Sent: 02/13 3:21 AM
Received: 02/13 5:09 AM
To: Pedro Meyer, email@example.com
have not written to you for a long time now. Things have been difficult
here, and now with the elections only three days away, it is difficult
to know what the next few days will bring. It is fairly certain there
will be violence, but to what extent and with how many casualties, one
can only guess.
I have been remembering you for very different reasons. For three days
now my father has been ill. He has always been poorly, and with diabetes,
gout, arthritis, and a failing heart, adding to his childhood bone marrow
defects, he feels he has done well to keep going without any major mishaps.
Yesterday, he had a blackout and slipped in the bathroom and fell, cutting
himself on the head in the process. He was sweating when I found him,
and as I changed his clothes and mopped his body with a towel, I found
a new relationship developing between myself and this man who had fathered
me. He was frail, and his skin hung loose, and he was slightly uneasy
with this new role that we found each other in, but he did not resist,
not because he was as weak as he was, but because he was brave enough
to venture into this unknown territory at this late an age. A territory,
I had never braved. I tried to gently mop the sweat from his body, feeling
him lean on me, letting me feel his weight.
I had played with him as a child, but since then, we had had little
scope for physical contact. I remember once, when I was twenty one, and
about to leave for several years, that he stiffly held out his hand to
shake mine. I went up to him, and his hug was so warm. Later, from a thousand
miles away, I wrote to him to say that I loved him. It was the first time
I had done so, but we had broken the ice. We wrote often since then, each
time renewing and expressing our knowledge that we loved each other, but
there had still been little to follow up on that hug. When I left for
a visit, or returned, we would hug, a soft gentle hug, knowing, trusting,
but still holding back ever so slightly.
is sleeping now, in the hospital bed, and in the strange environment
of the ward with the sound of sick and dying men all around me, I
can hear him breathe. Even in his sleep, he knows I am here, and that
is reassuring for both of us. I can feel his soft wet skin, the weight
of is limp body. The almost imperceptible way in which he leaned against
me as I held him. We have spoken very little in the hours when he
has been awake, and much of what we've said has been functional, spoken
while I have been feeding him, making sure the mosquitoes don't bite.
Tomorrow I will be back in the streets, facing the inevitable
police bullets and the teargas, in the heat of the battle perhaps
I will forget this hospital bed, the squiggly lines on the oscilloscope,
the gentle breathing, but I know he will await me. And tomorrow
night, like tonight, I will sit by his bed, half awake, while he
sleeps, happy in the knowledge that I have touched more than a bare
patch of skin.
I remember you now, for the thoughts that ran confused in my mind
as I watched "I photograph to remember" in a quiet corner
of the gallery in Arles. I have my camera with me, but have taken
no pictures, not yet. Perhaps I'll wait for the skin to dry.
Subject: My father
Sent: 02/20 11:30 AM
From: Shahidul Alam, firstname.lastname@example.org
To: pedro meyer, email@example.com
The text is a bit formal. It will take me a while to write to people individually.
I hope you will understand.
RENOWNED BANGLADESHI SCIENTIST PASSES AWAY
Abul Monsur, a microbiologist of international repute, passed away on
the 20th February 1996 at Suhrawardy Hospital of a heart attack. A brilliant
scientist, Professor Monsur was a gold medallist from Calcutta Medical
College, and was later awarded the "Pride of Performance" by the President
of Pakistan. He developed the world's best known culture media for cholera,
known as "Monsur's Media".
He was the founder of the School of Tropical Medicine, and also the initiator
of the first IV fluid plant in Bangladesh. His work brought international
recognition and he served as the director of the Public Health Institute.
Professor Monsur started his teaching career in Dhaka Medical College
where he was professor of Bacteriology and Pathology, which was followed
by many years of international work. He retired from Government service
as Director of Health Services. Dr Monsur has left behind his wife, Dr
Anwara Monsur, founder and principal of Agrani Balika Bidyalaya, daughter
Dr Najma Karim, son Dr Shahidul Alam, grandchildren, and many well wishers.
Dr Monsur was a director of Drik Picture Library Ltd.