I was roaming around TSC, DU in the evening of 16th December 2007. I was a new photographer at that time and was trying to capture something that would encapsulate the spirit of this day. Was I putting much thought into the kinds of images I wanted to capture? Probably not; photographers tend to glorify or justify their images once they finish taking it, but the truth is they mostly follow their instinct while capturing a shot. It’s a photographer’s sense of catching a moment of impact that makes the image successful.
There was a small human chain just opposite to the anti-corruption Raju memorial in TSC. A family of four clad in red green caught my attention. They had two little girls who were wearing head bands with the slogan “Amar Bangladesh (My Bangladesh)”. The kids were cute and innocent, yet there was a strange complacence and determination in their faces. Suddenly, the younger one looked upward to her sister, maybe she was asking something. As the faces got close, two words, ‘Amar’ and ‘Bangladesh’ from their headbands came together. I instinctively sensed the composition and pressed the shutter. Afternoon light was quickly fading into darkness since the sun had just set. I took three images to make sure I got one without any camera shake.
This photo became widely popular. It was being used by people as their profile photos in the social networks, in blogs and even was being stolen by newspapers. The combination of words along with the calm, cute and determined faces probably created an impact in people’s mind. This is one of my most successful images till date.
On March 26, 2008, I spotted them again. Same family, same attire, same innocent faces. This time, I approached them with a smile and talked about the photo I took last year. To my surprise, they have already seen that photo in some newspaper and were surprised to meet the photographer! Life is full of surprises. Didn’t want to lose them anymore, so I collected their contact details.
I called Mrittika’s father on the next 16th December and met them at TSC. Mrittika was growing up fast. I spent some time taking more casual, posed images of them this time. After a few weeks, my cellphone was lost with all the numbers. I hadn’t met them again before I left Bangladesh in August 2011.
These photos keep reminding me about the love and passion we hold in our heart for Bangladesh and how we pass this torch of patriotism to the youth. Our country is our identity and we must protect this identity for the generations to come.