by Humming Bird
lesson 3 for spotlight class
“Prayer is better than sleeping…” The morning- prayer call waved through the window. CLICK! Farhana tapped the alarm clock off. The mosaicked floor felt freezing under her bare feet. She glanced up at the desk calendar above her computer.
“Oh boy…it’s June 2nd? I’m a dead duck today! Okay, first thing comes first.” Farhana mumbled to herself as she slipped in the restroom to perform the prayer wash. The morning- prayer was the shortest of them all, so she finished it within minutes.
The sun cracked through the clouds, creating a lovely hue of red across the sky. The aroma of omelets and flatbread wafted through the air, ringing the hunger-bell in Farhana’s stomach. Everyone in the family was awake by then. The clatter-clatter of utensils could be heard from the kitchen. An elderly man sat at the dining table, immersed in the newspaper. A girl, a little younger than Farhana, was busy sweeping the floor with a soft broom.
“Could you help me set the table, dear?”
Farhana could hardly ignore if her mother summoned her to help. She was always willing help; it was just that worries about the semester final exam was racing at the back of her mind. Still, she washed the steel breakfast plates from the sink. The plastic mats rested in a kitchen cabinet, worn out with use. She took the mats out, wiped them clean with a cotton cloth, and arranged them at four places.
Soon, the plates got filled up with flatbreads. Small bowls of vegetable curry were placed beside the plates. The omelets or the poached eggs got their space beside folded flatbreads. Farhana filled the teacups with either milk or ginger tea, according to the preference of her family members.
The clock on the dining- space wall said 6:45 AM, when Farhana slipped on a white long skirt with matching top, wrapped a cotton draper around the front part of her body, threw her book sack on her back, and skipped off.
She got hold of a rickshaw and instructed the puller to take her to the foot over-bridge. Climbing up the metal stairs to reach the bus stand was always a tough job, especially during the morning rush hours. Still, Farhana managed to jostle her way up, through all types of people. Minutes later, she was under an umbrella with FALGUN painted on it.
“Mama, give me a ticket to Basundhara.” She uttered, wiping away drops of sweat from her forehead.
“There you go, 18 taka please.”
Farhana fished out a twenty- taka note from her purse. An old lady holding up a tin bowl could be seen sitting at the base of a tree just beside the ticket counter. Just before getting up on the purple, long bus with FALGUN written on the top glass, Farhana turned back and dropped the two-taka coin into the bowl of that old lady.
“May Allah bless you dear.” The lady uttered in a broken voice.
Farhana replied with a sweet smile, and got up on the transport, which would take her to her university. Mobile vendors jumped up on the bus from time to time, carrying things like popcorn, chips, peanuts etc. Just at the moment the bus reached the Airport, it was caught up in traffic congestion. The bus seemed sandwiched between waves of private cars, rickshaws and auto rickshaws.
Farhana reached her university gate after what seemed like forever. Luckily, she had her ID card on, so she could enter the campus without any objection from anywhere. She didn’t face problems finding the classroom either. She settled herself on the chair nearest to the invigilator, a position she always preferred over others.
Marketing was one of the business subjects she enjoyed studying. MKT 201 was one of the core courses to be done as a prerequisite to some of her major or minor courses. This midterm was an important one.
“Hey Farhana, what is the answer to multiple choice 1?”
Turning back, she shot a cold glare to the classmate behind her:
Shammi’s cunning look beneath her painted eyelids was enough to tell she had something cooking up in her mind.