Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5 Issue 88, Tuesday, October 20, 2009



Dearest diary,
As Shakespeare said in so many words that the world is a stage and we are merely the actors....so....if that is the case, and... if I do create a drama of some sort, why am I then made into such a villain? Apparently, I have yet again produced a major broadway hit. I swear I did not mean to. But it somehow happened. I mean it is my first ever such drama, if it is at all a drama. Okay! Okay! I am telling, I am telling. It is just that I had planned to accompany my son back to school and at the last moment (as in getting in the car last moment) I decided not to go. It is not like something like this has not happened before to anybody (though nobody comes to mind). Okay, I admit it is not like I missed the flight...I just did not get on it. Is that such a big deal? Well, by judging everybody's reaction, I guess it is a BIG DEAL.

The first phone call was from my friend, Sad, who by the way, just fed me my farewell dinner couple of hours ago. It was bad enough that I had a hangover by just crying, and here she was screaming like a banshee down my sole surviving hearing device....."You did not go?" All I could muster was a feeble,"no", whereas I wanted to say was...."I thought you loved me and did not want me to go", so what happened? Then came on the phone was her husband,who in his drollest voice asked me to ask my son, in which places did he pray for this miracle to happen. Asif, you really know how to hurt a gal's feelings. Then my other friend who was in school was bombarded by a couple of hundred missed calls and messages by Sad and Bad to give the news. Bad, by the way is the husband of my teacher friend.

So, by then my ebullient self had taken quite a beating and I was actually thinking how to brace society's odium by doing what I did. Then in line was my mom who could not "believe" that a "modern" and "confident" woman as me could do such a thing and let her little grandson of only 22 years, 6ft. tall and all of 200 lbs, go off to face Ramadan all by himself. She also added how my baby must have been looking forward to the home made iftars and mother and son bonding. I really had to keep my Yeah! Sure! Snort under a tight wrap. Anyway diary, I guess my tacit silence said it all.

And during all this hungama, my smug other half was playing the uxorious husband's role to the hilt. To quote Sad, "he was pleased as punch".

Believe me diary, it was not like I did all this on purpose. I did not know what came over me. I got scared at the last minute. Having self-made iftar by myself while son in school, painted a very bleak picture in my mind's eye. I panicked. Now I exactly know what the term 'cold feet ' means.

Now to cut a long ,weepy story short,let me tell you the finale. After facing such reactions from all who are close to me, I am now highly traumatised and deeply depressed. So to get out of such mental anguish, I put up a proposal to the only sweet and supportive person around me...my rock...my husband.....a quick trip to Kolkata just before my birthday will fix everything. So before my psychiatrist decides that I am bipolar or something.....my moth(man of the house), agreed with me that it would be the correct thing to spend (Ahem!) my re-hab period in retail therapy. Now if only time would fly. You know, how fragile and delicate one's mind is. Wouldn't want anything to trigger off a reaction. Wonder why my lips keep curling to a smile.

Anyway diary, as we all know, patience is a virtue.....so let me start practicing.

So have a good day the Sam Q. way.

Cauliflower soup with cheese toast
Serves 6
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large potato, chopped
1 kg cauliflower, trimmed and chopped
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 cups water
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh or dried chives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cheese toasts:
1 thin crusty loaf
1 tbsp seeded mustard
120g thinly sliced cheddar or local cheese

Heat oil in large pan. Cook the onion and garlic, stirring until soft but not coloured. Add the potato, cauliflower stock and water. Bring to the boil, then simmer, covered for 10 minutes or until vegetables soften. Cool the mixture, then blend in batches in a food processor or blender. Return the soup to the pan, stir gently over a low heat until hot. Season with salt and pepper.

Cheese toasts
Slice the bread diagonally into 12 thin slices. Spread mustard top with cheese. Grill until cheese melts. Sprinkle with black pepper, if desired.

Check it out

World Hunger: All for one, one for all

KFC and Pizza Hut in collaboration with United Nations World Food Program, inaugurated a month long World Hunger Relief Campaign on 14 October, 2009 at KFC in Gulshan.

