Dhaka city is a place for hopes, dreams and so much more. Amidst the chaotic traffic and SMEs claiming to be startups, it is a central hub for quality education and jobs in Bangladesh. Other than being the capital city of the country, it also hosts the best universities in the nation. Now, not all are that privileged to have their hometowns in Dhaka. There are thousands of people that come and stay in this city to complete their tertiary education and employ themselves. While it seems very fun and new to many, a lot of them find it difficult to live away from home. After all, it is not easy leaving one’s friends and family behind and starting a new life. This article accounts for a rendezvous of my own as I too live in a bachelor flat. So, what exactly are bachelor flats?
A bachelor flat or a hostel is a place where girls or boys share their flat with people of the same gender. This usually happens when people come from different cities to fulfil a purpose like studies or finding a job to improve their standard of living. People share rooms, toilets and other facilities. Dhaka is comparatively an expensive city to live in terms of housing. For a sharing room with added amenities like Wi-Fi, gas, electricity etc. the average expense is Tk 5,000 to 8,000 whereas a single room can go up to Tk 15,000. Sounds like a rip-off? Yes, it can be labelled as so. Other than this, there are certain rules and regulations one must follow when living the bachelor life in Dhaka. There is always a curfew. Lucky are those who do not have it because the majority does. Then, there is gender separation. This means that in a girls hostel, no boys are allowed and vice versa. Other than these, there are complex guidelines that vary from one landlord to another. Talking of expenses, groceries and transport are a whole new game in this context. Bachelors are addicted to junk food because it saves them time and hassle. Ridesharing services like Uber, Pathao, Obhai and Shohoz are embarking upon such people because most of them don’t have transport of their own and are propelled to use public transport as well. Is it all really that bad? It’s not! Surprisingly, even within these struggles, there is freedom. Many think of this as an opportunity to explore more within themselves and their comfort zone. They take it as a challenge and strengthen their survival mode. There comes this sense of independence and many by default become financially sufficient for their own selves. It has a peaceful and fruitful output as well. Especially girls who come from conservative backgrounds or small towns find this extremely liberating.
To get a more insightful take on this, we contacted Ayesha Nawar Safa, a 2nd-year student at Bangladesh University of Professionals and the owner of a booming bakery ‘Cravio Cakes’. When we asked her about her take on the feeling of liberty as a bachelor, she had the following to say: “Yes, it is liberating to some extent. But this liberty comes with extra responsibility as well. I found it liberating because I did not think about having to come back home early or abide by the usual family regulations and routine. My whole day would go just the way I scheduled it and it would not affect or be affected by a 2nd person. That was independence in itself.” Although, she did add that she misses home. Ayesha stated “Yes, sometimes I do miss home. Especially at times when I come back home after a whole day of class and work, and I realise there is no one to even make me a cup of coffee. I have to cook for myself, do my own chores without any help. I also miss my parents when I have an important decision to make as they always acted as a guide for me. I'm quite indecisive so it bothers me a lot to not have a guardian figure present with me there.” The concluding question from our end to hers was that if you could talk about your bachelor life in a nutshell, how would you put it? She said the following “It's like tasting the real world to be honest. Learning to be responsible, dealing with your own problems and choosing the right people and lifestyle for yourself. Being Bangladeshi girls, we're all grown up in a family where our parents do the most for us and we're always under their protection. But bachelor life taught me how to survive on my own and gave me the confidence of being able to make effective decisions for my own future.”
To understand it from a male’s perspective, we interviewed Samin Yaser Chowdhury, a final year BBA Finance student in North South University. We started by asking him a very common question: Do you like your life in Dhaka as a bachelor? He smirked and said “Yes for sure! Because it is fun. I can enjoy my personal space and have some privacy.” Afterwards, when we questioned him about the negative side of living the bachelor life, he stated “Never getting out of doing the chores. Have to clean up every mess that I make”. Our last query to him was: What is that one factor in Dhaka which makes it different from living in your native city? “Dhaka is filled with opportunities. There are so many that I can’t even finish naming them in my lifetime.”
Overall, a bachelor’s life is like a movie. It has action, thriller and so much more. There is a lot you learn along the way. A saying that fits this whole article is that you grow through what you go through. A true fact, indeed.