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     Volume 6 Issue 37 | September 21, 2007 |

   Human Rights
   Cover Story
   Straight Talk
   Special Feature
   Food for Thought
   A Roman Column
   View from the    Bottom
   Dhaka Diary
   Book Review

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Dhaka Diary

VIP Treatment

The other day my mother and I were on our way to the Star Cineplex to watch a movie scheduled at 11:10 am. Because of the traffic jam, it was taking a long time to reach the place and by the time we reached the intersection it was already 11:00 am. We weren't worried though, since we figured that we still had plenty of time to reach Basundhara Complex. However, suddenly life had become still on the streets. We were halted for at least 15 minutes for a 'special person' to pass by. There were two wailing ambulances on the street amongst all the other waiting vehicles. In our country, not only was this a practice during the time of the governments practicing democracy but one sees it happening during the term of the caretaker government as well. These absurd practices should be stopped as soon as possible.

Jafrin Jahed Jiti
Chittagong Medical College

Helicopters on the Road

On the first day of Ramadan, a friend of mine and I were on our way to Eskaton to one of the practice pads. It was 10:30 in the morning and since it was the very first day of Ramadan, I was still not used to the sudden change in the sleeping and eating schedules. I was, therefore, in a daze. Suddenly, my friend, who has a knack for noticing all the little details that we usually tend to ignore on the streets, gave out a yelp of joy and went, "Helicopter, look that's a helicopter!" right next to my ears. Automatically my weary eyes scanned the skies and saw no sign of a chopper. I wondered if he saw a chopper on one of the building roofs, which seemed to fascinate him so much. But no, there was no sign of a helicopter anywhere. I glared at my friend and asked him the whereabouts of the helicopter and why he had to scream about something so trivial. With the same geeky smile on his face, he pointed at a small cycle-van, which was being pulled by a young man. A little boy was sitting at the back. This particular vehicle was a smaller version of the cycle-vans that we see in Dhaka city. This particular vehicle is found in Savar and is popularly known as a helicopter by the locals. I could not help smiling at the little vehicle and the name given to it. I wonder how long I will have to wait for an 'airplane' to hit the roads.

Nabil Sheikh
Gulshan 2

The Tale of Everyman

The heat of the late summer was quite unbearable. Soaked in perspiration, I scanned through the almost empty streets for a rickshaw. At a distance, under the shade of a tree, I saw a rickshaw. As I approached it, I noticed that the rickshaw-puller was weeping quietly. Not knowing what to do, I was walking passed the rickshaw. "Brother, where do you want to go?" the puller called from behind. I hesitated for a while, but got on the rickshaw. Being inquisitive, I asked the man why he was crying. The story he then narrated was really touching. About a year back, he came to Dhaka with his family from his country, hoping to make some 'easy money', as he heard from others that in Dhaka 'money flew in the air'. However, arriving here, he saw a completely different thing. There was no place to live, no job, and obviously no easy money. He lived in poverty and hunger for days, looking for a job that could help him support his family. He worked as a day labourer, sweeper and finally took on rickshaw pulling. He was living a comparatively happy life. Then a week ago, he went to his country-home with his family. But, when he returned the day before, he saw that his landlord had rented out his home to another person because he had two months' rent due. He was back in the streets again. So he was out with his rickshaw, determined to earn enough money to rent a new house. He would not go home until he was successful. I reached my destination as the man finished his story. I was totally at a loss. I could feel tears gather into my eyes. I handed over a hundred-taka note to the man, and moved away quickly, without giving him a chance to refuse. I knew that this small amount of money would not solve his problem, but it would at least ease his endless pain a little.

Sadat Shams
Maple Leaf Int. School


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