This campaign's spotlight focuses on the need to raise awareness on hunger and support WFP to provide meals to children at schools in rural areas and secure their education. Bangladesh has been a host to this powerful initiative for three years and was successfully able to raise US$ 2000 last year. Yum! International franchises worldwide (A & W, KFC, Long John Silvers, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell) are hosts to this campaign, which constitute 35,000 restaurants in 112 countries.

The Bangladesh Government and WFP provide a 75g packet of biscuits fortified with vitamins and minerals to 60,000 poor children in 4000 schools across the country.

One child dies of malnutrition and hunger every six seconds and 25,000 people die out of hunger related causes every day. Hunger triumphs diseases such as but not constrained to, AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in its devastation. With rapid industrialisation comes a fear of diminishing agricultural land that paves a path for increased numbers of starvation on a global basis.

John Aylieff, WFP representative in Bangladesh put forth, “World Hunger Relief Campaign is a strong cause on its own. Donation boxes are available so the voluntary act comes out straight from the heart rather than appear as an obligation.” He further added, “This innovative campaign brings together the public and private sector to address one of the most pressing issues of our time: the world's hunger crisis. High food prices are fuelling hunger and malnutrition at an alarming rate in Bangladesh. As a result, 7.5 million more people go to bed hungry every night across the country. Through World Hunger Relief Month, we can all make a difference to stop world hunger.”

Hinder not the love you have hidden within you, but unleash that unfathomable love and reach out. Be afraid not, to reach out for when you lend your hand, you conspire to tie the universe in a coherent sphere.

Only when you cometh in a synchronized link with the world, only can you truly recognize your footprint. Mother Teresa once said, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” Our individual contributions, according to our respective capacities, measure up to integrate a chain of care and love. Don't stop yourself, for you think your amount is minimal but extend yourself for your contribution counts. Light up a flame that will ignite a lamp at every child's doorstep pulling us, as a nation out of poverty and hunger Be a conscious citizen and drop in your contribution at the donation boxes available at Pizza Hut, KFC and A & W outlets around the city.

By Sanjana Rahman

Unavoidable death

He came to Jugabheri office on 24 September around 11 p.m. to deliver a press release. Jugabheri was his first workplace. He started his journalistic career at Jugabheri in 1973 when it was a weekly. Jugabheri's executive editor, Apurba Sharma walked with him to the gate where his car was parked. That was his last outing for the day. That was his last outing for life...well not really if one considers the final journey to his resting place at the Dargah.of Hazrat Shah Jalal. He didn't wait to see the press release in print. Journalist Mohiuddin Shiru went off to the land of the dead before he could say goodbye to anyone.

The first time I encountered death was when my mother's youngest sister died way back in 1968. She had tetanus but it wasn't diagnosed till it was very late. The doctors tried their level best to save her but it was not to be. She slipped away quietly leaving her parents, older siblings and a whole lot of relatives and friends in a sea of sorrow.

I didn't understand much of the finality of death but I saw how everyone lamented. Then I saw my mother's second sister pass away. Mamon, as I fondly called her, was more than my aunt; she was my second mother. Her death left a deep mark on my young mind. For a while my life came to a standstill. She left this place for her heavenly abode about 32 years back but it seems like only yesterday. I remember that night...I was afraid to sleep because I couldn't face the fact that she would be dead when I woke up. It took me years to get over her death.

So did the death of my father. Papa was sick and in bed for a couple of years. When he had a stroke, the thought of his active life coming to an end was too much for him to bear and he lost interest in living. The grief that I felt at his death stayed on with me for many years. I would think of him and my eyes would well up with tears. I thought of him so much when I was awake that in all my dreams he would be present sometimes life-sized and sometimes only as a cameo.

After papa's death I have seen so many people dying away. Friends, relatives, loved ones- have gone away never to return. Yet death remains an enigma. What happens after death remains even more of a mystery. But one thing is very clear - nothing is truer than Death. Death is unavoidable. And I'm scared of Death. Very, very scared!



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