December 30, 2012


To utter the word rape many people are unwilling. How many people say that in 1971 Pakistani soldiers and their collaborators raped 200,000 to 400,000 women?! In history how many places these women’s tales are told? Didn’t we keep them away from family, society, history by giving them the name “Birangona?? Rape is the outcome of not giving a human being the status of not only human being but also any living being. Since women are the most victims of rape, that’s why talking about rape of women, not denying or forgetting raped men. Since the history of mankind every female since early childhood till death faces the risk of being raped. The probability starts from own home, family; is there any place, country free of this risk? In Bangladesh and many countries how raped women are treated? Whenever a rape case is known, people start asking so many questions, pointing fingers to the victim’s attitude, lifestyle, even dress up! Does anyone ask question once who are the rapists, what’s happening to bring them to justice? Most of the times raped women are forgotten in the family and society. In 1971 this happened. Those 200,00 to 400,000 raped by Pakistani soldiers and their collaborators were left by their families, society and also by the state! They were forgotten, wished they were dead or never existed! In Bangladesh there is honor killing like many countries! This is not limited to only Muslim families.

An woman living in this country for many years said that one cause of this country’s women being raped is their clothes! I asked her what are the causes of women being raped in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Middle East and like countries? She took the conversation to different things. I couldn’t say, what type of clothes Bangladeshi women wore in 1971? I see this ridiculous thinking among many highly educated, well established women! What else to say about men? Though it is parent/guardian’s duty to teach children (especially male) that don’t judge anyone by that person’s clothes. If someone wears short, revealing dress don’t think bad of that person, nobody has the right to misbehave with that person. When children are a bit older must tell them that nobody has the right to rape anyone. Nobody has the right to rape girlfriend or wife.

When someone says “No”, it’s the ultimate no. Once I told these things to a Bangladeshi woman, she just looked at me for a while and said, many Bangladeshi women wouldn’t understand my words, that husbands can rape wives. When wife is not willing that’s rape. Men’s understanding is so far away! My question is how far away? We understand rocket science, brain surgery, some of us do these (in profession) but we don’t understand, believe in the full rights of women! So often we protest, demand for rights of so many things but keep silent for the rights of mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, girlfriends, unknown women! We write in newspapers, on Facebook for the gang-raped girl in Delhi (of course we must write) but keep quiet about the raped native girl in our own birth land! Why don’t we protest for each rape victim? Why don’t we find out the rapists? Why don’t we bring justice to each rape victim?!

Fight! Fight! Fight!

December 2, 2012

At least for once wanting to do something crazy …………. like skydiving, bungee jumping (even though I have acrophobia)! Or driving a racing car! Deepto asked not to do these even though it sound like fun. I said that he can’t do it, I am talking about myself. He said, “Don’t be selfish. You are not allowing me to do it when I will be an adult but you are talking doing it by yourself!” I told him, “For once I want to be selfish. Always I think about others first.” At least for once I want to do something without thinking about others ……….. I can travel many places ………… I can tell my surgeon, “No, I am not having surgery anymore” ……….. I can stop seeing oncologist, surgeon, doctors ………….. I can just read books ……….. just listen to music …………. But I can’t do so many things …………………… A cancer fighter can’t count his/her age …………… (s)he has to count his/her children’s age!

January 25, 2013

After a long time watched Grey’s anatomy. Used to watch E.R. regularly. If ignore the romance part, many things could be learnt from these shows especially who doesn’t have medical science background. Sometimes these shows become too dramatic, otherwise people wouldn’t watch. But life itself bigger than fiction!

