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     Volume 5 Issue 86 | March 17, 2006 |

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Dhaka Diary

My 25th Birthday
I am a final year student of BA (Hons) in International Relations at a Public University. Being a member of a broken family I am separated from my mom as well as my family for the last seven years. After my parents' separation, my brothers and sisters and I started living with our mother. Due to a personal conflict I left my family seven years back and have been surviving by teaching students which I am still doing. Even then, I still think that my mom is the best mother in the world. She has struggled a lot for her four kids and made sure that we never felt the absence of our father. She used to arrange the birthday parties for us and never forgot to celebrate the many yearly festivals events and give us new clothes.
The incident look place four days ago. One of my students, whose father is an SP (Superintendent of Police) in Barisal and mother QSD in the Food Ministry. Her mother used to behave as if I were her second child apart from her only offspring. She would feed me with great care and give me a lot of affection. She came to know about my 25th birthday on 17th March. On 13th March she came inside the study of her house where I was teaching my student. She presented me with a dress, which I did not open at that time. But as soon as she handed over the dress to me I was so happy that tears came and filled both of my eyes, as I was so touched. I had not received a birthday gift from my mum for the last seven birthdays. She told me to try the kamiz out. I went inside the bathroom to try it on. As soon as I opened the kamiz I got a whiff of a damp, moldy smell, the kind we get from old, discarded clothes. I realised that this dress was an old rejected dress and it was probably purchased at least 2 to 3 years back. It left me in a state of shock and disappointment.. I usually react very vehemently to any sort of injustice Suddenly, that lady knocked on the bathroom's door and asked me to show her how the kamiz looked. I came out with a gloomy face but managed to look grateful, as I was grateful to her for showering me with motherly affection that I so craved for. I left the house taking that dress and all the way I thought about how I could pay her back for such humiliation. I really don't understand how people can be so insensitive.
I am earning around 15 thousand take per month and can afford to get clothes for myself. I do not expect anything from anyone. However, I do expect a minimum level of respect from a person like her. I admit I may have overreacted. But that is because of my past; I have been deprived of my family and have had to struggle all my life just so I could be educated and self-reliant.

Celebrating Ekushey
We live in Nakhalpura, where there is a small Shaheed Minar. On the 21st of February, everyone in the neighbourhood got together at the memorial point and observed a minute of silence out of respect for the martyrs. However, right after that little bit of respect shown, the rest of the day was spent listening to Indian film songs, to justify the International Mother Language Day. It was very shocking to see this, especially on a day when the people of this country had fought so fearlessly to establish their own language.
Eakut Salma Sunnoon
Nakhalpara, Dhaka


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