I arrived safely in Dhaka last Monday, just after midnight, and what I was also told the hour in which Eid commenced - a Muslim celebration, the end of Ramadan. I was born into Dhaka a midnight child. A nickname (or danname) that I have dawned myself, and will not share with the locals in light of Mr Rushdie's popularity here.
My birth was brief. Just moments after arriving in my new apartment I realized that I had left behind a smaller bag at the airport - a bag that had purchased for me at the airport, a bag carrying 2kg of books, just enough weight to put me over the maximum limit (apparently weight displaced over two bags weighs less). Ibriham, my driver, took me back to the airport. My marital status was quickly questioned, and he was surprised to hear that I was single. I can't blame him. Once I had collected my bag and got back in the van, Ibriham had declared "you are sexist", "your bag, you are sexist!". I was trying to recall what I had said about marriage, and was also surprised by Ibriham's extensive vocabulary. I tried to get him to define "sexism" in his own words, and provide him with mine, but all I got back in return was "you are sexist". I changed the subject. But moments before getting out of the van I realized he was calling me "a success", referring to the retrieval of my bag.
This photo is taken from my bedroom, looking west. I suspect I wont have much of a view in a few weeks time; our neighbours are building a 9 story building less than an arms reach away from my window. Constructed with bamboo, the buildings here grow almost at the same rate as the indigenous grass. Bamboo appears to be used for practically everything, while the newly constructed complexes don’t seem to serve any purpose; unfinished and uninhabited apartment buildings lie everywhere (reminiscent of downtown Detroit’s white-flight!). Yet, construction is pervasive and constant. This paradox is due to, allegedly, corrupt building contracts – a quick and easy buck for contractors and government. I’ll save stories of corruption for another time.
This picture is taken from our rooftop, 4 stories high, again looking west.
Pictures from the street to follow!
With much love,
Daniel R. Hawkins
ps I trust Jasper is being well kept. Remember that he only gets the Kibbles every other day.