They All Have Their Own Styles
In any part of the world neither mugging nor begging is considered as an occupation, although they both require advanced skills and techniques. Plus, muggers and beggars both earn money, be it through “snatching” or “nagging”.
These people are extremely talented in their respective careers. Though they were never taught by experts, they take lessons from the school of hard knocks to get better.
In Dhaka, two areas infamous for mugging/getting mugged are Lalmatia and Azimpur. Both very different from each other, Azimpur is a crowded area right next to New Market. Since it's always crowded, it's easy for the muggers to take things from people while they are busy doing something else. By the time you can react, they will be gone. Lalmatia, on the other hand, is filled with muggers who target the naive teenagers who go to the private coaching centres there. They will calmly approach you, often blame you for something, indirectly find out whether you are carrying cash or gadgets, trick/force you into giving them up and just walk away. Some teenagers know how to protect themselves. Though if you are alone in a dark alley and they come in gangs with knives or other weapons you are simply doomed. But standing up to muggers sometimes backfires; you can end up getting stabbed.
For ages, these people have innocuously begged on the streets of Dhaka. But now the entire scenario has turned over. These homeless people are now ready to put up reckless acts in order to get some money. In places like Dhanmondi, some children would cover their body in sewage and stand in people's way. Refusal to their demands in this case would cost the victim a very unwanted and disgusting hug. There are many variations of this act, where the poop is replaced by lizards or snakes. At a situation like this, there is no easy way of escaping. It's a very obnoxious but foolproof idea. Sometimes you also see healthy men or women begging but the moment you suggest that they actually work for a living, they give you a scornful look.
Mallik Rifa Tasfia is an A-Level student of S.F.X. Greenherald International School, Dhaka.