In Bangladesh there are countless non-residents for work, travel or other ventures. In light of that, Rajesh Ramakrishnan, Managing Director of Perfetti Van Melle Bangladesh Ltd. shares his experience of exploring Bangladesh as a traveller and passionate photographer. Tawhidur Rashid comes back inspired
Photographs by Rajesh Ramakrishnan
Previously the Head of Marketing for Hindustan Times in Delhi, Rajesh moved to Dhaka back in March, 2014. “I have worked in India for twenty years, mostly in the Consumer Goods industry. I have spent several years with Reckitt Benckiser and Pepsico in marketing. ” shares the expat.
When asked about his stay in Bangladesh, he mentions that apart from work, his passion for travel and photography acts as a driving force to learn more about the country. “Every weekend, I go somewhere to take photos. I think it’s a great way to experience the culture and the local nuances,” articulates Rajesh. He further explains that to him travelling is not about visiting the tourist spots; rather it’s about exploring and discovering things which are unique. He looks for places which are unconventional, even for the locals. To him, that’s the joy of travelling.
Rajesh also reveals that despite political instabilities, he has had the privilege of pursuing his love for the road and his lenses. “Although movement was a little restricted due to the strikes, I was still able to visit the Sundarbans in January this year. There were about twenty of us and we went on a three day cruise which was a fantastic experience. Going through the mangrove forests allowed me to capture some great shots of nature,” he exclaimed enthusiastically. He has also been to Cox’s Bazar, however, he wasn’t able to explore the place as much as he wanted to.
According to Rajesh, work becomes play when duties require him to go out of town. “A month ago I visited Habiganj in Sylhet; I went to The Palace for work, and I took that opportunity to take some photos there as well. It’s a beautiful area with the tea gardens,” he adds.
His thirst for exploring the vast Bengal has also taken him to Chittagong and Bogra. When in Dhaka, Rajesh frequents Old Dhaka, at least once a month. “I went to the third floor of an old building in Shakhari Bazaar. In it, there was a small room which had pictures of Mother Teresa, Guru Govind Singh, Goddess Durga and Jesus Christ and at least pictures of six or seven other religions on the wall. It was interesting to see that the temple didn’t belong to any specific deity or religion and the people were quietly sitting and praying.” As he went on to describe his accounts of Old Dhaka, he found that the place was quite festive during Janmashtami. “It was absolutely fascinating to see a predominantly Muslim country celebrating the occasion with such splendour,” he says, cheerfully.
Rajesh also went shooting during Muharram, in front of the Shia mosques to capture their awe-inspiring beauty. Photography has taken him far out of his comfort zone in order to capture the rawness that is hidden in the depths of Bengal.
He says, “Sonargaon is another place that is bursting with sights and sounds. There I visited Panam Nagar to shoot.”
His creative visions got him his first solo photography exhibition in Dhaka at the National Museum. The theme was called Yogaspire which featured popular Yogi Anika Rabbani and musician and RJ, Samir Obaid. With them, he visited different locations around Dhaka, taking pictures of them doing yoga. The shots featured things like doing yoga on a rickshaw, in an abandoned building, as well as yoga on a boat while cruising the Buriganga River. “I combined these photographs together in order to emphasise the idea that yoga is something one can do anywhere; it’s something that is good for the body, mind and soul,” said Rajesh.
Although he’s getting to know Bangladesh better, Rajesh believes there’s always something happening here and that’s why he enjoys his stay.
“I think one shouldn’t click regular things. In order to standout as a photographer, one must spot the things that are uncommon. I think photography is a great way to de-stress, considering that most of us are neck deep in work. But when you’re shooting, you don’t let work or the other things get in your way. Last but not least, having a perspective is important. Because that enabled me to explore the world in special ways,” concludes the expat.