Return to Dhaka-Two Worlds


Bangladeshi workers returning home from the Mid East, Dubai

The majority of the passengers flying from Dubai to Dhaka were single men returning home from working in the Mid-East. The ones I spoke with were coming from Kuwait. With the global economic downturn I’m sure the situation isn’t good for them. The author James Novak in his book on Bangladesh “Reflections on Water” got it right 15 years ago and the situation hasn’t changed much since. On the first page he describes the middle aged expat NGO types flying into Dhaka  for their meetings  and conferences escaping the winter months of the USA and Europe. There were a few of them on my flight too.


The gate from Baridhara to the other Bangladesh

The taxi ride back into town felt strangely familiar. The local tea stall owner and rickshaw drivers in my neighborhood were in the same place as when I last saw them three weeks ago. Things appear chaotic at first glance but there is an hidden order to it. People have schedules and follow them to say nothing of all their hard work. Most of us would go off the deep end if we had to live that way for one hour.

Last weekend I went on a field trip with the art class from IUB led by professor Nazir Ahmed. He took over 70 students to the National Art Museum and a few other galleries. I love the creative projects he has done with students such as painting murals and launching exhibits on campus. Nazir studied in Norway and shares my taste for eclectic music.  The permanent collection of paintings at the National Museum was a huge inspiration. World class artists with a variety of styles. Some even looked  African influenced.  I had never heard of these artists but am sure some of their work is in European museum collections.

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