02 November 2014

Unwanted Jewel Chapter 9 : A little company

Her bladder was about to go out of control any minute but as stubborn as Adeela was, she decided to hold it until she boarded in the plane.  She had this sense of paranoya of missing her flight while using a foreign country's bathroom.  She checked her watch.  It was obviously Bangladeshi timing.  She looked up at the big digital clock on the wall of the gate.  It read 23:00.  Which meant it was probably around 1 am in Dhaka.  No wonder she kept letting out yawns.  She realized that she didn't remember when she last slept.  She let out a yawn and a sigh.  It came out quite loud, but she didn't care anymore.  Who was she kidding? She had 3 more hours left until take off.

"That's it! Nature calls." she said to herself.  She was getting ready to get her 2 heavy bundles of baggage to head towards the restroom until she heard an unfamiliar voice.

"Uh..Excuse me?"

It couldn't be adressed to her.  Her heart was beating.  Why? Maybe the person needed her help.  Why her help? She knew nothing! The voice repeated, "Excuse me, hey..." It was a friendly voice, but more importantly, it was what sounded like a young man's voice.  Hence the fast heartbeat.  She didn't know how to talk to young man at all.

She finally turned with lifted eyebrows and a pale face.  Not a word came out of her mouth.

"Do you mind telling me the time?" He said.  He was a young man who seemed to be best fit for his early 20s. 

"N-n--nnno," She finally stuttered out.

He didn't really seem to get hurt when she rejected.  He just had a blank look on his face and answered, "Ok, cool." He probably thought she had some sort of mental issues, Adeela thought.  What ridiculous way to reply to him, thought Adeela. 

"Nnno...no..I don't mind..I meant. No I don't mind."  She had the stiffest face in the world as she said this.  He raised his eyebrows and nodded his head yes as he smiled, "Ahh, gotchya. I ...I get it. Long hours in an airport.. sleep deprived..hehe plays with your head eh," She had no idea what he said.  He spoke so fast.  He sounded like those people in the American shows she used to watch occasionally.  He spoke like James Bond or Mcguiver.  THey all sounded the same to her.

She gulped. "Sorry, sir.  I only heard first part of your question to me. Please repeat...please...?"

He pointed to his watch and this time when he spoke, he articulated every single word ten times louder and slower. "THE TIME. DO YOU KNOW THE TIME?"

"It is 11,"  She shot back immidiatly, partly offended that he talked to her like she was hearing impaired and very stupid. "The TIME is IN FRONT OF YOU.23:00." She smiled sarcastically.

He blushed a bit, which made Adeela feel awkward, and brushed his hand through his thick brown hair as he spoke, "Thanks, I uh..I'm not that familiar with military time."

"Oh," she looked around her.  The rest of the passengers in their gate were either family with children or very aged couples.  They were the only "young" passengers.  She was nervous but at the same time happy that someone finally talked to her after several hours of journey.  It felt pleasant.  

"Your welcome," she replied, "and I am not that good with english," she giggled helplessly.
They both had a moment of light laughter.  "Not bad for a girl from Bangladesh." He added.

Adeela was surprised, "How did you know I---?"

He pointed at the bangali name that Adeela herself wrote on her bright red bag in bold black ink.  She wrote it on her other big suitcase as well, the one that she had checked in with.  He slowly spelled out and pronounced out the bangla alphabets that spelled out her last name, Islam.  "I hope that's what it says.  Or else I made a complete fool out of myself," he smiled again.  Adeela's jawed opened with shock and pure amusement. She never thought of a white man knowing bangla.  It was rare.

"That's my last name.. Islam...Adeela Islam...You can read Bangla!"  She was fascinated.  A person from another region learning bangla meant so much to her.  Afterall, it was not so long ago that Bangladesh earned independence through the fight for its mothertongue.  She loved Bangla literature, poetry.  She could go on and on about it in depth with just about anybody.

