Countering propaganda: Dubai despatch
Contrary to the aggressive propaganda campaign by Rahnuma Ahmed, I would
like to state that I am alive and well and in no signs of being
imminently embalmed, buried or cremated. The greatest difficulty I
currently face is to resist the excellent profiteroles in Dubai Lounge.
The trip has not been uneventful. Having used up Nalaka’s monthly pay by
phoning the UK and sampling all the variations of ‘your custom is
valuable to us… all operators are busy now…and other endearments, I
was informed that taking the Dhaka flight instead of the Dar Es Salaam
flight from Dubai, would involve all my intermediary tickets becoming
void. Being the kind considerate individual that he was, the UK person,
suggested that I try convincing the airport staff that they should
understand my plight. The implication was that short of feigning death,
there was no real chance that I would be allowed to deviate from the
holy emirates scriptures. Rahnuma’s campaign was kicking in however, and
distraught calls from Mowli in London, and chat messages from Rahnuma in
Dhaka punctuated our attempts at international aerial understanding.
Having been told in previous days how our gender balance was necessary
for the empowerment of the gentle sex, I came across the combined
husbandry of the entire female team in the meeting. Chulie and Brishti
joined in for good measure. I was not to walk, blink or whisper (they
did permit breathing) for the rest of eternity. And if I was ever in
doubt of the outcome of the slightest deviation of this generous and
permissive freedom that I had been offered, then my life would certainly
not have been worth living.
Packing provided the first taste of the excitement to come. Sabeen and
Chulie in their Biarritz berets and bandanas, Indian waistcoats, Nepali
hats, and “Edit Naked” T shirts. Chuli twirled in her waistcoat, saying
“I’m too fat”. Suvendu called at regular intervals to add sound effect,
and Sabeen picked up my repaired suitcase, to ensure there would be no
hitch in this perfectly planned repatriation. The Dhanmondi jailers
awaited in glee. Supreeta had brought in my medicine, and Mazhar had
waited in the corridor to ensure that I didn’t slip past without it, but
the medical records and the medicine had been packed away in our
The drama continued at Colombo airport. As predicted, the initial head
shaking (which can mean no or yes or impossible depending upon the needs
of the moment), the rolling of the eyes, the gathering of the clan and
the excited chatter as we all waited for the outcome of this monumentous
decision, eventually led to me being asked to join another queue. This
was obviously the queue for multiple offenders and special scrutiny
awaited all in the line. Consequently the advantage of my first ever
arrival at an airport within the stipulated time, rapidly disappeared
and the ‘final call’ at the gate approached ever more rapidly.
Eventually I was given a booking, and my luggage boarded with the
explicit instructions that I sort things out in Dubai.
Dubai airport 08:15 17th June 2006
Part II to follow:
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