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        Volume 11 |Issue 38| September 28, 2012 |


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One Off

The blue moon, despite our miseries!

Aly Zaker

The last full moon was famously known as the 'blue moon'. Permit me to quote from an internet source the meaning of this gorgeous name. "A 'blue moon' is the appearance of the third full moon in a season that has four full moons, instead of the usual three. It is never visually blue. Because a blue moon occurs only every two or three years, the term blue moon is used colloquially to mean a rare event, as in the phrase "once in a blue moon". The second full moon in one calendar month is also sometimes called a 'blue moon'." I remembered this while driving back from a meeting in the evening of the blue moon and decided to go to Ashulia braving the traffic jam to see this very special moon. Ashulia was still water-bound on both sides of the road. I stopped the car and kept watching the wonder of the celestial delight. I sent texts to many of my close people saying, "I have hardly seen such a fascinating 'coming together' of moon and water in my life". A reply came from a young man that I know to be a nature lover. He wrote, "I envy you." Perhaps the others were busy with their mundane chores.

I kept looking at the marvel, the huge round moon reflected on the sheet of water, for a long time. Dhaka then was burning in the heat of end monsoon. But here in Ashulia there was a cool breeze of sort blowing from the east. I don't remember how long I was engrossed in this. When I realised that time had come for me to move on, I looked to the left and was instantly reminded of the rush of traffic, with all its sound and fury. Strange though it may seem, I was totally oblivious of the noise of the traffic as long as I was in the company of the full moon, immersed in its glory. I think the harsh realities of our everyday life can be dealt with by trying to compensate for 'what is not' by 'what is' or 'what could be'. I know it may be very difficult. But I also think that this is the only way to survive in today's merciless and mercenary world. It is a matter of regret that we do not even care to know when the day dons, when the sun climbs to the middle of the sky. We do not care to listen to the chirping of birds coming back to their nests even in this noisy city of ours. I really do not know if this is the reason for our increasing restlessness and despair. There are enough reasons for us not be so hopeless after all.

In this context, I am tempted to recall a presentation that an advertising professional had made during the last Ad-fest in Dhaka.

Toffael Rashid, a young Bangladeshi strategic planner, working abroad in a multinational advertising agency made a very apt presentation in the Fest in Dhaka. Toffael named the presentation "Bangladesh A vibrant and living idea". He focused on such aspects of our country that exude hope and promise. A preamble to this presentation listed out the not-so-palatable stuff that we hear every now and then, such as natural disasters, corrupt and untrustworthy government and people, illiteracy, poverty etc. Starting from there, Toffael showed us some home-grown people and stunning visuals that portrayed hope against despair, success against failure and life against morbidity. He was an excellent photographer and took pictures that depicted our people as patriotic, hardworking, hospitable, artistic, resilient and happy. I must confess that through this presentation Toffael was able to convince us that all was not over. After his presentation, when I was trying to internalise what Toffael had said, the floor was opened up for discussion. A young advertising executive was the first person to reflect upon Toffael's presentation. He asked, “How can we think of a happy Bangladesh when everything around us is so miserable?” Elaborating upon his exasperation, he talked about the hours he wasted everyday commuting within the city of Dhaka, the uselessness of politicians, a growing sense of insecurity amongst the youth et al.

I was flabbergasted. I thought this was precisely what Toffael had talked about for almost half an hour. How could such a wonderful deliberation fall flat?

We know that the miseries of our everyday life are facts of life. But the point is to try and see what is there beyond hopelessness. That alone can help us out of an attitude of forever complaining and whining about what is not. While on the subject of traffic jam, a recent experience of a young relative of mine comes to mind. This young man commutes between his home and work every day and has to suffer gridlock often on the roads of Dhaka. There was this other gentleman who frequented that route and complained of the traffic jam every day in almost the same language. He always said that his office was a few minutes' walk away from the jam but that he had to suffer the pain of having to wait in the crowded bus thanks to the jam. One day, one of the other co-passengers said, “Then why don't you walk rather than whine like this!”

The whining habit seems to have become a pathological predisposition with many of us these days. Seeing the glass half empty all the time seems to have crept into our urban psyche. It is about time we got rid of this mind-set.


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