Hubby has been appointed the Chief Convenor of a body that
decides on Hartaals and such matters in Dhaka.
His main duty is to get political parties to agree on a
certain date for the next hartaal. I would have
felt better had his area of jurisdiction been all of Bangladesh,
but it is all right. It is not everyday that he gets to
take such important decisions; still, a wife can't help
getting ambitious for her husband.
if he discharges his duty well in Dhaka, he could be asked
to take on added responsibility for the rest of the country,
and maybe parts of our neighbouring countries as well. As
they say, with hartaals, the sky is the limit.
No wonder our pilots refuse to fly.
you have noticed the dip in the frequency of hartaals
lately. It is not because the political parties have finally
seen the futility of hartaals, or have tired of
this tactic. Rather, it is because this relatively new man
at the helm is taking his time to settle in and acquaint
himself with the ideologies of the several parties that
have assigned him the convenor's job. Even then, he has
already announced seven successful hartaals in
a brief span of two months.
Hubby is now an influential man. Remember, he has to co-ordinate
with all the workers of a party calling the hartaal.
At the same time, he also has to balance the whims, requests
and preferences of all other political parties. There is
little leeway for ill-planning. He has to make sure that
his scheduled meeting at, say, Banani, doesn't overlap with
the ruckus that has been planned for Banani. Or that his
car is nowhere near the bus that has to be burnt down, or
that I stay away from visiting my friend in that area, or
that the dinner planned at our house later that evening
doesn't have anyone from the other (more sensitive) part
of town on our guest list, and so on. It is a tough job.
hartaals takes plenty of time and planning. Now
you can't just wake up one fine morning and announce before
the press that there'll be a hartaal the next day.
You have to give the common man enough time to plan out
their alternatives (not every one is as lucky as I am to
have an insider in my midst). However, there have been a
few occasions earlier when hartaals were announced
just the evening before, but such instances are rare. Usually,
only slain party leaders merit such drastic steps. It is
not a particularly favoured line of action with any of the
parties as, The Hubby admits, in such cases the entire hartaal
machinery gets derailed- not enough ambulances are able
to get mobilised for airport duties (God forbid if someone
genuinely needs to visit the hospital), not enough rickshaw-pullers
are able to stream in from the other parts of the country,
not enough party workers are able to be brought together
from other districts, and so on.
Hubby has the added responsibility of attributing proper
reasons to each hartaal. This is the trickier part.
While those of you in media and reporting will agree that
since hartaals are common occurrences, you have
standard paragraphs ready that get plugged at the right
slots when need arises. Where are your minds being put to
test? Look at The Hubby on the other hand, and I salute
the genius of my husband, already, he has single-handedly
managed to identify the grounds for next several hartaals
that have been lined up for future. And mind you, each reason
is as different from the other as one party chief is from
the other one.
does he designate dates for hartaals? Here's The
Hubby's modus operandi. Every Sunday morning he sits with
his diary and mine. He asks me if I have any dinners planned
for that week. He also notes down my other engagements during
the week, and lists them in his order of preference. My
day could read something like: Tuesday- pick up child from
school early, parlour at 11, drop in at neighbour's to see
her newborn, buy red shoe for child's school function, look
up Chicken Thermidore's recipe on the net, finish novel
and return it to friend, etc. The hubby's list would then
read: Tuesday- The Wifey free, Myself free, hartaal
possible. Apologies to other ladies and gentlemen who may
have had several pressing matters lined up for that Tuesday;
too bad you couldn't think of a better day. These are the
few perks of being the wife of the Chief Convenor. I told
you he is a big man.
you may say, "So what about Thursdays? Will the parties
stop calling strikes on Thursdays from now on?"
no, don't get the parties wrong there. Thursday remains
the preferred day for hartaals. As I hear from
the Hubby, no party has ever had any objections to getting
a quiet day of rest on a Thursday- the perfect recipe for
a great weekend for the common man (they always insist it
is for the common man). With several pressing matters that
need to be redressed, there is little time to waste on productive
work. After all, and all parties share this view, no one
got any richer by working 24/7, so why not have a couple
more holidays over and above the weekly off?
may have a point there. I am happy because I don't have
to wake up early on those days to ready my child for school.
And you thought The Hubby doesn't care about me.
(R) thedailystar.net 2004