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     Volume 4 Issue 46 | May 13, 2005 |

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Dhaka Diary

A ghostly encounter
I was on my way to a friend's place, all the way from Banani to Dhanmondi, on a CNG. Since it was close to 8:30 at night, most of the CNG drivers weren't very enthusiastic about giving nor me or my guitar a ride all the way to Dhanmondi. However, one eerie looking driver stopped and looked at me with one of those 'distant look in his eyes', straight out of a novel. I asked him if he would give me a ride, to which he just motioned slightly with his head, a sign for me to 'hop in', I presumed. Upon going a little further, the CNG driver started to mumble to himself. I assumed that the driver was probably trying to say something to me. However, I later realised that he was talking to himself, or scarier still, to a certain someone who seemed to be seated right next to him. The driver seemed to be having a hearty conversation with his mysterious companion, when he even began to laugh by himself, probably to a joke cracked by one of them. Suddenly, I didn't feel too eager to go all the way to Dhanmondi, and even felt strong enough to walk all the way if necessary. I slipped out of the vehicle when it stopped at a signal, while the driver was still busy in conversation with his ghostly partner.

C. Iqbal Banani DOHS


A woman's role
A few days ago, while returning home by bus, a young woman entered the vehicle at one of the stops. She came and sat next to me. After a while, I could sense that the woman was pretty upset about something, and she eventually began to weep. It seems that she was working and married to a man who was unemployed. Her husband did nothing to help out, spent all her money and sometimes got rough with her if she refused to give him more. Apparently the day before, her husband had even beaten her. The bruises and marks were there for all to see. I asked her why she didn't think of leaving her husband. She was financially solvent, could look after herself well, was well educated and could face the society. A woman doesn't have to feel all insecure and scared today, only because her husband turns out to be one of those villains we watch on Bangla and Indian cinema. She has every right to walk out and build a life on her own. I realised that I was under the wrong impression, regarding the present status of women in our country, when she replied that she simply could not leave her husband, since it would reflect a negative image and a 'bad name' to the family's pride and prestige. It's better to be tortured inside, rather than being a social outcast.

Iffat Tarannum (Nandini) Dhaka City College


Wanna be my SMS pal?
Ever felt tired of all those text messages that seem to beep up your cell, turning out to be nothing more than a 'Please be my SMS friend'? Well, I decided to reply to one of these once. Instead of text messaging back to the unknown number, I called him up. I could hear the phone ringing, but no one would answer from the other end. After a few tries, I gave up. This 'wannabe-SMS-friend', messaged back and literally begged me not to call him, since he did not want his identity to be revealed. The daylong stress at school and work did not work well for my head or my temper, and I felt it sliding up again. I called him up again, and after a number of futile tries, the phone was finally answered. However, I couldn't hear anything. "Hello," I approached. "You can't be my friend if you don't talk to me."

"You are a girl!" exclaimed a voice belonging to a girl of not more than 13 years of age, and immediately she hung up. I couldn't help smiling and then laughing out eventually, wondering at the extent to which our 'little microchip technology' has reached, including scared little girls looking for SMS friends, probably just for fun, but yet, highly dangerous.

DK Baridhara


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