Survival tactics in Nilkhet | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 04, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 04, 2019

Survival tactics in Nilkhet

Ah Nilkhet. The favourite foraging ground of many Bangladeshi bibliophiles, occasional book readers, and students desperate to find the course books they need for their semester. Add to that with the sweet musk of new books is something most love. Plus, shopping for books in Nilkhet is more cost-effective than a dinner in Dhanmondi.

Yet, every heaven on earth has its perils. Nilkhet is no different. Dangers will lurk around you in every 'Mama, ki lagbe?' Let's gloss over a few and see how we can circle our ways around them.


Right off the bat, the biggest danger you have to face is being offered a book at a price that would be 10 times more than it cost them to make a book. If you do not bargain with the shopkeeper, you are bound to have the Bengali 'Mama thoksen' tag stuck on your forehead.

To counter that, give them a counter-offer so low that even you would feel ashamed of being offered. For example, telling the shopkeeper that you would buy a book for 70 taka when you're pretty sure it costs at least 130 taka to print. The shopkeeper will be ascertained of your dominance and bargain with you in a respectful manner.


Nilkhet is a huge place, with roads leading into dead ends, the streets, or Narnia. Navigating your way through these areas is not easy. But always remember, you are doing it for a better cause: A new book to read (or to fulfil course requirements).

To navigate your way through Nilkhet, bring a compass, a pencil with an eraser, a ruler, a divider to portray accurate measurements, and a big piece of paper to make a map out of. Walk your way around Nilkhet so that you can make your precious map. Because there's no other way around this issue. Unless you can remember the narrow, identical roads inside using the shops that look all-alike as landmarks. There's that too.


Your shoes and clothes will meet their untimely demise in the Nilkhet flood. I'm sorry, there's no way out of this one.


Nilkhet is notorious for its crowded narrow scantily-clad brick streets (we do notice concrete narrow streets nowadays, so there's an upgrade). Come admission season, you would easily confuse Nilkhet with Gabtoli during Eid-ul-Azha, minus the cow manure everywhere.

Counter this by mustering all your inner strength and plowing down anyone in front of you. Channel your inner bull. Show no mercy. Stop only when you get to the shop you've been looking for over half-an-hour. What's your excuse? That you're a sack of potatoes? Well the heavier you are, the more inertia you have. Run and plow like no other being.


You will come across books with poorly printed content. Either the text will be lightly printed, or some pages will remain completely blank.

Now the sane thing to do here would be asking the shopkeeper to give you a better copy. But this is Nilkhet. Sanity is not an option. Throw a tantrum that your book came out to be badly printed. Bonus points if you curse. The shopkeeper will surely listen to your every word now.

These are just a few dangers that were addressed here. You will find your way through many more hazards. But never forget. You are a Bangladeshi. If you can parkour your way through the streets everyday, you can do anything.


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