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|Volume 11 |Issue 26| June 29, 2012 ||
A Torn Wreath
She was forming a garland with Mimusops elengi flowers near the lake at Ramna Park. I was observing her when she requested me to buy one of her garlands. I expressed my unwillingness and started to walk away. But she stopped me and said, “Bhaiya, you can take this wreath and no need to pay.” The seven-year-old girl, called Rowshon Ara, perplexed me. When I asked about her parents, she said that her father had left them. Her mother was blind and incapable of working. She told me that she was third among her six siblings. She gave everything she made by selling flowers to her mother. I also learned that she had always wanted to go to school but never had the chance to attend one. In our country, hundreds of thousands of children like Rowshon Ara struggle for survival every day. Theirs is an insurmountable battle – one that is waged from the very day they are born. Is there really nothing we can do to change this situation?
Bipul K Debnath
A Sad Incident at Gonoshastho
Last Wednesday I went to Gonoshasto Nogor Hospital in Dhanmondi to get nebuliser treatment as I was having breathing problems and the said hospital was the only choice left to me. The chord that connects the machine with the mask was not working, and the receptionist called a nurse to hold it into the machine so that the vapour was properly generated. Within a few minutes, the nurse started to slap her feet, saying she was unwell and enquired when the whole thing would end. When I replied that I had to finish the medicine in the nebuliser, she said that it might take an hour more and started to rub her feet in despair. After a while I got irritated and left the room to pay the fees without even taking two-third of the salbutamol. When I told the receptionist why I finished taking nebuliser so early, she remained silent, and as I was about to leave the hospital, I heard one of the doctors, a grey-haired man with a bald spot whom another doctor was calling 'sir', say quite loudly, "And he said he had a breathing problem!', implying I might have been feigning illness all along. I used to respect Dr Zafarullah Chowdhury a lot, considering Gonoshasto, his creation, an oasis of hope for the poor of the city. But the incident has left a raw taste in my mouth, I don't know what havoc the dirty mask might create in my lungs!
It was the two year anniversary of our relationship and we wanted to celebrate it away from the hustle and bustle of Dhaka city. We were both on my motorcycle, on our way to Ashulia. Even before we could reach our destination, we were stopped randomly by a policeman. “Where are you going?” he asked grimly. I answered him politely not knowing what was going on. But then he began to ask me a series of questions that were borderline offensive – are you two married? What is your relation with her? Why do you want to go to Ashulia? Throughout the conversation, he would point at my girlfriend suggestively and smirk as if he was in on some secret. I couldn't help but be really annoyed. What business is it of his where I go or who I go with? And why do I need to be married to my girlfriend for people to leave us alone? People in this country really need to start respecting other peoples' personal spaces. If I am not bothering anyone, why should anyone have the right to be obnoxious and intrusive. The police, in particular, should stop misusing their power for their twisted amusement.
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