Postcards from the Edge

of Bangladesh

The joy of Bangladeshi DVDs

They’re like a box of chocolates…

But they are cheap, you can get 1 DVD with 6 movies on it for about 100 taka (about £1). So I know I can’t complain toooo much. 

But. 

– Sometimes they just don’t play at all.

– Sometimes the quality is so bad that I can’t really make out facial expressions or what’s in the background of a scene. 

– Sometimes it’s not possible to remove the English subtitles. Which wouldn’t be so bad if the subtitles actually followed the script. Who writes these things? Wow. ‘I understand’ becomes ‘I don’t understand’. ‘I know how you feel’ becomes ‘Sally Field’ (honestly). And it’s physically impossible for me NOT to read the subtitles if they are in English. I can’t drag my eyes away from them. I thought before I came out here that I could lend some English DVDs to people here who want to improve their English, and they could read the subtitles and listen to the words. What a great way to learn. Ja, no. Not a good idea. Who knows what the result of that English lesson would be.

– Sometimes there is nothing ‘sub’ about the subtitles. They are literally ACROSS the screen. And obviously with the above described usefulness and irritation factor. 

– Sometimes, and this is my person favourite, the ‘subtitles’ are a mixture of subtitles AND the director’s commentary. Which goes something like this: ‘Yes, Sally Fields, it doesn’t seem fair when what I wanted to do with this scene is use the flat light from the snow to really emphasise the depression of the main character tell Jimmy I’ll see him there.’ 

And you know what, despite any (or all) of the above affecting a DVD, I’ll still watch it.

DVDs are certainly my little escape here. It can be tough going here. Just getting through the day can be very tiring and draining. Don’t underestimate the toll that trying to understand people around you, and trying to make yourself understood, can take on you. Words have to be chosen carefully, said slowly and preferably aided with some hand gestures/body language/charades. There is also the intense interest in just about everything you do (I slipped *always* and almost feel outside my neighbour’s house yesterday. Today someone told me they heard that I almost fell yesterday. So my almost-falls are as big news as my actual-falls). And as someone who values/loves/needs her privacy and ‘me’ time, it’s hard. A little escapism can go a long way here. 

And no, I’m not complaining (again) about being here. If I could go back in time and have the chance to re-make the decision to come to Bangladesh, I’d make the same decision.

1 Comment»

  Pam wrote @

Help is on the way! Xx


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