Felt like a bit of a walk the other day, so grabbed my camera and headed out to the market at the end of the street. After photographing around the vegetable stalls for a while, dodging stares and rickshaws throughout, I decided to explore some of the twisting roads winding behind the market area.
Walking down a narrow alleyway, a flash of bright orange caught my eye. I backtracked a few steps, and peering through an open doorway into a work site, a woman with whom I had just exchanged smiles caught me looking. She motioned for me to follow her into the yard, filled with deteriorating bricks, an old shack, and some murky pond-like thing. Sitting around a small fire with a number of pots carefully scattered at their feet was a group of women, alternatively cooking supper and calling out to the children darting around the plot. My original connection proceeded to introduce me to the rest of the assembled crowd – her extended family – and once we had sat for a while amongst the relatives and bubbling pots, she led me across the street and through another narrow doorway, into a small courtyard.
We wove from window to window, swapping assalam aleikums with her various relatives within the room-sized houses. We continued to chat back and forth until my Bangla vocabulary ran out, and then smiled at each other for a while before it started to get dark and I had to head back.
For someone who has been feeling a little anxious about getting out and moving about within this city, this was an exceptional reminder. That the fear you feel sitting in your room, those butterflies that pop up at the thought of approaching an unknown situation with a camera in your hand – that’s just the first step. It’s always there. You just have to bring it outside and see where it takes you.