The classick adventures of DS and Dr Gonjo

Posted in culture, music, society by mehomaan on January 23, 2012

This is part one of a series by Dhaka Shohor, who visited Desh recently.  Please direct comments appropriately.  — JR

These posts will contain inappropriate language, rampant racism/sexism/age-ism, random references to things good Bangladeshi boys and girls are not supposed to know about until one day they get married and magically become experts.  — DS

In other words, this is not family friendly, not politically correct, and is bound to offend someone. It might not even be accurate or honest in any way, which is its own crime.

Oh, and it’s long. Really long. Longer than an MP’s praises for the “greatest man in our history” and his daughter/wife.  It has been split into several parts.

Names have been altered to protect the identities of the participants because the events depicted herein do not do credit to any parties involved. Read on at your own risk.


It is December 31, 2011, and Dr Gonjo and I are walking through the jhaubon towards the beach. Beams of lights stream through the trees, sometimes carving out moving silhouettes of fellow travellers, sometimes illuminating the wafting smoke. Our noses twitch at the smell of tobacco mixed with other, contraband herbs.

Dr Gonjo sighs. Gone are the days when he was a ready source of roll-ups that Snoop Dogg would have preferred. He simply clutches the bottle inside his jacket closer to his chest.

DG: Bura hoiya gelam.

DS: Shetai. Amader oi din paar hoye gesey.

I myself haven’t indulged for years now. At one point, I thought this might strain my friendship with Dr Gonjo. But Gonjo’s a few good men rolled into one, and does not let trivialities like that stand in the way of a good time. He has acquired a bottle for me too.

DG: Eto manush hobe bhaabi nai.

We had come to Cox’s Bazar the day before with vague plans. We had come at my insistence, to help me preserve a record. The previous six (Gregorian! Ah ha, bollam to Gregorian!) new year’s eve had been spent in six different cities, across three continents. I wanted a seventh city for the seventh year.

Cox’s Bazar seemed just right. Not too far from Dhaka, where amidst the Idur Dour, I have a loving family. The ocean, the stars, the drinks, Dr Gonjo’s company and his guitar would make for an ideal new years’ celebration. That was as clear as the plan got.

Then my mother calls around 7 in the evening. There’s a concert on the beach, she says. It’s being shown live on Desh TV.

My mother is a lovely woman. She watches Bangladeshi channels, prays five times a day and never sees the devil inside Dr Gonjo. Or me. She would be mortified if she knew how I had spent this day over the past six years.

But she doesn’t.

Instead, she sanctioned my wanderlust in a conversation we had three years ago, making this Bangali momma’s boy feel less guilty for constantly running away from home.

I tell her I’ll go check out the concert and get back to my hotel room by 10:30. What I don’t tell her is that I will then help Dr Gonjo carry 3 bottles of coloured water back to the concert so we can toast the new (Gregorian) year at midnight.

Dr Gonjo interrupts my reverie as we find a place to stand. Souls is performing Nisshongota, easily the best song they have. A hundred thousand voices sing along to it, without being aware of the irony.

Maybe there is no irony. People sometimes feel more alone in large numbers.

DG: I hate crowds – but this isn’t as bad as I thought.

He lights up. Tobacco. I take out a Benson Light.

DS: It’s new year’s eve. Isn’t a crowd par for the course?

DG: Apni to bideshi babu. Apnar kachey to tai mone hobey. Apni to Times Square marka jinish prefer korbeni.

He’s joking of course. But I’m not going to let him get away with that.

DS: Ho. My love of crowds comes from my “Westoxification” *air quotes – a filthy habit* and not from having grown up in Dhaka…. And please. You know very well I’ve never been to New York.

Partho winds down and thanks the crowd. An hour to go before midnight. He starts another song I don’t recognise. (i.e., it’s not pothik, porichoy or chayer cup e). Ayub Bacchu is announced as the next act. I take another drag. I had quit cigarettes in 2011. But Dr Gonjo’s presence has had a Pavlovian effect on me.

DG: Dolchchut er ashar kotha na?

DS: Ha tai to shunsilam.

I answer him distractedly. Dolchut brings back memories of other places, very far from the ones Bappa Majumdar and Sanjeeb Chowdhury had sung about. It brings back memories of when I first listened to them, freezing my toes off amidst a snowy winter far up North. It brings back memories of awkwardness, and ultimately closure.

(To be continued…)

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9 Responses

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  1. Destination Bangladesh « Mukti said, on January 24, 2012 at 11:39 am

    […] Of course, that was addressed to diaspora kids (at heart, if not literally).  Dhaka Shohor’s adventures made me think about the subject again, with foreigners rather than Deshis in mind.  What would I […]

  2. tacit said, on January 24, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    Looking forward to the next installments with great interest. If anything, slightly disappointed after the NC-17 nature of the warnings. Hope you shall unleash your inner Hunter Thompson in greater detail hereafter.

    • DhakaShohor said, on January 26, 2012 at 10:55 pm

      I dunno about my inner HST, but I did unleash something. It felt really good to write out a lot of this stuff. The NC-17 warnings were made to scare off the uncles. Rampant age-ism right here.

  3. […] is part two of a series by Dhaka Shohor, who visited Desh recently.  Part one is here.  Please direct comments appropriately.  — […]

  4. […] Part One.  Part two. […]

  5. […] Part One.  Part two.  Part three. It is 2006 and I am lying next to a girl from Bombay. Let’s call her Kalpana. […]

  6. […] Part One. Part two. Part three.  Part four.  […]

  7. […] Part One. Part two. Part three. Part four.  Part five. […]

  8. […] Part One. Part two. Part three. Part four.  Part five.  Part six. After the fireworks are done, the music stops and the crowd slowly trek home in the dark. Dr Gonjo and I take a rickshaw to Kolatoli beach where the shops are still alight and the music is still playing loudly. We rent out wooden reclining chairs from boys half our age who never seem to leave the beach. […]

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