Dhaka streets devoid of women following decision to only venture out at night
The city's streets, its offices, homes, schools and colleges have witnessed a curious absence over the last few weeks. Ever since the comment by a senior official calling popular film actress Mona Fairy, Raat er Rani (Queen of the Night), it seems women have decided to band together.
A press conference was arranged a week back at 2:30am and was attended by scores of women from all walks of life.
"We have decided to start our day only after nightfall. The ones who are early birds can and will start the day around 7-8pm and the others will join as the night progresses," said one of the women leading the press conference.
This correspondent, also a woman, attended the press briefing and decided to do a weeklong follow-up of the pledge to only work at night as a show of solidarity to Mona Fairy by women of the nation.
This mandate included everyone, from homemakers, office going women, RMG workers, to household help and schoolchildren and teachers.
I visited various spots throughout the course of the week and recorded scenes of chaos as the first week of the "Raat er Rani" campaign unfolded. This paper also received hundreds of email, all from men sharing their plight at this sudden decision by women.
"My wife refuses to wake up in the morning. That is when I have to go to work. I have no idea where most of my clothes are or my matching tie is. And what about breakfast? I have had to leave the house without breakfast for the past three days. I return home and find my wife is just waking up to tackle the day," said the senior law enforcer who had come up with the term Raat er Rani.
Meanwhile for boys who live in messes, this new decision by women to only work at night means their mess continues to get messier.
"Our bua has not shown up for the last few days. I mean, she comes at the oddest of hours. Like the other day, she came at 3:30am but our night guard was sleeping and didn't let her in. Our house hasn't been cleaned in days and we have been living on store-bought meals for the last few days," said Iman, an engineering student who lives with his classmates in a mess.
Men have been complaining non-stop since this decision came into effect.
"We are left confused and worried and don't know how to go about our days. Regular office requires us to go to work during the day but to interact with the women in our lives we have to stay up late. My wife has even been doing all her gardening at night. My friend's wife apparently catches up on all her shows and cooking in the dead of night. She even hosted her friends for a dawat after midnight. Which also means the house is constantly noisy and us men who have to work during the day can barely get any sleep," said another disgruntled husband.
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