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     Volume 4 Issue 39 | March 25, 2005 |

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Dhaka Diary

Smoking Hookah at an ice-cream parlour
Our 4-year old son likes faluda and the Rainbow ice cream parlour is one of his favourites. The other day we went to Rainbow in Dhanmondi and sat down in the somewhat cramped space of the parlour. There, we saw two young men, sitting right behind us, puffing away and blowing smoke from a hookah, served by the shopkeeper. I presumed this as the management's latest sales technique to encourage more customers. However, for our child and us, the smoke was quite unbearable. We had to move away to avoid the direct smoke clouds, but there really was no escape and the small room quickly filled with smoke. When we complained to the shopkeepers, they in turn blamed their management and seemed rather irritated themselves. Being non-smokers, they were also suffering along with the other customers. It is quite amazing that in this age, with a heightened awareness of the perils of smoking (both active and passive), where most work and recreation environments are becoming non-smoking zones, such a practice is seen in an ice cream parlour. I guess the next time, we would have to get take-away faludas!

Dr. Iftekhar Ahmed Department of Architecture, BUET

Rotten Veggies a day...
The other day, I was at the Mohammadpur Bazar shopping for fresh grocery, when I heard a customer's agitated scream, "<>Apnara noshto shobji den, tar upor poishao chan beshi. Eto dam niyeo kharap jinish dile amra khabo ki?<>" (You charge us a very high price for these rotten vegetables of yours. How do you expect us to eat for survival?) Musing upon this, it struck me that the wholesalers actually sell us damp grocery and in turn ask for a lot of money claiming that the vegetables are fresh. We realise the state of the vegetables only after we cook and eat them. This shows that the idea of health is still taking a back seat in our society and that the idea of having good food and a well-balanced diet, is probably the last thought in the minds of our leaders.

Irfan Khalid Notre Dame

No pockets
step towards a better society

On my way to Farmgate from Gulshan-1, our bus would frequently stop owing to bad traffic. While going through a similar torturous moment at the Mahakhali Tempo Stoppage, I actually had the opportunity to treat myself to something, which I had always heard of but never ever seen before with my very own eyes. About ten Tempo drivers were 'shaking hands' with the traffic policemen, actually passing money as bribe. Not only was it amazing to see the policemen automatically put the money inside their pockets, but also that after a while the 'big fish' or the sergeant came up for his share as well! All the traffic policemen brought out their bundles of nicely stacked two taka notes, from which the sergeant kept a big portion. Since, 'to err is only human' and policemen being only human, bad mouthing these law enforcers is just a waste of time. Instead, maybe the authority can think of giving them new uniforms with no pockets whatsoever. This might decrease the numbers of these indiscretions, done so openly in public nowadays.

Md. Jabed Amin (Juwel) ICAB


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