The Pukur/Pond outside the family house at Noakhali.

Noakhali School Students found me.

Brother and Sister in Rangamati.

The waterfall found at Lord Shiva's shrine in Moulvibazaar, Sylhet.

In Bangkok with my son, Kadin.

Loving Apuji(Grandmother) with us at every step.

Sweet childhood home.

Singing with Ayub Bacchu at DCL.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Zoho Apps for Business

PastedGraphic-2014-09-20-13-12.pngRecently, when I was looking for a email host (personally I have always found hosting email on your domain host rife with issues), I found that Google now charges for hosting email. Shame, shame #Google. It seems to be the way, first #Microsoft and now #Google. The only good thing about this is if you already have your email hosted with them for free, they will not charge you. However, they will charge for new signups. :(

PastedGraphic1-2014-09-20-13-12.pngIt is becoming increasingly difficult to find options for free email hosting, but one really good one that I have turned to is #Zoho. It is similar to #Google, but you get folders instead of labels and they have active sync for devices like #Microsoft exchange. There are many great things about Zoho, but I mainly came to it for the mail hosting. #TechRepublic has written a nice blog post on some of the great apps for businesses fro #Zoho that is worth a read if you are looking for more than just email hosting.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Gaza: 72 Hour Truce, Is There an End?


There is no one in the world today that hasn't heard or seen the story of the Israel attack on #Gaza uhfolding. The world seems to have gone crazy and watched nearly silently as hundreds of Palestinian children were killed. The Muslim world has been the loudest voice, but the people dying are of all faiths. The problem seems to be between the truth and what Israel and it's supporters want us all to believe. 
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Social networks are on fire, but it is really hard to tell if we are making a dent in opinions of world leaders who are in a position to impose sanctions (and this what really needs to happen) against Israel. I really don't understand why no country has done this yet. The U.S. imposed sanction against Russia recently for much less than this, but with what seems to be a genocide campaign raging all we here is that Israel an ally of the U.S. from President Barack Obama and that Congress made sure that $225 billion funding bill for Israel's defense misiles was approved before they want on vacation. AID to a country that is bombing SCHOOLS and killing CHILDREN! 
Israel LiesIs it that too many people are believing in Israel's propaganda or are they just remaining quiet out of fear of the repercussions? Understand that if you are silent it means you see no problem with what Israel is doing. For me, it's difficult to watch all the images of children becoming orphans and parents becomes childless and not FEEL SOMETHING. A friend recently put this up as her status, "I'll admit I have stopped and thought about how my criticism of the Israeli genocide would affect me professionally. I'm reading a ton of articles about how people lost jobs or were ostracized for stating their views. But I cannot stay silent. And if things fall through because of it, so be it. I'd rather children stop being killed than my getting ahead. I could not live with it. I'll manage. So don't be afraid, please. Speak out. If you remain silent, you are complicit." I agree, so I am speaking out. Let the killing stop and let it be soon. #SupportGaza #Humanists4Gaza #GazaUnderAttack

Sunday, August 3, 2014

What's the Point: Ramadan Fasting


It's been many years now that I reverted to Islam. Muslims believe that all people are born with a natural faith in God and according to Islam, children are born with an innate sense of God, which is called the fitrah. Therefore, conversion to Islam as a "return" back to this original, pure faith. For this reason, many Muslims prefer to say that they have "reverted," rather than converted to Islam. A common definition of the word "revert" is to "return to a former condition or belief." Since I reverted I have fasted every year trying my best to follow all the customs, practices and rules of Islam and Ramadan. My people only think that Ramadan means you don't eat. As I tell my children, that is not the case. In fact, there is a lot more to Ramadan than not eating. It is a time we pray 5 times everyday (if you don't already), read the Quran and overall become closer to Allah. 


Fasting begins before sunrise and Muslims across the world wake in the wee hours of the night to eat their last meal before sunrise and then pray the Fajr prayer. Often, following Fajr they will read the Quran because it is believe the angels are listening especially at the time and therefore there extra blessing if you read at the time. Following the we return back to our beds for some time. 

