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Beggars declassified

much as we love to hate them, or avoid them whenever possible, we have to admit that beggars are an integral part of our lives here in the city. They are everywhere, in front of our homes, in front of our cars in traffic jams, in the markets, in the malls and some of the smarter ones are even in our homes. But recently, I am having a sinking feeling that we are losing the beggars of our city, I mean the real ones, the ones whose profession and passion is to beg their way through life. So consider this article an ode to the beggars of Dhaka city.

There are a number of types of beggars that you will encounter in every walk of life; let us take a systematic look into their lives according to their economic condition and see ways of dealing with them.

1. True Beggars. These are the real beggars of the street and do not require any form of physical handicap to successfully get some alms. You know them by the plate and a stick in their hands. They have a particular tone of voice which is a mixture of command and appeal and they also know who the prospective givers are. Their financial condition is very poor but because of their ability at begging, they do well on a day to day basis. You are free to donate to them, and they won't bug you much if you don't want to pay. Just say “Maaf Koren”.

2. Handicapped beggars. These beggars are a variation of street beggars. You know them by their missing limbs or various body organs, including eyes. Often these beggars form a community and flock together on the streets singing loud and noisy songs as they go. They do not go begging in busy streets but usually target residential areas and will sing loudly for hours in front of your home if you do not give them something. Since there is no way to avoid them, give them something whenever possible just to get rid of them.

3. Mobile beggars. They are a variation of handicapped beggars but differ in the fact they own a movable vehicle pushed by an apprentice or a kin. Usually the worst kind of handicapped beggars use this means. They do not cause much trouble but appear from time to time with an appeal for help by the apprentice (sidekick).

4. The child bearing Beggars. These beggars re usually women with very young babies in their laps. Most of the time these babies are do not belong to them but are rented from somewhere. However, the sight of them carrying a destitute child causes people to give them alms. It is cruel to use a very young baby for the purpose of begging, but that is the cruelty of life. Give them something or else the child might suffer.

5. The Pichhee Beggars. Well these are the tiny variations of the beggar community. You will find them in the park, in the street, in front of your school and everywhere. Their main targets are not only your parents but also you. They can be quite useful at times as besides begging, they can be used to do your chores like passing your love letters to Morjina or finding out the address, telephone and email of Laila, for a fee of course. Sometimes during a traffic break, they will come and clean up your car or push the rickshaw and ask a fee for their service. They are also the most annoying of the bunch. Once two of them were bugging two of my female friends on the streets for half an hour even if the ladies showed them their purses to convince them that they didn't have a single change. Beware of these little ruffians.

6. Pseudo Beggars. These are not beggars at all, but people acting as beggars in the daylight with shady business at night. They usually assist the drug peddlers and other anti social elements to carry out their tasks safely and warn them immediately of any police raids etc. Often they come to you and ask if you are in need of drugs. Beware of them.

7. Social Beggars. These are the cultural beggars and they basically do not beg, but have taken the appearance of the stock beggar in order to feel one with the universe. Their famous punch line is “Huq Mawla!” and they are big fans of Lalon Shah's songs. They usually dwell in “akhras” where they discuss music, religion, various social issues and smoke weed to reach closer to Godliness. Nobody has ever reported being harmed by this bunch ever, so no need of being alarmed in their presence, although they look hideous. However, do keep a good distance from them as most of them hold the record for not taking a shower for over ten years. Some of their modern kin are clean and wear fotuas and jeans to roam around the street, but they are beggars none the less. They are also proud to use the prefix “Fokir” before their name.

8. Borrow Beggars. These are not really beggars but your friends in schools and coaching centers who are always asking for something. They are asking for their date money from you, begging for your Tiffin, begging for your iPod, mobile phone to begging for your girlfriend. They are totally dependent on you. Which is quite strange sometimes as they usually always come from well-to-do families. These are the types who grow up and become social menaces like pati Mastans or Ghushkhors. Avoid giving them a single penny.

