I fear that most admissions officers experience Dhaka from the backseat of a taxi, as I did. I spent my 16 hours in the city giving presentations to students at three high schools. No time for sightseeing.
My object was to assess Dhaka’s density. Would the capital city of the world’s most densely populated large country smack me in the face with wave on wave of humanity? Not quite – the colonial center of Kolkata, my onward destination, pulsed with greater energy than the Dhaka I glimpsed from the backseat. On the roads, though, Dhaka makes perfectly clear that its inhabitants have places to go and are keen to improvise transport as necessary. Buses show the wear of anarchic roads. It’s not that there is no government – there are traffic signals, signage, and lanes, but people ignore them.
The view from where I sat:
Vehicles press in. The buses are packed to the brim. Everyone, including middle-aged women, board the bus while it’s still moving. A train passes with bunches of men on top, some of them standing. And I felt the same human warmth of activity that I do in my HDB flat back home. So here’s to density. It brings us all closer together.