Paying to Go Home
After Eid when I got on a rickshaw one day and started towards Rifles Square in Dhanmondi, where my friends were waiting. The streets were still empty and it was turning out to be a joy ride. That was when my friend Salehin called me on my cell phone and asked me to meet at the Dhanmondi Lake and not Rifles Square. I asked the rickshaw puller to take me to the lake instead of the mall, when Salehin called again to let me know that no one will be going to the lake. The gang hads now decided to stick to meeting at Rifles Square. Irritated at the constant changes that were taking place, I asked the rickshaw puller once again if he could stick to the original plan, when he informed in a stern tone that he would take me wherever I wanted to as long as I pay him his dues. Humour struck and I asked him if he could take me all the way to "Amrika" (United States of America). The rickshaw puller said nothing, but parked his vehicle at the side of the street turned towards me and scowled, "I could not go to my village this Eid because I could not afford bus tickets for Tk 300 a piece," he retorted. "And you are talking about going all the way to 'Amrika'?"
After venting out his frustration, the rickshaw puller started towards Rifles Square once again.
Treats on Eid
It was the day after Eid. My brother and I decided to go to Shishu Park after a very long time. As expected, the large amusement park was buzzing with people. Children of all ages dressed in colourful clothes were rushing towards the renovated rides. After standing for a long time in a queue of exasperated crowds, we finally managed to enjoy a few rides of our own. We were having ice cream at a nearby fast food shop when suddenly we were choked with smoke and a burning smell. The place around us practically became clouded with smoke. It did not take much time for us to realise that beside us three men were smoking profusely. We could not help but start coughing. The men however seemed oblivious. There were other customers in the shop who were feeling very awkward but out of politeness, they did not say any thing at all.
Gasping for air, we got out of the shop. We were puzzled and thought whether there were any officials whose attention we might be able to draw inside the fast food shop, which was by then, totally filled with smoke.
Coincidentally, we saw two army officials standing beside the "Tower Chair"- one of the rides in the amusement park. As we approached them we saw another sight that completely shocked us. The army officials themselves were taking snaps of a woman with their mobile phones. They had no idea of what was going on in the park premises, which was supposed to be a smoke-free area. All we could do was drop the matter and walk away silently.
Diary from Rajshahi
Road accidents take away the lives of many innocent people and especially in our country; it has become a common topic read in everyday newspapers or seen in TV. Recently, a collision between a covered van and a rickshaw killed a college student Silvy. This incident has caused an unbearable loss to her family. They would never get their child back and such is the saddening story of many in Bangladesh. Silvy could have made our country proud by her great deeds. I wonder why the government has not done anything regarding road safety in the country. The reckless drivers who do not want to follow the traffic rules should be severely punished and roads, which are damaged, should be mended as soon as possible. If we eradicate illegal work at the roots, road accidents can be reduced to a minimum level, saving innumerable lives.
Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2007