Sunday, March 27, 2005

Full Moon in Kushti, Kulna

Finally travelled outside of Dhaka to Kushtia, Kulna, a neighbouring district for an annual traditional religious festival held in the honour of Lalon, famous guru.

Set off at 730 in the morning, and 200 Tks and a couple of hours later I found myself in a bit of a shock staring at endless green fields that stretched as far as the eye could see on either sides of the road.

It was quite a stark contrast to the grey and grimy Dhaka, and if I had known that an hour's worth (3 hours on bicycle, I reckon) would get me all this I would've up and left a long time ago.

But yes, so it was rural paradise. Not quite what we see along the North South highway travelling up to Malaysia, because here it's all flat. FLAT FLAT FLAT. Not a single speck above the horizon line.

And lots of wandering cows, goats, ducks and.. you can form the mental image.

The town seemed like it would be a pleasant, quiet place if not for the festival.. conjurs up the same sense of simple country life the way Elliot describes it so well. You know, the cliche.. a simple folk working hard at the only kind of life that they know. It's much more pleasant than other rural places i've seen in Malaysia. Not too sure why, but it's less claustrophobic, cleaner, more wandering animals (baby goats.. that really gets me).

And one thing i've realised so far is that I always, always end up with the children. I'm not too sure why. The adults are just as interested in foreigners, but the children wants to be my friend.

Every new place I visit, the children are always the ones to guide me around. In Buriganga it's Aasia and Razu. In Old Dhaka it was Paulash and his friend who name I've forgotten. And in Kushtia it was Shauan and Aki.

Aki is beautiful. Not gorgeous, or pretty, but absolutely beautiful. Will post a photo. she's 14. Her smile... just makes me melt.

And I love the children because once they've gotten over the excitment of having someone foreign, they're still friendly. I think it's because they can sense that I need help. But it was very funny during the festival, when I was trying to make my to the stage pushing my way through the crowd of people which makes Little India on a Sunday look like.. erm.. nothing. Yes, anyway, it was funny when I realised that I had one hand with Aki and the other with Shauan and they were in front of me trying to push the crowd away to make way for me and I was trying to keep them behind me to just shield them from all these men who were pushing them.. and it was this protective tug of war between the three of us.

But yes, the kids are the best. The adults... they always ask too many questions. The kids, when you tell them you can't speak Bangla, just giggle and pass the message aruond so that no one asks me anymore questions. The girls always try to hold my hand when we walk, the boys always want to hold my camera.

And you know the cliche about having a renewed faith in the human spirit.. i met women who were so capable that I feel completely inferior. That's the thing about some of the women here. Like Sufia, intelligence just radiates from them, and they seem to be able to handle almost everything.

When I was travelling on the back of a rickshaw van (just a bicycle pulling a cart) I saw a woman go past in another rickshaw with tears streaming down her face. It was so strange to see that, and I realised I've never seen any form of weakness in the women here so far.


Which brings me to a big gripe. Terrible hostel mates. I'm not too sure if they read this, but if they do:

Why is it so difficult for you guys to clean up after yourself?

I don't know if they're used to having others do it for them, but it's no excuse, because I am too. And it's no excuse to leave unwashed pans and dishes, food scattered all over the table, coffee stains on the linoleum. And dammit, even the three plates they washed are still filthy.

Three people, I don't know who's the guilty culprit, but I'd like to bet it's all three. One's a mother. No excuse. One is 28 and she's been staying here since last September, no excuse. The third... well... no surprises.


Anonymous said...

Did u go to the village on your own? U'r brave girl! u gonna upload the music?

panaphobic said...

No not on my own of course.. and now you mentioned it it sounds like a great idea but i'm not sure if i've the guts. And I think samples of the music's available at the link i gave for Lalon..