I was walking down Mirpur Road near the Kalyanpur bus stand,
I was witness to an accident that was caused by reckless driving.
It was a police pick-up van, most probably of the detective
branch, that suddenly took a u-turn without taking into account
the rushing cars from the other side. Luckily, most of the
cars managed to skirt round the van while it swerved without
slowing down, but a mishuk could not. It just rammed
into the van. Before we, the passersby, could understand the
consequences, as it happened in the blink of an eye, we could
make out an old man lying flat on the ground -- unconscious.
He tipped out of the van itself and the crushing mishuk
only missed him by an inch. Had he dropped a little further
to his left he would have been crushed between the two vehicles.
Now, accidents can happen anywhere, but the sheer lack of
responsibility on the part of a driver of a vehicle that belongs
to the law enforcement agency is mind-boggling. And what followed
the accident was even more frightening. The walky-talky carrying
officers were just instructing other men, who were fellow
riders of the unconscious elderly man, to carry him to the
van that was by then parked on the roadside after hitting
and almost running away leaving their own man lying on the
street. They never even paid much attention to the mishuk
and its passengers. The mishuk driver was badly hurt
and was lying on the street with a head injury; one of the
two female passengers was also hurt on the head and was bleeding
profusely. However, other than the people on the street, the
officers seemed impassive to the whole affair, their personnel
even needed their officer's instructions to carry their own
man to the van. These were the men on duty, who would not
even lift a finger without the order of their superiors.
hassles of bus travel
have been commuting from Shahbagh to Farmgate for a pretty
long time. Because of the short distance of my destination,
I usually travel by local buses that ply between Gulistan
to Mirpur or Airport Road. Each day offers something new to
enrich my experiences on this bus route. Amidst the relentless
shouting of bus-conductors, I have to push hard to get into
an overcrowded bus and, if lucky enough, find a seat and wonder
how these ramshackle buses pass the fitness test. The bus-conductors
ask for the fare over and over again even though it has already
been paid. The agile assistant bus-conductor or "helper"
makes his presence known by uttering words from his personal
dictionary like "plastic" (by this they mean private
car) on the left-side, "borabor" (go straight),
'halka" (go slowly), etc., and acts as the driver's guide.
Passengers start bickering over the most trivial matters.
Vendors of various items try to persuade people to buy their
wares. All of a sudden the bus is stopped by a traffic sergeant
for wrongful parking, though he will soon be "managed"
before the driver takes another wrong turn. As I get off at
my destination and out of what feels like hell, I tell myself
that this Dhaka lifestyle is what makes it unique from everywhere
else in the world.
Nazrul Islam Sumon, Department of English, University