Postcards from the Edge

of Bangladesh

Bideshi tantrums

Since my handbag is such a hit, I ordered 3 bags for some volunteers in Dhaka. And 3 women here in Moanoghar also asked me to order another 3 for them. And I just knew this would come back and bite me in the arse.

So I made the order about a month ago, have gone back to the shop 3 times to find the bags aren’t ready (damn shop doesn’t have a phone to conveniently check on order). Went back yesterday to find only 2 of the bags are ready. This shop is on the oooother side of Rangamati, and just my travel costs alone are starting to annoy me.

Anyway, so I bring the 2 bags into work today. I show them to Memory, who ordered one. She looked highly unimpressed, and just says no, it’s just what she wants. They’re not EXACTLY like mine, so she’s not interested. Never mind that I’ve paid for the bags, have been across Rangamati numerous times, and that NOTHING is Bangladesh comes out exactly the same or exactly as ordered. Eish. I lost it. It was a fairly controlled losing of ‘it’, but still my patience ran out. As far as Memory was concerned, this is squarely my problem to deal with and fix. No ‘thanks for for all your trouble, but it’s not exactly what I had in mind, but I’ll take it from here and sort it out’. Just not interested, end of conversation and walks away. While I stand there with two unwanted bags in my hand.

Now I’m making her come back to the shop with me tonight, so she can tell the shop people she doesn’t want the bags. They can deal with it. And fight it out if they must. There is just no recognition of the time and effort it’s taken me to order the bags. I know I shouldn’t expect it, but christ. And I know the culture is very different and that in the Chakma language there isn’t even word for ‘thank you’, but fook this has pissed me off. And yes, I know my responses to situations aren’t always rational and sometimes it is just a case of the wrong thing, at the wrong time, on the wrong day.

Took a brief time-out, sat in my house eating peanut butter out of the jar with a spoon. Then Memory brought me some drinking water (going to fetch drinking water is one of my least favourite things to do). So yes, I know it’s give and take. And I’m now more calm. Another Bideshi tantrum bites the dust. And, as any tantrum here, it went largely unnoticed. They just don’t make a dent. But still, every now and then, an irrational tantrum happens. And even as you’re ‘performing’, you KNOW it’ll make precious little difference or impact. But still, one slips out occasionally.

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