One day my cousin was crossing a road on Mohammedpur Krishi Market when he noticed a little boy holding a crying baby. The child was horribly thin and was crying weakly. But the strange thing was that the boy was beating the child with a piece of cardboard seemingly for no apparent reason. He made the child stand, forced back his head and was hitting him badly on his face and backside. The child was so weak that it could hardly cry out in pain. The boy would stop momentarily when the child cried out loudly but when it stopped crying, he would resume with the beating.
My cousin was astounded by this open display of brutality and what's more, nobody seemed to care.
Then it dawned on him, the boy was trying to beat the child into a screaming frenzy after which he would carry the crying baby as attraction for sympathy on his begging rounds. The cruelty of poverty can really turn humans into animals. But the beating would ensure a full stomach for his baby brother and for himself at the end of the day.
This incident took place a few days ago when I was on my way to my hometown Comilla from Dhaka by the bus belonging to Tisha Service. As I took my seat, I noticed two foreign ladies (probably European if not American) sitting right in the front. The rest of the passengers were gaping at them as if they were some extinct species and had come from outer space. After a while when the bus finally began to make some movement on the road, the helper switched on an audio CD of Hindi music. What bothered me about this was the fact that the music and the lyrics could be described as nasty and cheap and this was clearly done to impress the foreign ladies. It was a hilarious move taken by the helper but at one point it was getting on to my nerves. I requested him to stop the cheap music and play some Bangla music if he really had to. If he really wanted to impress the foreigners on board, he could do it with the help of the rich Bangla music that we have in our country, which includes the old and the contemporary as well.
I get disappointed at people who think that it is extremely sophisticated to play foreign music, even though they hardly understand anything about it. We have such a rich and music scene in the country now, which is being promoted by many sectors of the media including the radio channels that have come up. I would like everyone to take some time to actually listen to these Bangla compositions and actually enjoy them. I also think that its high time we started to treat foreign guests as any other guest and show them the elements of our culture instead of flaunting the foreign ones.
Dept. of English, University of Dhaka
A Mobile Dilemma
Afew days ago, on a Friday and I went to attend the qulkhani of one of my elderly relatives who had recently died. We were all sitting on a mat and were listening to the sermon of the cleric. Everything was going smooth; the atmosphere was very pious and serene. Suddenly, the shrill of a mobile ring shattered the tranquillity of the atmosphere. Everyone including the cleric was visibly irritated at the intrusion and was immediately looking for the culprit. After searching for a few moments, it was found that the mobile belonged to none other than the cleric himself! It took the cleric a while to absorb this finding. He mumbled embarrassedly to himself, fumbled around for a while and then finally switched off the cell phone. It took him some time to start his unfinished sermon. It was very hard for me to hold back my laughter but at the end I managed to do it somehow.
Mohammed Sohel Hara
Yassma Knitting & Dyeing
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