"I'm Daniel.  Dan for short.  And uh... I only know a few simple worlds.  Working on it though."  He put forward his hand for a light handshake.  Adeela shook it.  First time she ever shook a guy's hand.  She just couldn't help but know more about this interesting person.  A white guy who knew bangla.

Daniel was a tall slim 20-year-old student who was a film major in Florida State University.  He started traveling around the world since he was 17 and he always had this dream of making his own historical documentary  and have it shown in the discovery channel.  Big dreams in such a young age.  He told Adeela about his passion for learning other cultures and even a bit of the language.  He even shared a few arabic words he had learned last year at his stay in Kuwait with a friend.  His life was so fascinating to Adeela.

"If you don't mind me asking...how in the world do you get so much money to travel the entire globe? I mean, my one-way plane ticket cost a fortune.  I don't think I will ever be traveling again!" Adeela said.  He must have had a rich father.  One of those spoiled kids maybe?  If she had ever thought of studying film, her mother and step-father would have stopped sending her money a very long time ago, making her a lost case, she thought.

"I work and save," he simply said. "I got a full scholarship to film school. Made things a lot easier.  Then I moved in with a friend right after high school.  The old man didn't really like where I was going with this, you know." Which old man? Thought Adeela, "My dad.  Father, you know, he's a lawyer.  He was aiming for me to go to law school or something. It really wasn't my thing."

She sensed some hesitance in Daniel's eyes.  His bright blue eyes.  She had to change the subject before it got awkward again. "My father wasn't a lawyer," she blurted out.  It really didn't help change the mood of things.

"Really? Yeah lawyers are boring huh."  He tagged along as she got up.  She felt a pang on her bladder.

"My Abbu was a freedom fighter."  She stopped walking.  Daniel's eyes widened with interest, "You mean he fought for his country? In the war? 1971??"

"Yup."  Adeela said, now a bit disturbed.  She wished she had something more to say about her father.  But she honestly had no idea about the man.  He died when she was a baby.  All she knew was that his family was mean enough to make her mother feel like killing herself.

"Wow!  Listen, Adeela..you have to tell me more about your dad's life.  I've been searching for veterans who were involved with the 1971 issue.  I would love to make it a piece of work for my school!"  He just went on and on about it.  All Adeela could think about was his big blue eyes and dimples,  The way he spoke english.  So fast, so american.  Something that intimidated her at first was so charming now.  Wait, what was going on with her.  She helplessly fell for this guy.  The first guy, other than her perverted cousin Shourouv, she had ever talked to and she becomes attracted to him.  But now wasn't the time to say or think of any of this because she had to go.  She had to leave right this second.

"Look Daniel,"  he stopped suddenly and looked, "I have to go," his face softened.  He seemed concerned, "Adeela, is it something I said? Sorry if I talk to much.  No more dad talk.  We will never talk about that again--"

"No I mean I really have to go! I have to go to the bathroom before I pee on myself damn it! Can you watch my stuff??"  She never spoke so fast and fluent.  His style of talking really was contagious.

"Oh! Sure! Yes.  You don't worry about your stuff.  Safe with me! Go ahead!"

Adeela did not care about anybody anymore.  She couldn't believe she waited this long to go pee.  She ran to the nearest restroom and threw away her paranoya.  So what if she misses the flight? So what if the guy she talked to was a fraud who would steal her belongings, her passport, boarding pass? When you gotta go, you gotta go.

31 October 2014

Chapter 8: 1991 - Journey to America

She sipped her ice-cold mango juice and closed her eyes.  It felt so calm floating through the clouds being thousands of feet above sea.  She had two different feelings.  One was the feeling of serenity and the other, the feeling of fear, since she was above sea, in the middle of nowhere, not to mention she had never learned how to swim.

She had serenity, knowing that she had elevated away from people that she was ashamed to call family.  She got a call from her aunt in Dhaka a few days before she left. Her aunt just wanted to let her know how disappointed and shocked she was that she had to hear about her going to America through other relatives instead of Adeela herself.  Afterall, she was the only relative that let her stay under her roof, and Adeela, according to her, took advantage of that acceptance by trying to seduce her son, the potential doctor.  Adeela was after her son, Shourov, because he was just so charming and a medical student.

