time in good old Dhaka
love iftar time in Dhaka. Everyone seems to have a different
and unique way to celebrate it while breaking his or her fast.
At home, we all usually get together and seat in the dining
table, with our individual plates full of food in front of
us while we wait for the maghrib azaan. Outside in
the streets, it is a different ambience. Groups of associates
and friends, usually five or six in numbers, get iftar items
like chhola, muri, boot and payaju and they
mix it all together in a big plate. They then help themselves
to it, all at the same time. I saw this once and felt a shudder
at the thought of everyone foraging for the same food from
the same plate. Later, I realised that these people were really
living up to the meaning of togetherness during this special
month. Bangladesh is such a beautiful place with so many wonderful
things going on all around us, but we always tend to notice
what is bad. But seldom do we stop to enjoy all the wonders
that make this country our motherland...our home.
city of great surprise
home bound, I was ambling along the street of Dhanmondi. Suddenly
a burka-clad women crossed my path. She was loitering around
the corner of a street. It was 11pm, and I thought that she
was somebody in distress. As she came closer, I realised hat
she was at her teens. She whispered to me something, which
was an assortment of obnoxious words. What she really wanted
to know was whether I needed her service. This was just out
of the blue, as I never imagined that a burka-clad women would
solicit out in the street in such a way. Her language was
really offensive. However, I regained my countenance, and
whipped up the courage to ask her whether she had any family.
As she replied in the affirmative, I demanded to know why
she walks the street to solicit customers. "To feed my
family of course," was her bold reply. I then asked her
about her prospective clientele, she replied, "they are
of your kind; they even come by fancy cars to pick us up."
I was flabbergasted, as I thought that only the lower income-groups
solicited their service. Imagine how far we have let Dhaka
City to deteriorate, and how the wealthy are also contributing
in propagating flesh trade out in the streets.
Rahman, Dhaka University
days back, my younger sister Joty and I were chatting. Our
mother had made it very clear to both of us that we had to
keep our hair short and neat, but on that vary day I was telling
my sister to have her hair long. What she said next shocked
me. She told me that in her opinion, she might become a victim
of acid violence if she kept her hair long, because she would
look beautiful. She also told me that she would keep her hair
long once she went abroad, but not here in Bangladesh. I didn't
expect this type of comment from a student of class eight.
Later, I thought about the present condition that Bangladesh
is in. It is a fearful place for young girls like my sister
and it is sad how their mentality has transformed. We have
gained 'liberty' in 1971 but we really haven't got 'freedom'
yet, even after 33 years of our victory. Can we not hope for
a better Bangladesh? Don't we have the right to expect a fearless
and peaceful future in our own country?
Jahed Jiti, Viqarunnisa Noon College
(R) thedailystar.net 2004