ok, so this is an epilogue. I’ve been back in Britain now almost three and a half weeks, which have been packed. I’ve got a job working for CAFOD, which is great, my grandmother died, which is awful, and Tottenham are not quite playing to their full potential, which is ugly.
Life in Britain is in many ways just as I remember it, but now I notice the little side shows, the vignettes of life that make Bangladesh so enthralling a lot more. I find Britain ridiculously over-bearing and constrained compared to Bangladesh, and also a lot quieter, but I can cope with the calm. I feel like we are so reserved and acceptant – when I arrived at Heathrow there was a queue of about a thousand people waiting for immigration, but it was an orderly queue, restrained and decent – when I think back to trying to cross the border to India with a few thousand Bangladeshis at Benepole, the comparison is hilarious.
The biggest difference is that everywhere is smoke free, which I don’t approve of at all – this is why – but apparently it makes public places more sociable. And yet when I was in a pub recently, they started to play ‘Lifted‘ by the Lighthouse Family, which I find incredibly anti-social and instantaneously vomit-inducing. In fact I’d rather be forced to eat a packet of Marlboro Reds and then smoke my excrement than listen to the Lighthouse Family. So the world’s gone mad, in pubs anyhow.
And that’s it. My life has returned to a constant battle against the clock, trying to fit in ways to earn money and then spend it, fueling my body with nutrients, poisoning it with toxins all under London’s big grey sky. The thing I appreciate the most since I’ve returned is having drinkable water on tap, I still think that’s absolutely marvelous and feel excited every time I have a drink – but otherwise, I’ve ceased to be exceptional; the only white man in Sylhet, and am just another man in the multi-coloured pulsing universe that is one of civilisation’s greatest cities, a civilisation in itself.
But I still have the Desh, that’s the main thing. And yet now I can go off and play football. So it’s the best of both worlds, and I’m happy with that.