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Dhaka Tribune

A place to cry: Desh and bidesh

Update : 19 Apr 2018, 07:10 PM
My beloved Dhaka is like that old mate who even with its quirkiest habits and unflattering innuendos is just that ubiquitous part of your life. It knows all your secrets, all your woes, and doesn’t make a fuss about it. And, that is where the problem lies— it does not come forward to give you a shoulder. Sure, our city lacks in several areas, and is often touted as an infrastructural failure, incapable of housing the urban; its residents far too caught up in the mess of their own making; but there is one area where it fails ever so resoundingly— a place where you can just vent it all out; a place to cry. Life in this metro is not easy. We, the urbanites, grow up within the safety net of our families. But with this net come the concrete walls as well. Can you remember the last time you have freely cried? You cannot do it at your home, lest your family overhears. It is almost like we need preparation to cry- turn the music up in the roomor pump up the shower speed; rub your bloodshot eyes till they burn. Nobody must see or hear you cry. So, where do we go to let those floodgates open? Could any quiet café offer some respite? Oh wait! Can you really spend some solitary time there indulging in your melancholia without drawing some unwanted attention to yourself? My experience says no. How about a park? Somewhere open - perhaps by a lake or river? Where to find one good enough place to let a lone soul rest for a while without being hassled by street vendors or some shady folk? Safety concerns have always been major for girls in a city that has been largely unforgiving towards them. But in this subject of crying, men are also not excused as they are subjected to the deplorable social stigma that assigns an inverse relationship between masculinity and display of emotions.
Being able to discharge emotions is integral to one’s mental health. Absence of outlets to release stress and grief result in us internalizing those feelings which wear us down further
On the other side lies the alluring bidesh. People talk about the lack of traffic jam and pollution, great urban-life facilities, and most importantly the receipt of unparalleled freedom when jotting down the perks of living in the mod cities. With this freedom-package of being able to exercise more agency over our own lives comes this inconspicuous luxury as well— the freedom to cry our hearts out; a place where we can be sad. Surely, leaving the sheltered existence with our family behind has its own pull-downs. You will find your mind more volatile than ever, and your mood at its erratic best. But here’s what you can do in these foreign terrains— enjoy a solitary getaway. There exists ample scope to release the tension be it sitting alone in a café with a hot cuppa while gazing at the city in drizzles, or a walk along the lake in a park to reflect on your choices, or their lack thereof; or just going for a walk even on a busy street where you don’t have to be overly wary of those cascading tearlets. Being able to discharge emotions is integral to one’s mental health. Absence of outlets to release stress and grief result in us internalizing those feelings which wear us down further. These outlets are but spaces- both literal and figurative. Unfortunately, there is a major dearth of both by large in this fast-paced city of ours, be it within or beyond the walls. Somewhere this city itself is crying for some room to breathe; how will it possibly offer any to its residents? But a place is what people make it to be. Hence, the problem is not as much the construct of the city itself as it is that of our lives and the society settled in this domain. Perhaps out of our own desperation when it becomes too difficult to hold in, we will try to figure a way out and wide enough to house the crying souls; and we will no longer be afraid or ashamed to cry some.
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