March 26, 1971. Dawn.
The gunfire had ceased, the agonising cries could no longer be heard. The streets of Dhaka went silent after a night that many had thought would outlast eternity itself. Karim left his residence in Mohakhali and headed towards his hometown in Daudkandi to meet up with his family. He had to cover most of the distance on foot using alleyways and avoiding the main roads. But with the pace he was going at, Karim managed to reach his destination by noon.
There, Karim witnessed the misery and terror in the eyes of thousands heading East towards the border, most of them women and children, carrying nothing but a bit of food and clothing. All of them were fleeing the country, and the military oppression.
Karim and many other villagers piled up sacks of fruits, vegetables, rice, and large water drums along the sides of the road. The idea was to provide the people with something to eat so that they could carry on with their journey.
Every once in a while, a few would stop and take a drink from the drums, or pick up a cucumber and bite down on it. They were tired, devastated, and helpless. Yet, the expressions on their faces spoke only of anger and rage.