How is it that at the age of 27, telling ghost stories with my cousins still gives me goosebumps? This evening me and three of my cousins spent about an hour at what was my maternal grandfather’s grain mill. It’s pretty much empty now, but the four of us just walked about it, recalling the ghost stories some of older cousins used to tell us the last two times I visited when we were young. It was pitch black out due to the rolling blackouts making the stories just that much more frightful.
I’ve been spending some time with my mother’s side of the family as of late and it’s made me realize how much I’ve missed out on these past 16 years. My cousins are so grown up. Going to college, married and even have children. I’ve missed so much but at times it doesn’t even feel like that. For example today I just walked on over from my paternal ancestral home to maternal ancestral home (though it has now been completely rebuilt). I got there and my aunt just sat me right down at the kitchen table and made sure I had something to eat and drink. I didn’t call ahead. I just walked right on over. Because in this town, when it comes to family and close friends you never really need to call. You just go. And everyone truly looks out for one another.
One of the best parts of today had to be spending time with one of my maternal cousins. She and I are just two weeks apart in age and our lives took two completely different paths. She is the proud mother of a stunningly adorable baby girl. Despite her busy life as mother and student, she took me out this morning to see some of Nilphamari’s landmarks but also to go pay our respects to our maternal grandparents as well as my paternal grandparents. Afterwards as she and I went to see the sights we happened upon a chotpotti and fuchka stand (which really are pretty much everywhere). Chotpotti and fuchka are very popular street-foods, usually eaten together. Chotpotti is generally a mixture of chickpeas and potatoes, seasoned with tamarind, cumin, coriander and red chillis and topped with everything from raw onions and cucumbers to eggs and poppadums. Fuchka is like a light, puffed bread. Now the thing about Bangladeshi street-food is that pretty much everyone, before I left for my trip expressly warned or even forbade me from eating any of it. Eating street-food in Bangladesh when you’re a foreigner is pretty much guaranteeing that you get some sort of stomach flu. However despite the warnings or maybe even because of it, I just couldn’t help myself! I bought me and my cousin a bowl of chotpotti to share and I am truly proud to say that I have not (yet) had any issues!
Coming to Bangladesh has truly been a blessing for me. I only have three more days in Nilphamari and about 15 more days in Bangladesh in general. Time has just flown right by.