"You could have at least told me you were leaving." She scowled as she chomped on supari and paan.  Her aunt Dina's son, the older brother she had considered a role model for the longest time tried to sexually assault her when she was only 13.  That was a thought that disturbed her frequently, mostly at night.  Every boy she ever layed eyes on suddenly depicted her cousin shourov's face.  It was a very disturbing memory she tried throwing back for a few years.  Now, however, she was far away from this pervert of a cousin, the potential doctor and part time rapist, oh how she pitied his future patients.  She was relieved and felt so safe moving far away from Shourov.  It truely was peaceful, sitting by the window of a plane for the very first time of her life.

She would occasionally panick when the plane experienced a sudden shake, or even when the sound for the seatbelt sign went on.  After each feeling of panick she would directly recite some Islamic prayers under her breath and blow around her 3 times.  The lady beside her would lightly smile every time she did that.

The day was slowly ending and she saw the dazzling sun shine boldly alone.  The light of the planet.  It was beginning to set, letting out its deep warm colors spread across the sky.  Seeing this up close was a completely different experience for Adeela.  "This world is so beautiful," she thought.  She was never able to be out alone in the open without fearing to get kidnapped or threatened by strangers. She never saw a clear blue sky or colorful sky during sunset because of the polluted air, smog, wires.  She loved this moment with nature.  She fell in love with Earth's beauty in thin air.

~5 hours later~

It was time for her to get her little hand bag and get off the plane.  It was the beginning of her first stop of this 40 hour journey!.  She was in the airport of the United Arab Emirates.  Far away from Bangladesh.

She couldn't believe her eyes.  Not only did the airport smell 100 times better, but it was quieter, even with all the aiport noise of people traveling and working.  It was soothing to the ear.  The Arabic language was so soothing to hear on the intercom.  The floor was spotless! So clean!  Adeela was shivering! This place had central air conditioning holy crap! Her skin already turned wrinkly and aging because of all the dryness, she felt so ugly and exhausted already.  Oh my, she said to herself.  Look at the people here.  So many different kinds of people.  So gorgeous.  Tall, fair and green-eyed residents of the country, she was assuming.  The women were so graceful and beautiful, and the men, why, they looked nothing like that loser shourov.  She even saw several Bangladeshis, but sadly, almost all of them were janitors, waiters, sweeping the floor and cleaning the toilets. She realized how much she was zoning out when she heard a voice in the intercom in english for the next flight which was going to London Heathrow Airport.  Panick emerged within her again.  Where was she and where was her next plane???  She dragged her tiny little red bag and ran up to a beautiful tall flight attendant.

"Excuse me, maam!"  She yelled, as she rushed up to her with all the adrenalin she had, "Can you help me find my plane, please? I am lost!"

The woman, with a slim posture, blonde hair tighed up to a bun with emirate's special green flight attendant hat for females gave a helpful smile and clearly adressed, "Show me your boarding pass, maam."

She had an accent to die for, thought Adeela.  Adeela struggled with her annoying english accent.  She hardly spoke english unless she was in school. Another thing that surprised her was that she was adressed as "maam".  So feminine and with so much respect.  She was only 16, afterall.

"Yes yes!" She answered in her squeekiest voice.  She dug through her big purse for the boarding pass, which she had put so safely in a place where she could quite easily take off and show.  She even practiced a few times in the plane how to take out her boarding pass during situations like these, yet NO BOARDING PASS.  Where was the damn ticket?  Panick came back and heated her up again.  Her cheeks started turning pink, hands sweaty and cold, making it even harder to find the important slip of paper.  Found it! A sense of pure relief! It was only on the outer pocket of her bag!

"Here! Got it!" She quickly gave the ticket to the tall Arab woman.

