Monday, February 26, 2007

Sohel's Wedding

Mohammad Mahbubur Rahman Sohel, known to his friends as Sohel, is our IT Liaison Officer at International School Dhaka. He works with the IT Managers to support our digital program and liaises with teachers, students and other staff to provide service and support for laptops, handhelds, other devices and software etc. Basically if anything goes wrong with technology the first person we all go to is Sohel. Needless to say Sohel has a good command of the English language and the patience of a saint, the latter being most essential when dealing with frustrated users of the network and vague or misguided students who can't login, print or boot their laptop, amongst other ailments.

This past week Sohel was married to Chotto, or more formally Ismatul Komor. It was a marriage organised by both families. A group of teachers and IT personnel were invited to Sohel's village for the wedding. We took off in two mini buses early on Friday morning and headed west for the village of Faridpur, a 'back water' according to the Lonely Planet on Bangladesh. The trip took about 4 hours and included crossing one of the two largest rivers in Bangladesh, the Jamuna, on a car ferry. I was surprised at how much of a novelty us westerners were on this trip. It reminded me of my trip through China 22 years ago when I mini-bused all the way up the East coast to Nanjing and was stared at at every opportunity. On this trip, stopping to sight-see or take a break from the hectic road we were always surrounded by Bangladeshi's who came to observe us in a curious but friendly manner.

The actual wedding program we attended involved both families and was the final reception in a series of days and events. The marriage ceremony had already taken place on a different day. The new bride, adorned in a shari and trimmed with henna and jewellery, sat in a room waiting to receive visitors while Sohel met and greeted all guests at the front. We were surprised that he was not in traditional wedding attire for a groom but were told his new father in law had bought the what could he do but wear it? We dressed in salwar kameez (traditional pants and tunic) or shari or punjabi (men) and after greeting the bride were taken to eat and then mingle with the other guests. It was a friendly and happy occasion.

Sohel and Chotto

Crossing the Jamuna river by ferry

Sightseeing: Ros with many curious friends

Violet and Benjamin with iPod

This last photo I love. I call it a 'cultural juxtaposition'. On this occasion we drove to a river closer to Faridpur to see the work being done to try and beat the erosive forces of nature. As usual we were followed by a group of villagers. Violet and Benjamin, being a little bored with the significance of their surroundings were more engrossed in finding their favourite tunes on the iPod. Notice the NECC ISTE kids camp TShirt from last year? You see, somehow I had to include technology into this post.

See more photos of our trip.

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Anonymous said...

This is the best part of international living! I love getting an inside view on so many different cultures. Last year we went to a Punjabi wedding just a few weeks after we arrived in Malaysia. It was so much fun (and we got to have lots of beautiful Indian clothes made for the occasion - someday I hope to wear my saree again!). Thanks for sharing your pictures!

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