The bus stand is where my area starts. It goes till the last lamppost of this street. This stretch of road is what I call mine. It's my street, my Dhaka. That's where we rule, my gang and I.
Yes, the gang. Nobody messes with us. We'll chase you and even tear you apart if necessary. Don't get us wrong, though. We're good folks. It's just that we watch out for each other and that we are very territorial. Nobody takes over our street.
It's survival instinct. If you are living on the streets, you got to be street-smart. Those so-called carpet dogs and pets will not be able to last a day on their own. They're not tough. They eat and sleep all day, getting pampered by their masters.
Not us! Our lives may be hard, but nobody owns us. We are free.
And we try to be nice to everyone. But in the heat of the argument, things can get a little out of paw. You know the phrase, 'to fight like cats and dogs'? It's totally fitting. I can't stand those lazy feline creatures. And for the record, there is nothing royal about a cat. I chase one whenever I can.
Monkeys are good. Smart. Fun-loving. Stealing food from humans. They are cool dudes to hang out with — except that they sometimes 'literally' hang, from buildings or trees, which I admit is a little too much of a circus act for us.
There are other creatures on the streets of Dhaka. A lone, harmless goat sometimes walks by. Crows land on the road snatching away food whenever we are careless.
And as for humans, I have mixed feelings about them. I've met some that are kind and cool, and some who are downright evil. One of my minions the other day got hit by a car! This caused a lot of stir in our community. “They say that we are man's best friend, and yet see how they treat us!” one of the seniors barked. “They don't deserve our friendship!” someone else replied. That poor puppy walks with a limp now.
However, there are good humans out there too. Like the gentleman who comes out for walks every morning, carrying pocketful of treats. Wagging our tails, we surround him and sometimes fight each other for our share. Life's good on the streets!
We even share the streets with some humans. Like us, they have nowhere to go. Like us, they look for food. And just like us, they are also neglected by most humans.
And then there are people who are just fascinated by us, like the photographer who came the other day, when I was lying about, chilling. Apparently, he was from a newspaper wanting to do a story on street animals of Dhaka. So I tried to be nice and posed in front of the camera for a while. But then I got bored and walked away. We know we're adorable, but we also have work to do: feeding and protecting ourselves. We are our own masters after all.
With my gang, I am always on the streets. We know the city's secrets, shortcuts, the perks and the ugly truths. Nobody knows streets of Dhaka better than us. Because that's where we rule, my gang and I.