At 3.00am a car picked me up from a guesthouse in Dhaka. I was sleep-deprived having been rudely awoken by an alarm just thirty minutes earlier. It was the middle of the night and I witnessed a Dhaka I’d never seen or heard before. Still, peaceful, and calm. The roads were practically clear without a rickshaw in sight.
It was eerie and a little sad as the spirit of this great city was resting. In just a few hours the sun would once again rise and the millions of residents would awake from their slumber. The call to prayer would drift through the streets and into the ears of early risers.
Not long after this the smell of various fried foods would waft into the nostrils of those on their way to work. The energy of Dhaka would soon soar through the veins of the metropolis and another day would bring yet more joy, more chaos, more hardship, more noise, more arrivals and undoubtedly more life.
The roads would be jam-packed with vehicles of varying sizes, from the monstrous trucks and battered buses to the more modest CNGs (or cages of noise as I now prefer). For me though the masters of the roads will always be the rickshaws. I will forever be amazed by the courage and strength of the rickshawallahs.
I, however, would not bear witness to any such activity on this particular day. For you see, the car that collected me at 3.00am on Friday, June 29th 2012, had done so with the purpose of taking me to Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. Dhaka to Kuwait City. Kuwait City to London. This was it. After almost eighteen months my time in Bangladesh was over, for now.
I say for now because I like to believe that maybe I’ll ride a rickshaw to work once again someday. However, at this point I was leaving, and I was doing so with an incredibly heavy heart. It’s too difficult for me to put exactly into words just how much I enjoyed my Bangladesh experience. Therefore I won’t.
I would simply like to leave you with this short video/slideshow, which I feel provides a visual overview of just why I fell in love with the country. The beautiful music accompaniment is ‘Adam’s Lullaby’ by Natasha Atlas. Just follow the link below.
AMAR SHONAR BANGLA…
11 thoughts on “Under One Sun: A Tribute to Bangladesh”
I recall landing at 4am and being taken to a house in Dhaka – the quietness is eerie!
Can’t really say anything other than Perfect. Beautiful images, and of course, words that render well the heavy heart of leaving a place like this xx
I had tears in my eyes while reading the last paragraph. I am so glad you got to see the beauty of my homeland and thriving life here despite the poverty, pollution and political chaos.
Thanks for this piece, and I wait for more.
Miss you. Visit us soon. You have a room in my apt whenever you want to come.
Thank you Meherun. It was from the heart! I try to explain my Bangladesh experience to people, but often can’t. So, I hope the images did it justice. All the best for the new academic year. I hope it won’t be too long before I visit again 🙂
Well done John. It’s really excellent and sums it all up, I guess. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Two other things – Liz is about to start editing your video. And I raised over £2000 for Sreepur Village via my Lands End to John o’ Groats bike ride thanks to the generosity of many people like you. Thanks again. Best wishes for your latest venture, Stu
Beautiful John. I feel certain you will return there one day.
First class John and clearly Bangladesh has a special place in your heart.
John thank you very much for such a beautiful description of Bangladesh . hope to see you again . wish you a very good luck
The description in the essay makes me feel as if some portion of your heart is still left here . Moreover, the video and the song are also emotional. I wish to see you back to Bangladesh. Wish you good luck in everything.
Thank you Wangchuk. You are right…a portion of my heart will always be in Bangladesh 🙂 I am glad you enjoyed the video. I hope UG1 has started well for you and you are enjoying your classes. I have no doubt you will be a successful student. Keep working hard, and I hope to see you again soon.
John this was absolutely stunning – I am very moved. It made me cry! (bearing in mind that I am a bit of an emotional wreck right now :S) but crying in a good way – wow, your photos are amazing & I loved watching them all with the music playing. Memories to truly treasure for ever 🙂 xxx