The Migrant Transporter from Chittagong: Reflections

The guy who takes me to work here is a high school drop out from Chottogram. He is a man Friday by career and has worked previously in Doha as a house boy. He has family here, as is mostly the case with Bangladeshi families in Probash, with remittance riyals fuelling the household economics in many districts. He is multinational in character as he holds driving licenses of three countries; two in the GCC and one back home. Economic mobility has many nuances that cannot be comprehended over a scotch at Tolly Club.

He speaks in a dialect which is barely comprehensible tonne when he talks to his elder brother on the phone. He is young and brash with colourful shades as he zooms his ageing car across town. He thought I would be an uppity Kolkata bong who would sneer at his lack of refinement. Little did he know that i am a child of migrants myself, and am at ease in Hamriya rather than Shatti.

He was taken aback when I started chatting with him on the latest tv soaps on Star Jalsa and the songs on Sangeet Bangla. The migrant feels at home in the few moments he connects with his cultural milieu via the music and the cultural consumption through the smart phone. The ice broke when both of us hummed to the tune of 2010 hit film ‘Autograph’ track by Anupam Ray ‘Amake Amar Moto Thakte Daoo’. Human emotions are universal, from Chottogram to Kolikata to Masqat.


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