After travelling all around Bangladesh, would you say you’re at home everywhere or do you belong to one place in particular?
Yes, it counts to have traveled the whole country, but the important place is my birthplace. Here is my family, my children, this is my mother’s place; I am obliged to live here. Wherever on the earth I may stay, I need to come back here. This is the most valuable place for me, most beloved. Regardless of where you travel on earth, it will not feel good unless one goes home. Once there, everything will be solved. Here at home, there are trees, land, good crops [as opposed to Dhaka].
What is the most important thing in your environment?
Most important thing… agriculture; for us in Bangladesh, paddy… rice. Bangladeshis are called fish and rice-people. Not in every country they eat rice though; in Europe, they do not eat rice. Neither in Saudi Arabia… We often cook polau [dish based on rice], biriani, kacchi biriani when guests come; but what will Saudi Arabians do? Think, every one or two months, if guests come to visit or we are not happy and arrange a party, what to eat? They will eat hapsha, which we call kacchi here. Then, they eat rice; they cook and eat kacchi. Otherwise, in everyday life, they eat bread, meat, vegetables, all these things – like the Europeans, don’t you people always eat bread and vegetables?
So, what will we cook for you today afternoon? Of course, you’ll have rice… see, it’s got 12, 12,30h by now. In our country, we don’t have lunch before 2.30, 3pm, that’s the way in our country, it’s become our way. We’ve had breakfast today at 9, now, you should have become a bit hungry, right? We’ve got ready some noodles, some fried vegetables, a bit of shemay [sweet milk-based dish], some puffed rice – we have it all at home – and rasped coconut… with a little bit of onion… we’d have you eat it. And then after lunch, in the evening, 10 minutes before or after sunset, if you should be a little hungry again, we’ll make noodles. This is our area’s tradition!