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Stuff about Canada I like (no particular order)

1) Fruits
2) Reliable public transportation
3) Boots!
4) Coats
5) Fast Internet
6) Everyone reads
7) Interac
8) No powercuts
9) No cockroaches

Stuff I miss from home

1) The sound of azaan
2) Cheap cell-phones/rates
3)Hand showers
4)Sushi without mayo
5)Cheap clothes
6) Rain with personality
7)Rickshaw rides
8)Milk that tastes like milk
9)Bird song
  • Listening to: Ignition - Tobymac
  • Reading: The Eight - Katherine Neville
  • Watching: Cute Kid and Dad sing Edward Sharpe
  • Playing: It Girl
...the first thing I become aware of is absence. Absence of light in the pre-dawn darkness. Absence of sound in this quiet suburb where even birds whisper.
I hold my breath, waiting for homesickness to hit me, for nostalgia, or even the crushing disappointment of waking up that haunted me in the final months in Dhaka. Nothing. Here in my cocoon of sensory deprivation, even emotions are absent.
For want for something - anything - I get up, clean my room, get breakfast, water the plants. The cold hits my unaccustomed skin like shards of glass, and I welcome the bite as I breathe in the air, odorless, clean, into my lungs.
Chores dispatched, I find myself padding back into my room. Switching on my laptop, I stare blankly at the screen, watching jubilation, desperation, boredom, insecurities - all those emotions I can't feel - experienced by my friends on their Facebook feeds.
And then suddenly a blue messenger window pops up, with a familiar one-eyed green monster on its display picture, saying 'Arre apni?"

And my heart thaws
  • Listening to: "To catch a thief" - Lovage
  • Reading: The Eight - Katherine Neville
I killed an ant today,
crushed it between my teeth
I can still taste its death in my mouth.
Don't know how it found its way in there
but it bit my lip pretty hard
I wonder if it tasted my blood before it tasted my vengeance?
The vengeance I never intended...
  • Listening to: "Hey Mr Tambourine Man" - The Byrds
  • Reading: Black and Blue - Ian Rankin
  • Watching: The wrap-up of Act 2 of the BDR drama

Sixteen eyes glanced up as I walked into the hastily-improvised, windowless brick-and-tin shed that served as a classroom for the fifth graders. Like veteran shoppers at Karwan Bazaar, they scrutinized me, weighing me with their searching gazes, while the wheels in their heads whirred away, labelling, defining, categorising me.
I stood there, a very frightened eighteen year old, in my ill-fitting printed tunic and floppy jeans, white-knuckled from gripping the register copy.
"Class, this is your new English Literature teacher, Sabrina Miss." Tipping a thin-lipped not-smile at me, the slender, balding Language teacher pivoted on his heel and strode out of the classroom, oblivious to the paper missile chucked at his back from the back row. The thin tin door banged shut behind him, with all the finality of prison gates closing. There was no escape.


