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     Volume 4 Issue 55 | July 22, 2005 |

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Dhaka Diary

A Shoe that Fits
The Same Problem but Different Context

Since my feet were too big (according to Bangladeshi standards) like EK, Banani (SWM, July 8), finding shoes that fit became a serious problem soon after I passed my SSC examination. All my shoes and sandals were perennially fashionable (?), run-of-the mill Bata since it was the only brand that had my size. After I came to BUET, I used to visit Elephant Road with the hope of finding a more fashionable pair of shoes or sandals. In some stores, even before I told the sales people my size they would say "Na Bhai, apner size nai." Thus I continued with Bata for the next six years or so. After I came to the United States, my shoe-size problem was "solved." Well, only temporarily! When I was a student here, I used to buy inexpensive shoes from a chain store famous for fair-priced footwear. However, when I started my teaching job at a big university, I needed good shoes because the students tend to check me out from head to toe. Foreign-born instructors still draw curious looks in America's conservative heartland. My shoe problem resurfaced! Good leather shoes are relatively expensive in the US. So I often look for price mark down on shoes. But my shoe size is "average" American size and "that" pair is always missing from the items that are on sale! Finally I resorted to the much-hated (from the bitter experience of post-liberation war Bangladesh) practice of "hoarding!" Whenever I find my-size shoes on sale, I buy several pairs for the future. My wife tries to resist (unsuccessfully) my practice since she is afraid (rightfully) that those "hoarded" shoes will be out of fashion by the time I wear them! Once I saw a TV drama about a Laotian refugee family in the US who would secretly store perishable food items from their host because they had the "fear" in their subconscious mind that food would run out! I'm still "hoarding" shoes out of "fear" that my size will no longer be there!
MH Kansas, USA.

My Prizer
It was the year 2001, when I was in class 8. There was an announcement of a National Essay Writing Competition on Nutrition of Bangladeshi children. I decided to participate, even though it was right before my first term examinations. During the exams, one of my teachers informed me gleefully that I had secured the second place in the essay writing competition and that I would receive my prize via courier. I was thrilled and told my family and friends about it.
It has been four years since the fortunate moment, and I still have not received my parcel. I sometimes sit and wonder for hours about the postal system in our country.
Jafrin Jahed Jiti VNC

Chittagong Diary

The sugarcane secret
A few days ago, on my way home, I saw a man selling sugarcane juice in front of a school. I thought of giving it a try since a lot of students were having it. However, what horrified me was how he made the juice. The man had a water bucket that he was using to wash the glasses and the grinder. He was using that same water to wash the canes and sometimes to make the canes thoroughly wet to get more juice out of it. The juice turned black because of the water. I saw some kids drinking this nauseating liquor to their satisfaction. This is a situation in every school that deserves some attention and proper action by the school authorities.

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