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…