[on a cycle-van from the village to the main road]
These rice crops, they are planted according to the seasons. And green chilies are harvested once in a year; they are planted now and will be harvested in the next chitra month [March-April]. There are BR-11, BR- 3, then there is paijam… Don’t you understand there is different type of rice? There is no difference, thick and thin. Thick rice has a bigger, thin rice a lesser outcome per bigha; so, the price of thin rice is higher. If the thick rice is priced 600, the thin one will be priced 800. In Bogra district, the quality of vegetables is very high. Here, BR-11 paddy is the most commonly grown; also sonar-Bangla-hira grows a lot. They are of the thick variety; the cultivation of thin rice is less common nowadays, but it is not bad. One cultivates them according to his need. Understand? The output of thick rice is more. This too is thick rice, this is called shailla.
How can you recognise the different sorts?
It can be understood by watching the rice color. By watching rice and its color, I can tell which type of rice it is.
[at a local eatery in Dhaka]
I can draw my area if I close my eyes… say this is Kodomtoli, from here this is the way and this is my home, here is the bazar, starting from here is the Gabtoli thana, from here we came to Bogura, from here we are going to Shorayagandhi.
How do you know all this? Did anyone give you a map?
No I never saw a map, I saw it with my eyes… I can close my eyes and say that yes here is Shorayagandhi… here is Fulbari… and here is Gabtoli. I can tell you without closing my eyes… these are things that I have seen! [starting a drawing] Let’s say I am here… then I have to make a map… how far is the Kodomtoli bazar from my home… a map, right… okay this is Kodomtoli bazar… let’s turn West…. and through the middle is my home… on the East is the school… Kodomtoli High School… this is the high school… then let’s go this way and take a turn and we are here in Shabashpur… this is the turn [crossing] at Buruj, this is the cross-section at Buruj bazar… After coming to Shabashpur, we can come this way to Bogura… and from here, we’d go to Shorayagandhi!
Where is the way to go to Dhaka?
Dhaka, it’s this way!
Jamuna… you want to go to Jamuna… Jamuna is here. Here, while coming from Shabashpur… this is Jamuna: we are here at Shorayagandhi… this is Shorayagandhi and this way goes directly to Jamuna.
What’s on the other side?
On the other side of Jamuna river, there is just the river, the char [sandbank]!
Your wife’s char is here, right?
Yes, this is where the river flows… and here is my in-laws’ place.
They still live on the char? How do you go there, by boat? Is there any ferry?
You saw those boats with shallow machine [in English], there are those. In rainy season, water gets logged on all char areas.
Isn’t that a problem?
Problem! It isn’t a problem for the people on that side! We are the ones to face problems, they don’t face any problem… they depend on other vehicles so they do not have face too many problems. One shore will be eroded and the other will be built… one side breaks down and on another side a char comes up… on the East, there’s more of that… There are 3 to 4 river branches on that side, 4 river branches; 2 of them flow just behind my in-law’s place, and one flows from the front of my in-law’s house… don’t you remember, in the place you visited in Shorayagandhi, while coming back that day, there were 4 river branches there… you know, in Hashnapara there are 4 branches of one single river!
What are the things [just drawn on this map] that you see when you close your eyes?
I see everything, whether I keep my eyes closed or open! All those areas, all the villages, all the places, which school is where… it is the area I know… so things are same, with my eyes closed or open.
Do you have known people in these places?
Why shouldn’t be there known people there? In Kodomtoli, yes… I also have a few in Nepaltoli, Shukonpukur, Gabtoli… I have people I know there, of course.
Do you have any acquaintances in Bogra, too?
Yes, of course I have… when I come to Bogra.… I do have known people. Am I or not a rickshaw-driver? …so, the owners of rickshaws are my acquaintances there.