Today met my surgeon and fixed the surgery date. He said himself, “next Thursday is too early.” I told him earlier that Deepto’s birthday is on next week. The week after surgeon has vacation. So had to agree on twenty-first of February! The International Mother Language day! (This day became after the language movement of Bangladesh in 1952. The movement happened when the then West Pakistan Government declared that only Urdu should be the official language of Pakistan (West and East Pakistan, later East became Bangladesh in 1971, after a bloody Liberation War). My surgeon’s surgery day is on Thursday, that’s why. since one of the spot grew bigger in the last two and half months he doesn’t want to wait anymore. Neither do I. Deepto and Mizan are asking me again and again, actually they are asking themselves, whether I am ready for the surgery again! They still remember the agony I went through just over a year ago for the last surgery! I told Deepto that when someone has no option rather than taking the difficult decision, has to deal with it with courage. Life is not just a journey, it’s a personal journey indeed. If someone’s life becomes upside down or standstill, even then nothing stops! And the stunned person has to function “normal”. Because life doesn’t give that person a break too! One of my close friends, who has another type of fight to fight, asks me: where do I get this strength? Another close friend when came to know about the surgery (who watched my sufferings very closely before) asked me how do I still laugh? I was laughing for something else after I told her the surgery date. Strength comes when thinking, feeling of others pain!

March 4, 2013
21st February before the sunrise, repetition of fifteen months ago ………….. said bye to Deepto, Mizan, Udoy, Aman and went to the OT. Little different this time, surgery is not two but on one lung. After several hours (four hours surgery, hours on ventilator) opened eyes. (Last time the surgery was for eight hours, stayed on ventilator for more hours) ………… Thin leaned nurse James trying to control pain. This time asked the pain management team not to give narcotics. Don’t want the same horrible experience of last time. Generally doctors tell patients, “Sorry don’t have many options to help you.” In my case it’s the opposite. I say doctors, “Sorry you have few options to help me.” (Allergic to main pain medications, others make me more sick). This time it was decided that I would take epidural until the drainage tubes are taken out.

Once James asked, “Are you religious?” I said no. Wondered why did he ask? Later thought that it may help nurses if they have some idea of patients. Specially at I.C.U. …………. Sitting on a small chair and put feet another small one Udoy (he is a tall guy) stayed three nights in a row! This time I was kept in cardiac I.C.U. Deepto doesn’t want to stay at home without his dad at night. During the day time Mizan and Deepto or Aman stayed alternatively. Even among this, asked Udoy and Aman if people are still in Shahbag or not?

Blood pressure is dropping ………… dropping … 40/40+! James asked, “Do you have objection to take blood?” (I think for religious reason some people don’t want it). I said no. Those who donated three bags of blood, I thanked them in my mind. First ever to get blood. This time lost a lot of blood. Also always anemic. Like James, Anshu is another nurse. Will remember both of them. James was there for two nights. Before he left said, “Hope this time you will get better fully. You are still young, understand it?” (He was younger than me). Introduced four guys (whoever was staying at the time) to Anshu and smiled and said, “All are guys. All of my doctors (except one) are men too.” He joked and said, “Nurses are male too!” People say my brothers, brother-­in-­law and of course husband do such a great job helping me during and after surgery that many sisters wouldn’t be able to do that! I don’t have any sister.

After staying in ICU for four days, went to room. Seeing some known faces (of nurses) of the last time. Favorite Lotti, Angie and others………….. The person I never wanted to meet again as my nurse, that Daniela was there at the very first night! Last time a nurse gave me wrong injection without checking my chart and it was so painful …………. felt like I was having heart attack. Came to know that medical professionals are so afraid of suing in this country that while I was in such pain and asking for a doctor desperately but nobody was even coming closer to me! All were looking through the window! I was screaming for help and they were standing there! The nurse who was at fault was there and after a while her superior (Daniela) came. Daniela not only tried to deny the fact but also said bad things about me (If I was a mentally unstable person or not). My brother heard it.

