Timeline: July 11 – July 13
It was my first trip to Joypurhat, a North Bengal district 380 km from Dhaka. It was infact my first trip to North Bengal as well, the vast region on the other side of Jamuna river.
Since there isn’t any AC bus service available on this route, I had to travel by Hanif Paribahan. I listened to my crazy collection of trance music through out the journey, so I didn’t get too bored. More over, crossing the 4.8 km Jamuna bridge (which is 110 kilometers northwest of Dhaka) was exciting. To date, it’s the longest brigde in South Asia, and 11th longest in the world.
It took 8 long hours to reach Joypurhat. My destination was further 15 kilometers from the town, a village in Pachbibi upa-zila. Pachbibi is completely an under developed rural area, with rikshaw vans as the only means of transport. It was quite surprsing for me see only a handful of real rickshaws around. The Indian border and Hili land port was near to where I stayed, I was informed that a lot of villages are involved with smuggling.
There’s a good number of indigenous population in the area, making it a heaven for a lot of local and international NGOs. A Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) mission school is also in the area, and I was told by my guide that they receives a huge funding from USA. I was told that they have their own backup generators, water supply system, air-conditioned rooms, computers lab with 50+ PCs and so on. I wanted to visit them, but couldn’t manage the time to do so.
An interesting point to mention before I end. If you go to a tea stall in Joypurhat, then this is how they’ll serve your tea: they’ll fill two-third of the cup with milk, and then one-third with tea! Should we call it it tea with milk, or milk with tea, that remains the question.