| Posted Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011, at 6:32 PM ET
People generally ride the roofs of trains in Bangladesh for one of three reasons: 1) It's free. 2) It's fun. 3) There is no room inside.
Unfortunately, regardless of the reason, the reality is the same: Sitting or lying on the corroded metal roof of a train moving at 40 kilometers per hour is dangerous.
"When the train starts your feet will shake and you will try to hold something, but there is nothing to hold on to," says Bangladeshi photographer G.M.B. Akash, who learned to balance while shooting the photos above. (The project came to my attention through Anastasia Photo in New York City, which is currently featuring a larger exhibit of Akash's work titled "Survivors.") "Knowing that at any time an accident can happen will make you nervous [and] give you insecurity, making it more risky," he added.
Those who ride the roof every day to work, too broke to pay for a spot inside, eventually get accustomed to the shaking. They learn how to gracefully duck low-hanging tree limbs and nonchalantly avoid decapitation by stray wire. These regulars often grow so comfortable that they doze as they ride. But all it takes is a sudden stop or a crazy dream, and then even these veterans run the risk of rolling right off.