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Road to Boga Lake

The inception:

It was late noon of mid October. I was working in my office room. Wahid vai, Suhan vai and others were also in the room. I was tiered of long work. Suddenly I stopped what I was doing and shouted “damn it! I don’t like the works anymore. Need to have a break”. There are times when I get bored with my routine life and I become desperate to go out of the town. This was something like that. I  knew there is a 3 day holiday coming up in next week. I didn’t want to waste this vacation sitting idle in my home. I asked Wahid “what’s your plan for upcoming holidays?” in return Wahid asked ‘What’s your plan?” I replied ” I want to get out of town. Let’s go somewhere.”

Few day back, Wahid shared a Facebook post regarding how to go to Bogalake and Tindu areas from Bandarban district. I recalled that post and replied to wahid vai ” lets go to Bandadban!”. I have visited bandarban once but Wahid have visited several times except boga lake. He has become an expert on Bandarban. For next 10 to 15 minutes Wahid described how beautiful Boga lake is and how wonderful it will be to stay night by the side of the Lake. His description raised my interest even higher.

Wahid, Manik and I were planning to go to Bhutan couple of times but each time we had to think of something else due to schedule conflicts. This time it was no exception. So to get somewhat feeling of mountains and clouds, we have chosen Bandarban as a proxy.

We have spent next two days for making an cost estimation, journey schedule, obtaining confirmation from Manik, Suhan vai, Talha & Roki. It was hard to get a bus ticket. Suhan van and Manik was not sure whether we will be able to pull it off. But at the end with Wahid vai and my endless effort, we managed bus ticket to Chittagong just before the night of journey. It was fastest tour plan and arrangement with my colleagues. Even though the it was raining heavily for last couple of days, it didn’t bother anyone.

Beginning of Journey:

Our initial plan was to start at evening and reach Chittagong by early morning. From Chittagong we will go to Bandarban and without any journey break we will reach to Roma Bazar by noon. After having lunch at roma bazar and shopping for BBQ, we will take a jeep and reach to boga lage by late afternoon. We will enjoy the evening by the side of boga lake and have BBQ. We will enjoy the moonlight night from the cottage and stay there for the night. Next day morning, we will go to Keokaradong mountain and return to Boga lake at the evening. We will head back to Roma bazar next morning and by noon we will start for Bandarban. We will reach Bandarban by evening and start for Dhaka if any bus is available. If there is no bus is available, we will stay the night on Bandarban and start to Dhaka next day. If the bus is scheduled for the evening, we will take go to Nilgiri and see around the Bandarban district.

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Road to Boga Lake

But things do not always go with your plan. We purchased our bus ticket from busbd.com which allows to buy any long distance bus ticket. Our transport provider was AK Travels. Busbd.com charged us around 650 per person. Our bus was scheduled to start at 11:30 PM from Gabtoli bus stand. But at the day of journey, someone from AK Travel called me around 4:30 pm saying that they will not be taking us to our destination. When I asked the reason they replied that fare was not much enough during this busy time. After that he hanged up the phone. I was shocked and informed Wahid vai. We both decided to call the help line of busbd.com. After couple of call, they picked up the phone. I informed them about the situation and they said they will have a look.

After 10/15 minutes they called me back informing that AK Travel demands around BDT 1000/ per person and if we want to go we have to pay additional 350 taka per person. I instantly refused as their demand was too much higher. I told the customer care from busbd to reconsider this or else we will publicly disclose the issue. After conversation with them, I talked with several transport services and found out that there was no vacant sit for the day.

After hearing the issue with bus, Manik voted for cancel the tour while Wahid was in hesitation. Both of them was worried about the outcome of the tour as the beginning was not smooth. Meanwhile, Roki, Talha and Suhan vai laid back to their sits and informed us that they are with us in whatever decision we take. I was pissed of with the situation but I was determined to go for the tour. I wasn’t ready to quit at the very last moment. But finally everyone agreed to go for the tour.

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Road to Boga Lake

At the evening, people from busbd.com called me and informed me that AK travel has agreed to settle on BDT 800. We can ride on the bus if we agree to pay additional BDT 150. Or else we have to manage our own ride. In that case busbd will refund our money within a week. I didn’t have any other option available so I agreed to pay additional money and confirmed our travel later in the night.

