Not that his tin-hut in the village would offer much comfort, but in Dhaka, Enamul misses – apart from the sleepy slowness and tenderness a family generates at early morning, when the day hasn't yet called everybody to their duties – even a bed. He wakes up on a wooden garret in the same garage from which he hires his rickshaw amidst another 20-30 men, rickshaw-wallahs like him; thereby, not having a mattress bothers him less than the herds of mosquitoes that populate the structure, erected on stilts over a marshy land, partly flooded, partly filled with debris. Indeed, whereas on early mornings in Kodamtoli, he would not rarely go out with a self-made net to catch small fish in some of the neighbours' ponds, or in the village's water body a little further away, here his first action is getting out of and folding the mosquito net he's carried from home. The ritual visit at the nearby tea-stall follows, as one doesn't feel like starting the day without a sweet milk-tea, cake or biscuit and banana: theirs are hard-working bodies after all, that little sugar pushes the mood up and helps pedalling. If there is one thing that Enamul seems to enjoy about his stays in Dhaka, it is the frequency with which he can consume a cup of tea. At home, his wife would warm up yesterday's rice and dal on the earthen stove for breakfast; if at all, he would go to the bazar and indulge himself in a tea only in the evening. 04_ENA_2-2_RHY_PIC_01b.jpg
A day of work starts almost at the same time in the city and in the village: only, in Dhaka he just needs to grab his rickshaw and go out in search of customers – petty employees leaving for work, mothers accompanying their child to school – whereas in Kodamtoli, unless he's been hired for a lengthy period, as during the rice harvest and planting phases, he needs to go out and search for work at the more affluent households' of the village. Someone might need their thatch roofs to be fixed, someone might want the weeds on their field to be cut away, a landowner might need people to help in irrigation works… the variety of tasks Enamul attends to in the village contrasts with the monotony of pedalling a rickshaw. Nor does he enjoy his passengers or the range of places they'd want to move to on his rickshaw in the city: the first are often harsh and abusive, the latter rarely contemplate those parts of Dhaka that are worthwhile seeing, as the area he covers is limited to its recently grown, formless and soulless southeastern fringes. Also constant is the length of his workday, determined by the sun – and by his resistance. 04_ENA_2-2_RHY_PIC_02b.jpg
Whether pulling a rickshaw or working on the fields of others, Enamul sticks to rhythms: from waking up between 5.30 and 6am to going out for work by 7.30/8; from observing a lunch and brief midday break for at least one hour to dropping work before sunset; from gathering with his village fellows at the bazar to chatting and playing cards at the garage in the evenings. Apparently, these rhythms grant him a confidence, a reliance on himself that obviously doesn't relate with some will to “climb the ladder” or make it big, but rather with the fact that he, that tiny thin body of his, is the only one on which to count. Nude existentialism; perhaps, a common feature of people on the move. One cannot change things in this country and hence needs to come to terms with how they are, he seems to think. What is so disturbing about such calmness is that it evidently provides sustenance to bear the everyday, however hard: overall, Enamul is a serene person, his smile is genuine; he puts up with the circumstances both in Dhaka and in Kodamtoli, where he seems to be part of equally functioning, somewhat even forgeable, habitats. But at the same time, isn't this acceptance, if necessary to go on, deleterious as far as concerns the possibility that they, they who don't have alternative to working underpaid, who bear humiliating dwelling conditions, and whom especially city people ruthlessly cheat, challenge those circumstances of exploitation and deprivation one day? 04_ENA_2-2_RHY_PIC_03b.jpg