How we survive Dhaka without really thinking about it (as told by bideshis) | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 19, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 19, 2019

How we survive Dhaka without really thinking about it (as told by bideshis)

Every day, us Dhaka residents (and from every other Bangladeshi city) do not realise how close we come to death, mutilation and further death. Only when you hang out with a bideshi do you take in the magnitude of the possibility that the end is so near. We are literally that guy on the Titanic who spotted the iceberg at the last moment and realised it was not a tiny white iPad box floating in the sea.

Breaking (because of) the internet

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The internet can kill you in many ways. Have you ever looked up a medical symptom? Coughing, sneezing, pain in the right pinky? All of it can lead to slow and inglorious death. Considering our high levels of air, water and food pollution, pinky finger death is a must for us all. It is tough to survive the internet what with FaceApps making you old and dead digitally. But have you used the internet services? Of course. We never realise just how slow and erratic it is because you never realise you are killing yourself when watching a Kardashian show.

A cousin recently from the land of bidesh was sitting at my home browsing the net. And poof, it was gone. And back. And then gone. He tried connecting to Netflix and nearly killed himself from the long, long wait of 14 seconds. He asked me incredulously, ‘How do you not kill yourself from this outrageous wait and erratic connection?’

I did not have an answer as I was trying to download an attachment for work while stressing inwardly. Stress kills. And that indirectly kills us slowly as we browse the net.

The sky is falling

I parked my car to buy baby diapers in my neighbourhood. The shopkeeper’s assistant came running inside to ask me to move my car because something fell on it. I was worried it was baby diapers, used. I was partially correct. Someone threw chewed guavas along with some lumpy pieces right out the window. Lots of it. Looked like they almost threw up.

Things fall from the sky often here. Used tissues, key rings and the aforementioned baby diapers, albeit used. A Chinese friend of mine always used to carry an umbrella not because he would burn easily because of his fair skin, but because he was afraid people would throw things from buildings.

It is still better than what happened in India last year when blue ice fell from the sky in a village. Villagers thought it was heaven sent. They stored it in refrigerators, ate it carefully, wrote poems probably. The blue ice was toilet waste from an airplane. Somehow it had leaked, frozen in that high altitude and dropped. 

The floor is lava

Well, if the lava is liquid, cold and muddy. That is our city thanks to the copious amounts of plastic waste we throw around, the ones that go clog up the drains during monsoon. We have accepted it. But a bideshi friend was asking how we are still alive after watching a suspicious brown lump that looked like ice cream float past. We were stuck in an Uber while that happened and the water was slowly seeping inside.

All this makes me feel we should be really, really happy that we are alive, every day. We probably should not be but we are. We simply do not give up. We cannot die. Which is hopeful because I have my worries about the new nuclear power plant. Glowing green is really not my colour.

Ehsanur Raza Ronny is a confused dad, all round car guy, model car builder and cartoonist. He is also Editor of Shift (automobiles), Bytes (technology) and Next Step (career) for The Daily Star.

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