Dhaka: Day one and counting
There are too many people in Dhaka. So many that it's choking the city. However, every person here is here for a reason.
The capital is full of opportunities and people from all over the country gather here for their own. For most, the first day in Dhaka remains vivid in their memories.
Dhaka can be scary for newcomers, as it's not the friendliest city for them. Add to that is the constant commotion here and there.
My first visit to Dhaka happens to be one of my oldest memories – I was 11.
As I got off the bus at Gabtoli, there were too many vehicles, too many people, and too much noise. I remember holding on to my bags with both hands in fear of losing them.
When I later moved to the city, I remember getting lost on a regular basis as the alleys would confuse me. They all looked the same.
Trying to take shortcuts was out of the question because I just ended up walking in circles. Even the highways were confusing to me.
On my first week in Dhaka, I remember being in Shahbag one day and needed to get to Kamalapur.
I boarded a bus which had a sticker saying "Kamalapur", thinking this is the one I had to take to get there. However, when the conductor came to collect the fare, I learned the bus was in fact coming from Kamalapur and not the other way around.
Another fact that newcomers in Dhaka learn quick about the city is that it isn't for the faintest of hearts.
People here are busy and don't have time to be nice. As a result, the city appears to be quite hostile when you first arrive.
For example, if you are trying to find a particular shop on the street and your pace is slower than those around you, people will bump into you with quite the force and will not bat an eyelash for having done so.
But the funny thing about Dhaka is — the more nervous you are, the more you will suffer. If you put on a bold face, Dhaka embraces you as its own.
Even when you have adapted to this hostile city, it's still a challenge to get through the days. For some reason, Dhaka brings stress to everyone who dares step into it. One can feel the pangs of the stress from their first day in Dhaka and the feeling doesn't go away.
Whether you ask any of your friends or manage to realise it yourself; Dhaka is constantly straining people.
From my first moment off that bus, till this very moment, I can feel that constant pressure and no matter what I do, the feeling lingers.
The overly crowded streets, the loud noise, the tall buildings and the overall unfamiliar setting; all of this combine together to induce anxiety, especially for the newcomers.
Of course, everyone has different experiences with this concrete jungle.
There are thousands of people in this very city who came here with nothing more than the transportation cost in their pockets. Now, they are thriving thanks to the bustling and rushing nature of Dhaka.
Surprisingly, even though the city is chided more often than not, people end up forming a bond with it – one that you learn to cherish only when you are leaving.