It all started with a phone call from Dhaka on our last day in India. "Miss Shally Very Bad News,10 people dead, bombs going off and many riots"."Maybe you dont come tomorrow". As we couldn't change our flights we made the very bold step of landing in Dhaka amidst full chaos and curfews. We were met by our lovely contact called Arshad. He came towards us limping with head and arms covered in bandages....on such powerful painkillers he was falling asleep and could barely stand up. A car accident of course. We were to take a 9 hour car journey to the village where Living Blue quilt co-operative run by the charity CARE works. Also to check out the indigo farm, kantha stitching and shibori. All very exciting for me as their work is heavenly and I wanted to meet them all and get on down with new projects in the world of shibori and indigo. We were 6 hours into a crazy nightmare drive when a 2 day strike was called all over the state....which meant we couldn't get to the village or out of the village as no cars are allowed on the road during curfew. There were constant riots and bombings over a war tribunal and islamic terrorists were running amok everywhere. We had to get emergency permission from CARE to drive in the night (as it is so dangerous) six hours back to Dhaka. As the driver put his foot on it in the pitch dark...no traffic rules, 6 lanes of buses, cars, trucks, rickshaws, bicycles. pedestrians all smashing into each other. Everyone covered in dust, dirt and filth. Pollution beyond. Arshad turned to me and said "We are mere insects here"...while Greg (my partner) was wailing "My life is worth more than a textile". Its' a miracle we survived ...the stress factor beyond. All so scary I could not look out the window. At this point I had handed my life over to some superior force.
The next few days we were holed up inside our hotel with bombs going off outside and people scurrying everywhere in panic. Arshad braved a 3 hour walk amongst police cordons to come and discuss business. All topped off by a nerve racking drive to the airport by passing endless road blocks. Three hours of madness later, bitten to death by a plague of mozzies in the international terminal, we boarded the plane. So pleased to be homeward bound.
Rally near our hotel
War tribunal rally
Dhaka on a quiet day