It was Saturday morning when I set my feet on the road. Instantly, I could feel the essence of Pahela Baishak, the first day of the new Bangla calendar. There was celebration everywhere. Roads were filled with jubilant crowds of all ages and religions. Red and white were the dominant colours that day on the streets. Though the sun was shining brightly and the heat was intense, it failed to dampen the mood of the cheerful crowd. It seemed to me that everybody was simply celebrating being Bangali. I was watching all the happy faces and listening to their joyous laughter. We rarely witness such scenes in the very busy city of Dhaka. I was on a rickshaw crossing Baily road, which was jammed with a lot of traffic. I was getting late for work but who could be grumpy on such a wonderful day! I hope this Bangla New Year brings new hope for our nation and removes all the frustration, corruption and injustice from our society. Shubho Noboborso to all the readers and writers.
Md Sohel Hara
An unusual ECA
I was a little puzzled as I closely examined the man inside the CNG-driven three-wheeler. He was in his early twenties, with thick curly hair and a sharp eagle-nose. Moreover, he was listening to an English song on a small stereo. “Sir, where would you like to go?” the man asked. His way of speaking baffled me more, as he was speaking very softly. “Are you the driver?” I asked. "Yes, of course I am the driver.” “But you do not look like one,” I was still not completely sure. However, I was in a hurry so I got on. When I explained the man the direction of my destination, he listened very attentively. “You look educated, and seem to belong to a well-off family,” I commented, driven by curiosity. “You are quite right,” the driver replied. “I just finished my A level exams, and am applying for some universities abroad.” “Then, why are you driving a CNG?” I exclaimed. “It may sound a bit odd,” he smiled. “I want to add this as an experience in my ECA (Extra Curricular Activity).” It was very strange indeed. It was certainly an unusual ECA to add in the transcript.
Maple Leaf Int. School
Diary from Rajshahi
Underestimating a Foreigner
We went to the zoo for a visit one fine afternoon. Outside the main gates of the zoo, a crowd had gathered around a rickshaw puller and a foreign gentleman. The rickshaw puller looked very embarrassed and was profusely apologising to the foreigner. I asked one of the people in the crowd as to what had happened. He said that the foreigner had paid Tk 10 to the rickshaw puller, which happened to be the appropriate fare for the distance the rickshaw had covered. However, the rickshaw puller demanded more from the foreigner to which he declined. The rickshaw puller was murmuring loud enough that the foreigner brought a lot of money from his country but will not part with them, adding a slang to degrade the foreigner (shala) as well. “Shala, bidhesh theke onek taka anche kintu amaderke ditese na!”
Hearing this the foreigner asked the rickshaw puller in perfect Bangla, “Shala bole gali dili keno?” (Why did you call me 'shala'?). The rickshaw puller was amazed and eventually apologised to the foreigner. This incident goes to show that we should not criticise people for no reason, no matter who they are.
Md. Ebrahim Khalil Milon
New Government Degree College
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