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     Volume 4 Issue 23 | December 3, 2004 |

   Cover Story
   News Notes
   In Retrospect
   A Roman Column
   Special Feature
   Human Rights
   Time Out
   Food for Thought
   Slice of Life
   On Campus
   Straight Talk
   Book Review
   Dhaka Diary
   New Flicks

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Dhaka Diary

Isn't it Ironic?
The other day, I was waiting for a bus at the Kalabagan Bus Stand and was looking for a place to sit. Two men were sitting there as well, peeling peanuts away to glory, making the area around them absolutely filthy. So I decided against sitting and stood a little away from the men. Some of the people, who were also waiting for their ride, were getting annoyed at their behaviour, but didn't bother saying anything. The two men seemed oblivious to everything around them, other than peeling peanuts and eating them. After a while, the men got up to leave the bus stand. Before leaving, however, both of them wore their aprons, which seemed to be some kind of a uniform belonging to some kind of an establishment. To my horror, the aprons clearly stated the men's profession! They said, 'CLEANER, DHAKA CITY CORPORATION'.

Nabila, JU

Bites of conscience
I am sure everyone knows about bus conductors who have a habit of playing with the naiveté of simple people, if they can get hold of one. I was coming back to my hall on a bus one day, where two passengers who seemed new in the city were also travelling. They were headed for Sayedabad, but our bus was bound for Gulistan. Sayebabad was not on the way and was also far away from its final destination, that is, Gulistan. But, even then, the conductor picked them up on the bus and charged them a fare up to Gulistan. Everything was happening right in front of my eyes, but I couldn't open my mouth to protest. Apathy runs so deeply in our system that all of the passengers on the stuffy bus (including myself) remained tight-lipped throughout. One has to be concerned with oneself at times and speaking up for a man in distress is an absolute waste of valuable 'energy', that one can spend on something else more useful. Even then, someday, a loved one or I myself, might get into trouble and I would naturally seek help. I just pray that we can whip up enough courage to actually stand up to such deeds which are weakening our country and its system and also simple faith in humanity, day by day.

Mohiuddin. Shahidullah Hall, University of Dhaka

The other side of reality
Our chuta (part time) helper is the sole earner in her family. Her husband is a vegetable vendor and remains ill most of the time. On the 7th or 8th day of Ramadan, someone from her neighbourhood came to her place and left his mobile there for safekeeping while he went for his tarabi prayers at a nearby mosque. The vendor, on the other hand, left the phone with his two sons, aged nine and eleven, to have dinner. As the children were playing about, a stranger came up all of a sudden and took the mobile away. A few minutes later the vendor returned to find the mobile missing. When the owner of the mobile phone returned, he couldn't believe what happened and charged the full cost of the phone. Without any choice, the poor bua had to take a loan along with her full month's salary and Eid bonus to pay the man back and unfortunately could not enjoy the sacred festival of Eid. I guess, along with all the Eid festivities going on in the city, there were some who had to go through the hard reality of life itself.

Rehana Ahmed, Uttara

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