She wished she was as calm as the flight attendant.  She had nothing to be nervous about because this airport, and traveling the world for her was a piece of cake.  She pointed at a number on Adeela's boarding pass.  G51.  "This is your gate number, maam.  You must go straight ahead and 1 floor up.  There are escelators ahead of you."

If there was such a thing as a question mark-shaped puzzled face it would be Adeela at that moment. She stood looking into space. "Esc-i-...? I am not getting it man. I don't know."

The green-eyed blondie pointed to the ongoing long escelators which were lighting up green. Adeela finally understood.  So that's what those moving stairs are called! Cool!

Adeela took the pass and ran, literally ran.  She looked back to the lady and yelled back, "Thank you,  madaam!"

"Your welcome!" She called back.  She let out a sigh, "I should have told her at first," she looked at the clock, "that her plane doesn't take off for anouther 4 hours.  Poor girl."

Adeela ran as fast as she could with her 2 bags bouncing and her keychains and bangles dangling.  Please don't take off, plane, please don't leave London without me! Please, God, please let me reach it on time!

Her prayers were answered far before she knew it.

It takes patience to get to somewhere as priceless as the land of opportunity.  This journey was just the beginning.

She ran even faster as she got closer to the the gate.  Glup glup glup went her luggage, cling cling cling dangled everything else.  G 48, G49.....G50 and finally...she could feel the contractions on her calves...G51!  Breathless!

29 October 2014

Chapter 7 - Unwanted Jewel

A few months earlier~~

Never in her life did Adeela feel so blessed.  Her dream was coming true and her beloved teacher was behind this miracle.  Mrs. Gomez was taking care of all finances for her F1 visa which was giving Adeela the unexpected opportunity to finally study in America and more importantly, see her mother.  The last time she had talked to her mother was a few months back.  Adeela was the one who called her from a telephone office and luckily she got hold of her mother on the second try.  “Adeela! Is it you ma??? I am so sorry we were not able to reach you for a while…” her mother began with a tone of guilt, while the screams and cheers of a toddler filled the background.  “Sorry dear, that’s Maisha, she gets excited when I talk on the phone”  But Adeela already had a limited time in the telephone shop with a dozen men waiting behind her to use the telephone, she had to make it quick.  “I can’t wait to see my little sister!”
She took in a deep breath…
“Ma! I am coming to you! I’m coming!  I got the visa Ma!” Adeela was so excited just to break it up to her that she burst into tears again before her mother could even say anything.  She had told her mother about this situation after she was done with school.  The line was silent for a few seconds..”Ma are you there???  Did you hear?” She heard sniffing and a soft graceful voice break down and what sounded like a bangali dramatic cry of joy had followed up.  “Oh Allhamdulillah! My baby! Oh I am so happy Adee you have no idea! God had sent an angel with you Adee Oh my baby! Your teacher is an angel send from heaven I am so happy my Adee! When are you coming?”
The conversation was one of the best most joyful talks they ever had in their life and everything went well until Adeela finally asked about Jafir, her step-father. All of the sudden Adeela’s mother’s tone weakened and a sense of fear emerged in her voice.  She felt it from her mother even in an unclear telephone that was about to cut off any minute.  The last thing she heard from her mother was, “Don’t worry, there won’t be any problem.  Everything should be fine.”
Adeela sensed hesitance again before the line cut off.  She came back to reality.  Horns honking, riskshaw bells jingling and babytaxis brumming all at once.  Her getting out of the small conjusted shop surrounded by way too many smelly men, all tired, busy, complaining about something.  An indian tune playing at a nearby audioshop, people cursing, yelling, laughing, beggars begging, women calling out taxis and rickshaws, bargaining.  Adeela was surely going to America, but what where was she going now?  She just realized that she has no home here in her motherland.  Nobody is willing to accept her.  Her father’s family lost contact with her after her mother’s marriage.  Her aunt kicked her out of the house and practically disowned her after what Adeela’s own cousin tried to assault her, and her friend was away, married.  She was all alone.  Going back to her hostel she thought, was she putting her mother into more trouble?  What if her step-father didn’t want her to come? He hardly talked to her anyway.  So many thoughts went through her 16-year-old mind.  She heard a familiar voice by the busy noisy street calling her.
She turned behind and her face lit up and she forgot about all the problems she ever had. “You! What a pleasant surprise!”  It was the old rickshawwala.  The old man she bought sandals to.  He still wore the same sandals.  It had been 2 years.  She was relieved to see that he was still the same with his rickshaw and bata sandals.  His small towel wrapped around his hat and grey beard, and not to forget the sincerest smile in the world. 
“Please don’t call me Apa! I am so much younger than you. Why so formal?” She asked with a smile.
“You are my granddaughter’s age Adeela ma,” he grinned.
Adeela smiled back.
“Guess where I am going?” She boasted proudly like a kid, “America!”
“Emerikaaa!” The rickshawala exclaimed. “I heard there is people of all color there.  And the clouds fall on the land. Like heaven!”
Adeela giggled, “You mean snow?????”
The rickshawwala gave her a ride to her hostel and he wished her all the luck. 
“I am a poor man, I am not able to give you anything ma, but I will pray for you.  My dua for you will always be present. You might forget me eh..”