The rest of the day we go about our day as usual taking care to offer prayers at Dhur (just after midday) and Asr (afternoon). At the timing of Maghrib (evening prayer) we break our fast with dates (as this is what the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) did) and water or juice. In some families this meal (Iftar) is elaborate with many dishes, but I prefer it to be a simple table. We are not supposed to over eat during Ramadan anyway. Following the meal, we pray the Maghrib prayer. Some families have dinner after this, but our family prefers Iftar to be the evening meal as well. 

After Isha prayer (night prayer) there are special prayers called Taraweeh that are held either at home or at the local mosque.  These are not obligatory prayers, so not everyone does them. This is mainly because they take a long time and many have early office hours. 



Ramadan is the month that the Quran was received by our Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) and is the month we seek forgiveness for our sins, the sins of our near ones and pray for those who are no longer in this world. Muslims celebrate the arrival of Ramadan for many reasons. One is the extra time we get to spend with our family, but a big part of it is the opportunity to seek forgiveness. Ramadan is basically the month of forgiveness and all Muslims celebrate this month and the opportunities to commune with Allah for a clean slate. 

I know a few people who are married to people of the book (Christians) who sometimes fast along with the rest of the family. In some ways to be a part, to make the family members happy and in other ways to experience what the disadvantaged go through everyday. While it's great for them to feel included in the celebration of the month, they are not really experiencing all the reasons Ramadan is such a great part of Islam and being a Muslim. 

The end of Ramadan culminates in the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr. This is traditionally a 3 day long holiday, though depending on where you live it may only be a day for you.  Eid Mubarak.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Rewriting History?

March 26, 1971 is the date that Bangladesh won its independence from then West Pakistan. So, many things had happened since 1948 when the two nations were erroneously separated from India into East Pakistan and West Pakistan, but in 1971 the one thing that was certain in then East Pakistan was that Bangabondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was its leader. Imagine the surprise and shock of the vast majority when the top two BNP leaders announced in public forums that rather Ziaur Rahman was the first President of Bangladesh and the first to proclaim Bangladesh’s independence.

While I may be a foreigner in this country, like most foreigners I have read several books on Bangladesh history and viewed countless websites. Nowhere is there any inference that Ziaur Rahman had claimed to be the leader or President in 1971, so it is strange that so many years later his wife and son have taken the liberty to claim it now. For those who missed the speeches:

Tarique Rahman on March 25th, 2014 in London:

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia on March 26, 2014 in Bangladesh:


The citizens of the country have been thrown into mass confusion due this new misguidence being thrown at them and naturally this has upset the ruling party as well. In fact a few newspapers have carried the news that Tarique Rahman may be sued over his statements as they go against the constitution according to the ruling party spokesman: He said the country's independence was the fruit of a continuous movement, rather than a stray incident. "In the general elections of 1970, the AL, under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, won a massive majority. Bangabandhu called for the independence of Bangladesh on March 7, 1971," he added.
Hanif said Bangabandhu had declared the independence of Bangladesh through the then EPR's wireless and asked the people to create resistance against the occupation force of the Pakistan army. "Zia did not proclaim the independence," he asserted.

He said MA Hannan, a local AL leader, and Abul Kashem Sandeep, vice-president of Fatiksori College, had declared the country's independence on behalf of Bangabandhu on March 26. "On March 27, Maj. Ziaur Rahman announced the declaration of independence on behalf of Bangabandhu," he added.

It is sad that these statements created a blight on an otherwise traditionally happy day in Bangladesh. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Beware of the Elephants

20140211_125017[1]Recently, I was walking and saw two elephants coming toward me. I stopped in my tracks not sure whether to go ahead or back, and then decided to take a few pictures. After all, it’s not everyday an elephant is so close. Well, as clicked away, one of the riders spotted me. I guess a white woman taking photos sort of stands out in Dhaka. 

 

Before I knew it there was an elephant standing in directly in front of me. I really didn’t realize he was there until he was in my camera view. Then I looked up and froze for a minute. This was surprising or so I thought for about a minute. The minute ended when the rider asked me for money. Of course, panhandling is common in Bangladesh though not usually from the back of an elephant. After this happened with me, I over heard my office staff discussing the same thing happening to them. Really saddened that animals are misused this way. I thought it was so cool, but these people ruined it for me.

20140211_125025[2]Finally, I saw a horrible thing when in my car with my chauffer on my way to a meeting. One of these elephant rider beggars stopped a car and actually blocked it from proceeding until they got their money. So, if you see elephants on the roads be careful and warn your chauffer of the same.

