As we walked around, Jony (the guide) would point out all the young couples walking around, and relate the Bangladeshi dating culture to me. Occasionally, when we passed next to a couple, he would translate their conversation for me. “She just asked him if he would be willing to kill himself for her love….” When the girl in one couple was “liberally” dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, he said to me, “For your kind information, I think that girl has relationships with more than one boy…many boys.” I guess she dresses the part….
As the day went on, my conversations with Jony became more serious. He told me his dream was to find a job abroad after his MBA, and once he was out of Bangladesh, never return. He talked about what he thought was wrong with the country and the government. He said they are narrow-minded, which hampered productive relationships with great powers such as the US and UK. I finally asked him about Sheikh Mujib and the successive political leaders, and he confirmed my thought that each party had rewritten history each time it came to power. I was very interested in learning more from Jony, and he was very interested in learning more from me – including working on his English. So, I told him we could meet again sometime to have more discussions. He was extremely thankful for the offer. I think he will be a good friend to have on my journey deeper into Bangladeshi culture.