The three months that I have spent in Bangladesh have been exhilarating and frustrating, remarkable and mundane – and everything in between; a reflection of the kinds of extreme emotions that Bangladesh and its people can trigger in you.
The good news, however, is that it was more of the former and less of the latter. For every security guard at the National Assembly who left no stone unturned to make me realise how ‘notorious’ and ‘big-brotherly’ Indians were in their dealings with Bangladeshis, there were ten people who made me privy to their dreams of visiting the Taj Mahal one day. For every irate officer at the visa office, there were a score who invited me to their homes for lunch or offered me a cup of tea or a cigarette – poor people, people with disabilities and on one very special occasion, a mother of a two year old with a hole in his heart.
As Dhaka slowly limbers back to life from its Eid-induced slumber and as the madding crowds troop back to make the city the sensory overload that it is, I leave for India tomorrow, having completed my fellowship at BERDO. There are a lot of things about Dhaka that I will always remember – the colourful rickshaws, the busy streets, doing iftar with a bunch of Maulavis at the Sat Gumbad Mosque, going head-to-head with multi-tonne ferries in a tiny dinghy on the Buriganga (and winning), and of course, the people at BERDO and their efforts to ensure equal rights for the disabled. On a lighter note, I will also miss the katchi biryani, gola kebabs and haleem that had become my staple for the last one month. They deserved more having.
So long, and shine on.
Posted By Abhilash Medhi
Posted Sep 25th, 2009