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"Where Blue Birds Fly"

The color blue ...

has my childhood tucked in it.

When I was little, our rooftop was the sanctuary I used to go to. Like me, many city kids born in the 90's had an integrated relationship with this space. Back then people were more attached to their rooftops. Having grown up in a joint family, I had many cousins. We had our secret place, where we used to play hide and seek. মেঝ মামা/Mejho Mama (maternal-middle uncle) would make us kites to fly, with thin paper, gum made of rice, and thread layered with shattered glass. When we ran out of kites, we would fly plastic grocery bags tied with a thin thread. Sometimes we played 'the floor is lava', কুমির ডাঙ্গা (a traditional Bengali game with a little different set of rules where the floor isn't Lava, it's water), sometimes we climbed the little guava tree my বাবা/Baba (Father) planted, and sometimes we went there.... just to be.

During power cuts, the whole neighborhood kids would cheer with joy, as we get to bunk studies and meet on the rooftop. It would be time for some singing, stories of ghosts or just counting stars until the power comes back.


I started photographing different rooftops in Dhaka city, hoping that these snippets of my childhood would visit me again. However, I realized that every rooftop has its own story, corner, and traces of life. On some rooftops, I noticed a promise of life shaped like a plant peeking through the cracks of concrete. On other rooftops, capitalism took over with a flashy display of billboards. But there were still some spaces, where I revisited my childhood.

The rooftops of Dhaka City may be one of the few places where one could just be. A space in the midst of the chaos of the city and the chores of the home.

Over the last few years, the face of the city changed quite a lot, to feed the demand of the growing population, the buildings started to reach for the sky, and to afford a space in these sky-reaching buildings, people got busier. No one has a moment to spare. But to this day, if I see a little kid flying kites I would go back to my childhood, where every evening the blue birds returned to their favorite place.

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