I remember this city before the apocalypse came. It wasn’t a great city. It wasn’t even a good city. But it was what a city is supposed to be.
I visited the liberation war museum once. I stood there holding someone’s hands and I stared at relics of an apocalyptic struggle from 50 years ago. I stared with admiration and a poetic envy. “Ah, I wish I was there.”, I thought to myself. “To fight and die, a heroic death.”
Now that I look back I realize, people who never see death are the ones that romanticise it the most.
Lotus Etang was a favourite Asian dining place of mine. Mostly because I would take my dates there to drive home my status as a rich and cultured elite (told you the city is hypocritical). The restaurant had origami lotuses on their tables and bad tofu. Now that I look back, I realize the only reason I liked Lotus Etang was because of their skydeck. It was a good place to look at the city’s night sky. Back when we still could.
I miss my university. That’s a sentence that has two layers. I don’t miss the struggle of university life. All I’ve lost trying to graduate. No, I don’t miss that.
I miss the university. The building. The stairs. My little corners. The songs. The rushed lunches and coffee shops. The flowers I found. Late night pizza runs. My room. My coping mechanisms.
I miss Dhaka’s evenings too. I miss staying up on rooftops with people I cared about. Smoking, staring into the sunset and talking. We would talk about politics, ethics, and love. All while sharing a cigarette. Evenings didn’t bring omens of darkness back then. Evenings didn’t mean run home and lock your doors. Evenings meant we were dauntless and free.