The other day, right after it stopped raining, my friends and I were having tea in a tea stall on the roadside and chit chatting. I was observing all the vendors on the streets covering their wares with plastic bags to protect them from the water, and some of them even covered their cell phones with cellophane. All of a sudden, I saw a fruit vendor standing under an open bulb hanging barely a foot above his head, bargaining with a customer. There was rainwater on the bulb and it started to emit sparks. The vendor seemed oblivious to this, but the customer recognised the danger in the situation and moved away. It shocked me to see how lightly all the sales people on the road had taken the situation. It seemed to me like a serious accident could have taken place and it could have been fatal.
Mighty Mouse and Cowardly Cat
All cats love to chase and occasionally kill rats. All rats are afraid of cats, and so goes the conventional wisdom. But a few days ago getting out of my office, I noticed something really unusual; something I felt was a real freak of nature. There was this cat picking up some scraps of food from the corner of the street when suddenly a rat, not the biggest one I have seen in my life but nevertheless quite a stout and creepy looking member of the rodent family, emerged from underneath my car. Instead of running away from the cat, the rat actually squeaked menacingly at the latter, and amazingly the cat backed off at a respectable distance leaving the field to the smaller animal.
Not being an ardent rat fan, I tried to shoo the disgusting looking animal away. Inevitably it was the cat that fled first right away and it was only after some considerable effort that I could get the rodent to back off. The whole episode seems awfully unreal to me and I cannot make head or tail out of it.
The other day, I was heading back home after a pretty long day. Exhausted, I was staring aimlessly and fishing through people on the roadside when something caught my eye. There were a couple of people trying to fix a clog in the sewage by the pavement. What stood out was the method they were using to get the job done. A boy, not more than 15 years old, stuck a pipe (that was designed from a water hose) into the hole and used his mouth to suck out whatever it was that was blocking the drain. It took me a little while to figure out I was not imagining things, and the image stayed with me to haunt me.
Obviously, the poor boy was making his body a generous host to a million diseases of God-knows-what… I doubt he understood the gravity of the risks he was sending invitations to. But then again, I realised, why would all these long-term health risks matter to him anyway? Surely the Tk 20 bill he would earn from his nasty labour would put food on his plate for the next meal. The fact that this action was something I could justify from his point of view saddened me while I drove on in the shelter of my air-conditioned car to feed my hungry tummy after my comparatively disease-free day of work.
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