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     Volume 4 Issue 48 | May 27, 2005 |

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Dhaka Diary

A musical duel
The other day on the bus, two young boys were screaming their lungs out at each other from the back seats. These schoolchildren clad in their uniforms were probably on their way back home from school. Both of them seemed to be interested in the Bangla Underground bands and were having an intellectual discussion about it and practically screaming out their opinions. However, these two boys were die-hard fans of two different bands and were having an almost violent argument about the two different band scenes. Although all the passengers were enjoying the debate, at one point, they became a little annoyed when the two boys actually challenged each other to fight a duel, like those ancient gladiators. However, this duel was to involve singing and not any bloodshed, which in a way made the situation more unbearable. The first boy started singing a song from his favourite band. His voice was unbearable to the ears, which made everyone clap out in exasperation, asking him to stop. The boy thinking that he was being encouraged continued to sing, until a middle-aged man got up and asked him to stop. The boys were so embarrassed that they got off at the nearest bus stop.

Shoaib M. Siddiqui Dhaka City College


Foreign help
One morning I was on the bus, waiting to cross over the busy intersection of the Science Laboratory road. Like the many office goers, students, housewives and normal pedestrians, a blind beggar was also desperately trying to cross the junction. He was trying hard to cross the road, and as a result, drew a big traffic jam, waiting for him to move over to the other side. I became anxious for him and was thinking whether to get down from the bus and help him out. However, my eagerness was choked when I saw a foreigner extending a helping hand to the poor fellow. By the grace of Almighty, the poor man was saved, not from his fellow desis but from a foreigner.

Shafia Akhter Lecturer, Eastern University

Finally, some system!
I had heard about people bribing the police. I think, if I was a more observant person and didn't mind looking around me more, I would even have seen many law-breaking drivers slipping a Tk 5 or Tk 10 note to the nearest traffic sergeant. But what I witnessed the other day was really quite surprising and rather amusing. A traffic policeman had stopped a driver and was looking through his papers, probably thinking of confiscating them. I was in my car near Elephant Road, stuck at a traffic light and hadn't even noticed them before my driver pointed them out. "Watch," he said, "how the driver is going to pay off the policeman. He is going to leave the money somewhere." I saw the policeman hand the driver back the papers and watched the driver move back a few steps. To anyone not watching closely, it would seem as if the whole incident had just finished there. But, my curiosity roused by my driver's prediction, I watched the driver move back towards the collapsible iron gate of a building behind him, sort out his papers and slip something between the iron grills of the gate. So doing, he walked away. About a minute or so later, just as my own driver had predicted, I saw the police officer casually stroll towards the gate and pull out whatever it was that had been left for him to collect. I was amazed at how systematic the whole bribing process has become, with all the players knowing their roles so well. At least there are some things in our country -- as rare as they may be and not always quite positive -- where people go by the rules!

KSI Gulshan 2


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