I must admit though, that I am beginning to feel that my airport check-ins, Instagram pictures, and continuous uploading of photos on Facebook while journeying, are becoming rather cliché.
Nonetheless, travel is exciting, and I have felt positively euphoric in certain places. Sadly, the elation begins to fade once I return home, and after a few days, the spectacular scenery, religious monuments, archaeological sites, and celebrity homes, become a blur.
I have to keep looking through my photos to remind myself of all that I saw or experienced. And as I do that, certain questions arise in my mind.
Why don’t I travel around Bangladesh?
When I visit Dhaka, I never seem to get beyond certain areas of the city. And I cannot blame the traffic. Where there is a will, there is a way. The will seems to be to dress up, visit as many friends and relations as possible, eat fuchka, and catch up on the gossip, and most importantly buy material to give to the tailor(s).
No trip to Dhaka is complete without a few visits to the dorji, and no trip to Dhaka is successful without lamentations of the dorji ruining the sari blouses. However, there is much more to Bangladesh than Dhaka and dorjis, and dawats, but I have yet to explore.
Why did I move to the UK?
This question haunts me. There has been migration for over a million years; people have moved voluntarily and been moved involuntarily all across the globe. So I am no exception. However, there are also people who do not give up their homelands, no matter how dire their circumstances are.
They remain because they espouse the “this too shall pass” philosophy, or they are too deeply rooted where they are, or they are courageous enough to accept their circumstances and adapt. In occupied territories or war zones, many choose fight over flight.
In my travels I have met families who have lived in villages and towns for generations, through war, famine, disease, political turmoil, and what not. I cannot help but have the deepest respect for them.
And I cannot help but feel a twinge of envy at how seamlessly one generation morphs into another, when I think of the chasms between my parents and myself, and my daughters and myself, on account of the fact that our lives have been comparatively very different due to my moving to the UK.
I wonder too about the “better life” that people seek when they migrate; better for whom, in what way, and for how long? What does “better” even mean? Isn’t it a relative term?
What is better for some may not be better for others. There may be palpable or visible advantages or benefits of moving to another country, but there are tremendous forfeitures too, some that are too painful to articulate, as I have learned through counseling.
Why isn’t History compulsory?
History is in the hands of tour guides who add, subtract, embellish, discount, and alter historical facts and figures, as they please. They are useful, but I am rather skeptical of them being a source of knowledge.
If History was compulsory along with Mathematics and English, we might have a more accurate picture of the past, and appreciate its significance in the present. We might “better” understand ourselves vis-à-vis other societies and cultures.
Why are there pyramids in so many places?
I am fascinated by how many societies built pyramid structures hundreds of years ago, especially when there was little or no communication between them, or maybe there was, or maybe the idea of building pyramids was disseminated through migration.
What will we eat a hundred years later?
Being a foodie, I love to try new tastes and flavours. As I travel, I learn about food in other cultures, and about how cuisines change with migration, colonization, trade routes, religion, technology, and climate.
And I wonder what our food production and eating patterns will be in the future. One prediction is that we will be eating more insects as they are a source of protein. The thought of it makes me cringe. Luckily I will not be around a hundred years later!
And I am struck by a thought…What will we serve at weddings a hundred years later?? Grasshopper biriyani?? Yikes!
Chintamoni grew up in Dhaka, where she will always belong, but never quite fit in. She is an enthusiastic traveller, a compulsive procrastinator, and a contumelious raconteur.