“three cups of tea” with surayia

, ,

Surayia at home in Dhaka. Photo: Anil Advani

With Anil, we went to see Surayia – a much anticipated visit!  Anil had prepared chicken soup the night before and we took some sweets for the girls who are helping her.  The pre-Eid traffic was heavy – Dhaka residents doing their last minute shopping for the holiday, at the cattle markets to select their animals or enroute to their villages to be with family for the four-day break.   After an hour or so, we arrived a Surayia’s home, the incense sticks burning with sweet scent to welcome us.   Surayia was sitting in her hallway – the same hallway in which many women had come to embroider for so many years.  Now it was empty, except for a few chairs for day-time guests and family photographs on the walls.  She looked so beautiful in her white sari and we so enjoyed our three cups of tea with her.  It has been a year since we interviewed her in Toronto, and this was the first time we have seen her since.  We are thankful that Surayia is still alive – so gracious, so humble, so extraordinary.

Showing Surayia clips from the film footage. Photo: Anil Advani