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     Volume 4 Issue 76 | December 23, 2005 |

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Straight Talk

Through Rose- Tinted Glasses

Nadia Kabir Barb

"ARE we there yet?" asked my youngest daughter for the fifth time in the past hour. Every child seems to have a microchip inbuilt into their system with that particular question written into it and one that becomes activated as soon as they are sitting on a plane, train, bus or any vehicle of any type. However, on being asked about the question for the fifth time, I was relieved to be able to tell her that our plane was actually about to descend and the end of our journey was in sight. Through the mist, I could see the lights of Zia International airport twinkling underneath us. The feeling of excitement coming from my children was almost palpable and even contagious and I watched their little noses pressed to the window counting the seconds till the wheels of the plane touched the tarmac. There really is no feeling like that of coming home.

However, home had to wait a little longer as we had to wait for what seemed like an exceptionally long time to be reunited with our luggage but once that hurdle was over and we were comfortably ensconced in the car, it felt like the wait was almost over. It was nice to sit back and drive through a relatively quiet and traffic-less Dhaka and point out to the children the little changes we could see since our visit last year. Driving in the middle of the night was almost an eerie experience. Especially when you are used to the hustle and bustle of thousands of people, the uninterrupted noise of irate drivers hooting and an endless sea of cars and traffic jams that have to be seen to be believed. In fact every time I come back I always think that the state of the roads and the traffic just can't get any worse and every time I am proved wrong. How that is possible will probably remain as one of the unsolved mysteries of the twenty-first century!

I have to say I was impressed by the cleanliness of our Airport. As I came down the stairs and walked towards immigration, I was more than a little bit surprised at how clean the floors were, do I dare go as far as saying they almost looked spotless! Then again while I was sitting in the car driving towards my mother's house, I noticed how beautifully maintained the flowerbeds on the roadside were and just how tidy they looked. For that I have a feeling I should thank SAARC for this sudden outburst of civic sense. I sincerely hope that these things do not get relegated to the list of "not really important now there's no one to impress" and are tended to regularly and for an extended period of time. Taking a little pride as to how our city looks is not such a bad thing.

Then we reached our final destination and the kids almost fell out of the car with anticipation. Somehow "Nanu's House" held the prospect of a great many treats that were eagerly awaiting them, i.e. staying up late, ice creams at the drop of a hat, rickshaw rides (not really possible Little Venice, London I guess!) and God knows what else. They just had to say the word and Nanu would make it happen! The feeling of familiarity and nostalgia that washed over me as I walked through the front door was overwhelming. All my mother's staff were awaiting with big smiles on their faces and it was comforting to think that some of these people had known me all my life and for the others I had known them almost all of theirs. For me it was just the though of being home and that was enough. It was wonderful to be able to take timeout from school runs and daily chores and spend a few weeks being thoroughly pampered. Thank God for that fact that to our parents we will never really grow up!

The night or what was left of it was spent chatting and catching up while the children made themselves at home by deciding who was sleeping where and generally settling in with the utmost ease. The only sound to break up the silence outside was the sound of the Azan or should I say a chorus of Azans!

I always tell my husband that listening to my children's comments one would immediately come to the conclusion that I was brain washing them (which I promise you with hand on my heart that I am not!). Everything about Bangladesh was great. It was a fun place to be because they could go to Wonderland and Fantasy Kingdom (Yup these are children who live in the U.K. and have access to some great amusement parks!), then of course there is the American Burger place, which was best place to get burgers, yes definitely better than London. Bangladesh was so nice and colourful not drab and grey like England. I could go on. You see what I mean. But it is rather nice for me that what is home for me has become part of where they consider their home to be. In fact one time my son had been invite by his friends to watch and England vs. Bangladesh cricket match at Lord's cricket grounds and he came to me saying that he had to sit separately. Being a parent I immediately bristled thinking that it would be unacceptable if he had been given a seat away from the other boys. But he clarified that by telling me that it was because his friends would be supporting England while he would be supporting Bangladesh! Immensely relieved and amused (and secretly quite pleased), I explained that unlike football the fans were not segregated depending on which team they supported.

Like my children, who are oblivious to any faults Bangladesh might have such as its political climate, traffic jams, corruption etc. I am going to turn a blind eye to it as well for the next few weeks and just enjoy being home and truly it feels good to be back…

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