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|Volume 10 |Issue 48 | December 23, 2011 ||
Reaching out with Respect
It was a Sunday morning while I was having a cup of tea at a tea stall, I saw an elderly man selling cigarettes and biris (locally made cigarettes). I had been observing him doing this business for quite awhile now. Being curious, I asked him why at his age, he had to work especially since this work was particularly difficult for him. The reply he gave me was shocking and yet if one contemplates about how things are nowadays it is a common phenomenon.
He told me that he had sons and daughters who were busy doing their respective duties and tending to their own families. They had little time for him, and often did not even want to know of his whereabouts. Perhaps the saddest part of his life is the fact that his wife had passed away a few moths ago. So he is completely alone in his struggle for survival. Ever since then I have become very close to him and always maintained close ties with him. I often buy a cigarette not out of need, but out of sympathy for him.
Over the last few years, I realised that strange things seem to happen around me. So I've decided to share my unusual and bizarre but interesting experiences with the readers. The incident I'll narrate below happened last week. I was in a rickshaw, stuck in the rush-hour traffic jam near Shamoli. Suddenly, I noticed a small boy, not more than ten, carefully opening the purse of a woman, who was looking for a rickshaw in the sidewalks. The boy, within a very few seconds, expertly took out the contents of the woman's purse and zipped it close again, without alarming anyone else. It took me by surprise, and by the time I jumped off my rickshaw and started shouting and was trying to make people notice what had happened, the little boy already passed some of the money and papers to his accomplice, a boy in his late teens, who just sprinted at top speed and fled within seconds. However, I was able to catch the smaller thief. A small crowd gathered around me, and I explained them what had happened. The women checked her purse and realised she had been pickpocket that though the kid was crying and denying everything as thieves usually do, many things were recovered from his many pockets. I didn't know what to do with him, so I decided to let him go with a warning, and took his photograph. But the crowd that had gathered there wasn't so forgiving. They started to beat the boy, and I was trying to fight them off, as the boy was so young. However, though the mob let him go at last, they took his clothes away as his punishment despite my disapproval. I was really shocked to see these small children trained as pick-pockets. It was a disturbing experience indeed.
What is going on around us?
A couple of weeks ago I saw a portrait on a daily paper of Ilias Kanchan wearing a wreath of shoes and brooms. He is one of our favorite film stars and a social activist. He has been in the movement for ensuring road safety for a very long time and, he is not doing this for himself but for his countrymen. He deserves a garland for his efforts but he is rather humiliated in such a manner in our dailies.
In another newspaper report, I saw a picture of protesters demanding punishment of the driver responsible for the death of Tareq Masud and Mishuk Munir. What I noticed was that the riot was causing other innocent people on the road to suffer. It is not something to expect from civilised people. What have we come to?
If one analyses the two events mentioned, we can find some link between the two. They were both people protesting or fighting for the betterment of our transport system. But as it seems those who are good are punished and those who cause misery rather then promote awareness go unpunished, which is unfair. It is high time our authorities make a proper investigation and point out the real miscreants for the betterment of our future.
Salil Kumar Baul
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