Later saw her very bad behavior with other nurses. The wrongs were done (so many times and by several nurses) to me was told to my surgeon and higher officials by me. They came to me and I told them what happened for the last eight days (my surgeon was off duty for several days’ right after my surgery day. It was the biggest mistake I have ever made. Shouldn’t have the surgery right before my surgeon’s off duty days) without telling the names. I knew they would be fired that’s why. So many people told me that I could sue if I wanted. I know that. I just smile. I don’t want any revenge on anybody. Else I would have sued my then PCP. I showed her the tiny lump on my leg and she ignored it. She never told me to keep an eye on it. She said it’s just a fat tissue. And I waited almost a year. When it started growing rapidly I wanted to see her. She wasn’t there. I saw her group partner. He asked me to see a surgeon (luckily he referred me to the right one) without any concern too. The surgeon got suspicious at the very first moment even though his group partner had no concern. He even made a bet of a beer with my surgeon…………… Had the surgery (leg surgeon was different one then the lungs surgeon of course!), it was soft tissue sarcoma………… Then had radiation for seven weeks, five days a week. ……….regular CT scan, M.R.I……………… The spots on lungs …………. numbers were increasing ………………. after four years the sizes were increased………….. So tiny that needle biopsy wasn’t possible …………… after one year they grew again………….. Surgeon said can’t wait any longer ………… had the surgery on both lungs at the same time which is very rare………….. Suffered so much during the recovery ………. after two months another two spots were seen …………… kept an eye on those (regular CT scan) ………… after a year those grew again ……………. had the surgery again (on right lungs this time) ………… nothing would have happened “If” my then PCP had paid attention and did the right thing! A tiny bit of negligence of doctors can destroy patient’s and their families’ life forever!

When Daniela came as a nurse for me this time I was thinking, “How much do I have to take or see?” Wow! At the very first moment she started addressing me, “honey,” “sweetie,” “darling,” and such a care! Udoy said certainly she had to go through trainings (after my previous surgery). Last time I didn’t tell her name (not anybody’s name) but the officials must have identified her and others. I wanted this. I didn’t want anyone to lose job. I wanted her to learn to treat people better, nice behavior. It worked.

One day I saw some signs and mentioned to the doctors and they became worried. These could happen before or during brain stroke, sometimes as a side effect of some medications. CT scan of head was done. Nothing came out. Now MRI. At midnight when I was taken for MRI, Udoy told me that Saidee (one of the notorious rajakar) got death penalty. I didn’t smile or cry. Saying in my mind, “Every rajakar (war criminals) must be brought to justice.”………………….. It was forty five minutes long MRI. I think I was falling to sleep on and off…………..I think it was the medication ………………… or I got used to these so much! This time among four spots (two were seen on CT scan, others weren’t) two are positive for sarcoma. In almost six years three times biopsy came positive! …………… Rest of the story later, maybe.

March 14, 2013

Came down stairs, went outside after almost two weeks. Had appointment with surgeon. Just before my wheel chair went through elevators, doors started to close………….. People inside seemed like didn’t see! Unintentionally words came out from my mouth, “How rude people can be. Oh, my God!” Don’t say the second sentence usually (in rare cases said it), why did I say it today, don’t know. Saw a woman standing beside me, smiled and showed surprised face like me! After that her and others very good attitude assured me that in that elevator (that left) there were some inhumane people looked like humans!

In life those who are very gentle human beings, my husband and my surgeon are among them. My surgeon thinks us (Mizan and I) are his siblings! He is South Indian. Lost his father at eighteen. His sister was thirteen then. When he finished medical school at Vellore, India lost his mom. Aunt brought him and his sister in London. After that he came to U.S. Sister stayed there. When he was living and working in New York got connected with his classmate from Vellore. Then got married. His mother-­in-­law is Scottish, doctor, went to work with missionaries in Kashmir, India. Met a man from Tibet. Got married. Surgeon’s own mother was brought up in Burma (Myanmar). After listening these, I told him, totally a global family. His sister is very free-spirited person. Didn’t get married. Which worries him a bit.

When this was brought up, I told him, “Let her live what she wants. Let her be happy.” This time when he brought the biopsy result, one of my brothers was with me that time. Last time was  another brother. When we were talking he came to know that my that brother didn’t get married like his sister, I told him that they are younger than us by five years but a bit different from us. When the talk about his sister came, I told him that, through my whole life what I believed became (are becoming) stronger while I started fighting against cancer. The thought is, let people live the way that make them happy unless it hurts anyone.

