Sunday, January 30, 2005

promise me you'll quit smoking...

the weekend is pretty much officially over. and i made an impulse buy yesterday. sure, i needed it, but it wasn't urgent. but i fell in love with it and therefore i bought it. pretty simple, no?

i'm talking about a bed. saturday morning some friends and i had brunch at charlie's ale house followed by a casual stroll up and down clark street in andersonville. all of us just recently became homeowners and so furniture (window) shopping has become quite common for us. but the bed is really gorgeous. it's a dark cherry wood queen size platform bed and if you didn't know, deshigrrrl loves platform beds. it wasn't back breakingly expensive, but lavish nonetheless considering the current time, circumstances and other plans in mind that obviously involve spending more money in the near future. but hopefully a tax refund and profits from my business will help.

and i deserve it dammit! having slept on a futon my entire college life i only bought a bed (read mattress, frame & boxspring) in 1999. no headboard, no footboard, just the basics. so now i have a real bed.. an adult bed.. with a very stylish headboard might i add! i'm gonna sleep real good next weekend (they deliver on saturday!).

other than that the weekend has been pretty non-eventful but busy. gotta get ready for tax season again.. have been getting calls from anxious refund seekers already! i'm so not ready but of course i need to be. i'm actually still in vacation mode. it's hard to come out of that. not to mention the 3-2 is about ready to hit which always reminds me that i have lots of growing up to do... fast!

ok, well.. excuse the boring entry, but i felt like gushing about my new bed and now i'm done.

Friday, January 21, 2005

new years eve.. dhaka style..

there should be a law against traveling between countries that have drastically different weather patterns. how does one's body, really truly adjust from 70 degrees to 5? it shouldn't be humanly possible. i should be dead right now.

but i'm not. i am in fact living amidst the bitter cold that will always be chicago. and this having been my fourth day back at work makes me no less disgusted to be here.

but i shall bore you not with my effortless whining over the weather and my job. instead i'll continue with stories and tidbits of my trip. i'm in the mood for storytelling, you see.. because the actual work i should be doing does absolutely nothing to excite my nerve endings.

how about i tell you all about my adventures on new years eve? ok, well a dear friend of mine who used to live in chicago and recently moved back to bangladesh, invited me to join him and his gurl and their friends for nye celebrations at the american club in dhaka. this was his pitch: "look, you'll be able to have american beer, american food, and hang out with american people".. to which i stared at him blankly for a good.. 12 minutes. now, why would i go all the way to bangladesh only to surround myself with all things american? at any rate, i knew where he was coming from.. he misses america. he misses american beer. i could've possibly related had i been in dhaka for oh, about a YEAR! but two weeks into my trip i wanted nothing to do with american anything. i wanted to be surrounded by all things deshi. because i am, after all deshigrrrl. [where's my cape?!]

i did, however, oblige because he's a dear friend of mine and i wanted to spend time with him, not to mention he took the liberty of already buying me the $25 ticket before i even agreed to go. so after about two hours of bad ravioli, stale miller lites and a horrible cover band that drew old white people onto the dance floor, i'd had enough. at promptly 11:30pm i bluntly informed him that i was leaving to go to another party at a turkish restaurant called topkapi. i had another group of friends meeting me there and i wanted to get there before the countdown.

i arrived at topkapi at 11:45pm and managed to run into my friends who were just arriving at the party around the same time. we drank and danced and mingled for a while until we realized that it was already past midnight and there was no sign of a countdown! how absolutely anti-climactic! nonetheless we continued with the festivities until about 12:30 when all of a sudden there appeared to be a little chaotic something going on towards the entrance of the restaurant. i'll spare you by making a long story short, but basically there was a scuffle involving some photographers who were outside of the gate and trying to get into the party. apparently there were some of dhaka's elite youngsters in attendance (i.e. the spawn.. err i mean son of a minister of parliament) and therefore a big deal was made over something or another and suddenly the music was turned off and a procession of police officers started crashing the party. i hate to be so vague, but frankly i really couldn't tell you what exactly happened to cause all the commotion. all i know is that soon after the scuffle, the police were raiding the party. keep in mind folks, as you wonder why the party was being raided, that bengalis (muslims) aren't allowed to have alcohol. that doesn't stop us, mind you..

so the madness continued for a while. not only was the music turned off, but the doors to the restaurant were closed and we were all asked to patiently wait for the chaos to die down before we could leave.

from my claustrophobic point of view, i was livid. i mean, we claustrophobes are always looking for a way out. so when homeboy (the owner) comes along to say we can't leave, my claustrophobic ass is ready to panic. but i managed to calm down and distracted myself with food and random run-ins with old friends, and before we knew it an hour and half passed when homeboy finally came back to say it was okay for us to leave.

so as we all made a bee-line towards the exit doors, i looked around and noticed that every single woman leaving the party had a head scarf or shawl or something with which they covered their faces. turns out the photographers were still outside the gates taking pictures of poeple coming out. now, i wasn't in a position to cover myself because you know, i was all dapper in my ann taylor suit.. but i'd be damned if i was the only dumb ass bengali woman who's picture got flashed on the front page of the local dailies! so i grabbed the free end of my friend's shawl and proceeded to cover my face too as we exited the party. and for a split second there i felt like a good little muslim girl (surely i jest).

