Sunday, August 24, 2008

Photoblog on Bangladesh

I have launched a photoblog on Bangladesh. The idea is to focus only on photographs showing various aspects of the country. I hope to update 2-3 times a week, sometimes with new pictures, sometimes with older ones in my stock.

It is brand-new and I am still fine-tuning it. If you have suggestions for improvement I will be grateful if you let me know, either as a comment here or in the photoblog itself.

Many thanks to Shams and Rajon for their help in this project.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Victories Big and Small

Now that everyone's minds are on the Olympics, here are some tidbits about competitiveness as it relates to Bangladeshis.


In the 2008 Math Olympiad in July, the Bangladeshi team ranked 75 out of 101 teams that participated. Bangladesh was sandwiched between Finland (74) and Iceland (76.)

This compared to their 80th (out of 102) ranking last year. Certainly a step in the right direction. Congrats to the team and all who worked on this.


I don't follow chess at all, but someone pointed out to me the other day that Enamul Hossain Rajib, the 5th Grand Master from Bangladesh, scored an upset victory over Ukraine in the World Cup Chess Tournament in 2007. This placed Bangladesh in the second round, among the top 60 teams in the world. If you counted only Asian countries, Bangladesh was among the top ten. Now, if I could only play that game...

I have always felt that our chess players are really good and deserve more media attention than they get.


From Silicon Valley, Talukder sisters Sabera and Leilah won First Place at the 2008 US National Synchronized Swimming Competition held at Binghamton, New York. Their team Los Gatos Angelfish won the First Place and they landed Gold Medals. If they keep going this way we can see the sisters at the Olympics one day.

So what is the Bangladesh connection, you ask? Their dad Shah Talukder is from Bangladesh (mom Darlene is American.) Congratulations, girls!

Here is a picture of the Champion sisters, courtesy of Papa Talukder.


We now return you to the inevitable Olympics.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Good Cook, Bad Doctor

Our cook has been with us for almost a year now. Finding a person who can cook well is difficult in Dhaka. Problem is, those who can cook well know they are good and are full of attitude (and not to mention expensive.) Although she is not exactly Michelin 4-star, our Cook can get the job done. And she has the right attitude.

A few months ago, something curious happened. Cook started acting strange. She started forgetting things. She mixed up her spices. In some dishes salt became the main ingredient. Normally energetic cook always seemed tired and she seemed on the verge of losing her mind. We were perplexed. No amount of explaining, scolding, or yelling helped.

Since so much of our daily life depends on Cook - and if you know Dhaka life, you know that she can make or break your day every day - this started creating a lot of stress for us. Not to mention Cook, who was now really worried about what was happening to her.

Then one night my wife had a brainwave. "Wait, didn't she start taking some medicines last month?" By that time Cook had gone home, so we decided to wait till the next day.

The next morning, after toasts were burned and curdled milk poured into tea, I asked Cook about any medication she was taking. At this point, I should point out that Cook is quite overweight and had high blood pressure, for which reason she had visited the doctor. She had seemed happy with her visit and we had not pursued things further.

Anyways, Cook asked me to wait, went off into the kitchen and returned with a handful of pills. Get this, there were seven different medicines for: heart, ulcer, blood pressure, diabetes, headaches, plus a couple of others I did not recognize. "Do you have ?" I asked her after I read the name of each medicine, and she shook her head "No." I think the only thing was her diabetes, for which she needed to lose weight.

The doctor she had gone to had prescribed her all these medicines without explaining what they were for. I suggested to her she think twice before taking them. She saw a second doctor and then dropped all the medication, and decided to go on a diet to lose weight.

A few days later, somewhat enraged over her ordeal, she decided to visit the old doctor to give him a piece of her mind. She returned empy-handed - the bad doctor had closed up shop and disappeared because so many people of the neighborhood were mad at him.

Cook is doing fine these days. Her mind and her memory are both back. She lost some weight which helped her diabetes. I have not asked her if she is taking any medications. Hmmm, maybe I should ask one of these days?