The glass door slides open before me with a sigh, and forty heads swivel around as I step into the well-lit, air conditioned room. I adjust the strap of the Gucci bag on my shoulder and continue towards the table at the head of the room. Setting my stuff down on the table with a click, I lean forward, silently surveying the faces turned towards me. Shuffling feet, nervous coughs and sideways glances ensued as they submitted themselves towards my assessment. When I finally smiled, the collective sigh of relief was audible.
"Hello, class. I'm your new Communications teacher." As I turned towards the white-board, diaries were flipped open, pens poised for taking notes. I took a deep breath and began writing. There was no turning back.
  • Listening to: "Shine a light on you" - The Rolling Sto
  • Reading: On the Road - Jack Kerouac
  • Watching: Fight Science
I don't even remember how it all started. One minute, I was staring at a strawberry scented candle and wondering if it wouldn't be best if I just lit it and burned the letters over the flame and hopefully all my pain and self-doubt would go up in smoke. The next minute, I'm marching into the kitchen, shooing the maids out and grabbing the skillet.
My mother thought it was mighty ambitious of me to start with the ruhi fish. She's always been a little chary of fish dishes. Apparently, you have to get it just right; undercooked, there's this horrid, fishy, scaly smell....overdone, and the fish takes on the texture of rubber.
Ignoring the anxious glances and the irritating sensation of the cook hovering just beyond my line of vision, I took a deep breath and began. Even as the slices of fish slid into the bubbling oil - oil I was suddenly unafraid of being scalded by - I felt a strange sense of calm and purpose settling in. Maybe it was the experience of having tasted this familiar dish and others like it for some twenty-odd years. Maybe my long dormant chef genes kicking in. I felt this unreal sensation of being a spectator outside of myself.
I watched, as if in a trance, as the fish turned brown, and a hand -my hand - carefully set it aside. My fingers deftly plucked the sliced onions out of the plastic dish and tossed them into the oil, neatly avoiding splatters. Like Tilo from "The Mistress of Spices", I moved in a dreamlike manner, spooning spices into the concoction, guided by little more than instinct, and a keen sense of smell.
I was transported by the smell of the turmeric to the afternoon at the village bazaar, not too long ago. That was some visit. The mild January sun warmed my shoulders as I stepped down from the tempo and entered the market. In direct contrast to the lush greens and idyllic quiet of the village itself, the market was a cornucopia of colors and textures and smells. Pushing through the incurious crowd (everyone too caught up with the excitement of Market Day to pay much heed to a strange face), I drank in the sights and sounds: here a wholesaler offering mounds of fragrant molasses, there a quack 'pharmacist' trying to con unsuspecting buyers into purchasing his expired pills. Under the shade of a banyan tree, a 110-year old man, toothless and shriveled, had set up shop atop a jute bag, selling herbal aphrodisiac. The stall that held my attention though, was the spice stall.
Mounds of deep crimson, rich golds, and warm yellows greeted my dazzled gaze. Chilli powder, turmeric, coriander, ginger, garlic, black pepper, mint... the aromas swirled in a sensuous dance. Forgetting all my apprehensions about collecting data for my survey, I squatted down before the vendor, holding a sprig of basil to my nose, breathing in the scent of the sweet cumin seeds. This then, was the key to good South Asian cuisine, right here in Koitta Bazar.
A soft sizzle brought me back to the present, and I found myself ladling the steaming, freshly cooked fish into the serving bowl. The color looked just right, and an anxious prod told me the texture was just fine too. Struck by the enormity of what I had achieved, my hands were suddenly all thumbs as I carried it to the table.
My mother's face was set in a grim mask as I served her a piece. An unyielding perfectionist, she had been stung when I had refused her advice and counsel before striking out on this culinary adventure. I held my breath as she de-boned her piece and raised it to her lips. She smiled. The Ahmed legacy was safe.
  • Listening to: "Bubbly" - Colbie Caillat
  • Reading: The Last Time They Met - Anita Shreve
  • Watching: Top Chef
Ever since the fateful night of "The Confession", my sister (MB) and I have recovered something of the closeness we'd lost when I smashed her head against the kitchen door two years ago. Although, I wish she'd stop trying to turn me into some sort of social butterfly =/
But yesterday, I welcomed the idea of hitting the wholesale market with her, Farina and Albaab. Shishi had failed to call back about lunch, and after the third row with Mum, I just had to get out of home.
I've never been much of a shopper. In the delicate dance of bargaining, I've got all the grace of a drunken monkey. And I hate spending money. MB on the other hand, is a prima donna ballerina. Resigned to an eveing of playing spectator, I tagged along.
First stop was the phuchka shop on the shaky bridge, where I ended up getting chewing gum stuck to the sole of my shoe. The phuchka wasn't even worth the trouble, but I didn't say so, considering it was Farina's treat.
A quick stop at a shoe shop, where MB bargained, the lovebirds made moogly eyes at one another, and I surreptitiously rubbed the chewing gum off on the floor mat.
The market was at the final half-hour before closing time, and the shopkeepers weren't in the mood to bargain. We came off with a good haul of chips, shoes, facial scrub and hair conditioner anyway, plus free towels.
On the way out, MB grabbed us a couple of Fantas - horrid stuff, all soda and food coloring. As we came down the steps, our stash in our hands, I spotted this kid standing at the bottom of the staircase. Probably 8-12 years old, she was unimaginably filthy, with matted hair caked with mud, both her thin cotton dress and her face streaked an indeterminate shade of brown, snot dripping from her button nose. A dim corner of my mind sent me a mental picture of giving her the thorough hosing she so badly needed.
She pinned me with a look, and I realised she had the most expressive eyes ever. The staredown lasted only a minute, and then I meekly handed her my cup of orange fizz, without even realising that I had intended to. She took it with a solemn nod, as if she had been expecting the act of...what was it? Charity? Generosity? Whimsy? Or merely the spellbound reaction to the look in her eyes?
  We parted ways and as I walked to my car, I looked back to see her casually drinking her loot. I was already forgotten...
  • Listening to: "Insensitive"- Jann Arden
  • Reading: Red Water - Judith Freeman
  • Watching: Taare Zameen Par
I worry for my sanity these days.
Three months of averaging on six hours of sleep per week, killer assignments (many of them not even mine, but that's another story), and I think I'm coming apart at the seams.
I walk into work and find people flinching away from me if I so much as look cross. Even my parents stay away on the days I have my submissions.
I'm so glad it's almost over. They say I'm going to miss this life, but I seriously doubt it. I'm not looking back, nope.
I'd say Lolito is the only one who's put up with me without complaint throughout this entire semester. Ahh...mio Lolito...I can't believe it's been almost five months already. I can't even remember what life was like before you.
  • Listening to: "Good Vibrations"- Gym Class Heroes
  • Reading: The Falls - Ian Rankin
  • Watching: OTH - Season 4
Things to be grateful for:

