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     Volume 6 Issue 38 | September 28, 2007 |

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Dhaka Diary

Of Jilapis and Begunis on the Street

As I was standing outside Nandan superstore looking for a CNG auto-rickshaw I noticed a rickshaw van full of Iftari boxes in the distance. I continued looking for transportation in the other direction when I suddenly heard a crash and bang and before I could understand what was going on I saw that the contents of about eight to 10 boxes of Iftari were strewn all across the roadside. What a waste of good Iftari, I thought to myself, my own stomach doing a few twists and turns at the sight of the gleaming jilapis and crunchy begunis lying about helplessly. I had a particularly long day and there was still almost an hour left before I could break my fast. I wondered whether the two men accompanying the rickshaw van would get reprimanded for going with a few boxes less than was ordered by the organisers of the Iftar party they were headed for. It seems that the men in the van had the same fear in mind. I watched in horror at what happened next. The two men started picking up all the 'helpless' piyajus, begunis, jilapis and what-not off the street, giving them a good rub with their lungis and putting them very carefully inside the boxes! I wondered if I should say anything, but a rickshaw came by and asked where I wanted to go. Feeling guilty for avoiding a confrontation with the men who were doing everything wrong in the book, I left the scene of the crime very hurriedly.


Street Perverts

The other day, I was on my way to my coaching centre in Farmgate, I clapped my eyes upon a thoroughly unpleasant sight that caught my attention. A few yards ahead of me, people were openly staring at a girl, who, I later found out, went to the same coaching centre as I do, was shouting herself hoarse. Hastily, I walked up to her, to find out what was wrong. Upon arriving, I realised that she was yelling at a man of about 30-35 years of age, accusing him of following her for quite a long time and pushing (read groping) her. The pathetic man stood there, unable to decide what to do. Apparently the perverted creep didn't quite realise that she would probably retaliate against the injustice of it all. I was shocked to see him denying her accusation and was trying to give her the slip. And I stood there, wanting to show her some support, glaring at the sick man, trying my best to burn him with my gaze. Then another man, coming out of nowhere, told him to leave and suggested to the girl that maybe it was an accident and that these things happen. She rounded on him as well saying that it was no accident and he did it on purpose. She shouted some more at the psychotic creep and walked away, seething. I wanted to walk up to her and say something. But mere words were not enough for how I felt right then. It is extremely frustrating to see these kinds of things happening around us and still not to be able to do anything about it.

Sifat Tanzeela
Mirpur, Dhaka

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