Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thou shall not kill. Thou shall not commit adultery. Don't eat pork.
I'm sorry, what was that last one? Don't eat pork. God has spoken.
Is that the word of God or is that pigs trying to outsmart everybody?

My annual Jon Stewart obsession is back.

I want to look back on my career and be proud of the work, and be proud that I tried everything. Yes, I want to look back and know that I was terrible at a variety of things.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Lamb to the slaughter


Sometimes I spend too much time imagining what my life would be like if it had more animals in it. (And I don't mean on my plate, although I do think about that as well.)


Monday, June 14, 2010

Which is precisely what i did

Its time to stop. To think. To question the self and see if you can find a new way to proceed. Otherwise just put aside that camera and do something else.

Asim Rafiqui says exactly what I am only able to express in vague, unhappy grunts. Too much love for his writing.

The handover process is in full swing - with or without a replacement - and I've had to engage in uncomfortable self-reflection. What does it mean to be in charge? What have I learnt? I've always known that I would be an unpleasant person - I have no patience, no tact, and I'm too prone to arrogance. I warned them all at the beginning. I may yell at you, but I'll always apologise later. But only if I'm wrong. Which I won't be. Or something to that effect.

Today, I received one of the best compliments of my life: "Jess, you are so rude, but you feel our pulse."

How on earth did they ever put up with me? Love them to death.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


En route to Barisal.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Sights En Route to Sylhet and Back

  • Nothing like a rat's disembowelment to kick off your day!
  • The "Magic Tree" car freshener in the shape of a pine tree.
  • A little van full of packed full of bananas. A windowful of bananas.
  • The Sea Fish Centre. (No, it is not a food court.)
  • A room named Compassion.
  • Two ring floats, a plastic ball, and too much clingy t-shirt action.
  • Chains around and around an elephant's belly.
  • The bobbing heads of swimming cows. (Cows are beyond awesome, now that I've seen how they can swim.)
  • The midnight cry (or moans) of a mating frog.
  • The heroic/misguided attempts of a shama to ward eagles away from its nest.

Saturday, June 05, 2010


Lalakhal, Sylhet

This is my word of the week. It has been a strange couple of days, fueled by my indiscriminate consumption of coffee.

It has been raining a lot. In the morning, during the night. Someone asked on the way to dinner, does this mean the monsoon is here? I didn't know. I've lived here through three monsoons and I still couldn't remember when the season started. The streets outside were flooded today.

So a building collapsed earlier this week. And then there was that fire where so many, so many had died. And then another building (next to the one that had collapsed) started tilting and they had to evacuate the area. And cracks appeared in the walls of another building, somewhere else, and everyone had to leave too.

I don't get that tingle anymore from these things. I don't feel that urge to hop into a CNG and rush there so that I can be part of the media covering the event. I don't feel stressed about 'missing out' on the action. I can remember how that felt like, though.

I looked through the photos when the photographers came back from those events. Dead bodies, crying people, body bags, charred corpses, more grief, more pain, more loss, all caught on a wide angle lens, and you mark down the ones you want. This image works better than this, don't you see? See how her hands clings on so tightly as her friends try to hold her up? It shows just how much pain she is in. And this one - a hint of a dead body, just a foot, its better than the whole thing. We don't show the whole body. That's tasteless, don't you know?

One of the photographers told me he couldn't sleep all night after covering the aftermath of the fire. It's just too much, you know? I patted him on the back and told him he had to let it go.

During drinks at one of those clubs, I said nothing when the topic came up in the conversation. Isn't it horrible? How so many people died in that fire in Old Dhaka? Yes, its terrible. I looked at my feet and sipped my wine. The woman across me wore a flowy silk blouse in salmon pink with sequins across the collar, matched with a thin belt across her waist. She looked very fashionable. Behind her, two men played a game of tennis. I watched a little cute mouse scamper across the tiled floor.

I feel like I don't live here. Like, this happened in another world, you know? They were still talking about it. I lit up another cigarette.

Nazrul called me two days ago. Where are you? Dhanmondi, I said. And you? Woodlands lah. Next week I come back. Fantastic, I replied. It would be nice to see him in his own country. But how will we meet? You live in Gazidpur! Aiyah. Then I come Dhanmondi see you lah.

I would like that very, very much.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010


This was so painful to read. So, so very painful.

Beauties dating 'beasts'

IN THE Disney cartoon Beauty and The Beast, Beauty falls in love with the Beast for his beautiful heart despite his hideous looks.

And many 'Average Joes' are finding that fairy tale coming true for them as they live happily ever after with women who are considerably better looking than them.

Founder of dating agency Table for Six, Andrew Chow, who recently match-made such a couple said that it is 'really true love'.

'They look like an odd couple. The man is 1.65 meters and the lady is above 1.7 meters. The lady is very well-groomed and the man is losing his hair. But the personality and character of the gentleman is so much of a giant. He walks like a man who is 1.85 meters,' claimed Andrew.

However, the reverse doesn't seem to be true. Fewer good looking men are taking 'Plain Janes' as girlfriends.

I don't know where to start. I only regret that I read this online, because if it were in print I'd at least have the satisfaction of ripping this page to shreds and watching each strip of paper burn to its death.