Adeela’s eyes filled with tears. She would never forget him. That was the last time she ever saw him. 

28 October 2014

Chocolate mousse trio recipe

Tastes better than it looks!  A light treat for chocolate lovers.  
-3 cups heavy cream
-50g milk chocolate
-50g white chocolate
-50g butter
-2 tbspn cocoa powder
-3 tbspn sugar
-1  tspn vanilla powder/sugar
-3 eggs
-1tblspn flour
-pinch of salt

for inner chocolate sauce:
-1tbspn cocoa
-50g butter
-3tbsp sugar
-milk half cup

For garnishing:
-fresh strawberries
-dark cooking chocolate
-cocoa powder

Layer #1 (bottom dark chocolate cake layer)
-wisp the eggs until light and almost fluffy and add sugar, and vanilla sugar
-melt the butter and let it cool slightly
-meanwhile add cocoa and flour to the egg sugar mixture
-lastly pour in the melted butter slowly while mixing
-bake it in the oven (preheated to 175C) for 5 to 10min (depending on the size of your baking pan)
-take it out and let it cool for 10minutes
-shape it as a circle by using a small plate

rich inner chocolatey sauce layer
-simply heat up all the ingredients together in a small pan and mix vigurously in medium heat until it thickens.  Pour over thin layer of bottom cake.

Layer #2 (milk chocolate mousse)
-place a large bowl over a heated pan of simmering water on the stove and slowly heat the butter cubes, milk chocolate pieces and sugar.  Once everything melts immediately take off the bowl from the pan and let it cool slightly.
-wisk a bowl of heavy cream until it has sharp peeks and add a tbspn sugar while wisking.
-seperate the whipping cream into 2 halves
-slowly pour in the chocolate mixture little by little into one of the halves of cream and fold gently to get all air and chocolate in.
-refrigerate for 2min

Layer #3 top layer (white chocolate mousse)
-melt the white chocolate blocks, butter and sugar together by using the same method as milk chocolate mixture.  Mix the chocolate with cream the same way and refrigerate that for 2min as well.

-If you dont have a shaper to make your cake round it's fine.  I don't either!  Cut a long piece of aluminium foil and fold it to thicken it.  Make a circle out of it (the same shape as the bottom layer of cake) and put it on top of the bottom layer.
-Now pour in all your milk chocolate mousse and refrigerate it for a minute( meanwhile get the white chocolate mousse out to make sure it doesnt settle in before pouring)
-after one minute, pour in the white chocolate mousse, the last layer.

-let this refrigerate for an 30min to an hour

-slice up strawberries that are not too soft or watery
-slowly melt some dark chocolate  blocks on aluminium foil and once it's flattened, refrigerate it for 30min or until it hardens so you can break the flat chocolates and decorate your cake
-drizzle some cocoa powder on top of your mousse cake

The result? Heavenly triple chocolate mousse cake!

