Four traveler’s 5 hour journey to a small pottery village in Dhamrai, Bangladesh
Reaching the unfamiliar paths of Dhamrai, I looked beyond the horizon. My sister stood beside me, giddy with excitement. I was momentarily relieved to be far away from Dhaka city. Finally! I told myself. I needed this break however, short.
The Hunt for the Pottery Village
It took us one and a half hour to reach Dhamrai from Dhaka by bus. Now, as I talked to the village dwellers for directions to reach Nayarhat Bazaar, I couldn’t help but feel safe. Dhamrai looked like a harmless village ready to embrace tourists.
Soon, my sister and I were on our way to Nayarhat Bazar by an auto. The auto driver seemed like a decent man as he explained to us the places where we could go. He charged us 6 taka each which was undoubtedly the best part of the ride. I mean who charges that low? Not even rickshaw pullers back in Dhaka!
Afterwards, he dropped us off in the middle of an isolated land and gave us further directions. We started on foot but after ten more minutes we reached nowhere. Excitement seemed to turn into a thin sheet of apprehension. Going back was not an option. At least not for me! Thankfully, after asking a lot of village dwellers we finally reached the Bazaar.
The Bazaar seemed to hustle and bustle in its own unique way. The dwellers must have been thinking what on earth we were doing there this early in the morning! But hey! It was 9’o clock in my defense. Everyone in the village seemed awake, doing their work; running their business. Despite all, there were no potteries or pottery making. So, we decided to recharge by having breakfast.
We ordered dal, and scrambled eggs with paratha. We didn’t really expect a sensational local cuisine or such. We knew what we were ordering ‘A Simple Breakfast’. Our stomachs were growling by the time the food came but I should go a step ahead and say, “Never have I tasted paratha this pure and scrumptious”. Perhaps it was the cooking oil or the hunger. But it was simply delicious.
Round and Round the Village
Our hunt for the pottery shops resumed. Although we knew the shops were close by, we took a lot of time finding it. It seemed to take numerous turns, relentless effort and heavy patience to find the pottery shops. Fortunately, we arrived at our target destination.
My sister wasted no time after a minute or two of watching the beautiful way of making potteries. She jumped in to make some. Believe me when I say that this skill of pottery making is a difficult one. You need patience and determination to do it. My sister’s pottery making was a success. Mine, however, was a failure. All the mud shaping ended up like a mesh of goo! After a couple of more attempts, I gave up. Sadly, this task was not for me.
The Art of Pottery Making
The art of pottery making is indeed a very interesting one. After they are made, they are left in the Sun to dry. Then, they are kept beautifully in a burn room. The fire is then kindled. Unfortunately, I didn’t witness the pots burning if that is what you are thinking. All the pots were already burned or drying in the sun.
Anyway, this burning process hardens and darkens the color of the pot. Finally for the finishing touches the rim of the pot is added meticulously. These potteries are made which plenty of love and care. The sad part is that even if pottery making is a part of the village dwellers tradition, it still is a poor way to make an income.
Moreover, people are buying less pottery every year and therefore, villagers fear that soon their pottery making business might end.
Back to the Highway by a Boat
Two of my friends bought two small pots and we headed back home with peace in our minds and smiles on our faces. We had a shift of perspective that made us appreciate everything that we had in life. One that put me in deep contemplation.
As I sat on the edge of the boat and looked beyond the horizon, I realized that the survival of a society at some places depends upon the survival of traditions.