documentaries how much freedom costs. I saw the sadness in my father's eyes when he talked about his two brothers who were martyred during the war. I saw my father cry. He didn't see that I also cried, for him. And for never getting to see my two uncles and how through their lost bodies freedom became a part of our Bengali earth.

I didn't fight for freedom, but tasted the tears and pain it caused. I tasted the sorrow my grandmother hid in her throat, in the lines of her forehead. When I would kiss her cheeks I tasted the strength every lost freedom fighter's mother held, inside, with pride.

I didn't fight for freedom, but I touched it. When my father held a bullet in his hand telling me it had killed a close friend while he was fighting for Bangladesh, I touched it, in my 10 year old palm it was the heaviest thing I ever held, the lead burned through my hand; I wanted to bury it away but I knew freedom was heavy, it was for all, and if all of us share the weight of our history perhaps it won't feel so heavy at all.

I didn't fight for freedom, I am a post-71 generation child. But through inheritance of my parents' blood I feel the cost of freedom, the struggle, the fight, the grief, the joy, and the victory. It's engraved all over my body, freedom, and 71, a free Bangladesh, my Bangladesh, our Bangladesh, if I say it in Bangla or not, if I speak up or keep it inside, I feel it, all over me, freedom all over me.

A new year look

It's the beginning of a new year, and it is also the time to make some changes in your daily life. You can start with redecorating your own room. Your room is a reflection of your world; so in this year put your creative thoughts in showing others how you live in your world.

The changes
You first need to see which things should be changed to give the room a bigger outlook. Reduce the furnitures and go for wall cabinets if necessary. Nowadays people usually prefer to sleep on mattresses rather than on bed, if the room is small, as that saves up a lot of space. If you think you have a lot of paper work to do, then try to get hold of tables with attached shelves. You can keep your books and stationeries there but make sure they are not clustered together. Arrange the shelves according to your needs and this will help you to work more freely. You can also bolt up hangers behind your door to hang your clothes. As for the computer table, try to have more racks for your CDs and other accessories and tie up the extra wires to avoid the untidiness.

The touch
After you have taken care of your furnitures, it is time to give a final touch to your room. You can repaint the walls and ceilings in your choice of colours to generate a refreshing appearance. You can keep small cushioned chairs to accommodate your guests, which are available in various designs. The most convenient one should be chosen. You can put lanterns up on the ceiling to give your room an aristocratic look.

The room is your inner self. Whenever you enter your room, let it make you feel that you are at home. Let your place have a friendly ambience, which will always keep you cheerful. Let your room speak your mind!

By Yamin Tauseef Jahangir
Photo: Journeyman Archives



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