Saturday, June 05, 2010


Lalakhal, Sylhet

This is my word of the week. It has been a strange couple of days, fueled by my indiscriminate consumption of coffee.

It has been raining a lot. In the morning, during the night. Someone asked on the way to dinner, does this mean the monsoon is here? I didn't know. I've lived here through three monsoons and I still couldn't remember when the season started. The streets outside were flooded today.

So a building collapsed earlier this week. And then there was that fire where so many, so many had died. And then another building (next to the one that had collapsed) started tilting and they had to evacuate the area. And cracks appeared in the walls of another building, somewhere else, and everyone had to leave too.

I don't get that tingle anymore from these things. I don't feel that urge to hop into a CNG and rush there so that I can be part of the media covering the event. I don't feel stressed about 'missing out' on the action. I can remember how that felt like, though.

I looked through the photos when the photographers came back from those events. Dead bodies, crying people, body bags, charred corpses, more grief, more pain, more loss, all caught on a wide angle lens, and you mark down the ones you want. This image works better than this, don't you see? See how her hands clings on so tightly as her friends try to hold her up? It shows just how much pain she is in. And this one - a hint of a dead body, just a foot, its better than the whole thing. We don't show the whole body. That's tasteless, don't you know?

One of the photographers told me he couldn't sleep all night after covering the aftermath of the fire. It's just too much, you know? I patted him on the back and told him he had to let it go.

During drinks at one of those clubs, I said nothing when the topic came up in the conversation. Isn't it horrible? How so many people died in that fire in Old Dhaka? Yes, its terrible. I looked at my feet and sipped my wine. The woman across me wore a flowy silk blouse in salmon pink with sequins across the collar, matched with a thin belt across her waist. She looked very fashionable. Behind her, two men played a game of tennis. I watched a little cute mouse scamper across the tiled floor.

I feel like I don't live here. Like, this happened in another world, you know? They were still talking about it. I lit up another cigarette.

Nazrul called me two days ago. Where are you? Dhanmondi, I said. And you? Woodlands lah. Next week I come back. Fantastic, I replied. It would be nice to see him in his own country. But how will we meet? You live in Gazidpur! Aiyah. Then I come Dhanmondi see you lah.

I would like that very, very much.