Three of us (surgeon, my brother and I) spent some time talking about life. When talk about Deepto came, he said, “He will be OK.” Seemed like he assured me from his own experience! Told him about the loss of Mizan’s dad. ……….. At a point while talking about Deepto seemed like his eyes became watery! …………… Today while talking about Deepto, said I talk to so many people, kind of give counseling to so many people and my own son is in such a sorrow! ………He put his hand on my back and said, “He will be OK.”………………… Wish he will be OK. His eyes were watery today too. Those spots didn’t show up in CT scan, he found it by touching, feeling by hands and removed it! How many do surgery with such compassion! Mizan and I only could say, “Thank you very much.”

Wish these exceptional human beings could do such great jobs for long time, stay healthy, be happy, and live a long life! He and Mizan are the same age. These two’s way of talking, attitude, even the style of dressing are so similar that Aman (Mizan’s youngest brother) said, “It seems like you two are brothers!” Amazing human being!

Smell of Life!

November 10, 2012

Just after four a.m. ……”Ma, I am going now ….. everybody is here, Deepto, Mizan, Aman, Udoy.” ………..It’s time to go”… (so quick!)…..”Could you please call my son, I want to see him …….one more time”……… once again held him by one arm (other arm is already taken by needle, saline, machines), gave kisses and smelt him (smell of life, which inspired to fight for the last five years)! ……. Telling thyself, “Just for this smell I will open my eyes” ……. An innocent face of eleven years and his smell ………. pitch dark ….dark ……. dark ….pain …….. severe …… extreme ……….. unbearable ……….. like someone was crushing the heart, lungs, respiratory tube …… crushing everything ………….. that innocent face ……….. “Ma hold my hand ……….. give me your pain” (I myself taught him this game ……… when the nurse was poking him to get his tiny vein when he had a stomach flu couple of years ago, since then it started) ……….. talked in the mind, “I will never give this pain to anyone, certainly never ever to you ……… Is there anyone called God!? ….. Never ever to this child ………. Never to anyone ….. Remember that” ….. pain …………. unbearable ……….. extreme ………….

When did come to space …………. such beautiful stars and planets ………… who are they? Don’t know them ………. Why Udoy’s face is like this? ………… Where are these beasts came from ………. Can you listen me, I am having hallucinations …………. no I will take this pain but don’t want this medication……….. Can smell be this intense!? Can smell the mint mouthwash of the nurse ……….. can smell the hair gel of the doctor ……….. smelling everything ………… smelling medicine extremely from own body ………….. where is my smell of life?! ……….. “How was your day at school” ………. Do your homework here baba …………….. Go have your dinner ……….. the innocent fell asleep on the tiny place ……….. now it’s eleven o’clock …… you guys go home …….. he has school tomorrow ………… started vomiting from midnight ……….. Udoy’s face was helpless ……… “Shall ask them to come …….. “No” ………. Udoy had to catch the flight (to return to his place) …………. Tanmoy came just after half an hour later ………… throwing up ………… It’s blood! Why blood? Nurse ………. surgeon “For your case it’s normal to see some blood ………… Do you have my biopsy result? The surgeon’s face was in shock (treated me as his own sister) …… there were twenty three spots ………. among them eleven (or twelve?) came positive for sarcoma ……….. gave time to Tanmoy and the surgeon to handle the shock ………. Again vomiting ……….. blood …………… blood ……….. blood …………… is this much normal …………… No ……….. a very worried face of the surgeon ………….. thankful that the innocent face isn’t here …………… Will I be able to see him once?! ………….. March 2012, Oncologist: Two new spots. Have to watch carefully ………….”

November 10, 2012

“Ma, still you are on the laptop? Aren’t we having lunch at the hospital cafeteria? Don’t you remember it’s been one year? …………In mind, “Happy Birthday Lopa!”

