Frustrations, Hartals and a Wedding

I’m sat on my own in a guest house in Dhaka feeling pretty miserable to be honest.

It’s been a hard July so far. Writing for JulNoWriMo has been all but impossible and I’m way behind on the writing. That said, the plotline for my main novel has developed quite nicely so there’s still life in the old girl yet – I just think she won’t make it to 50k by the end of the month!

One of the reasons for not getting so much written was (and still is) three MA essays that refuse to get written. Two are in their final stages but my tutor has given them a once-over and trashed them, quite honestly. There will come a point where they will just have to do – I’ve spent hours on them over the last 10 days and I can’t afford any more time on them.

Then there were personal reasons for not getting much written which I can’t go into here but I will say it has been an emotional month for our family. I think we’re all feeling the strain of knowing we only have a five months left in Bangladesh and time is running out for us. Each of us in my family feel that strain in different ways. During July, with both kids at home, those differences have been grating against each other…

But there was a bright spot!

A reporter friend invited me to her wedding in Rangamati on the 18th. It’s one of my crazier ideas to accept the invite. I’ve never been to that part of Bangladesh before and I am going alone with no one to guide me and potentially having to make more use of my Bangla than my Bangla is really capable of managing. I don’t know this friend very well but the ADHD in me jumped at the chance and said “yes please” before Wifey could say a word! I terrified about going – but also very excited too.

Except now that I’m down in Dhaka ready to take the bus tomorrow morning, it isn’t going to go. Nothing is.

This is because the country is, yet again, in the grip of hartals. This time it is because the Tribunal have been announcing the verdicts of several Jamaat e Islami members held for war crimes during 1971. Tomorrow the verdict for Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed will be announced and the Jamaat have already called a hartal in anticipation of a bad result. If he gets the death penalty then they have threatened to make the hartal two days long.

And then no buses will run and I can’t go to the wedding.

For me, that’s the biggest frustration of all. My friend is from the Chakma tribe and I don’t know many people from this old and noble adibhashi group. I was looking forward to learning lots about the people and their customs.

There’s still some slight sliver of hope that the buses will run – but if they do they’ll go at night which means a horrible night of failing to sleep in an upright chair. Still, at least it will get me there. IF the buses run.

July has been a dreadful month – I’ll be glad to see the back of it…

About D K Powell

British freelance journalist, author, writer, editor, musician, educational consultant. I lived with Wifey, Thing I (daughter) & Thing II (son) in Bangladesh for 5-6 years working for an NGO called LAMB. Wifey led the Hospital Rehab department and I used to teach O levels at the school before going full-time as a freelance writer in 2013. Now we're back in the UK learning how to be British again. When not writing or editing, I'm busy trying to complete a Masters degree in Intercultural relations in Asian Contexts and reading way too many books at once. I also drink tea - lots of it.
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4 Responses to Frustrations, Hartals and a Wedding

  1. Norah says:

    I’ve heard Rangamati is quite beautiful. I hope you manage to get there and get there safely!

    Like

  2. wanderfool says:

    Gosh, I kind of understand your frustration at these hartaals. On this side of the border, hartaals or “bandh”s as they are more often called, are often touted to be the reason behind the poor progress of West Bengal as compared to the rest of the nation. While I loved them as a kid (nothing like a surprise holiday!), as an adult it can mean a whole lot of frustrations and a grinding halt to the economy.
    Did you finally make it to the wedding though? I do hope so!

    Like

    • They get called ‘bandhs’ here too but hartal is the preferred word I think. Yes, they are certainly killing progress, trade, economy – everything – in Bangladesh right now. It’s such a silly situation and would be laughable if it wasn’t for the fact that people inevitably die every time they have one. I’ll let you know if I make it to the wedding – I intend to take pictures so I’m sure there’ll be a blog on it!

      Like

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