March 13, 2004


I made a short trip to Chittagong yesterday with a group of people. We took the train in the morning to reach Chittagong. I like train journey because of its consistent pace and the continuous sound of the train moving over the joints of rail tracks. We started 20 minutes late. The first half an hour was depressing with the stenches and sites of slums of the city (thanks to the poor maintenance of the train, station, and the tracks by the Bangladesh Railway). It was like exposing your rotten infections and we were cursing our very existence. When we have gone past the outskirts of the city, things were looking brighter. The stenches were gone with cool breeze blowing and the sun signing like it wanting to burn all the darkness and shortcomings around you and your hope for a brighter living comes back right to you.

If you want to enjoy the beauty of Bangladesh, you have to go out of the cities. First of all most of it is plain land. The level is a little bit lower than the highways or the rail tracks (They are built that way to be safe from flood). The lands are mostly agricultural with cluster of houses or outlines of villages amidst them. One notable thing is that the lands are divided with mud borders (called "Eil"). You seldom see a long stretch of land. Because of the ever increasing population, lands are being being divided into small pieces to the inheritors. However this makes the whole seen more picturesque. You can see IRI's (a rice) and other crops growing happily, side-by-side. Because of the various colors of the crops, some by a shade of difference, the whole landscape looks like a vibrant canvass of Matisse. And the aerial view should be something magnificent. The cluster of houses among these vast plains should look like big dots among the cris-crosses of the eiles.

We had a nice time together, some were playing cards, some were gossiping aloud and some just dipping their thoughts in the newspaper/magazine columns. Foods were literally flowing among us. It started with the joke of whether one should put the Jelly or butter first in the bread we took. Then there were: eggs, nuns, chicken dopiaza, tea, boroi, shosha, carrots, oranges, bisquits, bananas and a few items more. We literally ate all the way to Chittagong.

After seven hours of a pleasent journey we reached Chittagong.


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