When I arrived here last September, things looked bleak...the skies were gray with monsoon clouds...the fields were full of water...the roads were wet...footpaths were muddy and slippery. The view from the Dhaka-Sylhet flight was almost monotonous - flooded agricultural fields, with a few trees jutting out here and there in stubborn defiance to the devastating climate. The few settlements visible on elevated grounds looked desolate and defeated from up above. I was grateful to the clouds that shut off this grim view for the greater half of the flight. The one bright view - one that is still vividly clear in memory - was the lush green tea plantations along the road from the airport to the city. It instantly elevated my mood as I looked forward to a seeing a beautiful land with scenic tea gardens, natural waterfalls, the slow meandering Surma river and abundant greenery. Unfortunately, I was at the right place
at the wrong time! Incessant drizzle, black umbrellas, muddy feet - even indoors, the walls seemed damp!
Picture above shows a town near Sylhet during these floods. Sylhetis was spared these hardships due to the location of the city on slightly higher elevation!
This was my welcome to a new country... a country that was one with mine till 1947
. As I discovered gradually over the next few weeks, the language was similar, habits were similar, the people looked similar, yet it was all so different! This was foreign land!