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Neighbours, but not loved

Bangladeshi Hindus are real traitors. They eat here, poop and pee here, make money here, but all they think of is India. And that’s where they send all their wealth to. If you are in Bangladesh, it is nearly impossible to ignore this allegation against the minority community.

There may not be any Hindus in Bangladesh who have not heard this allegation against them once in life. Or they hear it a lot and ignore it. ‘‘Haven’t you bought any properties in India?’’ Muslims ask their Hindu neighbours or colleagues right in their faces. As if it is an old joke. Of course, there are people who show the decency not to crack this cheap sort of joke. But they surely discuss and talk about it behind their backs.

And then there comes the word ‘Malaun.’ For many Bangladeshi Muslims, Malaun is synonymous to Hindu. Owing to the wide usage of the word since the Partition of 1947, especially after the birth of Bangladesh in 1971, people have almost forgotten Malaun is a derogatory word.

So what does …

It is stupid to be a writer in Bangladesh

When someone asks me my profession, I always hesitate to answer. I cannot tell people that I write.
I suspect that they will not take me seriously if I tell them about my profession or disclose that I left the US only to be a full-time writer. I always wanted to write a novel.
The look they give me is easy to interpret. My gut feeling has always been that they are thinking, I am either stupid or insane.
From time immemorial, intelligent people have been considered crazy, unsocial, and held on contempt for reading too much. Moreover, there is an orthodox belief in Bangladesh that all intellectuals are atheists.
Or, shall I put it this way: the common belief is reading too much makes one agnostic.
On rare occasions that I do tell the truth about my profession, they ask me ‘‘we do understand you write but what else you do?’’
"Nothing, I write full time" is an answer that has always evoked surprises. The majority finds it impossible to believe that a man with sound body and sound mind…

Samsa’s Hair // Kafkaeaque story by Rahad Abir

One morning Samsa Roy woke up in bed and found himself completely bald. It was not a bald patch or bald spot. It was complete, clean baldness. Sleek, soapy, smooth. He ran a confused hand over his head back and forth. He felt nothing there. Not a single hair. He slept on his right side, as usual, with his right hand under his head. He wondered if he might be having that tormenting dream again. He had been having a recurring dream of going bald. He got so used to it that he began to believe it.
To read the full text click New Asian Writing

Johnson Road nominated for the 2015 Best of the Net Anthology

My short story ''Johnson Road'' has been nominated for the 2015 Best of the Net Anthology (Sundress Press) http://http://bluelyrareview.com/nominations-awards/

Johnson Road // short story by Rahad Abir

He knew it was simply unfair to go out on a date with his student’s mom. It involved risk too. But he said yes when she asked him. He was confused and fascinated and lost. The relationship was about three months of old, mostly talking and texting over the phone. Every evening he visited her home to tutor the second grade boy, and she hardly ever seemed to take any opportunity to talk to him then.


View full text on Blue Lyra Review

Excerpt from my forthcoming novel, published in the daily New Age

Excerpt from my forthcoming novel, published in the daily New Age http://newagebd.net/89472/him-and-her/

The God Boy // short story by Rahad Abir

The boy was born with a tail.
After three girls, finally, a boy. The mother and her newborn received great care during the birth—care that was absent during the female births.
The nail-like protrusion of flesh, less than half an inch, right on the top of the boy's tailbone, didn’t concern the parents initially, until it started to grow. It grew to an inch within six months. On a market day, the boy’s parents went to see a doctor.
The doctor examined the protrusion thoroughly. ‘‘I’ve never seen anything like this.’’
The boy began to cry. The mother looked at the doctor. She tried to calm her son, nestling him against her chest, rocking him. The doctor asked for some more details and ended up saying, ‘‘I don’t see any harm in it. Don’t worry, just leave it as it is.’’ He was right; the boy was healthy apart from the protrusion. Because it was more than an inch by that time, you might have actually been tempted to call it a real tail.
And then a new problem arose. Neighbors began a…