1) Roomy new office cubicle
2) RS is all color
3)Got lots of uni events to keep me busy
4) Parties coming up
5) New show in the horizon
6) Prospect of new books
7) Publishing contract from Guildhall Press
8) Moving to shiny new flat
9) Skin looks a lot better than before
10) One more VC's award to look forward to

....then why am I still so sad?
  • Listening to: "Hide and Seek"- Imogen Heap
  • Reading: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
  • Watching: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
No, I'm not going to go all British and complain about the weather....well, not much's soo hot!!
Had an interesting day today...we're doing a lot of interesting things re: body language in our verbal communications class. I can't wait to get back onstage though.
Kashfee and Abir both cancelled their LFE for was so touching!
They were showing 300 at C9 today...the special fx are awesome!! Too bad I couldnt watch the whole thing....I'm so getting the dvd!
Anthro class was pretty refreshing too...we're going on a field trip!! yayness!!
Hung out with Nazi (my shaman) and Saushan was kinda fun!
Soul Mountain is really dragging, so I'm taking a break with Tender Triumph...I wonder if reading romance in my current state is such a good idea?
  • Listening to: "Get up"- Aly and AJ
  • Reading: Tender Triumph - Judith Mcnaught
  • Watching: 300
Had the bestest day ever! Would have got to sleep late had there not been a wake-up call...but considering the wake-up call...NO complaints.

The win against Bermuda was the best Independence Day gift the Tigers could have given Bangladesh, I think. While I'm sane enough not to be talking about playing in the finals just yet, I couldn't suppress a bubble of joy. We're in the Super 8! XD

I can't believe my story [… got a full-page treatment, even if they did misspell my surname :S

Spent the whole evening in the most random conversation ever. One of these days, they'll make a radio show of this stuff.

If I die tonight, it will be with a smile on my face
  • Listening to: "Bolo na"- Sona
  • Reading: The Last Continent - Terry Pratchett
  • Watching: Ravenous
Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it...and realize it's not enough. It never is. Human beings are just a bundle of wishes and desires, never satisfied.
I sometimes feel like such an ingrate when I get EXACTLY what I asked for and I'm still not happy.
Been meeting old acquaintances lately - Tariq knocked on my IM window after the longest time ever, and it turns out we're both Robotech fans, and he's like 'Sabs, where have you been all my life?" Why couldn't he have asked this question 7 years ago?
Zarif turned up at work today, and it was awesome re-living the glory days of RS (although I believe we're about to make a big comeback...considering how good some of our new writers are).

I finally made peace with my stalker, and he's behaving himself so far. Then there's the anthro group and the HOPE group, and all these cool new friends I've made. I'm getting more response than ever for my reviews.

In short, everything's peaches in my life. So why am I still so unhappy?
  • Listening to: "(There's gotta be)More to life"- S. Orr
  • Reading: The Last Continent - Terry Pratchett
Mad, mad midterm week! What was I thinking when I took five courses this semester? On top of two book review columns? That too, knowing how Abantee Miss overworks her students?
I dont know if it's all the weird reading I've been doing, but my dreams are getting pretty messed up. I'm sure I saw my animus two nights ago, and last night I dreamt that some invisible entity had entered my body, and I was floating out of myself...what interpretations do you have for me, Mr Tylor?
  • Listening to: "(There's gotta be)More to life"- S. Orr
  • Reading: Levi Strauss
Okay, so I got almost no sleep last night! Saadi made me walk to work again...which would have been alright, except for the fact that my shoes were really uncomfy.
Boss was in a bad mood as seems to be usual with her these days....:S whatever happened to not bringing your domestic troubles to work?
Political article wasn't as big a disaster as I feared...yayness!
Managed to get about an hour's sleep...thought I'd turn in early tonight...then I remember the anthropology essay waiting to be written...Woe is me! I hope Bangladesh wins tonight, though.
  • Listening to: "Black black heart" - David Usher
  • Reading: Thick Description - Clifford Geertz
Dreams, dreams
Of when we had just started things
Dreams, dreams
Of you and me
And it seems, it seems
That I can't shake those memories
I wonder if you dream the same dreams too?


Why does that woman have to sing the story of my pain so eloquently?

Today has been a waste of a good Friday - why ever did I agree to write on politics?
  • Listening to: "Littlest Things" - Lilly Allen
  • Reading: The Last Continent - Terry Pratchett
So here I am, burning the midnight oil and reading some serious bi***ing going on in my inbox....*sigh* politics....

What does one write on the first post anyway?
  • Listening to: "Happy Birthday" - Flipsyde
  • Reading: The Fifth Elephant - Terry Pratchett