Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Lass from Bangladesh - Part I

Bangladesh is a country situated on the Indian subcontinent in the southern Asia.
Bangladesh means “Land of the Bengali people”

They are famous for their hand crafted & woven goods.

Chittagong is another big city which is overpopulated. On its outskirt lived this small family. Muhammad Pasha, his wife Banu and daughter Mumtaz. MP would toil in the paddy fields while his wife worked on the woven goods. Little Mumntaz a toddler would tag along with her mother everywhere she went.

It was one of those days where Banu was really tired, she gave little Mumtaz some food to eat and went to take a nap. When Pasha came home he found his wife sleeping and when he tried to wake her up ,he found her body very hot and burning with fever, he saw little Mumtaz also asleep besides her, he picked up the little one and put her in her bed to sleep and then went out to call the local doctor. When the doctor came and checked on Banu he found that she was turning red and had very high fever. He advised Pasha that he should take his wife to the city hospital which about 10 miles from where they lived.

So quickly Pasha packed a few clothes and picked up little Mumtaz and together with his ailing wife they left for the city hospital. She was taken in an emergency. The doctor prescribed some medicines and told Pasha that she needs to be kept at the hospital under observation. So Pasha along with little Mumtaz waited in the hospital lobby. Pasha was very hungry and so was little Mumtaz so he went to the cafeteria outside the hospital to have some snacks. They both returned back, by now little mumtaz was getting sleepy and crying, she was asking for her mother. Pasha was getting worried and went to the ward to look upon his wife. He found her looking so pale and tired. He felt sad that she too had to work because his wages was not enough to look after the three of them and his old aged mother too who lived with them.

The doctor came out and told Pasha to go home and to leave his wife here and that she was very ill and needed lot of care and attention. He told Pasha that he hoped Banu would get better tomorrow so that he could take her home. So Pasha along with little Mumtaz returned back to their village on the outskirts of the city. Pasha took Mumtaz to his mother and she slept with her. Pasha was very worried as the doctor did not tell him what was really wrong with his wife; all that he told him was that she was really ill and needed a lot of rest. Pasha was restless the whole night, he woke up early next morning and instead of going to the field he went to the city to visit his ailing wife.


The doctor was waiting for him and he too was anxious to hear about his wife. The doctor asked him to sit down and offered him a hot cup of coffee. He asked him how many children he had. Pasha told the doctor that he had only one little daughter who was then 6 years old. The doctor asked Pasha who else lived him in his house, Pasha was confused why the doctor was asking so many questions but he answered him humbly. Now Pasha was getting very restless then asked the doctor “Doctor could you please tell me how is my wife Banu today?” Can I take her home? The doctor did not know what to say but with a hand on Pasha shoulders he took him to his wife. Banu looked liked she was asleep, but when Pasha went close to her he saw that she was no more. He began to sob loudly and hugged his wife. Then Pasha asked the doctor please tell me what happened to my wife. Why ?why? Did this have to happen to her. The doctor felt very sad but explained to Pasha that his wife was ailing from long time but maybe she has never told him. She knew they were very poor so could not afford to see the doctor. Pasha was hurt and broke down. The doctor told Pasha that his wife had died as the fever was very high and had gone to her brain and caused her a brain stroke and she passed away in the early hours of the morning.

Pasha was too shocked for words how could his wife left him alone to look after little Mumtaz, he was immensely hurt as he could not afford a doctor and that his wife had his her illness from him. Before he left the hospital with the body of his wife, the nurse came up to him and gave him a small bag – she said that his wife had regained a little consiouness and ws asking about her daughter and husband she then handed over the little pouch and told her that it was for her daughter. Pasha took the little pouch and and opened it in it her found a ring, a pair of earrings and a chain. , and some money which she had managed to collect when she was working.
He was very touched and cried and cried till he reached home.

His little daughter came running to him when she saw the big white vehicle stop in front of their house. His mother too was came out to greet the daughter-in-law but alas only to receive her dead body. The old lady began to weep loudly holding Mumtaz close to her chest; she (Mumtaz) did not know what was happening. A lot of neighbors came and Mumtaz was wondering why they were all fussing while her mother was asleep. Mumtaz was kind of excited to all of a sudden see so many people at her house, she ran out to the yard and began to play.

Banu was laid to rest that evening in the village cemetery. Pasha came home to a home where there was only his daughter and mother. He looked at her innocence and was wondering how would he be able to take care of her as his mother too was very old. He just held her in his arms and cried. Mumtaz asked the father a couple of times where her mother was but he could not explain to her and said to her that her mother was very ill and that God had taken her away to his house. She asked if her mother would come back for which he had no answer but tears rolled down his eyes. That night Pasha could not sleep he thought of his lovely hardworking wife and he lost her leaving their little daughter for him to look after. He was lost in his thoughts as to what his daughter’s future would be.

Pasha had a brother who lived in the city. He was married but never had any children. He worked in a silver factory. Whenever his brother came to visit them at the village he would always tease his brother and say “brother give me your daughter” I will look after her”. Now Pasha remembered these words and decided to take his daughter next day to the City. Little Mumtaz was very happy to go back to the city and that to her uncle’s house. She rose early in the morning. Her grandmother dressed her up and packed a little snack for her and some clothes. She bid her grandmother a farewell and she and her father left for the city of Dhaka.

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