Category Archives: Reflections

Reflections of My Trip to Bangladesh

Family Home in Kulaura, Sylhet

I paid a visit to Bangladesh some time around February as an opportunity to make amends with the past. Since Dadu, grandmother had passed away, I haven’t felt the desire to go back because things were no longer the same. The nostalgic memories of childhood where my brother and I would be mischievous by playing hide-and-seek in the family home with our cousins, playing cricket and badminton with the maids and neighborhood children, eating numerous bags of Potato Cracker Chips, secretly watching the cooks prepare a delicious full-course menu, watching pithas being made over bonfires, and chasing the farm animals all seemed like a distant memory. What’s interesting is that these bits and pieces of memories are shared by all of my paternal cousins. When visiting Dadu’s home, it felt as if she was watching over me. I missed her so much and Bangladesh never felt like Bangladesh in the robust capital of Dhaka anyway. Once I got to Sylhet and passed through the serene nature: the mountain of tea gardens, the mango trees, jujube trees, and streets filled with fresh pineapple, I knew I was back to a place where I could call home. This was a place where I could re-visit moments of my childhood again as well as make new memories in the new year…

Rickshaw ride to the heart of Amtoil to visit the places where my father grew up.

Rickshaw ride into the heart of Amtoil to visit the places where my father grew up.

Local school children in Amtoil

Local school children in dad’s village in Amtoil

Boro Dada (great-uncle), my Dadu's older brother in Kotomata

Boro Dada (great-uncle), my Dadu’s older brother in Kodomata

Rena, my nanny during my first visit to Bangladesh at the age of 1

Rena, my nanny during my first visit to Bangladesh at the age of 1

Babu Kaka, the night guard after a long day of Saraswati puja festivities

Babu Kaka, the night guard after a long day of Saraswati Puja festivities

Colorful sari and shawl stands in Jaflong, Sylhet

Colorful sari and shawl stands in Jaflong, Sylhet

Stone collectors in Jaflong, Sylhet

Stone collectors in Jaflong, Sylhet

Stone collectors in Jaflong, Sylhet

Stone collectors in Jaflong, Sylhet

The making of dad's museum, the nation's first arts and sports museum

The making of dad’s museum, the nation’s first arts and sports museum

Carpenter making handmade intricate designs for furniture

Carpenter making handmade intricate designs for furniture

After a bath in the pond in Moulvibazar, Sylhet

After a bath in the pond in Moulvibazar, Sylhet

Tea collector in Ghazipur, Sylhet

Tea collector in Ghazipur, Sylhet

Hasina's Ma, Dadu's caretaker

Hasina’s Ma, Dadu’s caretaker


Book Club: Books & Biscuits, Co.

Ah, I’ve been secretly wishing for a group of gals to start a book club for the longest! Kind of like a personal Oprah’s Book Club version. I think my prayers were answered miraculously through Books & Biscuits, Co. November, the first month of our book club’s selection was an older text, Sawāniḥ:The Oldest Persian Sufi Treatise on Love by Ahmad Ghazzali. It deals with the basic understanding of the notions of love and what true love is between the lover (man) and the beloved (higher entity=Divine) with religious implications set forth metaphorically and majestically. I don’t think mere simple words can do any justice to the text.

For our first discussion session, we met at Prince Tea House in Flushing, NY and had dinner at Kabul Kabab, which isn’t too far from the tea house either. The tea house had such a classy and elegant setting. Forget any ordinary chained cafes or whatever! I mean, I can’t believe that I actually had my first tea party. Yeah, kind of late, I know! But nonetheless, I wanted to share some photos from the meet.

BBCO Collage

BBCO Collage2


I Hardly Ever Write Poetry, But…

I have been so busy with work and school that I have not had the time to post any new writing projects or recipes that I have attempted. I have been working diligently on two dissertations for my graduate studies and have been occupied with that! I apologize for my absence and will make an effort to post regularly.

Earlier this week, my 5th grader sister mentioned a certain encounter at school that really bothered me and I wanted to take this blog as a platform to voice my perspective on this issue. She encountered a young girl in her school bathroom that repetitively screamed at how ugly she was because of the hijab she wore. I was at loss of words and wondered what it is in fact that children are being taught at home. Is racism an issue that is spread through ignorance and media or is it an issue that is encouraged at home against those who are or look different as well? We live in New York City, the most diverse of the diverse of cities and the fact that these sorts of issues still persist truly saddens me. Born and raised in New York, as a young girl in middle school, I witnessed 9/11 and encountered the effects of misidentification and racism post-9/11 as well. After dealing with the snickering comments of bullies at school, the awkward stares in the MTA when going to school, and even simply walking in the streets with my non-Muslim friends because of my hijab, I thought I “gracefully” adapted to the “standards” of society. However, what I was not prepared for was how to explain the concept of racism or being wrongfully judged for the stupid actions of others to a ten-year old who was born at a later time than 9/11. I am not trained in the field of children’s psychology and am the type to avoid such confrontations or talks. But to avoid any confusion and prevent her delicate self-esteem from being jeopardized, I wanted to let my sister know that she is neither ugly nor is she the problem, but it is the girl who said those hurtful words and her upbringing that is the actual problem. Parents mold their children before society has any influence on them. It makes me question what are children being taught at home. For schools that employ bullying-prevention techniques, are children efficiently adhering to the principles taught? I guess not.

I mean it does not take rocket science to figure out that I am Muslim in accordance to the scarf that I wear. But I am normal too. I do not deserve to be the subject of other’s ignorance and wrongful judgement. My sister and I are ordinary females with ordinary dreams. I want to be a lawyer and she wants to be a chemist someday. I want to start my own family and she wants to look after my parents. I like volleyball and she likes basketball. I like reading fairy tales from all around the world to her and she likes to listen to me reading to her. I love cooking curry and she loves baking. We have a brother who we both enjoy pestering! So why all this hostility and animosity?

Nonetheless, I wrote a poem dedicated to my sister. Your positive feedback would be appreciated.

Poem