The other day, I went to the canteen of my university to have lunch. While ordering, I explicitly mentioned not to serve me with any beef (as I am allergic to it, which I didn't bother mention). The bus boy, to my surprise, told me eating beef occasionally would not ruin my religion and being so reserved with foods is foolish! I understood he thought I was a Hindu and took the opportunity to give me a lecture. Instead of correcting his misunderstanding I pretended to be a Hindu and told him that I am respectful to my religion and try to follow it; to this he just laughed and said that I was being too pushy. With a bit of irritation, I asked him whether he would have pork if he were asked to and he simply answered that he was a Muslim and his religion was based on logic and scientific facts and etc. I was not very shocked at his response as he was after all a poorly educated person. What shocked me was that when I told the story to my friends, most of them supported the bus boy! Is this the level of respect we have for our own fellow citizens?
Md Arash Mirza
University of Dhaka
Once upon a time, Dhaka was known as the City of Mosques. But these days whenever I go outside, it strikes me that the city can more appropriately be labelled as “ the City of Signboards”. These signboards come in all shapes and sizes; from black and white to coloured, from tiny leaflets to huge hoardings.
They advertise almost anything that you may desire- Coaching centres or educational institutions guaranteeing success and promising to teach anything. Then there are the 'helpful' signboards: 'No public urination' tells you where to urinate (or worse), 'Dustbin', where you can throw your garbage, if not already thrown on your head from the 5th floor, 'No Hawkers' where you can buy your daily vegetables, fruits, phoochkas etc, 'No posters' sign on a wall covered with posters of all types. The most futile of them all is of course, 'No Parking or Reserved Parking or Parking For Loading and others', where you can park your Gas Guzzling Monstrosities (GGMs) with confidence. How can I leave out the most hilarious sign of all? A new one in Banani says “Call us if you need help”. It is from the local Police Station. At least there is a silver lining The signboard painters and paint companies are doing a roaring trade.
Afew days ago I was standing with my old friends from Dhaka College. Even though we had graduated many years ago, we still maintain our old friend circle, as those years were some of the greatest days in my life. Since it was a Friday, we had gathered in front of Dhanmondhi Lake, reminiscing about the good old days.
Suddenly one of my friends noticed an old acquaintance from Dhaka College going past by rickshaw. We called him out aloud by his name. He stopped the rickshaw and walked towards us. Instead of greeting us as he did in the good old days, he looked at us strangely as if not recognising us. Then he turned towards the cigarette shop and paid the shopkeeper 200 Taka and tells him loudly for our convenience, “I know my brother owes you money, take this.” Before the dumbfounded shopkeeper could say anything, he walked towards us and said, “I am sorry, you must have mistaken me as my twin brother. He is a drug addict and we have sent him abroad for treatment.” Along with the dumbfounded shopkeeper who is staring open mouthed at the complimentary 200 Taka he had earned, we stared at him dumbfounded as our supposedly old friend quickly boarded the rickshaw and went away. We knew very well that this man was our old friend but we could not imagine why he would want to conceal his identity from us.
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