Thursday, October 06, 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
Today will be another day filled with train rides. I usually love train rides – but the train rides over the past 17 days have left me absolutely exhausted. In the beginning it wasn’t so bad … but now, it’s becoming absolutely painful. Part of the pain has to do with carrying around almost 15 kg of luggage. That may not sound like a lot, but try running (ok briskly walking) though endless hallways and up and down flights of stairs (while maneuvering yourself through hoards of people) with a bag in each hand. It’s not fun. It’s not easy. It IS a bloody pain.
All that and you get to the platform to find out that the train is delayed … signal failure, vandalism of the tracks, or some sort of drama that is delaying the train – if you’re lucky. More often than not on this trip it has been Rail Replacement Works – and that usually means one of the things I dread the most – Rail Replacement Bus Service!
I had avoided traveling on a Sunday in fear for the Rail Replacement Bus Service – but ended up not being able to avoid it even on a Saturday … add the usual closer/delays of the Circle & District lines (why do they bother to still have those lines if they run such a shitty service?!) and you have chaos.
Chaos and Crowds.
That’s when you stand on the platform and curse the public transport system and then try and catch a glimpse of the tube/railway map (that everybody else is crowding around as well) to figure out what alternative route you can take (particularly those that avoid the rail replacement service)!
Anyway. In the past 17 days I have done 14 different train rides. While I am absolutely grateful for the public transport system that has made it possible to independently travel from city to city, I.Am.Exhausted. Yes, definitely a thin line between loving and hating the transport system here in England!
I cannot wait to get back to my car and being in control of my own journey at my own pace using my own route …
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
August 2, 1990 is a date that I’ll never forget. I can’t believe that it has been 21 years since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. While I don’t remember every thing that happened on that day, I do remember the feeling … the feeling of hearing the news – I was in Bangladesh but my parents and brother were in Kuwait. I remember trying to process what it meant. I remember hearing my mother’s voice on the phone … and I remember the sinking feeling that intensified through the day, particularly after all international phone lines were cut and we heard that the airport runways had been bombed … Would I ever see my parents or my brother again?
August 2, 1990 marked the start of a new type of life for me. I was in a new country – well, my native country, but still a new country for me. I didn’t have any friends – only my family members. I started a new school. I saw a whole new side of Bangladesh … and though I slowly started making friends who provided me with a world of support and acceptance (Nadia, Triplets, Mimel) it was still shadowed by the fact that my parents and brother were still not with me. Would I ever see them again? Fortunately for me, there is a happy ending as we were all reunited. However, I know that many were not as lucky as we were.
August 2, 1990 was a date that created a bond among those who went through dealing with the separation from our home (Kuwaiti or not Kuwaiti – Kuwait was our home) and dealing with the uncertainty of the future. I remember when one of my friends (Shimul) from Kuwait finally managed to escape and make it to Bangladesh, I was overwhelmed with relief that she was safe … and felt a different type of comfort being around her as she knew what had been left behind. She understood what the invasion signified. I don’t think it’s an emotion that can be described to somebody who did not go through the events of those seven months.
August 2, 1990 is now used as a marker in time – a gap between how things were ‘pre-invasion’ to how things changed ‘post-invasion.’ To many, it’s just another date. To me, it’s the date that set a whole new set of events in motion in my life. Yes, August 2, 1990 is a date that I’ll never forget.