One Thing I Do Not Like About Living in Dhaka

I was born and raised in Bangladesh. I have been living there for 19 years until I moved to the United States of America to attend university, although I do come back during winter and summer vacations. Whilst growing up, I saw many changes taking place in Dhaka, and… they were mostly for the worse, in my opinion.

For those of you who know me on a personal level, you would always hear me complain about my dislikes of Dhaka whenever you’re around me. One thing which I especially dislike about living in Dhaka is the changed attitudes of the people around me.

I do not like how so many people back home waste a lot of time and energy towards other people. Whether they gossip or backbite about them, or simply show them up by boasting about all their material gains and academic achievements, they just can’t seem to stop themselves from leaving that which does not concern them. Simply put, people back in Dhaka don’t seem to understand the phrase “Mind your own business”. A lot of people won’t leave you alone and they would even talk about the most minute of things about you behind your back. They’d do almost anything to put themselves above other people, and no, I’m not even kidding.

I’ll give you an example. A lot of weddings that take place in Dhaka are super extravagant and grande to the extent where it’s almost as if you’re living in a fairy tale. The huge crowd of people attending your wedding, the insane amount of money being spent on the various wedding programs (Bengali weddings are not just limited to the typical engagement and wedding nights), many people wearing the most lavish clothes and jewelry, and etc. Although the surroundings are beautiful and these events are a great opportunity for you to meet new people and make friends, they can also be very chaotic and unsettling at the same time. I feel as if this is one of the ways in which people back home try to prove themselves as being “worthy” of society. If you don’t host a massive wedding for your children, you’d have to start expecting others talk filth behind your back and make such unnecessary comments such as “Did you know? So-and-so didn’t have a hold. What sort of a wedding did they throw? They must not have had a lot of money”. Whatever comment others make about you, it’s as if they know everything about you whereas you don’t know yourself completely. Showing off, arrogance, materialism, narrow-mindedness, inconsideration towards others… these have unfortunately become the outcome for a lot of us as Dhaka’s becoming more developed.

It’s not just limited to weddings. People will also comment on your education, your familial and financial backgrounds, the friends you hang out with and the wealth you possess. I feel as if a lot of people lost an understanding of what it means to truly be content with life and having a sense of self-respect. Since a lot of people are keeping themselves busy with impressing others with what they (or their families) have, they seem to be cut off from reality more and more. They probably don’t know much about being charitable, living a simple and humble life, being good to everyone (regardless of gender, class and financial background), and prioritizing the things that truly matter in one’s life. Instead of using their wealth to show off, they could build a new school for underprivileged children or even a new hospital.