A Winter Wonderland | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 09, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 09, 2020

A Winter Wonderland

“Gather around, folks. We hope you’re enjoying your day at our amusement park. I know you’re all excited for your turn inside our newest attraction. We promise to give you a full experience of what Dhaka was like 200 years ago. It’s difficult for us to imagine now in 2320 but, a long time ago, winter used to be a separate season during which it would occasionally get cold in Dhaka.”

[The kids in the group look excited.]

“Around you, you will see there are winter clothes for you to grab before we head inside. You may not be familiar with them but our staff will help you select. Once you’re ready, please follow me inside.”

[The small group follows the guide inside a giant dome shaped structure where the weather is abnormally cold.]

ZONE 1

“Our first zone right here is a badminton court. Bangladeshis would wait all year round to play this sport during winter. We don’t quite know why since it has nothing specifically to do with winter.”

[Two demonstrators do their best to re-enact how a badminton match went on, based on historical evidence. They play from either side of a net and occasionally stop to squabble over whether or not the cork landed outside the court.]

ZONE 2

“Next we have an experience zone.”

“What are those noises?”

“Great question, kid. You can hear recordings of bird calls that were typical of early winter mornings. Please note that ‘bird’ here refers to the species and not to the brand. Here you can also see replicas of migratory birds that would come to Dhaka to escape the cold. They’ll look interesting to you since they all died out about a 100 years ago.”

“Over here behind this glass you can see mosquitoes. Again, ‘glass’ refers to the see-through barrier here, not the company. We’ve also displayed these electrical bats here that were used to kill mosquitoes. Now whether these bats were used to kill mosquitoes for sport or not is something researchers still haven’t concluded.

ZONE 3

“Here in these 2D photos you can see the diet of people in Dhaka during winter. Notice the type of corn they roasted, the variety of things they barbecued and the assortment of pitha that we forgot how to make.”

“Also please note that ‘corn’, ‘make’ and ‘photo’ do not refer to the brands and ‘roasted’ and ‘barbecued’ did not mean back then what they mean now.”

 

Mrittika Anan Rahman is a daydreamer trying hard not to run into things while walking. Find her at mrittika.anan@gmail.com

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