I left my damp and mould-ridden bungalow three days ago to go and deliver a workshop in Dhaka, and coming back last night first noticed the river being even higher than before, and over its bank. Then as I was getting closer to my house, I noticed the puddles had turned in to ponds. And as I turned on to my street, I realised that the road had become a river. As they say in Bangla, the situation was bhalo na.
So after negotiating stepping stones made out of bricks through the courtyard of my little estate, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the water itself wasn’t quite up to my slightly raised front door. But the guy who does my cleaning explained that in fact, it had been, as there were water marks about six inches up the wall. I went in and there was still about three inches of water across about six square feet of my kitchen, with a couple of cockroaches doing an elaborate backstroke in it. Not the best welcome home you’ll ever receive – I should have got a Labrador.
I’m not one for fuss, but after assessing the situation over a cup of tea I couldn’t help concluding that things were a bit up the proverbial junction, especially as there’s still about six to eight weeks of heavy rain to come. My contingency is either to move in with this Australian bloke who moved to Sylhet a few months ago, and lives very near me on the second floor crucially. Or just build an Ark and set sail out of my bedroom for dry land.
At the moment, the sun has come out again and it’s blisteringly hot, so I’m going to stick it out in my house and see what happens. Irritatingly, it’s only really my street and about three others close to the river that are flooded. Even the slum up the road is dry. I’m almost finished in Sylhet anyway, just two more months to go with a lot of work in Dhaka and some travel in between, so I’m not inclined to schlep all my stuff for the third time in a year. But when you see, as I did this morning, the Geese who live on the estate swimming along where three days ago they were walking, you get the feeling that things aren’t quite right. And ironically, although there’s water everywhere, my piped water supply is off so I can’t have a shower at the moment or wash properly unless I bucket it up from outside, which is more South Asian sludge than an Alpine spring. So I stink as well.
On the plus side, my landlord came in to my place when I was away and raised everything up, so although all my furniture is balanced on the kitchen table precariously and my fridge and things up on chairs, it’s damp-ridden but not completely ruined. I still have an old plastic chair to sit on, and my bed has been raised up two feet on piles of bricks at each corner. So if the worst happens and it really does flood, at least I can lie in bed and do a spot of fishing.
If anyone reading this knows a humanitarian relief agency, contact me for my address and please arrange for delivery of a canoe, dry clothes, deodorant, some cheese and lager, and possibly a few rubber ducks?