The classick adventures of DS and Dr Gonjo 4
This is part four 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
She insists I call it Bombay.
Though we are destined to part two years later under circumstances that could make a Bollywood script look tame, at that moment in time I am infatuated by her infinite variety. Chikna does not know about her, even though they live in the same building.
We never talk politics, partly because she is more interested in current fashion than past events, but mostly because she has heard me rant about Indo-Bangladesh relations. Including border killings.
She’s three-quarters Punjabi, a quarter Sindhi. I’m Bangali. We never talk about Partition.
She’s Hindu. I’m Muslim. She makes me pasta for sehri during Ramadan. We never talk religion either.
In our three years together, she never asks me about my family’s circumstance. That they may live in Azimpur or Farmgate or Banani means nothing to her.
She calls me during the summer from Bombay, when I’m in my bed in Dhaka, and tells me that she’s coming home in a cab at 3 in the morning with her girlfriends.
I smile and marvel.
In the end what splits us is none of these things we are silent about. What split us are our own weaknesses, our own shortcomings that have nothing to do with identity, with labels, with class.
It is the most bullshit-free relationship I had been in till then.
She gets up. She’s going to the movies.
DS: What are you going to watch?
K: Some Bollywood movie all my friends want to watch. I don’t remember the name.
I had assumed it would be Hollywood.
K: Does Bangladesh make movies?
DS: Yeah we have a movie industry that makes some stuff….
K: I guess they’re not released here huh? Not enough Bangladeshis.
She’s doing her make up.
DS: Not the kind that would go to watch the popular movies.
K: What do you mean?
What did I mean?
I honestly don’t know. She and her Indian friends don’t mind going to watch a movie in their language, from their own country. They too went to English-medium schools there, even ones run by missionaries. They do it without irony, which none of my EMS friends can do. The only time they enter a movie theatre to watch a mainstream Bangla movie would be to mock it for its poor quality.
What is it about the Indians?
Their middle classes, unlike ours or Pakistan’s, don’t feel the stigma of being themselves, of consuming their own products.
DS: I don’t know. It’s just not something we’d do.