Kids, in the Bangladeshi Summer of 2014, I was in Bangladesh. Why I had gone there, you ask? I needed some time off from New York following the wedding of two of my best friends, to each other. I'd move to Chicago, but I needed to be far away. I figured half -way across the globe would be far enough. But rather than walking 500 miles and then 500 more, I caught a flight that took me 7700 miles away, to Dhaka.
I wasn't disappointed. It was a land of great beauty, with a proud, architectural heritage. The capital city, however, had an increasing number of skyscrapers, some really good, others not so much. But it was there that I encountered the lovely cultural celebrations of the Bengali New Year, referred to as 'Noboborsho' or 'Pahela Baishakh'. A fourth year architecture student, who was my travel guide as well, woke me up really early in the morning on April 14. The first thought in my mind was that it was two months since Valentine's Day, and I still hadn't found “the one”. But oh well. He handed me the traditional Bangladeshi attire -- a red panjabi and white PJs. Once dressed, we set off towards the Dhaka University area where all the festivities were.
There was a huge procession of eager students of Charukala, with banners and traditional mask-like artworks. The entire procession was brimming with colours, and I stood with my guide on one side of the road and observed it, taking in the beauty of the culture in this part of the world. During the procession, I caught sight of a woman wearing a white and red sari, carrying a yellow umbrella. Sadly, I couldn't see her face amidst the sea of people.
I felt a tugging on my right panjabi pocket, but before I had time to react, the tugging was gone. I reached into the pocket to discover that my cell phone had been stolen. I informed my companion about it, and he seemed extremely embarrassed. To cheer him up, I said, “As a kid I was a bit of a detective, so the Mosby Boys can solve this mystery. If the tugging was on my right pocket from the back, then it means the thief was right behind me, and…”
“Don't bother, sir. You'll never find it,” the guide said, cutting down my enthusiasm.
From there we went to Ramna to attend the biggest cultural programme and traditional 'Borsho Boron' festivities. We forced our way through to the front and sat on the grass. There, we sat listening to the live performances. The lyrics were out of my comprehension, but the melody seemed jovial, as if welcoming the New Year with arms wide open. My guide even bought me the traditional meal of watered down rice with fried fish. It was pretty spicy. I still would've finished it up but a fish bone got stuck in my throat, rendering me unable to eat or breathe.
A while later, a lady came and sat not so far from me. I wouldn't care less, but she was carrying a yellow umbrella. It then occurred to me, could it be that this was the same woman from the procession? I needed to talk to her but your Uncle Barney wasn't there to help me out. Picking up some courage, I walked up to her and struck up a conversation. Turned out we had everything in common, except the passports. But I guess it was destiny that I flew all the miles across the globe to come to a land so far away, where I met a traditional Bangladeshi woman.
And that, kids, is how I met your mother.