Proven Uneducated by the 'Educated'
AS I stepped on a rickshaw one day last week, in a bid to strike up a conversation, I inquired of the puller how much he was paying for his rice.
Twenty Taka, he replied.
'In a few days, you will not even get it at this price', he continued in view of my silence.
I manage a feeble 'will it not come down?'
Without impeding his movement through the thick of the traffic and unflustered by others around us, the puller bhai went on.
'How will it? We had the cow in our paddy fields. Now they use a goru made of tin. In the past the farmer used to take painstaking interest in his land, took care of every problem himself. Now he leaves everything up to the tin cow.
'In the past if a guy only rowed a boat he could earn a living. Just by going from one place to another, he could catch fish that he could eat as well as sell. Now they have the power boat. All the fish have vanished. The pabda is no longer available.' He manages a sardonic single-syllable laugh.
He was talking loud enough for those on other rickshaws to hear us. I listened like a keen student.
By now we were at Nilkhet crossing. With major city thoroughfares barred for rickshaws this place was rick-a-block. It only gave the puller more time to educate me.
'After passing class six-seven in the village school, no one wants to work on the land. They all come to Dhaka', he waved his hand in a sweep to indicate the other rickshaw-pullers in the big jam. 'Who will farm?' he asks turning his head half-circle. 'The price of rice will not come down', he adds.
'The gobment is telling us to breed cattle. The whole year they feed them. Come Eid, they open all the borders and allow all the cows to come from India. Baas, hoggol sash!' he huffs as he negotiates a Pajero.
'No body has cut their jute this year. What will they do by cutting it? They will get naught for it.
'You listen to me carefully, sir', he tells me. If you slaughter a cow and prepare the beef, and then leave the selling to a neekar (I am not familiar with the word) what will happen to your business?' I had no answer.
'That is what has happened to the sarkar. In every sector the neekars are running the show. Aapney bhiujjhen kintu!'
After alighting at the Kalabagan Dhaal beyond which rickshaws are not allowed, I wondered as I walked to the patrika office at Karwan Bazaar. What he said was the hopeless surrender of human resources to technology, of his disappointment with how things were being run by unqualified people with those qualified lazing about, of an unprotected market. My unknown rickshaw-puller wants wisdom to prevail, not technology.
Perhaps he will never know, but technology has put even the educated in a spot at times, as the following conversations emailed by a friend will bear out:
Customer: I'm trying to connect to the Internet with your CD, but it just doesn't work. What am I doing wrong?
Tech support: OK, you've got the CD in the CD drive, right?
Tech support: And what sort of computer are you using?
Customer: Computer? Oh no, I haven't got a computer. It's in the CD player. Listen...
Tech support on the phone: Click on the 'My Computer' icon on the left of the screen.
Customer: Your left or my left?
Customer: Hi, good afternoon, I can't print. Every time I try, it says 'Can't find printer'. I've even lifted the printer and placed it in front of the monitor, but the computer still says he can't find it...
Customer: I have problems printing in red...
Tech support: Do you have a colour printer?
Customer: Aaaah....................thank you.
Customer: My keyboard is not working anymore.
Tech support: Are you sure it's plugged into the computer?
Customer: No. I can't get behind the computer.
Tech support: Pick up your keyboard and walk 10 paces back.
Tech support: Did the keyboard come with you?
Tech support: That means the keyboard is not plugged in.
Customer: I can't get on the Internet.
Tech support: Are you sure you used the right password?
Customer: Yes, I'm sure. I saw my colleague do it.
Tech support: Can you tell me what the password was?
Customer: Five stars.
Tech support: What anti-virus programme do you use?
Tech support: That's not an anti-virus program.
Customer: Oh, sorry...Internet Explorer.
Customer: I have a huge problem. A friend has placed a screen saver on my computer, but every time I move the mouse, it disappears.
And last but not least.
Tech support: 'Okay, let's press the control and escape keys at the same time. That brings up a task list in the middle of the screen. Now type the letter "P" to bring up the Programme Manager."
Customer: I don't have a P.
Tech support: On your keyboard, sir.
Customer: What do you mean?
Tech support: "P".....on your keyboard, sir.
Customer: I'M NOT GOING TO DO THAT!!
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