22 October 2014

BIG FAT U TURN - farewell to nursing

I have to cancel almsot everything I had planned for my future career because it just won't work out. All my life I was aiming for something in the field of science, but in every step of my way something always knocked me down and that something was always a sign that this field was never for me.  Me and science were just never meant to be.  It sounds like a line from a pathetic song but this is the truth.  I just realized it so late in my life! Science and I were never meant to be!  Because you know what? If we were, I would have been making a living reasearching, or making vaccines, or just treating people.  As cool as all that sounds it just won't ever work out for me so I open my options and think about what would suit me best.  

I am a goal oriented woman and I want to always be there for my family.  I have a wonderful little family and I hope to someday make it even bigger.  If that's the case, then I have to be supermom and find a career that will give me enough income with lovely office hours so when I get done from work I get to see my lovely husband and amazing children and spend as much time with them as possible.  In 3 months that is!

03 September 2014

The Story of Tani...(in short)

Once upon a time, in a stormy day in the flooded capital city of Bangladesh, a girl was born.  Her name was Tanjina.

The seasons passed and baby Tanjina started crawling...talking...walking..and at 2 years of age, her mommy and daddy took her some place far far away for a better future. America.
Although she was Bangladeshi by blood, her heart always embraced the USA as her real home.  She was the sweet quiet little girl down south who loved to draw and dance.

The older she grew the more she wondered what her purpose in life was.  Many career days in school had passed and finally one afternoon, she figured out her future.  All thanks to a chubby cute little lady who came as a guest speaker in Tanjina's 8th grade classroom.  "Every time I do it, I fall in love with my job again. Because you see the miracle in front of you."  That was all that lady had to say.

High school, you know gow overrated it can be.  The course overload, homework over the long weekends, summer vacation even, homecoming drama, football, SATs, college applicarions, provacative appearances, those popular crowds....oh the distractions....they just made boring Tanjina overwhelmed.  She was ready to get out of that chaos and start her life all over again.  She was going to represent her true personality in college, with her dreams of becoming a doctor.

Yes, you heard right. Her friends were going to be doctors.  She apparently loved biology.  So why not give it a shot?

Tanjina shot...and missed...shot again, and missed...started losing hope...even changed majors last minute to business, and missed big time.  She discovered how much she despised business.  She went back to her comfort courses in science...still confused as hell about her career when all of a sudden, prince charming knocked on her door....and she opened it...and yes he did come from far far away...and so they got married and lived happily....in Sweden. Score.

Except for the times when she thought about her dream of doing something for people...working...getting paid and finally making her dreams come true.  She felt lonely...missed hee family and friends...missed home...even missed Bangladesh, her other home.  She struggled learning swedish.  She started having identity crisis. It was high school all over again, she thought.  All those years ahe transformed from a quiet shy little nerd to a smart outgoing ok looking girl was for nothing.  She was back to being short, quiet, shy, stupid....and confused.  She experienced something new, in this new life of hers.  She experienced failure.  Lots of differenr kinds.  No matter how she failed, however, her husband was always by her side, encouraging her.

This gave her strength and shefinally fueled up for change.  That was when the words in her head were clear..."Because you see the miracle in front of you.."  Tanjina was going to become a mother.  She went through a tough pregnancy her first trimester and experienced her stay in the lonely hospital bed for several nights.  All she could do was watch disney songs and think of her little miracle.  "Get yourself together Tani.  You have to stand by yourself...nobody else does that for you" she told herself.

Tanjina finally admited all she ever wanted to do was give birth to babies.  She wanted to be a midwife.  She was ready to start even with a baby bump.
She was not going to give up!

2013 May, her baby boy was born and all she could think of was the magical moment when a baby comes into this world.  Amazing.  That is how we all came here.  Just amazing.

Tanjina will try her very best to become a wonderful midwife...she is almost there....

To be continued...