The big picture: Aerial views of Dhaka

Ablaze! What are we celebrating tonight? New Year’s Eve? Sakraine? Who cares? It doesn’t matter. As long as we get to meet at the rooftop, put those sound boxes and loudspeakers to good use, and set the sky on fire! Photo: Nakib Shah Alam

We are grounded in reality. But sometimes, one needs to take a bird's-eye view to gain perspective and see the bigger picture. Case in point: these stunning aerial shots of our city will welcome you to see Dhaka in a new light, and hopefully, make you fall in love with the city all over again. On a separate note, see how many locations featured in the photos you can identify — for a seasoned Dhakaiite, it should be a piece of cake. So, here goes a challenge as well!


Captions and text: M H Haider

Special thanks to Nakib Shah Alam, Saad Abdullah, and Meer Sadi for allowing us to use their photographs.


Welcome to our city

Like many great cities and civilisations of the world, Dhaka too grew up alongside a river. And from those olden times till today, many a man has moored here, to try their luck in pursuit of fortune or fame.

For them, when seeing it from a distance, Dhaka is a lure offering numerous promises — of education and livelihood and so on. Temptations hard to say no to.

Does Dhaka keep those promises, though? Well, that, you will have to find out for yourself, sometimes the hard way.

But for now, welcome to Dhaka!

Photo: Nakib Shah Alam

Cricket crazy

Lights on! Groundsmen, off the field. The arena is all set. The stadium becomes the centre stage of a whole city.

Outside, there is anticipation. A city — nay, the whole country — glues its eyes on the field, hungry for a win.

Can we make history tonight?

Photo: Nakib Shah Alam

The Fort!

The Fort maintains an uneasy calm; the type of calm that may befall upon a troop when it has been subjugated.

The heartless modern concrete jungle is so big that it stretches to the horizon. It has already conquered numerous old edifices.

Meanwhile, the Fort still manages to hold its ground — basking in antiquity and grandeur — but it does so with a hint of awkwardness as it is being surrounded by the uncontrollable swarm of buildings.

Photo: Saad Abdullah

Mad rush 

We are on a race. We are in a rush.

What are we racing and rushing for? Better jobs? Better pay? To fly high and rise above our peers? We don't know, exactly. But that's all right: desires are infinite and never-ending anyway.

All we know is that we have to rush. Get from Point A to Point B ASAP — in terms of destinations, career, and life at large.

But the traffic and many other issues that face our overburdened metropolis are slowing us down.

Can Dhaka keep up, please? 

Photo: Meer Sadi


Let's pause for a while. It's official: the virus has hit Dhaka. Our city is under lockdown at least until we figure things out; don't let cases surge, you know? 

Let's pause. Don't panic seeing this very familiar and excruciatingly busy, noisy junction all eerily empty. It looks surreal!

Pause. Stay indoors, give time to your family, and be thankful for all those things you always took for granted. Get used to the 'new normal.' Yes, there is a lot of uncertainty right now. It can be overwhelming!

But one day, Dhaka will heal, I promise.

Photo: Saad Abdullah

Urban chic

How do we engineer a modern metropolis? Not an easy feat by any means...

We need a vision. And an ambitious one at that. 

When finished, it will make us proud!

Or perhaps, Dhaka shall forever remain a work-in-progress. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, as long as we keep adding and building mindfully, smartly and stylishly — one bridge and one project at a time!

Photo: Meer Sadi

Locations: Buriganga river and Sadarghat; Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium; Lalbagh Fort; Dhanmondi Lake (Rabindra Sarobar); Shapla Chattar; Gulshan-2 Circle; Mirpur-1 (Ansar Camp area); Hatirjheel.

I'll meet you there

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there." — Rumi

The vast expanse of the lake and greenery is a breath of relief for a city that is choking with pollution. It is also a sigh of relief for me as well, choked with work, bills, and other burdens.

So, let's meet there? I want to lose myself for a couple of hours and clear my head. 

Perhaps there's a concert or performance going on today? Let's enjoy that. If not, we'll simply sit on the steps of this theatre under the open sky, with warm cups of tea in our hands.

And we'll chat and laugh, like we used to in the old good days — without judging or any pretence, whatsoever. 

Photo: Meer Sadi