What is home? What makes home, home? These may be simple questions with obvious answers for most of us living in Dhaka but that's surely not the case with bachelors who have left their homes and families behind to live on their own.
Adnan Sirajee, a private sector development specialist working for the World Bank, lives away from his family in his bachelor pad in Gulshan- 2.
“The concept of home becomes blurry when you have your own place. When I speak of home, I become a bit thoughtful as to where my actual home is, the place where I used to stay or my apartment,” he says.
Setting out on your own, especially if your parents live in the same city, does not mean you're breaking away from your family, most bachelors claim.
Adnan continues, “I moved out merely for convenience. My parents' house, where I used to live before, is a bit far from work. I realised I spent endless hours stuck in traffic. And that's when I knew I needed to move out.”
Strangely, the physical distance between a person and his family strengthens the bond. “As I'm not always there with my parents, I miss them more and understand the value of having a family in a way someone who has always been with his family can never comprehend,” Adnan reassures.
But traffic, obviously, is not the only reason to move out. Adnan's roommate Parth Nilawar, who works at Grameen Phone as a consultant specialising in designing experiences, says moving out allows you to grow and discover yourself.
“Learning to lead life is much like swimming,” he says. “You've got to get in the water in order to learn; there's no other way. So, if you want to know how to be self-dependent and live life smartly, you must go through this phase of living on your own for some years.”
And Adnan agrees. Your parents, the biggest providers of comfort you'll ever get, take the responsibility of all the troubles, chores and everything you can possibly imagine. You get a free ride on everything. While that shows how much a family can do, it sure builds a protective cushion to shield you from the many challenges life throws at you.
Saimon, another bachelor who lives in Uttara, agrees. “I never knew where to pay for bills and how to run household errands. When I started living on my own, I learned these little things that, when integrated together, can draw the line between a responsible person and someone who's immature.”
Living with roommates also helps a person learn how to compromise and adjust to the needs of other people. It also teaches you how to tactfully deal with monetary and other sensitive issues with roommates, especially if they're your friends.
As a human being, you need to grow mentally on your own and discover yourself. Living without a family may help you do that.
But that doesn't mean you become so independent that you will never want to settle down. “I was once not willing to get married at all. Now, I'm even open to arranged marriages,” a bachelor says with a grin.
Indeed, life as a bachelor can be seen as a transition period that makes a youngster more responsible, and hence, more mature and better equipped to manage his own family.
But are parents fine with this notion? Not really. As a society, we still idealise living under the same roof, no matter how old you become.
Yet you cannot deny the benefits a bachelor life promises, not just the learning but the perks! But persuading your parents can be difficult for many. Most families in Bangladesh will find it odd that you need a separate home in the same city.
On the other hand, Adnan relates that his parents are very liberal in nature. He simply explained that he needed to grow as an individual with an independent mindset, and that was it.
Yet, people in Bangladesh are not very open to this way of life. After all, we see landlords refusing to rent his/her place to bachelors.
But with time, this trend will probably change. So much so, we might even see the rise of studio apartments in the future; but not in the near future, probably. The concept of a bachelor pad and the issue of living alone are at its genesis.
The distant future will become the present one day.
Yet, no matter what, our family structure should not completely become like the ones we find in many parts of the world, especially in the west, where children leave home as soon as they are eighteen and never consider living with their parents again.
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Model: Adnan Sirajee and Fardeen Firoze