November 12, 2012

After going through a hilly winding road reached at the ninth floor of a building among other buildings at the top of the hill. Sat on a table of a cafeteria full of people. Couple of times just glanced at the people nearby. Thinking, nobody is looking worried. Does it mean nobody is related to any critical patient here! Or everybody is hiding inner turmoil like this table’s people! Is it possible that there is no critical patient in this hospital today! A girl wearing hospital gown. There is no patient with some machines attached. Mizan is looking relieved. He said, “There were some nights when saw some patients attached with saline, medicine machines. Was thinking it could hurt your feelings.” Dad and son were asking if I would like to have something else, would like to try this and that etc! Made me little bit bothered. Why aren’t they understanding that I am not feeling like eating! Is it true that they aren’t understanding or is it me who isn’t understanding? Eleven nights they had to come here and had dinner. After watching me with severe pain, sleepless, attached with machines! Today they are worrying without any reason just because I am with them! Went to see the waiting room, went near the room I stayed. Deepto asked again and again if I was alright! On the way back I remembered that they had to take this road in snowy, sometimes icy or at least rainy nights! Deepto said, “Thank you both of you for bringing me here.” ………….. “I am so sorry you had, even now you are going through, these experiences just because of me.” Both said,”You don’t need to apologize for anything. If you could have less pain ………” ………… I am thinking, what else is waiting in future?!

November 29, 2012

Alaska, have to go in summer. Will go next year, by thinking like that haven’t gone this year too! Hawaii, winter is the best to visit. Thinking like that haven’t gone this year too. It’s too late to make the decision now. Deepto wants to visit Japan very much. (Maybe his parents married life started there that’s why or is it the video games and the cartoon shows!) Don’t have that much energy to travel that much, may be later ……………?! Each time go to Bangladesh I think of visiting some European countries (mainly for museums and nature). I think, should stay with parents (Mizan’s mom and my parents) for the whole time. Deepto and I don’t like Zoo. Want to see safaris in Africa. Haven’t visit the Sundarbans (largest mangrove forest of the world in Bangladesh) yet! Where should we go in the winter holidays, still thinking! But one decision has been made today! After Deepto’s birthday have to visit the hill­top again……….. Windy roads ……………. again the pain ………… severe smells ………….”Ma hold my hand…………….”………….. Haven’t seen so many things ……………… but saw green rice fields …………. blue sky…………………. Kochuripana and its flowers …………. water lilies…….. Dew drops on the kochu leafs! ……………. And seen, seeing life………..

Got the “smell of life!”………….Fight! Fight! Fight!

Identity crisis!

October 18, 2012

From ancient time religion is human being’s shelter. Most of the people need this shelter. Some people who are very strong in mind don’t need this shelter. There is the thought that religion will enlighten people, help people to become real human being! But how much of it is true in reality?! Whenever religion comes under questioning (any religion) it is told that it’s not being correctly understood, explained! Religion (any) becomes under question, attack because of those people’s attitude, deeds who not only practice religion but also claim their religion is the best one and try to establish it. And education, intellect, smartness, logic all surrender to religious clerics! Can’t ask any question even if it’s the most logical one! For the last twenty years seeing that many Bangladeshis (here) are becoming very religious. Here there is a common conception that if children are kept under the umbrella of religion they won’t be derailed! Means they will stay true Muslim! They don’t care about Bangladeshi or Bengali root! Most of the Bangladeshi immigrants suffer from identity crisis. They cling to religion. My question is, if suffering from identity crisis shouldn’t they cling to Bangladeshi or Bengali culture!? How come other countries Muslims identity becomes Bangladeshis (Muslims) identity?! That says that most of these people (abroad) think their identity is their religious identity, not cultural (Bangladeshi or Bengali) identity!