So there you go, all the various and different varieties of beggars that you can possible find in the streets of Dhaka. Actually in a country like us, it is not surprising that people resort to begging. Perhaps the authority should take some steps to rehabilitate the poor people. Most of the time, the beggars turn into muggers as begging isn't enough to provide for them. So they will cause further social problem if we just let them be in their state.

By Monty Python

I was on my home from the supermarket. It was raining heavily and the windscreen was blurry. I wondered whether my driver was able to see anything. Heavy rain is very typical in Bangladesh during the rainy season and so is traffic jam.

I was stuck in a traffic jam, when suddenly someone knocked on my window. As the glass was blurry , I could not see the person knocking , so I thought it was a beggar. The knocking continued so I rolled down my window. I was surprised to see a well-dressed woman carrying an umbrella which was swaying in the wind. It was really dark and I could not see her face. She asked me whether I could drop her off to her house as she was unable to find any mode of transport. I nodded and she got in and sat beside me.

She was tall and skinny. She wore a full sleeves kamiz and her hair and face was covered with a scarf matching with her kamiz, only her eyes were visible. Her eyes were very pretty and expressive. She seemed to be a nice person. I asked her about her family and where she worked. I came to know that her name was Shila, She was friendly and a fun person to be with. The entire journey, she entertained me with her jokes and I was really impressed by her charming personality.

She gave directions to the driver. She asked the driver to stop the car, by then it had almost stopped raining. The road was really dark and deserted and there were no houses nearby. Before I could ask where she lived, she quickly got out of the car and disappeared into the darkness.

For a moment I was paralysed with shock. Why did she behave so strangely? She did not even thank me for dropping her. My cell phone started ringing so I took it out from my bag and that day's newspaper came out along with it. My eyes caught a colourful photograph of a lady, who was wanted by the police. She had committed a murder and escaped and anyone who knew anything about her was asked to inform the police immediately. I looked closely at the picture and it dawned on me that it had the same eyes! It was Shila! She was a murderer? I could not believe that I had helped a murderer to get away. She had tricked me. Maybe that is why, nowadays no one is willing to help a stranger and the really helpless people do not get assistance during an emergency. Helping a criminal was also a crime. I knew what to do. I asked my driver to head straight for the nearest police station, she cannot get away that easily!

By Faiza Subaiha Bari

Dreaming is the best part of living

We all have been in tight situations when we have felt like sinking into the ground and never showing up again. We all have felt desperate enough to think that pretending to have a head ache would get us to skip school. Sadly, our brilliant ideas never seem to work out. The ground never opens for us to escape into and neither do our parents fall for our lame excuses and one way or other we always end up feeling more miserable than ever.

Well one not so bright day when I was entertaining similar thoughts after being told by my home tutor for the third time that week that I was most likely never to succeed and then harangued by my parents about how some geek bag from an underprivileged background got into BUET, I suddenly realized that somehow I will have to stop this torture.

Since I could not possibly remove all the good students from the world and neither could I get rid of my tutor, there had to be another solution.

Suddenly, out of the blue it struck me that instead of stopping people from hurting me I could heal myself. I could just simply dream of the opposite of what they said and thus lift up my spirits. Trust me, it seriously worked.

I recollected my tutors' ominous predictions about me never succeeding in life and started dreaming about how one day I would go abroad and impress every one with my talents and be the top student and then I would make my parents proud and do something for my country and so on. It worked like a magic spell.

I actually felt better and actually started believing that only if I work a little bit harder then just may be I could make this ambitious dream come true to some extent

Before having a will to do something we need to believe that we can do it and it is our dreams that keeps us from straying away from the path that leads to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

By Mashiat Rabbani

Sit down and weep

Look at the sky. It's smog filled, polluted,devoid of stars. Look at the trees. They're brown, wilting, leaves caked with dust and mud. Look at yourself. Are you the same person? Watch those eyes. Is that a spark of cynicism? Hidden in the recesses, depression, frustation, anger? Where's the twinkle of excitement and apprehension at facing world? Where's the innocence?

Why is the magic lost? Why is the world devoid of it's charm? Why are there prices on the priceless? You wonder don't you? You dream of the breathtaking world of your past, lost. And, you sit down and weep.

By Tareq Adnan


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