A S l i c e o f Li fe Anil Advani
A small slice of life from Dhaka, Bangladesh. The photos are from…. The Whole-sale Market at Karwan Bazar at early morning . Slushy and smelly. Buzzing with activity. The fish traders, buyers, helpers, hanger-ons, innocent bystanders, trucks, rickshaws, three-wheelers and the crowd… Fish, veggies, fruit, chicken, goats…. and probably some other items too. Vendors crushing fresh sugarcane and the sherbet-sellers doing brisk early morning business. ‘Paan’ (betel leaf) and cigarette vendors carrying trays of their wares slung from straps around their necks. The chicken butchers doing their job right there out on the street with blood, feathers and innards all over the place. A commonly used ‘by-pass’ or shortcut to the airport from the city, passes along the rail tracks where many old rusting rail wagons have been used as temporary housing by the homeless… and small ‘bastis’ or make-shift homes made from bamboo, plastic sheeting and thatch had sprung up years ago. The kids play along the tracks, and the adults bring back drinking water in discarded plastic bottles from nearby facilities. Local trains carrying commuters and villagers bring in farm produce to sell in the city markets….
People ride atop the trains, sometimes because there is no space inside, sometimes because its cooler on top, its free on top and because its just cool - for the kids - to be riding on top and running on the roof and jumping from coach to coach. The children wanted their photos taken. They kept poking their heads into the frame when I tried to photograph something else. Had to shoo them away. They’d come back. We decided to move on elsewhere. The kids wanted ‘some money please’. I said NO. They insisted. I asked them what they would do with the money, the youngest said he’d buy lolly-pops. The older girl almost whacked him over the head, and said no it was so they could buy some food. We gave them some money as we got into the car and I guess they went running off to the nearest shop for some candy. Then, another day. A wild goose chase to find the place where local Sarees are dyed in brilliant colors. Drove for hours looking for Sarees in brightly dyed colors being hung out to dry. I’ve seen these before too and the image in my minds-eye was clear. …rainbows of fabrics. We drove and drove… but there was no sign of any such place. Industrialization has wiped out or driven these local dyeing units further away…. who knows. or …maybe I just took the wrong back-road. We turned back, parked below the Jatrabari bridge on the Buriganga and walked to the top. Another slice of life here. Sand-boats being unloaded by laborers carrying the sand in wicker baskets, long-tailed house-boats, barges, vendors carrying aluminum pots and pans on a bamboo pole, a guy selling deer-skin, snake-skin, tortoise shell, horns, dried intestines, dried sinews, claws and teeth - for medicinal purposes and as aphrodisiacs with a crowd of curious onlookers [including some small kids!]… watched this from a high vantage point on the bridge, looking down at the going-ons. These images are just small bits of time. The real chunks need to be experienced, in large slices. BANGLADESH!
A Slice of Life All photos and contributions contained in this book are 2009 copyright ÂŠ Anil Advani. The author/photographer reserves all rights.
A slice of life
from Dhaka Bangladesh photographs Anil Advani