Last week, I went out for dinner with my family at a well-known Chinese restaurant in Dhaka. As I was flipping through the pages of the menu, my six-year-old cousin pointed to the picture of a dessert labelled 'Strawberry Marshmallow Sundae'. It looked scrumptious, laced with thin layers of strawberry syrup and chocolate chips over two big, scoops of vanilla ice-cream. There were fresh cuts of strawberries and small marshmallow pieces lining the interior of the fancy ice-cream bowl. So, we ordered it for her. However, when the waiter returned with the dessert, we gaped in dismay. In a plain white bowl, there were two little, scoops of vanilla ice-cream topped with a very dilute red, liquid which smelled more like coloured rosewater than strawberry syrup which is denser in nature. The appetizing strawberries and marshmallows were nowhere to be seen. My cousin started sobbing and my father asked the waiter why did the actual item looked so different. The waiter just smiled and sheepishly replied that they use delectable pictures like that to make the menu look more attractive. This usually provokes many customers to order the food but actually there always remain major differences. We never went back to that place again. If this is the marketing strategy of today's restaurant owners, they might only earn short term gains by exploiting through a better looking menu, but in the long run they will suffer due to loss of loyal customers which may prove fatal to their business operations.
Floating on Road
About a week ago, instead of the scorching summer heat, incessant rain hit the dry city. At first, it was refreshing to witness the change in the scenery caused by the rain, but the feeling was short-lived. Apparently the rain lasted more than a few hours, almost flooding Dhaka. My mother and I, were making our way towards home in our car, cutting through the knee- deep water when I caught sight of something unprecedented. I spotted some women with their grocery bags sitting on a little boat which paddled away on the road. Onlookers maintained a fixed look of awe and surprise in their eyes, meanwhile the ladies seemed to enjoy the sudden attention. Soon enough, the boat on the road became a conversation-starter and we finally headed home preserving the unusual moment in our memories.
Last thursday, at one in the morning, I was awakened by the sound of music played in high volume by some people in my neighbourhood who were celebrating a party. I called the Kalabagan police station and reported the matter to them. To my astonishment, they behaved like personnel of the telecom customer care service. Within 15 minutes, the police arrived and the loud noise stopped. I was very surprised. Even though I am an elderly person, the police did heed my request for help and actually acted on it. For the first time in my long life, I felt that our police force would be by our side in time of need.
Anjuman Ara Begum
Lake Circus, Kalabagan