How much more do we have to bear?
Photo: Star File
Just a day before my flight, in August 2011, I remember feeling infuriated as I waited for nearly two hours on a rickshaw in Mohammadpur, engulfed in traffic and tormented with the relentless honking of cars, ringing bells of rickshaws and vulgar language. It was a five minute route to my house, most essentially used as detour to avoid long queues. However, after the drainage system was supposedly being repaired all roads were blocked but this one. A road that was only sufficient to accommodate probably a single car at most was being infiltrated with four lines of vehicles, two each for moving in and out. And the situation was topped off with flooded sewage water. The stench added to the smell of sweat. On other days I would have walked all the way, but with most of the road under filthy water it was too much to bargain for. So, I sat there, helpless, like all the others around me. After getting off I traversed through dangerous terrains of gooey mud until finally I reached home. When will Dhaka city be relieved of such unwanted traits?
“Is it really like that, or..."
Once, my mother sent me on an errand to a nearby department store to get some goods. A very rich person dressed in a suit also came to the store to shop. He asked for a cola in a bossy manner. A beggar walking nearby came near the entrance of the shop and asked for alms. The rich man suddenly started shouting at the beggar, asking why people like her do not work as maids, but just go on begging. The shopkeeper, on the other hand, handed over a Tk 10 note, asking her to wish him all the best for his business for the rest of the day. I was moved and told the shopkeeper to keep the change and also gave it to the beggar. Seeing all this, the rich man grabbed his wallet, hastily gave her a Tk100 note before riding off in a luxury sedan. I asked myself if the man just give her the money or did he just show off. Why did he then shout to humiliate her?
Banani Chairmanbari, Dhaka
An Absurd Challenge
About two days ago, while I was getting into my car, my father and I noticed two children sitting on the pavement. One child's hand was badly burned and needed immediate medical aid. But the child was just sitting there, enjoying a packet of muri (puffed rice) to his hearts content. Noticing his bad condition, my father, being a doctor, took out a piece of paper and prescribed a medicine, and handed it over to him along with some money. It soon gathered attention and one passer-by commented, 'I don't think the money would be used to get the medicine.' However, the child swore that he would do as said, and get the medicine prescribed. Though I was happy that my father had prescribed that medicine to help him, something else bothered me. As we drove away, I sat back in the car and let the 'what ifs' gather in my head. What if the boy would hand the money over to the thugs who were in charge of him? These days 'the people in charge' do not even tend to be the parents, they're idle and unemployed persons, with only one thought up their heads, how to maximise their incomes from making little children beg. They would of course want the worse in him, to maim him for his future in order to make more money. What if the boy never made it to a pharmacy? What if the money was snatched from him? He would always be socially looked down as the boy with the burnt hand. Its sad how these thoughts have every possibility of coming true, and how if someone wants to help a poor child, so many other factors need to be considered. It was just absurd how helping that child seemed like a challenge.
Sarah Sayeed Gazi