Living alone eight thousand and thirty-two miles away from home is already tough, but in the middle of a pandemic, the homesickness kicks in a bit harder. As an immigrant in a new place, you go through an emotional transition. Things you always thought you hated about your home country become the things that you miss the most.
When I sit in the car and wait a little longer than usual at the traffic signals of Atlanta, my heart and ears miss the blaring honks of vehicles and the hustle and bustle in the traffic of Dhaka. I think about the sidewalks filled with hawkers and the walls with dispatched colorful posters. Old Bangla songs remind me of the good times I spent with my friends and family.
In the cold wind of Atlanta, while clutching the cardigan a little tighter around myself, I often close my eyes to feel the scorching heat of Dhaka, where I always complained about the humidity. For immigrants like myself, news portals that they never paid any heed to become their constant link to the happenings back home - the strings that hold them to their roots. The year-long mangoes in Walmart can't seem to satisfy their craving for the seasonal Langra and Amrapali mangoes of Karwan Bazar. They miss Crimson Cup and Star Kabab, while sitting at a Starbucks or a deshi restaurant. Their online shopping does not match the excitement of finding the right coloured cloth and lace at Chandni Chowk for their kameezes.
Living in Dhaka, I always dreamt of shifting to a new, more developed city. Now that I have moved to the US, I realise how special Dhaka is. I can connect to the lyrics of Chirkutt's Jadur Shohor, today.
Dhaka is truly the city of light and life. But you don't realise its true value until you are away from it. You can take the 'Dhakaiya' out of Dhaka, but you can never take Dhaka out of the 'Dhakaiya'!