Shockingly these types of people are increasing in Bangladesh too! Are they also suffering from identity crisis in Bangladesh too!? Religion is not enlightening them. Would people pay more attention to raise their children as human beings more than “true” Muslims! It may be the only and great deal to the parents how much religious their children are but it doesn’t matter to the world. It may not matter to the parents what sort of human beings their children are but it really matters to the world! Since when a child is born he/she is the citizen of the world, primarily it’s the parent’s responsibility to make the child a world-class citizen.

Life, give a break!

September 22, 2012

After coming home from work Mizan gave me a bad news. It felt like the earth was shaking! I told Deepto’s PCP about my fight against cancer after I had the surgery on my leg. She told me that a year back from that time her seventeen year old had a brain tumor surgery! I looked at her and told myself, “Here I am the lucky one!” Over the last six years whenever we met we said, “How are you?” We said many untold things through this simple word! Couldn’t say more, couldn’t ask more! Because I didn’t tell Deepto about my cancer fight. Last year on 30th of December I had to tell Deepto.

While making an yearly check up appointment for Deepto, Mizan came to know that she is in emergency leave. After knowing that I was thinking about his son and wishing that nothing bad would happen. Today Mizan told me that she had a surgery and it’s pancreatic cancer! After that my world has changed again! I wanted to scream! I am screaming non­stop inside! Just three days ago came to know that one of Deepto’s teacher just had finished her cancer treatment this summer! I told him about her fight. Now how I am going to tell him about his PCP’s fight?! He is just twelve! First he came to know about his mom’s fight, then the teacher’s and now PCP’s?! Life, just give him a break!

Human Being

September 22, 2012

I was born with a “gift” (had nothing to do for this!) Whenever I see a human being, I see a human being. Nothing more than that, nothing less than that. Last night in a gathering while having conversation about religion, human relationship etc. I was told that people feel more, try to do more when the person or persons in need is from same group of race, nation, religion (for most of the people same religion). I don’t believe it. I was given example, I will see my own child’s face in a Bangladeshi hungry child more than a hungry child of Africa (or any other place)! I never believe that. My feelings are the same for all kinds of people. My resources are limited, that’s why trying to do something for the people of Bangladesh. Try to do for other countries too, time to time. If I had more resources I would do more for all, people of all countries. My feelings are same for people of all countries but my helping, supporting is not equal for all countries people (forced to do this). I put myself in a comfort zone and think, there are other people who are doing, will do for other country’s people. And I live with guilt! I told that person that I had the feeling for Maria when I heard her story, I would have the same if I come to know (or came to know) a Bangladeshi woman’s story.


August 26, 2012

Maria Farinango sent a very beautiful thank you card, a dream catcher and a pair of earrings! I have never met her. She is Deepto’s grandma Kay’s friend, like us. Maria is Native South American. I never say American Indian. Say, Native American. She is from Ecuador. A book (The Queen of Water) was written based on her life story. Kay brought it for us when she came to visit. Have to start reading it. Kay had to leave just one day after she came! Maria had an accident. She is seven months pregnant. She is OK. Her car was badly damaged. Helped her a bit through Ankur. Thank you note was for it. She shouldn’t have any idea about my involvement. One of my friends is directly involved in this project. My family and I are very moved by her nice gesture. This is not the first time moved by a thank you card/note.

In 1995/96 got a letter from a cancer fighter. He was a son-­in-­law of a famous Shaheed Intellectual (of Bangladesh) and the son of another Shaheed Intellectual. He came to get treatment for cancer in this Country. At that time Mizan was doing his M.S. at Purdue University. We just sent twenty dollars. It was a lot for us at that time. Wish could do more! He didn’t survive! never forgot that letter! In my life came in touch with very great human beings. Also had very bad experiences from some people. Don’t remember those experiences. Many years ago learnt to let go things. Hope someday will meet Maria. I always wanted to meet, make friendship with native people (Native American, Adivasi Bangladeshi of different tribes or native of other countries). Oh yes I call different tribes of people of Bangladesh as “Adivasi”, not people from Hills or other names. And it doesn’t bother or hurt my “Bengali” pride at all.