13 December 2015
After arriving at Dhaka Railway, I said hi to the railway police who ended up escorting me back to my host brother’s home. I was under police protection again (more in my other post).
Jafar came down along with his mother and cousin to a wonderful sight — a dumb goose of a foreigner with one big toothy smile being surrounded by 5 policemen with guns in their hands. Jafar thought that I would be tired. I thought so too but then addicts have one characteristic- they get high especially when they adjust their mood and react well to a stimuli. For me- it was the thought of exploring Old Dhaka. I pestered my host brother to the point where he looked at me and said, “OK — let’s go… but where to?”
He most certainly did.
I connected again with the locals, who were running around and getting on with their lives in busy Dhaka. Running parallel to the busy creatures who call Dhaka their home, I wondered why I couldn’t swap lives with them for a day and why it is that they will only remain a part of my life for a brief moment.
Dhaka University — now this was a surprise. Naturally, I’m an expert at launching foreign invasions, so I barged into the Arts and Design Department, attracted by the colours, shape and forms of the students’ major works.
It was a free art exhibition and the students who were busy presenting their works welcomed me into their studio. They are very talented indeed and displayed great potentials- all they need is an opportunity. The only thing that stands in between change and success for those who are still struggling is opportunity. I hope that more of them will emerge as great artists for their country.
A group of new graduates in some of the best looking gowns waved and asked me to take a photo with them then from the corner of my eye, I saw a rickshaw and I wanted to try it. If I’m able to navigate the busy streets in Beijing then I’m sure a rickshaw will be easy. I was dead wrong since I can’t even balance the thing. FAIL.
After the visit to the university, we took another rickshaw and began a long walk around Old Dhaka. There is no better way to enjoy the sight and sound of the bustling Old City. My batteries were charged and with Milou and Jafar by my side, off I went- engulf me Dhaka!
I wanted time to slow down so that I could capture every living second of the people and action there. At every turn and down every narrow street, I was racing against time since I want my Milou to document everything. I could easily spend a year here and write a book where I’m able to capture the daily routines of the people here through words and photography. I’ll try and find every genuine smile and inner satisfaction to give myself a boost and to shake the spoilt-sorry-dramatic-sod persona out of me. I was racing against the sunset so for the next couple of hours, Jafar showed me the way around his familiar city.
I literally stopped every 5 steps to take photos. Nothing is as wonderful as the locals being more than willing to let you snap away. Thank you for making me feel I’m alive!
After the walk around the city and a mini-cricket match with the local kids, we barged into someone’s home just so I could check out their balcony and apartment. Jafar insisted that we ride on the boat to cross the river just to see Dhaka from a different angle.
The day ended and darkness descended upon the city. The water was pitch black and the pungent smell reminded me of the day I hopped onto the Rocket Steamer to start my adventure. Time, you are merciless.
The clock ticked away and my adventure in Bangladesh came to an end. I’ll always look back and call Bangladesh my gentle home- even if it was for only 7 days.