Journal from July – Wrath of the night

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Photo: Saad Hammadi

A man who escaped with his life from the restaurant was himself a kitchen staff. He was working when he heard gunshots. He ran off from the kitchen and was hiding on the second floor of the restaurant before he managed to escape. Inside, there were 50 to 60 restaurant staffs and another 25 to 30 customers dining, he said. That’s a lot of people held hostage but there was no way to verify except sources like him who were direct witnesses.

 

I walk a little further and find an anxious guardian who has a nephew-in-law among the hostages. The nephew went there with his girlfriend. His girlfriend had communicated with her father saying they were safe inside the restaurant but advised him not to call them. Since then they have been incommunicado.

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Journal from July – Into the dark

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Photo: Saad Hammadi

At the hospital gate I hear one person saying his brother, a ranking police official was injured in the attack. I took down his information. He would not be let inside until another police official heard his pleading and ordered the gatekeepers to allow him inside.

 

I spent a few minutes recceing the place. The place was empty except a few pressmen and cops in the area. I have to dodge the crowd to make my way in. With the waiting journalists at the front gate, it would not be possible to exploit an entry from there.

 

If there were any possibility it would have to be an entry from the OPD. The OPD gate was wide open. A couple of security guards were there who did not bother stopping me because they knew it was only the first layer of security. At the glass door leading inside the hospital building, there were more guards. Expectedly, one of the guards at the glass door resisted.

Continue reading Journal from July – Into the dark

Journal from July – Calls of dread

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Photo: Saad Hammadi

I just got off an interview with the CNN International discussing how the murder of a Hindu priest earlier in the morning was in a series of such attacks racking up scores for terrorist outfits that have largely become globally connected.

I wanted to call it a day for work, only that I knew it was far from over. Minutes before the interview I started receiving texts from colleagues and friends about shooting taking place in Gulshan. Hostages held. Were they bandits or terrorists? Hard to say. This is new for a city so densely populated. A simple bicycle’s bump into a car on street can lead up to spat that would block the entire road and be joined by curious onlookers. Who would dare do something as crazy as holding hostage? I wondered.

Seconds into going live on the interview, someone from the backstage spoke on my earphone asking, ‘We are hearing about this shooting taking place in Dhaka as we speak? Do you know anything about it?’

Continue reading Journal from July – Calls of dread

Reflections about my work

After nine years of working in one of the most dynamic departments of New Age, I have moved to manage a new section. I have been asked to manage the most cursed department of the newspaper – a section that not only suffers a lack of identity but also has miserably failed to find a consistent leadership. I have come in after four persons were given responsibility to manage the section, and all of them have landed outside the office some way or the other. There’s very little incentive I see to be excited about given the current state of the section and with the constraints in resources. But on the brighter side, the expectation is usually very little from the least performing, which gives me room to turn it around.

I have been best as a field reporter and frankly a journalist is best known for their work in the field. But with changes in time and personal circumstances, I had however, considered extending my experience to a team of writers to get better results than I could get alone for the department. But that didn’t work out well. Some work is best left to the top because you can do only so much.

The work of journalism is liquid. You can apply the skills anywhere so long you have the passion to do it. Even a couple of years ago I never thought business journalism would be an area I would specialize but today people pay to hear my take on doing business in Bangladesh.

The new department that I have been asked to look after is the most looked down section of the paper. In fact before I took charge of it, I never really considered this integral to the paper, not because the section is less important but it simply did not hold an appeal for me. And now that is what I have to turn around. Today is the first change in the layout I bring to the page since I have taken over last week.

Memories of Mosaic

Mosaic 2013 familyIt’s amazing how two weeks have nested a family so big that dots over the world. I have returned home only this morning and I am terribly missing all of you at Mosaic Summit 2013. The early morning walks (and sometimes runs :P) for breakfast at Greenwich to the sessions at Queen Ann Hall with all the amazing speakers, the friendships we have made, the grand visit to Clarence House to meet HRH The Prince of Wales and so many more keep coming back to my mind now. It was a privilege how Prince Charles made the time to meet and speak to everyone of us. I was amazed by how Princess Badiya recognized me at once at the Clarence House. This is the first time I have met someone with such a sharp memory or the likes of her effort to remember people! A week to the trip, we moved to Cambridge, the city of colleges and universities and great architectures. Binna and 

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A brief about Mosaic delegates from Bangladesh

Mosaic Bangladesh Team 2013Finally, it seems I have brought things slightly in shape. It’s probably time I feel a little excited about my trip to UK for the Mosaic International Leadership Programme. For the whole week until yesterday, I had filed ten reports for the new Monitor venture, one cover story for New Age Xtra. Those are besides the regular edits and tentative planning for the magazine I had to make before I board my flight tonight.

Coming back to Mosaic, last week, the eight Bangladeshis selected for the 2013 leadership summit to be held between September 8 and 21 met for an informal introduction. To simply put, it is a fascinating combination. It’s a mix of development practitioners, engineer, physician and journalist that would represent Bangladesh at this year’s programme.

A total of 64 delegates from across the world are expected to participate at this year’s programme with eight group leaders, who were delegates in the past two leadership programmes. Mosaic is founded by HRH The Prince of Wales.

Here’s a brief introduction about the Bangladeshis about to disperse among the eight global mix of groups:

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Acknowledgement

Following is an excerpt from my internship report submitted after my bachelors:

Acknowledgement

It has been a wonderful passage of time during my baccalaureate at the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh. I had first tried to enrol in ULAB in 2007 with a single subject in my Advance Level. I did not qualify. I required a minimum of two subjects to be eligible for enrolment in the university. After a long gap of studies because of work and financial constraints, I finally took the courage in fall of 2009 to start my undergrad. It still looked a long way – four years of full time education! As I reach completion of my undergrad I must mention few persons who have constantly supported me in my endeavours, kept my spirit up and who I am indebted to. Firstly, I am grateful to my Amma for her support, encouragement, prayers and celebration at every little success that I achieved in my life. She has been the most caring mother, who would wake up early in the morning to make sure I took breakfast before leaving for school and would stay up late until I arrived from my office. I remember my late father on this day for his wishes and efforts at seeing me excel and shine in my education and career. I acknowledge the support of my former features editor at New Age, Mubin S Khan for sparing me during office hours to do my classes. I am thankful to my best friend Syed Tashfin Chowdhury, for his constant support, for cracking all the bad jokes to cheer me up, for listening to my ranting and venting, and being an inspiration in many ways. Lastly but not the least, I am grateful to the management of ULAB, for providing me with a scholarship to fulfil my undergrad studies.

Read my post from three years ago when I first started my bachelors:

Right now, right here, where am I

https://saadhammadi.wordpress.com/2009/11/11/right-now-right-here-where-am-i/