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     Volume 5 Issue 124 | December 15, 2006 |

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Dhaka Diary

An Enchanted Encounter

The basement was too crowded by the students who had just finished their GCE exams. So I made my way in front of the shopping complex to wait for my mother. There too I could not escape the crowd. In spite of the scorching heat outside the mall was bustling with people of all ages. Waiting for about half an hour, finally our car appeared at the entrance gate of the Bashundhara City Complex. Mother was pleased to hear my Accounting exam went pretty well. The Toyota Carina GT struggled its way to the main road leaving the crowded complex behind. Soon it came to a halt at the Panthapath Intersection traffic signal. A few minutes later a group of street urchins appeared, each one of them carrying several packets of popcorn. Nowadays it has become a profitable business for these children to sell popcorn at almost every traffic signal throughout the city.

A half clad boy of about 12 approached our car and begged us to buy a packet of pop corn informing us that he was in terrible need of some cash. Mother could not resist her emotions and instantly bought one. As soon as she handed a 30 taka note the signal turned green and the car took the left turn swiftly and there again it began to move slowly as the road was too congested. While our car crawled its way through the heavy traffic I heard a distant scream coming from behind. I checked the side mirrors and found the half clad boy running anxiously after us. The boy rushed towards my mother panting, holding out a 20 taka note and saying politely that she forgot to take back the change. The price of the popcorn was only 10 taka. We were absolutely amazed by the little one's honesty. Mother blessed him and handed him a 100 taka note, insisting he keep it when he strictly refused. The boy then accepted it with a smile of pride and thanked us. Since that encounter with the street urchin my perspective about these street kids has really changed. It has made one thing clear to me that even a simple boy like him can have so much honesty and dignity which in today's world most of us lack in our educated society. It makes me want to be a better person.

Abeid Hassan,Dhaka

The other day I was going home from Banani on a rickshaw. As my rickshaw was trying to wheedle past the crowd of rickshaws, I could hear someone speaking right behind me. He was speaking in broken English and seemed to get closer. Maybe a passenger speaking on the cell phone on another rickshaw, I thought to myself not paying too much attention to it. The speaker was saying that he would definitely be on time and was asking the person on the other line not to worry. As the rickshaw passed by mine, I could see that the rickshaw was empty. It was the rickshaw puller who was talking on the cell phone! Amidst all the congestion on the street, this little sight actually made me smile a little. It was kind of refreshing to see even a rickshaw puller making a living using technology and communicating with foreign passengers.

Durdana Kaiser,Gulshan 2

Diary from Melbourne

Brain Drain

Staying away from home and all the comforts of life is always hurting, especially when one is out of the home country as well. I have been staying away from home for two years now and apart from family and friends I miss my country as well. But it seems I am the odd one out.

We had a multicultural week in my university in Melbourne in October. In the closing ceremony I was having a chat with some of my Bangladeshi university mates. I was very unpleasantly surprised about the views of all the Bangladeshis in attendance, about what they feel about our "beloved" motherland. They said they never miss the country and would never want to go back and live there. Some statements they made were like "oi bhanga deshe ar ke jai", "Bangladeshe giye ki ar korbo", "heaven theke hell e ke jai". I told them that of course we all know the current circumstances of the country and how inconvenient it is for the people. But this doesn't mean that it will always be like this. The fact is until and unless we don't love and care for our country from the bottom of our hearts it will never improve. I got into an argument saying that the youth of today just want a readymade, comfortable life which is just out there in any western country because that's where all the money is. Nobody wants to go back to the country and try to improve it in which ever way possible. This is the case for people living in the US, UK or Australia. Illiterate people trying to run the country are one of the major reasons for the current fiasco that is going on in Bangladesh. If well-educated people never come back to country to serve on the fields of infrastructure and development, then our future is doomed. So people who are abroad, studying or working need to go back to the country and serve. If one doesn't create opportunity then how would it exist!

Mohammed Ulfat Toaha,

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