The world that we live in lacks sanity and as someone who loves to travel, I’m a crazy one.
I have this strong inclination to be, do, eat, see, act, behave and travel like a local. The idea of landing in a foreign land thrills me and I always tell myself – ” This is your country now” – despite being confused about my own identity and nationality. That sense of freedom and ‘achievement’ of walking down an unknown street with locals (who I never thought of meeting) whilst carrying my Milou ( my Sony Camera and Tripod) is sensational. I feel more capable and hot than 007. I would stick my head into people’s homes, say hi to them, go off and see what a local crowd is up to and well…in the end, I’m the one walking away with a wealth of knowledge and experiences. I’m very lucky but also quite rude…argh ( must stop being a nosey poo).
Anyways back to foreign invasions- I think if you are polite and the locals are nice then you can always get away with an invasion….especially if no damage is done. Apart from the conversations over cha and sticking my head into shops and saying hi to people, two particular invasions were most vivid.
A local family returning home from the recent birth of their twin girls stopped in time to rescue me from peeing my pants. I was in the countryside with my guide Setu and the long tuk-tuk ride + my weak bladder forced me to find a place to stop possible embarrassment. They were super lovely to welcome me into their home and I had a chance to set eyes on the two beautiful twin girls. I avoided wetting my pants and the family enjoyed the free entertainment. How often does that happen?
I started asking my host brother Jafar about the architecture and history behind some of the buildings in Dhaka. There exists a huge gap between rich and poor in Bangladesh and it is very much right in your face. After a 40 minute drive, I witnessed the great contrast between the social classes in Dhaka. So back to architecture, Jafar took me down some narrow alleyway and led me into an apartment.
I barged right into someone’s home- although not spacious by Western standards, it certainly is homey. The wide staircase eventually led us to the roof. Clothes hang from bamboo sticks, people carrying on with their daily tasks – all set against the backdrop of a populated city.
Two women were having up their clothes and were somewhat surprised to see me- I would freak out if someone foreign just barge in and stare at my roof. They told Jafar that they have lived in the apartment for generations – earlier than 1971, in fact much earlier… all the way back to British Colonial Times.
Before I left, one of the ladies asked if I can photograph her son. Why not?
Jafar told me that any apartments with wide staircase belonged to the more wealthier citizens while those with narrower staircases belonged to those in the lower classes. Hidden amongst alleyways, shops, mosques and other similar-looking buildings, I’ll definitely need help if I wish to relocate it again.