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     Volume 4 Issue 38 | March 18, 2005 |

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Dhaka Diary

The cost of sweat
A few days ago, I was waiting for a rickshaw, when a middle-aged gentleman got down from one right in front of me. He asked the rickshaw puller to wait for a while. He would come back and pay the fair. I got on the rickshaw, and, along with the rickshaw puller, waited for the man to come and pay the fare. Fifteen minutes passed by, but there was no sign of the so-called gentleman and his 20 taka. The poor rickshaw puller could not say anything and simply stayed silent. What bothered me the most was that the poor man did not create any hue or cry but simply stayed silent and moved on with me. At that moment, I just wanted to make that gentleman pull a rickshaw for a few minutes, so that he could realise how much he would have to sweat just to earn a few takas.

Saad Uddin Md. Wasek

Beating it out, is the best way out
One evening, I was returning home from a bookshop. Suddenly, at a nearby lane I saw a man severely beating a street child. I stopped my rickshaw and went to see what was happening. The man looked like an educated person between 30-35. The little boy was probably between eight and 11 and was crying desperately, asking the man to stop beating him. When I asked the man why he was beating the boy the man replied that the boy stole his lungi after climbing up to his balcony. The boy was bleeding. There were many onlookers but no one dared to step forward to help the poor boy. I asked the man to stop and told him that it was wrong to beat a little boy in such a severe manner for a petty reason. The man would not even listen to me and instead started to scream! Two other members of his family who were standing before the house insisted I leave the place immediately. It was unfortunate to see that such rich people were behaving so inhumanly for such a small loss. I told them that I was even ready to pay for the things the boy had stolen. The men got mad at me. It was their area so I had to step back. Nevertheless, it was good to see that after I had protested, a few people who were watching the incident stepped forward and requested the man not to beat the boy anymore. The man had to stop beating the boy. Thousands of street children live a very miserable life on the streets of Dhaka. It's shameful that we do not forgive them when their obscure fates force them to commit mistakes, sometimes just for mere survival.

Asef Kabir Lalmatia, Dhaka

A Grand Sale Indeed!
I pass by the New Elephant Road on my way to college, six days a week. While going to college, I like to roam around feasting my eyes on the exclusive outfits in the different shops. Last winter, one of the shops had some blazers on display, with tags showing 'fixed prices'. An off-white blazer drew my attention, which was Tk 1200 according to the price tag. I would pass by the shop everyday, glance at the blazer and its price and imagine myself buying it one of these days. One fine day, while going to college, I noticed that the shop was all decorated and that it was giving away its items at 50 percent discount. I thought to myself that the blazer would be a steal then! People gathered in the shop and were hugely attracted to this sale. I wandered over to the blazer, and to my utter shock, it was priced at Tk 1400 now! The shopkeepers actually raised the price from the original figure and claimed it to be on sale. I couldn't stop thinking about the way people are constantly being cheated.

Shoaib M. Siddiqui, Dhaka City College


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