<%-- Page Title--%> Dhaka Diary <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 154 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

May 14, 2004

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Change of Skin

I was on my way home from a friend's place when the police on Banani Bridge brought my mishuk to a halt. I knew that it was routine inspection and they were simply checking the vehicle for arms and other such illegal manifestations. I asked the policeman aged about 25, if I needed to get down for them to perform a body search. He told me that it was not necessary as they were looking for a stolen mishuk. He gently asked the mishuk driver for his papers. The mishukwalla, who had to be about 40, seemed a little agitated to comply with the policeman's request. He kept mumbling about something regarding a case against his license. After going through the papers the policeman told the mishukwalla that his papers were a month old. What happened next shocked me. The mishukwalla totally lost his temper and started to scream at the policeman at the top of his lungs. He told the frightened policeman that "you have no right to make false accusations and change facts, just because I am poor and illiterate". The bemused policeman, totally taken aback, looked thoroughly through the papers again and realised that he had been wrong. The papers were just three days old but the mishukwalla was supposed to have renewed the papers by now. The driver told the policeman that the hartals and the 'economic ' state of the country made it impossible for him to have his papers renewed. The policeman said no more and we were soon on our way. I took a dare and asked the mishukwalla why he was so harsh with the policeman, to which he replied, "If I didn't do the shouting, then he would have, and it is better to be more giving than to receive." I said no more.

SIB, Banani

Social Recidivism

Even though the drug business in Bangladesh is punishable by law (the highest punishment being the death sentence), the drug peddlers here are still dealing it in broad daylight. They are in all nooks and corners in Dhaka city. A few days back, I was on my way to my uncle's place in Kataban on foot. I passed by two fellows who called out to me, "Apnee jaa chan, aikhane shoobe paben." (Whatever you want, we have it all here.) Consecutively, I stopped and asked him what he had. He confidently said, "Ganja, dayle, heroine, Bangla madh…ar ki chan?" (Cannabis, phensydyl, heroine, local spirit…what else do you need?) I simply replied that I did not require any of the items on his list. They must have found my answer rather sarcastic because they started to jeer at me. I quickly went about my way. Though there were a lot of people in the area, no one seemed bothered about the duo who were busy about their 'business' bothering innocent passerbys. I still wonder how these people get so much courage to do what they do in during daytime and crowded public places.

Md. Jabed Amin, Khilkhet

Life on the Streets

As I was getting down from a bus in Mirpur, I witnessed a rather pathetic scene. One of the local fruit sellers had thrown a carton away and a hoard of street children rushed to it to see what it contained. I noticed some rotten fruits in the carton but the children were going crazy with joy. It was almost as if they had won some lottery ticket, though what they had won were some leftover grapes but they showed no signs of disappointment. They just accepted what they got and were happy with it. It was amazing to see how they managed to share such a small portion of grapes amongst so many of them. I just wonder what the reaction of the children would have been if they had received that box full of fresh grapes!

Md. Sohrab Hossain, East Shewapara, Mirpur



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