After four years in Mumbai (my husband completed 5 in July), we are moving again. We knew we would eventually move out, but we had no idea when and where. We’ve been waiting to know what’s next. Finally, we now have a date and a place and we’re excited. Fortunately, my husband and I love change; we are pretty much nomads. We often joke about how when we can’t move jobs, we move homes and when we can’t move homes, we move countries. It’s not how we planned our lives, but, that’s kind of how it’s been for us since we tied the knot and honestly, none of us is complaining.
After waiting for over a year (because that’s when my husband started getting pins and needles), the cat’s finally out of the bag. We now know that we will be moving to Bangladesh and it will be one and a half months from now. That quick! I have my hands full with sorting out and settling stuff – it’s amazing how much junk you can collect in 4 years!
Despite all the busyness around me, I had to write a quick post to tell you about the move- all of you who’ve been waiting like me to know where next. When we got to know we are moving to Bangladesh, we danced with delight- it’s funny how excited we were. One would think we were moving to Sweden or some other country that was flourishing. Based on the little knowledge we had of the country (as per all the indexes used to measure poverty) we were aware that it ranked lower than India in most areas and yet we were happy (maybe we are crazy). I have been doing some reading and now know that the Bangladesh economy apparently is growing at a faster pace than India. That ofcourse, says nothing of the living standards there.
Historically, Bangladesh was a part of India, it was separated during the partition – Bangladesh was East Pakistan, until 1971 when it declared independence from Pakistan and became its own country, so I suppose it’s not going to be very much different from India (at least that’s what I think). Another thing I know about the country is that flooding is a common phenomenon-with around 240 rivers crisscrossing it, a major part of it is underwater than above and the population lives in the areas above water leaving the city densely populated. Lastly and probably the worst thing I knew, was the terrorist attack of 2016. I’m aware terrorist attacks have happened across the globe, even in Mumbai but it’s different when you have some link to a victim of the attack. One of the people who were killed was a young girl whose photograph I’d seen a few months prior to the attack – I vividly remember her because she was with a friend’s daughter and they were dressed for prom- it was a group photograph of four girls and she looked gorgeous in a strapless, red shimmering gown. She was killed because she refused to leave her friends behind.
I’ve been talking to friends who’ve been there and done that, so I have a fairly good idea of what to expect. And they’ve told me to keep my expectations low. And yet, in the very same breath, they’ve said they love the country very much. I’m not sure if I understand why but that’s something I’ll probably find out once I go there. I’ll get to know if it is the country they fell in love with or life as an expatriate. Because everybody knows, when one goes as an expatriate to a country, especially one that is an emerging market, you’re treated like royalty.
My conversations on the country thus far, have led to some very shocking revelations – a) there are malls there but they only sell local brands. All foreign brands with a ‘Made in Bangladesh’ tag are exported. So, there’s not going to be any shopping there. b) Amazon does not exist in the country. The first that crossed my mind was how am I going to order books as and when I want. Thank God, for Kindle! c) There are just three places you can go sightseeing in the country. Most people travel either to North-east India or South-East Asia every three or four months for a break. This sounded exciting to the travel bug in me. d)Since, there’s nothing to do there, people socialize. In fact, you have to socialize- it is the only way to keep depression at bay. This poses a challenge as ‘Socializing’ has never been my thing. Let’s see how that goes for me. I suppose I’ll have to trust art and blogging to be my lifesavers there.
I’m looking at the move as an opportunity to travel to a new destination and to understand the culture and life of people in another country – it will give me something to write about :)). I’m not overthinking the move – God’s opened a door and I’m walking straight in, in full faith, with no knowledge of what lies beyond it but with the hope that it will all be good. So, if anybody is asking, “Are you happy?” my answer is, “Yes, I am happy.”
Stay with me as you have until now. I will keep writing, even as I’m packing and moving and doing whatever I’m doing because I love that you’ll care. Thanks to all of you who read and write back, I know I’ll not be alone even when I literally may be, as my younger one will soon be on her way to Uni too. I’m signing off for now. Wishing all of you a lovely weekend!