I haven’t written Dhaka diaries in what feels like forever, but what really is just 3 months. The last time I wrote was on February 9th. February 14th was when the girls left for University, and I got busy with my book, which was released on 24th March, and then I got busy promoting it. Most of the promotion has been through social media as I’m here, and everybody I know isn’t.
Thank God for social media. I’m not sure how I would have given my book wings without it. ‘Coming Home’ that’s the name of my debut novel. It’s reached countries I wish to travel to and entered homes I have never visited. And that is the beauty of a book. It can open doors and hearts. The hurdle is getting those who’ve read the book to write reviews (some are too shy to write one, lack the confidence, or accord the least priority to writing a review). I understand that if one is not a writer or a reader, writing a review may be the last thing on one’s mind. That being said, I am grateful to those who’ve taken the trouble to share what they thought of the book with the world. In a month and a half, I have received 30 reviews of the book, and it feels good to see people like the story.
Anyway, this post isn’t about my book. This post is about doors (I’m taking part in Thursday Doors challenge, which is hosted by Dan) and how it’s important to have the courage to walk in through unknown doors because you never know what lies ahead. Dhaka was one such door that I walked into 8 months ago. That’s three-quarters of a year, and the last quarter was without both of my girls.
Of these 8 months, I have spent a month and a half travelling outside Dhaka. We’ve travelled outside the country 5 times, and if truth be told, maybe that’s how I survived. I remember how I felt after travelling to India for the first time from Dhaka. Just the realization that we were so close to India was enough to make my stay in Dhaka more palatable.
I realize that’s how people survive in this country, not just the expatriates but anybody who can afford to travel. Most Bangladeshis travel to India for shopping or short holidays as it’s just a half-hour flight away. N.E. India and S.E. Asia are also popular destinations. Visiting Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Malaysia is easier from Dhaka than it is from India, and the fares are cheaper.
The other reason people travel outside is that Dhaka does not offer much in terms of tourism or other forms of entertainment. There are parks for your everyday walks and clubs for expatriates and locals. But that’s about it. The few places that are worth seeing need to be traversed by roads spilling with traffic and no restrooms on the way. So, going around gets tough.
Between the last time I wrote and today, seasons have changed. We moved from cold winter to spring. Only it felt like summer. But the good thing that came out of it is that we could stop using mosquito nets on our beds by mid-March. After sleeping inside nets since October, it was liberating not having to unzip a mosquito net, crouch in through it and zip it quickly before a mosquito follows.
Summer officially started in April, and it was terribly hot due to a heat wave. Apparently, it rains in May, but this year as per those who’ve been living here, there hasn’t been much rainfall. On the few occasions that it rained, it rained hard, but only for a short while. There was more noise than action. The skies rumbled on, and the wind blew fiercely, making the rainfall at a slant. This ensured that our windows (on the side the wind was blowing) got cleaned, which was a good thing as there was no way to get to the glass through the grills.
The sun and the showers made the flowers bloom on my balcony, making the house feel like home now. That, and the walls- I’ve managed to put up frames, planks, and paintings on each wall without cluttering it. There are no more blank walls giving me a menacing stare.
We went for a walk in the park on the days it rained because the temperatures fell just before it rained and after, too. The trees in the park were laden with jackfruit. Plump fruits hung from branches, some so low that you could pluck them with bare hands. I love jackfruit, so I can’t help eyeing it every time I walk. It’s not on the market yet. They say it’ll take another 15 days.
The stone path is stained purple. Smashed berries lay fallen like wounded soldiers. The coconut vendor outside the park told me that the berries were smaller this time because of the shortage of rainfall.
I end this rambling with this picture I clicked on the morning after the rains.
My debut novel, ‘Coming Home’ is now available on Amazon. If you like to read a story about loss, relationships, love and destiny set in India, then this book is for you.
For the Kindle and paperback edition of the book, please click here. The book is available in most countries.
You can get your copy of the paperback edition in India by clicking here.
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