In the bottom of their heart, something feels vulnerable; it is a condition, which their people don’t want to spell out to anybody even if they are thrown out of this old mansion. Most of the Hindu people in Old Dhaka live in the same locality. It is not like living as a single family, many families live together, gathered around the same space. The faith they have in each other is shown it with anyone they don’t want to voice it to each other.
One morning a room is found empty, and the next day some relative of the family with the left has already moved in to fill the gap. The question is why there wasn’t even a whisper, and the other families are surprised.
The story is that nine native Hindu families live under one roof, sharing separate small narrow rooms, joined by dark corridors leading to a communal lobby. Some of them are relatives, and some are not. They share everything, the seasonal despair of leaking roofs, seeping water, bearing together through natural hardships. Although living under the same roof is not all easy, and can lead to conflict. They are living in a place where they can’t freely activate their rights of ownership, something at the depth of their heart, and they never dare to come out, the emotion on their faces is sheltered by other expressions.
The condition of the residence itself is even worse. The entrance into the mansion’s part where these family are living is so narrow, build out of old bricks and wood, reached through a small courtyard, shared by everyone, this is the space where the families, wash, bath, and do all the other family household chores, if there is an occasion it is held here, if there is a quarrel, it is often here – particularly in the morning, everyone wants to wash at the same time. Even though they may row, and though they feel oppressed in their situation there is nothing they can do- they can not even claim a right to their own living space – half of the mansion has been taken over as a government college hostel. Some have also had to build tin cottages at the back of the mansion in order to be able to fit into their own home. Even if they were to try to demand their rights there is nowhere they can go, there is no group, no institution to support them. 2005 Dhaka