In the 1980s I was working with an NGO engaged in the rehabilitation of visually impaired people. At one time, I went to Trishal of Mymensingh accompanied with some foreigners to see the rehabilitation activity. While talking to everyone there, we found that a woman was beating her child and cursing him for not being blind. She claimed that her child would get a pair of cows if it had been blind. I was shocked to hear such words but to the queries of the foreigners, I explained something else. I tried to imagine the extent of poverty and the derogatory that made a mother utter so desperate. After a couple of months, while visiting Mirzapur of Tangail to distribute grant money to visually impaired people who completed the rehabilitation training we found two guardians who refused to accept the grants and said that their visually impaired children are now capable of studying and work through the training provided to them. Now they can earn their own money and requested us to give the money to others who needed it more. That day I had nobody with me to explain what I saw. I was overwhelmed with joy and pride as I witnessed the changed mindset of two poor, illiterate villagers.
The other day I was going to a friend's place in Gulshan. On the way as usual we were stuck in a typical never-ending traffic jam. Suddenly, a couple of posters on a nearby wall caught my attention. One of the posters, which belonged to an NGO, said that there was no harm in eating chicken, if the chicken was cooked properly. Right next to this one, another poster of a restaurant stated that they stopped including chicken in their buffet intems; so now, it was safe to eat at their restaurant. The two posters, surely, created a good amount of confusion amongst people.
Last week a certain unknown mobile number started to send me text messages one after another. Most of the messages contained adult jokes, which were not at all funny but vulgar and disturbing. This caused my inbox to literally overflow. I had no choice but to make a phone call to the person on the other side and ask for an explanation. To my utter surprise, I found that the owner of the cell phone was a boy of class six. He apologised and said that the mobile phone company had offered 100 free text messages, which he could send. He needed to send them by the end of the week. Thus, he had no choice but to send out text messages to total strangers. I was totally dumbfounded. I think that the mobile phone operators should be aware of the fact that not everyone needs to send thousands of free text messages for communication.
Nafish Ali Ahsan
An A-level student
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