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     Volume 7 Issue 29 | July 18, 2008 |

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Straight Talk

Writer's BLOCK

Nadia Kabir Barb

I think I have been sitting in front of my laptop for at least an hour staring at the screen hoping that suddenly I will have a burst of inspiration for my article. However, every time a tiny flicker of an idea raises its fragile head, I get distracted. I keep telling myself that this must be a bad case of writer's block but the truth is my attention keeps wandering and I know exactly why. I've pinned the reason for my distraction down to the fact that it is only a few days till I go back to Dhaka and to be honest I just cannot wait! I feel like a child waiting in anticipation for a special treat. Instead of typing away diligently, I am making mental notes to myself: check time for flights, remember to check in online, pack all necessary medicines for the children, etc. The list of 'things to do' in the next few days seems to magically grow like Jack and his beanstalk and the suitcase lying forlornly in my bedroom keeps beckoning me. After every holiday, I always tell myself that the next time I travel, I will make sure I pack in advance so that I don't have a major panic 12 hours before departure. Somehow I never seem to take my own advice.

This year I have decided to take a long break and return to Dhaka for the summer holidays. People keep asking me why on earth I go back in summer. What about the heat and the monsoons, they query. What about mosquitoes? Why not go in winter when the weather is cooler and far more pleasant? Yes, yes I know it is going to be blisteringly hot and when it is not the heavens will open up. As for the mosquitoes -- I find there are far more mosquitoes to contend with in December rather than July or August! I sound like a parrot that has been fed its line when I tell people that it is much easier to go when the children have a longer school holiday, which is of course the summer holiday as the winter vacation is too short to have a relaxing trip to Bangladesh. But if I think about it, I actually prefer going home at this time despite it being hot and humid and where load shedding is part of daily life. You are probably rolling your eyes and labelling me as one of those people who likes to be contrarian but given a choice, I would rather go back in July than in December. After all it is the mango season and that to me is worth enduring many a hardship!

I absolutely hate the cold and having lived in England for so many years, you would have expected me to have developed some immunity to the wintry conditions but sadly that is something I failed miserably at. Over here my friends complain that my home in London is reminiscent of a sauna. People think I am mad when I say that I find it quite chilly when I go back to Bangladesh in winter, and evenings can get too cool for my comfort. I am sure lots of you will disagree and tell me that after perpetually hot weather, a drop in the temperature is a welcome respite. Not for me though!

Right now I am willing myself to concentrating on the task to hand -- as a little voice in my head is telling me that if I fail to submit my article I will incur the wrath of the editor. However, an even louder and more persistent voice in my head is making a list of foods I want to have when I go back consisting of: puchka, tehari, daalpuri, firni, ilish macher deem, it goes on. How can anyone concentrate? Apart from mangoes not being available in December, going back at that time is never a particularly relaxing experience as you inevitably fall headlong into the wedding season. You are either rushing from one wedding or 'dawat' to the other, and if you are not wedding hopping and overdosing on biriyani, you might just be sitting at home twiddling your thumbs because everyone else you know is rushing around leaving you to your own devices. Ultimately there is a feeling that you never really managed to spend any quality time with your family or friends and on top of that you end up even more tired after your holiday than when you left. I can't speak for other people but that is not my idea of fun.

Maybe when I get to Dhaka my creative juices will activate themselves and this mental block that I am suffering from will dissipate. But until then, I might as well call it a night and get on with my packing...


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