Striking A Chord
Tales from the Streets
A 400-year-old Dhaka city, to one, may seem to be a vast stretch of land, comprising of faraway 'countries' with exotic cultures and unusual people living in these places. At the risk of sounding slightly pompous, it has been quite a while since I have actually explored the city on my own or with friends. For many, many months, it has been a ride from home to work and then back home again. But then again, this is a common tale for the folk living in this city.
Photo: Salahuddin Ahmed.
The Vision 2020 and Vision 2025 inspire us to visualise a city with motorways, the metro system and lots of flyovers for the increasing number of vehicles. In fact, several projects and plans now tell us how beautiful, green and spacious Dhaka city will be in the future. Naturally, we all would love to have a glimpse of the 'fairy-tale' land that everyone keeps talking about. Moreover, one would also want to see the children on the streets of Dhaka sleeping in a warm bed and having a proper meal for a change, clean hospitals, better schools, not to mention safe and reliable public transport system.
Though it has been accepted somewhat with open arms by many and even turned into a joke by some, one may believe that jammed up streets and highways in Dhaka city is one reason behind the increasing crime rate, poverty, and mental problems amongst people, not to mention the slow development of the country.
I was to go to Motijheel a couple of days ago, to discuss a sponsorship proposal with a company, regarding an album deal. I promise, the deal was very important to me and it still is. But to visit the 'land' of Motijheel would take me half a dozen hours just one way, and that too eating up one of my work days. I thought, and I thought and I figured that the only way I could go to Motijheel was if I could convince the nice officials at the company to keep their offices open on a Friday or if I could manage to take leave for a day from my workplace. I am still thinking what to do.
My cousin Rezwan lives in Kahettuli, in the older part of Dhaka city. Coping up with university assignments and the photography club that he joined in his locality recently, the young chap does have some his hands full most of the time. Recently, his sister and brother-in-law had planned a trip to Nepal and had asked Rezwan to accompany them all the way to the airport. They started early in the morning to reach the airport on time. Once Rezwan bid them farewell and started out to go home, he fell prey to one of the worst traffic jams ever. After three lazy hours of listening to the ipod, counting billboards, reading signboards on the way, Rezwan gets a call from his sister, who, with her husband, had finally reached their hotel in Kathmandu safely.
And then there are many more stories; someone reaches late to school, a patient's condition gets worse on way to the hospital, the bank closes down for the weekend and you are still half way across the city trying your best to reach the bank to transfer money to your family living at home.
Well, one can look at the bright side, what doesn't kill you, makes your stronger! Despite that fact that we have plenty around us which will break our motivation, kill our spirit and maybe even force us to give up and stay home, let us still hope for this new year to bear all the goodness and the encouragement to make this country a better place to live in and be proud of.