In some neon in Sylhet

In some neon in Sylhet

*phone beeps* I wake up with one eye open and check my phone. It took a few seconds for the blur to fade from my vision; then I saw my lock screen wallpaper, then the clock; it was 3 am. Finally, I could see a text from my lock screen’s message preview from a friend explaining something about a pop culture discussion we had earlier.

*sighs* I put my phone away, softly saying, “Not now” under my breath, turned around, and dived back into the world inside my head, a transition I can fully achieve if I close my eyes. It’s better than my phone; sometimes, it’s the other way around, and that is when I… No, Pam did cheat on Roy in the second season when she kissed Jim at the Dundies, I should send this text now, or I will not feel the urge to argue tomorrow!

*sends text* That’s a relief. Now what? She is offline. Let me just check Instagram for any new messages—nope. Yikes, I have three notifications on Facebook; I wonder what it is; let me check—someone invited me to like their page, that same person asked me to join a group, and that same person has a new post in that group. You know what? I respect their efforts, and I hope their new online clothing store works out for them, so I will Like their page, join their group, and Like that recent post on that group because I am a supportive individual! (Soccer Mom moment there.)

*breathes deeply* What now? It is 3:30 am, no one is online, and I suddenly feel this weird urge to socialise. I think I may have insomnia. Let me just try to sleep; I really should, I spent the entire day working on software documentation, and my brain went fuzzy after I walked out of my office. I had a small hangout with my colleagues after work and had some decent coffee which was not putting me to sleep. I keep telling myself that I should reduce my coffee intake, yet I don’t fail to disappoint myself.

*stomach grumbles* I think there is no sleep for me then, so what do I do? I keep hearing from my colleagues about this restaurant Panshi that opens at five in the morning and has a delicious breakfast option. So it’s 4 am now, only an hour to go.

Should I just keep scrolling through my endless newsfeed? Or should I knock this one individual that’s online whom I spoke to months back about purchasing a premium Google Drive account and start talking about life? I could also watch a movie…no, that will put me to sleep. Strange how I was struggling to rest a while back, and now I am trying not to.

A few minutes passed, and I was watching some NBA highlights on Youtube, and then this wild idea hit me—I should go for a walk! Wait, it is still dark outside, then again, Housing Estate is a safe locality—or is it? Of course, my mother would have never allowed me to do this if I was home right now. But then again, “There is a charm about the forbidden that makes it unspeakably desirable.” Mark Twain’s words, not mine.

I decided to step out of my bed, and without washing my face or anything, I put my vest and joggers on, got into my running shoes, and stepped out of my apartment. Wow, it is so darn quiet out here. I started walking, and my legs started feeling comfier with every step; I will admit Housing Estate’s roads are built differently, but if you lift your head and look around, you will find yourself looking at fantastic unique homes that look straight out of the Victorian era. Some of these houses are so artistic that you wouldn’t need Pinterest for your coping mechanism.

I stopped near a house that was just one floor, flat like a sandwich and had minimalistic architecture. I have no clue why I stopped there; I was under a lamp post, staring at my own shadow under me. Then I looked up directly at the lamp, but it hurt my eyes, so I looked away, staring now at the house. I couldn’t see correctly, the bright light blurred my vision, and the place looked abstract now.

*starts walking again* I could see the sky lighting up now, slowly awakening the world around it, and with my heavy eyes, the only thing I could think about now was sleep. But no, I am hungry, and I want my breakfast. So I turned around and started heading towards Housing Estate’s gate, hoping to find a rickshaw to take me to Panshi.

It was a tiring walk to the gate, but it was no surprise when I saw no rickshaws there. So I guess I could either turn around now and go back to bed or… *grumbling intensifies* yes, I know, we want food, so we go Panshi, yes your wish is my command.

I decided to walk to Amberkhana to find a rickshaw. *hopes for the best* My feet were getting tired, but they managed to carry me to Amberkhana point, and I found a lot of options. I could take local transport and reach Zindabazar, but I wanted to experience the whole ‘morning aesthetic.’ Hence, I took a rickshaw, put my headphones on, and played “Harry’s wondrous world by John Williams,” If you are wondering, that’s the theme song of the first Harry Potter movie.

The music in the background and Sylhet city early in the morning during a public holiday hits different. I took some videos, and here is what it looked like:

I made it to Panshi a while later, and the place was crowded at even 5:30 am in the morning. Honestly, Panshi was great; no regrets. I had their Chicken soup with some parathas; I will give it an easy 10/10; it was perfect. So good that I wanted to try Panshi’s famous Akhni biryani. But that was 7/10. I don’t know; maybe I found the soup and paratha so delicious that it almost filled my stomach and my tastebuds were like, “That’s enough delicacies for today, Abrar.”

I took some photos too!

Anyways, I felt comfortable, and my stomach was not grumbling anymore, and now all I could think about was my bed. I walked out of Panshi and started looking for a rickshaw. I looked up at the gate of Panshi, and the neon board was still lit; that was when I received a call.

I was surprised; who was calling me so early? Did any of my colleagues see me? I took my phone out and noticed that it was my father calling. I got a bit tense, cut the call, and sent him a text that I was sleeping and will call him back later.

You may ask why I did not want to talk to my father that morning; that is a story for another day. I looked at Panshi’s sign board again, and the neon lights were turned off. I took a rickshaw and went back to my apartment. On the way, all I could think of was if I should dial my father’s number.

I got down from the rickshaw and stood near my gate.

*phone beeps* It’s him again


*sends text* “I am sleeping, Dad.”

*breathes deeply * *stomach grumbles* I wonder if everything is alright.

*starts walking again*

*grumbling intensifies* I am getting worried by the minute.

*hopes for the best*

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