Today was our last day in Dhaka and it was also as eventful as the rest!
We had met a very interesting couple at the festival. He is Indian, she is Bangladeshi. He is an editor cum musician (sarod player, amongst other things) cum martial artist (not just a student of it, but a martial art instructor) with a degree in Hindi and Music. She is a financial analyst/economist turned make-up artist. You see what I mean by interesting? They met in London and now are in Dhaka for a while. They had been coming for pretty much every day of the festival and we met the guy when he came for Mausams. The wife's uncle and brother in law were both amongst the best and most renowned amongst Bangladeshi directors and both her and her husband had a keen interest and good taste in films.
We got quite a few chances to catch up with them at the festival and they had kindly offered to take us out for lunch today, given that our flight is only at 10pm at night and we had a fair bit of time to kill before that.
So they picked us up at around and 12:30pm and we made our way to an Italian restaurant which was at a fair distance from our hotel.
On the way we saw the prettier and non crowded parts of Dhaka - including the Parliament House, Dhaka Air Force camps, etc.
The food at the Italian restaurant was pretty good.... pretty much everything we've eaten in Dhaka seems to be yummy!
Over lunch, which lasted for about 2-3 hours, we had another marathon chatting session, which I enjoyed thoroughly!
Post lunch, they dropped us back to our hotel. We said our goodbyes and then it was time to take off for Singapore.
We waited for our airport pick up, but as luck would have it, our pick up car from the festival got stuck in some immense traffic somewhere and we had to resort to taking a really shady, rickety taxi at the very last minute to rush to the airport. After a journey of more than an hour, which should ideally only have taken 30 minutes max, we reached the airport.
But we made good time, and in hindsight, the journey in taxi was quite fascinating. The car seemed to have been made from some left over scrap metal and it didnt even have any covering for its door locking system - i.e., we could see the entire mechanism inside! But the ride was still enjoyable and we even tipped the driver extra because he turned out to be a very nice, helpful chap.
At the airport, we were greeted by a festival volunteer, the same one who had picked me up from the airport. After checking us in, he too took off. And with that everything associated with the festival came to an end.
It was with mixed feelings that I boarded the flight. It was great to go back home to good old Singapore - but I was sure to miss everything about Dhaka! The festival, the people, the food, the joy for mindlessly watching one movie after the other for so many days, even the traffic, the crowds and the noise! Everything had a rustic, innocent charm!
Not sure whether I'll ever get a chance to go back but this was very, very special!
I guess it's a big Thank You to everyone who made Mausams possible and also to God for the last one week. It was indescribably beautiful!
A special thanks also to my editor for coming down to the festival and working hard to drive publicity around Mausams and its screenings amongst the media and others, as well as for working on Inganeyum Oru Katha editing in every free hour possible, which made this trip not just fun but also fruitful!
207 more to go.