Ways of Cheating
I went to the Sundarbans during the Eid Vacation on a package tour. The advertisement of the tour looked pretty attractive with a reasonable price. They had published leaflets, which promised to venture through all the tourist spots in the jungle, to have hygienic sanitary facilities, etc. They also printed a fascinating picture of the ship that was supposed to cruise us through the labyrinthine rivers in the Sundarbans. Being adventurous at heart, I was enthusiastically looking forward to the trip. But all my excitement evaporated when I saw the “ship” anchored in the Mongla port. The supposed to be luxurious ship, by some magic spell, had turned into a small, shabby steamer. The cubicle-sized cabins of the 'ship' had four beds each, which were suffocating. The so-called Western toilet and bathroom made me feel nauseated. Still, we all were looking forward to the promised adventure into the wild, hoping to be compensated by walking through the lustrous greenery, observing some of the most serene beauties of the nature. Unfortunately, the organisers did not keep this promise either! Their time-management and tour-management were nothing but hotchpotch. The few spots, where they allowed us to roam around, did not have any wilderness; they were merely some forest-stations. In addition, there was no guide who would narrate to us the significance or the location of the spots. Over all, the trip was very disappointing. I even expressed my disappointment to the managing authority and to my surprise they did not pay any attention to that. Throughout the whole trip, I was just wondering how people could so bluntly cheat others and feel no shame for that.
I was in the beautiful Neelgiri Resort to spend my Eid holidays. The place was serene and full of natural beauty. The resort was over all well-maintained. But as the days went by, I started noticing plastic wrappers, half-eaten fruits, fruit-skins and so on were scattered around the front yard of the resort. It takes either connections or a lot of money to book a room in that resort and unfortunately those powerful or rich citizens of our country were not civilised enough to care about the cleanliness of such a beautiful place. I saw them using the front yard and the gardens around the resort as a large garbage bin. I asked the authority to do something about it; they said that they always keep warning the guests but they pay no heed to them. There were garbage bins placed all around the place but nobody bothered using them. I gave this matter some thought and then realised that we are actually habituated with this uncivil practice. There are no active laws that prohibit us from throwing anything and everything on our streets and highways. We are never punished for not dumping our garbage in the garbage bin. We are used to dirt and we are used to making things dirty. I have even seen people wearing 'hijab' and spitting on the sidewalks; isn't cleanliness an essential part of Islam? It seems we have lost our civic sense completely and no matter what, we shall hold on to this.
Tanara Zabeen, AIUB
Misuse of Gender Equality
The other day, I was travelling on a local bus from Banani to Dhanmondi. On the way, somewhere near Mohakhali, the bus slowed down (but did not stop) to drop a few passengers. Among them was a middle-aged woman who asked to stop the bus as 'mohila nambe' (a female passenger is to get off). Shockingly, the bus conductor replied with a smirk that if men and women were to be equal, why couldn't she jump out of the bus like other male passengers. Other male passengers agreeably laughed at the comment. I wanted to say that it was both dangerous and unlawful to get off a moving bus even for men but decided to remain quiet. On a different incident in a public transport, an elderly woman was asked to stand and refused to give any seat because if women were equal to men, then they should also learn to stand and travel on a bus. I gave away my seat to the woman, because my parents had taught me to respect older people, regardless of their sex. If no seats are available, I never ask or prefer anyone to leave his seat for me out of chivalry. I am young and I have the energy for hardship. But sometimes even I wish that some guy would give away his seat for me because of the staring eyes of the male passengers and their 'eager-to-touch' hands bother me and make me uncomfortable. Those who think women should learn to struggle the same way as men should also make the world free from sexual harassment and as comfortable as it is for men.
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