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     Volume 6 Issue 30 | August 3, 2007 |

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Dhaka Diary

Learning to Read
The woman who used to work at our household recently joined a school as an aya (nanny). About a week ago, when she came to meet my mother I found her reading the newspaper. I was a little confused, because as far as I knew, she did not know how to read and write. Curious, I asked her whether she was really reading or was looking at the pictures. She answered that she was in fact reading. Baffled, I inquired where she learnt to read, and the answer she gave was really amazing. She said that during her free time she would stand by the classroom of the 'baby' class and learn the letters and the alphabet. One day, the teacher of that class noticed her and asked the aya to meet her after the school. Having come to know about her interest to learn, the teacher decided to teach her to read and write after school-hours. I was really touched by the story and regretted the fact that I should have been the one to step forward to teach her in the first place. Having provided with the opportunities, the people in our country would be able to get educated. The day is not far when we will stand as a developed nation and will compete head to head with other countries.
Maple Leaf Int. School

The Mind of a Mugger
The gloomy weather of the early monsoon was quite depressing, as the sky was overcastted since morning. As I stepped outside the school premises in the afternoon, I was trying to figure out when it would start to rain, when suddenly I heard a hullabaloo at the far end of the 11A street of Dhanmondi (this is where our school is located). Usually this part of Dhanmondi is quiet and serene, and as vehicles are not allowed to enter the road through Sat Masjid Road, that end of the street is free from any sorts of noise. So, driven by curiosity I approached what it seemed to be a small crowd. Suddenly a man came running saying, 'Chintaikarira oi dikey Honda niye gechey (the muggers fled in a motorcycle in that direction).' Puzzled and confused, I watched the man pass by. Then, to my utter surprise, I saw the whole crowd running after the man. It seemed as if the man who passed by was the real mugger. I was left stranded by the wit of the muggers. It seems that the muggers nowadays have become smarter, and invented new ways of escaping when they are about to get caught.
Sadat Shams
Maple Leaf Int. School

Not Enough to Eat
Last week, while passing by the town hall bazaar, I came upon a curious sight. A beggar, holding a live chicken by its feet was asking people whether they would buy the chicken. Something about him gave me the feeling that he was up to something strange. I asked him why he was trying to sell a single chicken and that too by calling people on the streets. The man stared at me for a while and then finally spoke, “ Brother, I am trying to sell this chicken- a lady has given it to me as Zakat (charity), so that I can have a good meal.”
He was just another pitiable beggar in Dhaka who would sell even his alms to get a good bargain in turn. The bird he was holding would serve him up to two or three meals while we would rather waste loads of food everyday. Same is the case with other poor people who stand in line during 'Eid-ul-Azha' for meat to be distributed. They take the meat and sell them, for they cannot afford to have beef - that too even on Eid. If such is the predicament in this country then why bother about racism, crime or even education when food itself is a scarcity?
Azmi Syed

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