Bribing the Saviour
The other day I was returning home from my tuition on foot at around 8.30 at night. There was a little tailback on the road following a sudden downpour. That's why the vehicles were plying very slowly. So I decided to walk along the road. After walking one kilometre or so, I noticed a police van with a few policemen inside and after a while one of them stepped on to the foot path and took some money from a shop. Following them, I kept moving and saw another policeman get down. He went to another shop and also took some money. Their boss sat in the front seat of the van. He was controlling them. Each policeman was doing this by turns. When the police van left, I asked a shopkeeper why he had given the money to the policemen. At first he refused to reply but when I bought something from his shop, he revealed the secret – it was a bribe given to keep his shop in that place. After coming home I was thinking how it was possible for a police officer to receive bribe so blatantly. The government appoints them to ensure public safety whereas they are engaged in tarnishing their own image.
Md Arshad Ali
Department of Physics
University of Chittagong
Through the Eyes of a Rickshaw-Puller
Photo: star file
The other day I was waiting for a bus at one of the stops in Dhanmondi. The weather was quite good. Suddenly I heard angry shouts embroiled in a dispute. As I tried to figure out what the matter was, I saw a young couple dressed in urbane attire having a superfluous argument with their rickshaw-puller who appeared to be in his late 50s. The 'dreamy' couple might have decided to spend some time together on the streets and what could be a better means of transport than the reputed rickshaw of our city? But their irritated faces made it quite clear what had gone wrong. The old rickshaw-puller must have asked a little more than they had expected. In an angry feat, the young man took out his wallet and handed the extra money to the rickshaw-puller and then left the place with his girlfriend. The poor man wasn't happy to have been treated with such impertinence but he put the note in his tattered shirt's pocket regardless.
By that time, I discovered that my legs had given in and I needed a rickshaw. I chose the old man's rickshaw. As he was pulling the vehicle I could not help asking about his bickering with the previous passengers. The man replied with regret that the couple had been stopping by many places to buy things that he could not even imagine to have. The couple had wasted two packs of popcorn along the way because they were too salty to the tongues but when it came to giving the man a few more bucks, they had all the trouble in the world. The rickshaw-puller kept babbling trying to get the load off his chest while I was wondering how we as humans could be so unthinkingly ruthless to poor rickshaw pullers.
Engineer Naome Syed