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     Volume 6 Issue 39 | October 5, 2007 |

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Dhaka Diary

At the Park

After Iftar and prayers, I usually like to stroll down the walkers' lane at a park near my house. Ever since last year, I have been frequenting this lane a lot. Sometimes I end up just watching other people, instead of actually walking. It feels wonderful that such an environment exists in Dhaka where everyone just minds their own business while taking in gulps of fresh air.

Recently, two elderly men, one a top level manager of a private company and the other the branch manager of a foreign bank in Dhaka approached me and started to make small talk. I had seen them with their families earlier in the park and also the fact that they seemed so cordial and nice, I was more than ready to be as nice and cordial. As they asked me my name and where I studied, they went on talking about the kind of subjects young people are interested in and what the situation at the job market is at the moment in Dhaka. I was listening and offering my opinions to the two elderly gentlemen, when I realised that it was getting very late and I would have to start back for home soon.

It was then, when I excused myself, that the two gentlemen suddenly shifted their 'imparting practical knowledge to a youngster' attitude to a 'we are young at heart though we look older on the outside' tone. Did I go to parties, they asked. It seems they attended late night parties all the time in Dhaka and have plenty of friends, most of whom are female, and who also happen to be of my age. It helps to stay young, they exclaimed. I figured that I was probably overreacting in my mind and explained to myself that these elderly men were probably trying very hard to relate to the happening activities in my generation. We exchanged numbers and then left. After returning home, I got an SMS from one of the men asking me if I would like to have dinner with him the next evening at a Korean restaurant. The next day, the other elderly gentleman sent me a text mentioning how romantic he was feeling that day because of the rain outside. Since then, I received several text messages from these elderly gentlemen when they felt lonely, sad, romantic or when they simply needed to feel young all over, till I called them up and politely asked them to stop. Since then, I took a vow never to be extra nice to people I don't know.

Sadia Khaled
Gulshan 2

Diary from Chittagong
The Twisted Telephone Operator

A while back, I had gone to Rangamati on a picnic with my friends from university. While a few of my friends were out trying to reserve a boat to Shubholong, the rest of us were waiting inside the bus chatting. At one time, I had to speak to my mother and tried to call her from my cell phone. Because there was no network coverage in the area, I, accompanied by two friends of mine, walked to nearest phone shop to make a call. After spending a day with friends, I was absolutely relaxed and chirpy. After I reached my hall, I called my mother to let her know that we were safely back from Rangamati. My mother, in turn, began to shout at me. She seemed very worried and tensed, especially since she was unable to get in touch with me through the cell phone. It seems that back at the phone shop in Rangamati, the shopkeeper called my mother after we left. He told her that her daughter was wandering around with young boys. "Is this okay with you?" he had asked. I was dumbfounded at the nerve of the shopkeeper and did not know how to respond to such narrow minded conclusions that many simply like to come up with.

Jafrin Jahed Jiti
Chittagong Medical College


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