I’ve worn many hats throughout my life to date – a rather unusual amalgamation of interests and skills.
When I was eight, I sent in a poem I’d written to the local newspaper. The moment I laid my eyes on my words in print, I was hooked. I’ve been writing ever since, from frantically scribbling down private thoughts in my journals to reporting for newspapers and spinning stories for publication. I have:
- Moonlighted as a freelance writer for two of the largest English language newspapers in Bangladesh – The Daily Star and Dhaka Tribune, primarily focusing on travel. I have a fortnightly travel column with The Daily Star, “South of the Equator,” where I recount my tales from travelling around the Southern Hemisphere.
- Written about alternative travel destinations for Bihanga, the inflight magazine of Biman Bangladesh, the national airline.
- In what can only be described as awe-inspiring, interviewed a Nobel Laureate while a feature writer for ICE Today, a monthly lifestyle magazine. Later, as an editorial assistant at ICE Today, I composed the widely shared “The Best of Bangladesh” highlighting top experiences in this oft neglected nation.
- Thrown my weight about as an editor for two student publications at university.
- In spurs of inspiration, written and illustrated travel stories for young children and cookbooks of Bengali recipes for Couchsurfers.
I’ve even managed to acquire the odd accolade along the way:
- Winner, Lonely Planet Pathfinders Blog Post July 2018
- Finalist, 2015 World Nomads Travel Food Scholarship
- Winner, 2008 Secret Attic Poetry Competition, UK
- Winner, New Age Literature Translation Contest
Born and raised in Bangladesh, my travels have largely been fettered by my impotent passport. It did, however, teach me to explore my own backyard. When I finally had the chance to venture out while living in London, I roamed the globe at every opportunity, partaking in all manner of travel. Backpack in tow, I’ve gone on weekend jaunts to European cities, and yearlong sabbaticals around the world.
I’ve camped and hiked, Couchsurfed and hitched rides. I’ve slept on cold benches at airports, under the stars on the beach, on random farms with kangaroos hopping nearby, and on one spectacular night, in a tent in the Sahara.
I’ve gorged my way through foodie expeditions, from Michelin starred fare in London and Tokyo, to roadside fried tarantula in Siem Reap and fermented shark in Reykjavik.
I’ve had to work to travel the way I want to, from battling immigration officers who didn’t know what or where Bangladesh was, to whipping out my sketchbook to draw ancient statues in strict defiance of “No Photography” signs at museums. And now that I am a mother, I battle toddler tantrums at ancient temples and have to get creative with where I choose to change soiled nappies.
And all the while, I absorb the experiences and translate them into my writing, and sometimes, into sketches or paintings, in the hopes that they will inspire others to see more of the world.
Artist & Photographer
I capture places, and moments in time, by painting or sketching them. Some of my favourite places to draw have been at:
- Piazza della Signoria in Florence
- The MET in New York
- Temples of Bayon in Angkor
- Acropolis Museum in Athens
While the rest of the world isn’t generally privy to it, I was lucky enough to have some of my work showcased at an exhibition in London.
Though very much an amateur, photography is an artistic pursuit I’m developing. Most of the photos featured in my articles are my own, and I’m continuing to work on these skills to complement my writing.
While conversations about economic analysis and policy papers might not be de rigueur at a backpacker’s hostel, my career as an Economist has taken me to diverse parts of the world. I have worked with villagers in rural Bangladesh, attended development conferences (while ironically sampling caviar) in Paris and presented my papers in Croatia, Pakistan and Singapore. It has allowed me to write for a different audience and developed the breadth of my writing style. My roles have also given me the opportunity to work closely with global leaders, ministers and intellectuals, offering me a diverse lens with which to view the world.
Now that you’re better acquainted with my feats and foibles, feel free to drop me a line if you’d like to work with me or just to say hello here.