From the Pens of a Daily Commuter | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 04, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 04, 2018

From the Pens of a Daily Commuter

(Translated by Subarna Khan)

Diogenes

The scene must have caught attention of those people who tend to come and go through the Farmgate area. How old may that madman be? He appears to be about 30 or 35. Fully naked, his well-formed figure reminded me of a Greek sculpture when I saw him first. The gentlemen pretend not to see him. I have seen women pass him by lowering their gazes right after stealing a glance at him.

No, the madman isn't violent at all. Sometimes he just screams at the top of his lungs with a roar of laughter, “WHERE ARE THE HUMANS, EH? WHERE ARE THE HUMANS?”

The other day, I watched a Gamchhawallah holding out a brand-new red gamchha to the fellow and say “Here, take it…now cover up your body with this.”

“Ha-ha-ha!” The madman cracked up and yelled “Bastard!!! Are you nuts? Why would I wear clothes? Who's gonna make me feel ashamed? Where are the humans? Where actually are the humans?”

A statue of the Greek philosopher Diogenes holding a lantern on his quest for an honest man appeared before my eyes.

To Make a Living

I take the bus #6 from TB gate road, Mohakhali to my office at Motijheel. I'm a family man with a kid. And the job doesn't suit me. Taking an overcrowded Murir Tin (old, inexpensive bus) to get to office and back home quite eases the commute expense. The bus stands for a while at Mohakhali in order to take more passengers. Meanwhile, the hawkers hop on it and start promoting their products. The products are quite cheap and very attractive to the lower middle class people like us. A lollipop seller gets on it. A packet of twenty lollipops costs only TK 10. A number of passengers are buying these. So, I also get one. My son always throws himself in my arms when I get home. He'll definitely be over the moon after getting all these lollipops at once.

As soon as the lollipop seller gets down, appears another twenty/twenty two-year-old fellow with a sack hanging from his shoulder. He starts his speech, “brothers, y'all have sucked enough, now put this on."  The whole bus explodes in laughter, and his lecture continues, "Here you can get the Magic Molom (ointment) a dream-cure, a marvelous invention by the Pir Maulana Shariat Ullah Rahmatullah of Dewanganj, Jamalpur." Now that's my hometown, by the way. There's no Pir in Dewanganj, let alone one named Shariat Ullah. When the seller approaches me, I ask him, "Where exactly in Dewanganj did you find this Pir Saheb? I grew up in that place, you know.”

The Molom guy gives me a crestfallen look and then whispers, "Hey bro, don't take the bread out of my mouth. I'm a poor guy, working for a living, not that I'm robbing or something. And honestly, the 'Molom' really works wonders for itching."

Mohammad Anwarul Kabir is a poet and micro-story writer, presently teaching Computer Science at AIUB; Subarna Khan is an avid reader and also publishes her poems and short stories and book reviews on G+, Mirakee, Wattpad and many online platforms.

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