the rest of the evening was smooth sailing as i continued on to the heritage restaurant at about 2:30am where things were much calmer, and several of my friends were already there turning the party out. even the folks who were at the american club ended up there later on. they all took turns chiding me for going to topkapi because it was a "kiddie party", and we all know that at the ripe old age of 31 i am no longer allowed to go to kiddie parties.

lesson learned.

i stumbled home to my sister's pad at around 5am. aside from the drama, it was a great night. i danced to prince, drank scotch and coke (which i rarely ever do), admired all the beautiful bengali sisters who all seemed to be entirely off limits from my lesbian point of view, and caught up with great friends from back in the day. what was most refreshing of all is that there i was, out and about on december 31st/january 1st and for once in a long, long, long ass time, i WASN'T FREEZING MY ASS OFF!

see? it all comes back to the weather. full circle.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

back to life.. back to reality..

wow.. this has been the longest vacation i've taken in a looooong ass time! and as we speak i am jetlagging like a mofo..

the trip back was.. exhausting! i barely slept on the plane even having only gotten 2 hours of sleep the night before. 10 hours to heathrow, 3 hour layover and 9 hours to o'hare. gruesome i tell you! the seats were uncomfortable as hell and all along the only thought in my head (aside from a safe return) was my bed.

ahh.. to have slept in my own bed this past night was, pun intended, dreamy.

obviously there's an element of excitement lacking when coming back to the grind of life in chicago versus vacationing in dhaka, so you gotta take what you can get.

but my trip home was fabulous! i really, really, really had a nice, relaxing and fun time with my family and friends. there were days when i had twelve thousand things to do and others when i literally camped out on my sister's humongous ass verandah, no one home but me. i lay out on oversized pillows, a cozy blanket because it was pretty nippy that day, and a good book (i'm reading life of pi by yann martel). and this went on for several hours, and i mean five or six, straight. that was perhaps the most peaceful time i enjoyed in dhaka.

other days found me waking up late to home made breakfasts of daal puris or bombay toast or parathas and omelettes.. hanging with my mom and throwing in my 2 cents for her daily crossword puzzle.. talking politics with my dad while watching cnn..

speaking of cnn asia.. it's so nice to see the diversity of their newscasters..

but i digress..

let's see.. i spent the last day of the year in a village called bhaluka which is about an hour and a half drive outside of dhaka. my dad organized a family picnic at my uncle's guesthouse so i got to see a ton of my relatives all at once. it was actually quite an enjoyable day.. and if it weren't for the fact that i had new years eve party plans that night, i would've been tempted to stay over. it was such a beautiful, peaceful and relaxing place. i think the only bit of physical exercise during my entire vacation was had while playing badminton with my cousins. the next morning my arms were sore, and i had to stop for a good minute or so to wonder what i had done to cause the soreness! but i love badminton.. i used to play all the time when i was growing up..

but i am so jetlagging. i guess i'll continue this later, cuz i need to sleep and establish some sense of a regular pattern before i start work in three days. ouch...

[title song plays in head..]

Sunday, January 09, 2005

about a boy..

i'm still in dhaka.. only 3 days left of my vacation. i'm definitely feeling a little sad about leaving.

but that's not what this entry is about. this entry is about a boy. i.e. me. i'm a boy. here in dhaka that is. never mind my vagina and my boobs and my general feminine nature. here in dhaka, and pretty much everywhere in bangladesh, i'm a boy.

from the moment i stepped foot on my country's soil, i've had to endure comments about the length of my hair, the lack of jewelery on my body, the lack of girly clothes in my suitcase and my general boyish disposition. uncles and aunts didn't recognize me from behind because they thought they were looking at a boy. my father tells me to grow my hair long, because i look like a boy. my mother chides me for sarcastically calling my bag a man purse. never mind the plethora of people on the streets and in shops that stare at me with the most confused looks on their faces trying to match the short hair and clothing with the protruding chest. even my sister while out shopping with me, often points out things that she thinks i should buy that are girly, or frilly, or sparkly. they think i do this on purpose. they think i go out of my way not to be girly, when in absolute fact, i never was girly to begin with. it's not about being a lesbian, or being butch or being averse to all things pink. it's me. it's all me. and at the age of damn near 32, if i can't be me, then what the fuck am i living for?

this afternoon, my niece, bless her heart, who is the girliest of all girls, and so adorably so, exchanged the following words with me:

niece: don't forget what we're supposed to do tomorrow!
me: umm... i forgot already! what was it again?
niece: you forgot? oh no..
me: i'm just kidding girl, i'm taking you to mango cafe after school, right?
niece: yes! oh, and could you do me a favor? when you get to my school, please please please don't come inside, just send the driver in.
me: why would i do that? do you think i'm going to embarass you in front of your friends?
niece: yes.. please, don't come inside, i'll be really embarassed.. please!
me: now, wait a minute, what exactly would you be embarassed about? i'm a pretty cool cat, wouldn't you say?
niece: yes, but you look like a boy!
me: ....

it's time to have a serious little chat with my niece about the dynamics and varieties of gender methinks. she's pretty smart, i think she'll understand.