The rains don’t smell like rain back home. The lights are brighter, the streets strange. Religions clash here, 9/11 happened and almost overnight, Muslims weren’t the token minority anymore. Everything’s in English and Bangla has to claw its way out of my throat when I speak. The children we bring into this world will have to decide which culture to grasp onto, which language to speak, which God to believe in. When we got on to a flight from DAC to JFK we fragmented forever the notion of home. You and I, we will never belong to any one physical location, our tongues will not prefer any one language over another, our dreams will teleport endlessly across the Pacific Why then, do the rains not smell right? Why do the streets appear unknown? Why is home still packaged in red and green?
Hiraeth is a series of images that seeks to define what home means to me, whether it is a physical location or a collection of voices, thoughts and images. In doing so, it also strives to tell the story of Bangladeshi immigrants in New York City. Like my ideas of home, it is a work in progress.