Beware of the Elephants!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Breaking News

This morning I opened my Daily Star to skim the headlines. Sad and shocking to say the least.  Usually I don't read the articles, between the errors in the writing and the stress I get from the articles themselves on the political activities ongoing, it really isn't worth it to me. Today I made an exception and took a closer look. Ugh! Now super stressed and outraged I am writing this post.

Just to give you and overview here are a few:

Door Shut Yet Open for BNP

Outraged Business Leaders Demand Security

Blockaders Torch AL Leader's House

Rickshaw-puller Hit By Crude Bomb

Children Suffer in Silence

ATM's Empty - Banks stop refilling over insecurity

Even 5yr-old Not Spared

Even I have to wonder is this politics or psychological warfare? Why do we accept this onslaught of political based violence every 5 years? It's difficult for me to take these things lightly anymore.

Blockade programs where the leader of the Opposition allows her party supporters to kill, maim, vandalize and commit many other crimes in the name of protest, hartal, blockade while preventing the nation's children from attending school or risking their lives to get there, causing losses to businesses who can't get their supplies, and much more can't be called political campaigning or even protest politics.  I won't be polite about it. It goes far beyond that, it  is dark and sinister. Yet, we all allow it to continue without looking for a way to end it. Why?

Why do we get upset when those empowered to uphold the law arrest those breaking them? Why do we allow the opposition to hold more violent protests to protest the arrests of people who have done criminal acts? Why are we allowing this to go on and on and on with no thought of the impact on our youth? Seeing that there is no respect for the police or law enforcement and that politicians object to criminals being arrested and are allowed to protest it, what do the youth of the country learn?

Jesmin-Akhter-Liza

Five-year-old Sumaiya Akhter Sadia was going to school yesterday morning when she was struck by splinter from a cocktail hurled from a procession of the BNP-led 18-party opposition alliance activists, brought out to enforce its blockade, in Chittagong city's Akbar Shah Mazar area. The photo was taken at Chittagong Medical College Hospital. Photo: Anurup Kanti Das

Imagine only a week or so before mid-year exams and nearly no days of school. Children sitting in their homes worried whether their parents made it to their places of employment or if they will make it home. Children missing weeks of school due to protests. Children and parents worried if they will make it to school and return home unharmed. Homemade bombs being thrown at vehicles, passersby and homes with the blessings of the opposition leader. She may disagree, but she has not told them not to do these things so her silence has been taken as approval. She may disagree, but she is calling for more of these programs as intensified agitation programs

People of Bangladesh and friends of Bangladesh, it is time to put and end to mindless acceptance of criminal acts done in the name of protest, elections or political campaigning. It is time to put into place regulations on all protests that will prohibit, or control them at the minimum. Restrict protests to a specific venue and restrict the acts and numbers of protesters.  Tell your leaders you won't accept this violence and insecurity anymore. Tell them today. Tell them for Sumaiya and for all the children of Bangladesh - security is a priority that can't be taken lightly anymore. Crime in the name of politcal elections is unacceptable.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Why So Much Change, Google Apps?

When Google launched Google Apps I was probably one of the first to sign up. A great platform for my small personal domain at no cost. Actually I was probably just happy to not have to pay a fee to host my email, but over the years I found many more reasons to stay with Google Apps even when I could have easily used my domain host’s platform. In fact, I have moved domains that I had responsibility for to Google Apps because of my positive experience. Then last year Google decided to do away with its Standard (Free) version for new subscribers. So if you were already there great, but for new domains; oh well.
Google does have a paid version (a couple of them actually), but for my small domain I don’t really see the point. Now, today I receive an email about an update to the sign-in page (all versions). I have to say that it really irks me that for the companies who like to have their sign in page branded, they will no longer be able to do so. 
For any who might want to read the announcement, I have provided a snapshot below and the link to the full information on Google’s website
 
 
 
 

While the news is disheartening overall, there is one option still available for those who have personal domains and prefer not to use their host’s services. That is Live Domains which is basically Hotmail/live mail. To sign up, go here. It is not as full serviced as Google Apps, but nice just the same. Sad to see Google becoming another money monger. :(
If anyone knows of any other comparable services, let me know. I’ll update this post with verified information.