continuing from part 1
my scenic Bangladesh
yes, the bus ride to kushtia is grueling and tiring, but no way near boring. in a country of poets and music-lovers, you can well expect to find a good number of them in a group of sixty. throughout the ride, we are showered with live in-house entertainment of songs, poem recitations (including self composed), and jokes among many others. we have a historian on board, so we are even lucky enough to have lectures briefing us on the historical heritage of every area we are passing through. this includes the famous 'chalan bil', the largest wetland of the country, which cover 368 sqkm continuous sheet of water in the rainy season. other notable points of interest on the way are the jamuna bridge and the picturesque natore countryside, home to the famous banalata sen of poet Jibonanda Das.
laloner majar and robindronather kutibari
lalon's majar (tomb) is on the way to our lunch-place, so we decide to drop in. baul is a type of traditional folk music with a spiritual touch, and lalon to baul is as elvis presley to pop. the place is not just a simple tomb as the name suggest, rather i find there a huge complex housing a music (baul) school, an impressive auditorium, and home to well decorated graves of many of his companions and followers, including his wife. there are also many souvenir shops outside selling all sorts of stuffs (including pipes for smoking pot - which often goes hand in hand with baul music). a local proverb says 'even sweet words sound bitter when the stomach is empty'. so i am not too sad spending merely 15 minutes at a place like this, where otherwise i would probably laze a whole evening away.
our last point of interest in kushtia is tagore's kutibari (resthouse) in the banks of river padma. the resthouse itself is now a mini bungalow-turned-into a very poorly maintained museum. yet it surely is the biggest attraction of kushtia, as i see hundreds of tourist and picnic-goers hanging around. people are gathered here and there in groups and i find last breath of smoke from make-shift stoves and maids lazily cleaning dishes. there are even a few small cottages up for rent around the place. with a tight schedule to meet, we are brisked away back into the bus before we get to absorb the air and dissolve ourselves into the atmosphere. but then something is always better than nothing.
this is the end of the study tour, but two other friends, myself and a stranger decide to spend the next two days exploring dinajpur in northern part of bangladesh. we bid farewell to the rest and separate ways at nine pm, which is dead night for this remote part of highway from where we are to catch the next bus.
[to be continued]