The Ogling Ogres
I was going on a long rickshaw ride from New Market to Shyamoli. The day was cool and cloudy and I was really enjoying the ride. My rickshaw-puller was also a friendly fellow and we were having a conversation about his life, and how he and his garment worker wife was trying to make ends meet with two school-going boys. The traffic slowed down slightly on Satmasjid Road and we both noticed a foreign lady walking down the road in a jeans and T-shirt. Everyone in the stranded road seemed to follow the path of the lady like people watch a tennis match. To my utter shock, my rickshaw-puller started shouting and whistling at the lady, "Bideshi, bideshi, very nice, very nice." I was livid and did not speak a word to him for the rest of the journey.
Samia Afrin Simi
When the first heat wave hit the country thousands of children fell ill with various diseases. My 11-month-old baby was also one of them and acquired a violent case of diarrhoea. I ran from doctor to doctor but none of them prescribed any medicine or hospital stay while my child's condition went from bad to worse by the day. Since this was my first child and I didn't know what else to do I took her to a public hospital apparently very well equipped to handle such cases. Well it was ultimately at this hospital that my child ultimately recovered but what I had to witness there was appalling.
In the waiting room there were about 10 other mothers with their babies in their arms all suffering from diarrhoea. Unfortunately they were not from very well off families and obviously could not afford diapers for their children. I will not disgust the readers with a description of the waiting room and leave it to their imagination. The nurses at the hospital were overwhelmed and not equipped to handle such disaster. I decided to go outside and wait there with my mother and my child. Outside, the drains were open and infested with mosquito larvae. I ultimately begged my husband to bribe the receptionist there so that we could go in earlier. We were asked to see the doctor after another person and left promptly. I know very well that it was unfair to override the other patients and go inside. But at that moment I was not in any condition to think about right and wrong. Can anyone blame me?
A Hideous Contrast
The other day I was waiting in a traffic jam for a long time on Sonargaon Road when I noticed a man in his 40s watching a movie on his car TV inside an air-conditioned Pajero. There is no need to explain how affluent this man was. A beggar, probably the same age as him, with no limbs, sitting on a wheelchair came up to him and knocked on his windows. The sun was shining down high from the sky and this sweltering heat, the beggar looked extremely thin and sickly. At first the man inside the car ignored the beggar's call for two takas. When he persisted the man lifted his head, turned around and glared at him. The beggar decided to give one last try and said, "Please sir, I am very hungry, can you spare two takas for me." At this the man inside the car lost his cool and started shouting all sorts of profanities at the beggar. He started shouting that beggars have no right to live in our society and they should be arrested and kept in jail for disturbing people's peace!
It was obscene just to watch the terrible contrast between these two people of the same age destined for different fates solely because of where they were born. But this rich fat man's insensitivity towards the poor, unfortunate man was really unbearable. I had an impulse to go up to him and teach him a few things about humanity, but just then the lights went green and the Pajero with the obnoxious man disappeared.
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