After settling the issue with AK travel and busbd, our journey has been confirmed. We were suppoed to get on the bus on 11:30pm. So I instructed everyone to be at the Gabtoli bus stand by 11:00pm. I was sure that rest of the tour will go smoothly according to our plan. But I didn’t know that luck was not in our favor with this tour and lots of troubles were waiting for us.

(to be continued in Episode 2)

Last month I have been to Keshabpur for audit purpose. Keshabpur is an Upazila of Jessore District in the Division of Khulna, Bangladesh. Purpose of the visit was to audit a partner NGO of the client I have been auditing. Iftekher vai (my senior at AQC) and I were selected for the team. We were required to finish our assignment by 3 days.

Our journey started at early morning. I arrived at bus stand almost half an hour before the departure time. Ifti vai arrived shortly. Our bus started for the destination  at 9 am. Though it was not my first tour without my friends and family, I was excited. I was excited mostly because we didn’t know anyone where we were going. Also we had no idea how we will reach the client’s office and where we will stay. We were told to contact with the partner NGO when we reach Keshabpur.

Our Bus dropped us at Jessor. Till then journey was great. Nothing special to tell except for I slept almost whole time. Then we got into a local bus which will take us to Keshabpur directly. I don’t want to describe about the bus or its environment. But I must describe the view I enjoyed from traveling though it.

The  local bus was running through a narrow road. I was sitting just beside bus window. I was enjoying an awesome natural beauty. There were fields with different crops in both side of the road. Fields were  mostly paddy fields. However most of the fields were water-logged. It is one big problem in this area. But the view of green water logged fields were great. I could see many small hut in distance. This huts works as resting place for the farmers and provide shade when they have their lunch and shelter during rain.  It was raining just before i got down from the highway bus. The road and the surrounding was still wet.Rain drops washed away the dust and dirt of the leaves of the trees. Everything was looking green and fresh. I could resemble the view with the description of an ideal village I read in books and essays.

It was dawn when we reached Keshabpur. It took us 1 hour to reach from Jessor and 9 hours from dhaka. Ifti val called the contact person and ask for instruction about how to go to the office. We were instructed to take a man-pulled van. By the way, Rickshaw is not available in this region. Rather man-pulled van and shallow-machine van (also know as Nasimon or Karimon or Votvoti) are prevalent. we took a man-pulled van and reached the office in 10 minutes.

After the introduction with office personnel we were taken to our room. It was upstairs of the office. As we were tired of journey, we planed not to do anything. After refreshing ourselves and resting a while, we started our audit planning. We shared our audit planning with office personnel over dinner. For your information, most of the office personnel lives upstairs of the office. After dinner I called my home and let them know I arrived safely. Nothing much happened afterwards as we called it a day.

Next day was busy a day. But it started with an entertaining scene. A group of languor was roaming in the rooftop of the building next our office.I knew that Keshabpur is famous for Gray languors. I was hoping to see them but never thought to see them these closely. We spent few minutes watching them. Then we went for breakfast. Afterwards our work started and we worked till lunch. After lunch we took some rest and went out for field visit. We returned at dawn. As our time was limited and work load was huge, we decided to take all the documents to our room and work till late night. We indeed worked till late night. But could not finish our work. We finished our work next day before lunch. After lunch, we went to our room to take some rest and organize everything. We started to prepare for the exist meeting. However it took us till evening to organize to discussing points.

Before exist meeting we booked two seats for our journey to Dhaka. Though we were permitted to stay another night, we decided not to take that option. After the exist meeting, we went to our room and hurried to pack our bags. Our bus was scheduled to leave within couple of hours. After dinner ifti vai went to office manager and paid all our bills. Few minutes later we left the office for bus stand. Two officer accompanied us to the bus stand. Our bus came after 15 of the scheduled time. It was last bus to Dhaka from Keshabpur. We were tired and sleepy. I fell asleep right after I got in our bus. I don’t  remember anything what happened next except for Ifti vai telling highway police at midnight that these bags (pointing to our bags) belongs to two of us. We safely arrived at Dhaka next day. Our senior recommended us to take the day off and report to Client’s office next day. That was a great news for us because we had no energy or stamina left to attend the office.

The tour was great. I got the change to see and culture of Jessore region. Got familiar with food cooking and social behavior. I was planning to visit the place once again with my friends. But I didn’t know that I have to come to same region with in few days. But that’s another story.

Redwan

 

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