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Unwritten Histories
Shahidul Alam
Baridhara, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Home to foreigners and wealthy Bangladeshis, the residential areas of Gulshan and Baridhara are a far cry from the rest of Bangladesh. Well-guarded embassy clubs with outdoor swimming pools form exclusive havens where locals have limited access, unless of course one is part of that select set. Yuppie children of wealthy locals do the ‘hash’ rounds with their white friends. Hartals, the traditional form of protest where shops stay closed and there is often violence in the streets, do not affect this part of the city.

In a posh garden party for a departing expatriate family, the whiskey and pearls of the wife of a wealthy Bangladeshi seem hardly out of place. Waiters in white keep a polite distance, ready to approach at the slightest hint. The departing couple went ‘native’ having being escorted out in a brightly decked rickshaw.