Gulshan, Dhaka, February 2002

Bely is tirelessly tweaking and gathering and pinning material, eventually resigned that I am not, unlike in the best fairy stories, transforming into the new-look Cinderella. Standing back, she observes me swathed in the delicate peach, tottering on her high-heeled, strappy, gold sandals, my hair crudely tied up.“Now, Anne, you are true Bengali wife,” Hasina says. “Turn this way, and this..."She and Bely talk rapidly over my head. Bely claps her hands delightedly and rushes out of the room. I hear excitement in her rapid, high-pitched speech, and the careful repetition of “Bengali wife” as she talks to the house girls.“She tells that now you must learn to cook Bengali. Come.” Hasina smiles. â€œWe make samosa. Try. Is so easy. Try.”“But Bely’s beautiful clothes…” I protest. It will be like trying to make scones in a wedding dress, trying to keep it pristine for the ceremony whilst egged on by several intoxicated bridesmaids.“Bah. It...
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Deja Vu

Tomorrow Simon will be 4 weeks old, and the rest of life seems to have been put on hold - exactly as everyone told me it would be!  In fact, I've got a very real sense of deja vu... with a bit of editing, where have I written this before?The first few days... were a blur. I was suddenly alone in a country where I could do nothing...You might remember a few posts back when I was referring to my arrival in Dhaka as a novice and was way out of my comfort zone.  Well, here I am again with Simon blindly figuring out the eating, dressing and changing routine and most of all trying to communicate with somone who looks blankly back at me - and then screams.   At least no Bangladeshi ever did that.4 weeks into Bangladesh I was settling in, things were becoming familiar.  No doubt Simon is hoping something...
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Simon, 15 August 2010

As the eagle-eyed amongst you will notice, I've been absent for a while, and yes - the baby has been launched before the book!Simon was born on 15 August, timely at D-Day+3 and giving his father time to travel 3000 miles to make the big event.  The baby took a while to make his grand entrance before arriving waving (his hand on his head) but as I've kept saying, childbirth is like a pilot landing a plane: don't matter how s/he gets that plane down as long as it lands safely...I'll get back to the story of A Blonde Bengali Wife whilst he is sleeping... so bear with me for a few days!
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Incidentally...

Today is the Glorious Twelflth  .... And D-Day for the baby - though he is deliberately ignoring that fact!So I should clarify: I am talking a real, live, human boy baby here whose due date is today.  It seems that I've been so obscure  that people who haven't seen the sumo-wrestler sized bump I'm currently sporting think I'm referring to ABBW the book.  Nope!  Little person imminent.  Book trailing (not far) behind.So, I'm off to dunk a pineapple into some raspberry leaf tea and waddle up and down the stairs a lot.  Any other suggestions gratefully received!
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Jessore District, February 2002

“Now, Mrs Anne.” Dr Musa beckons me to continue the tour. “I show you my speciality. In French, my wife says it is a piece de resistance.” He pauses for dramatic effect outside a square concrete room screened from the corridor only by a flimsy and ill-fitting door. “The operating theatre,” he announces. In the centre of the room, raised on an oval pedestal is the operating table, a tattered couch covered in black plastic. Above this, swinging from a long metal chain is a bright, white light, and to the right is a table and shelves littered with intriguing bits of medical equipment. I search for words, try to imagine even minor surgery taking place here, wonder about sterility, the lighting, and marvel over the lack of gleaming surfaces and fancy gadgets. “You find this a strange place, Mrs Anne,” says Dr Musa. “It is to you, like something from...
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