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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nine trends to prove that we are emerging

Immediately after returning to Dhaka for a short visit this time, I was welcome by a surprisingly blasphemous joke from none other than my seventy year old nani about the ongoing progress around.  She said proudly and with conviction that it was on the newspapers recently that a Christian foreigner had recently converted to the most common religious belief in Bangladesh. I honestly didn’t see what the big deal in the comment was – so I asked still being intrigued. Nani said that the convert was convinced of the omnipresence of the God almighty in Bangladesh as he, along with many government ministers, are confirmed that things here are still in place and going on somewhat smoothly just because its Him who he is running this country – not political parties, the police or the military. Jokes aside, I became conscious of the city where I was born and grew up in and spotted nine trends in Dhaka to prove or be proud that we are indeed coming up as an emerging force.

#1. We have become more space conscious
Since we are surrounded by a country called India from all sides (even they are eating up Bay of Bengal) we can’t increase our land mass. So we have started using our roof tops where we used to dry clothes, fly kites and ogle at neighbourly beauties into lounges, cafes and restaurants (open air). We have started filling up city lakes to build apartments so that we can live there. We make sure we don’t leave footpaths unused during heavy traffic jams so that we can sneak in with our motorbikes negotiating with equally crafty passersby (losers).

#2. We have become masters and madams of precipitation
We don’t have much time to waste, it is better to stand still in roads for hours after hours, bumper against bumper – rather than sitting at home. We make sure that we twist and turn as much as possible in the commute to be able to capture the 3 feet empty space that lies ahead to be captured before others dive in with their edges (other senseless people).

#3. We know the meaning of harmony, distance and sync
At an average speed of 12 kms on Dhaka streets, we make sure we don’t bump into our fellow city commuters or their vehicles. Rickshaws are allowed to give friendly pokes, it doesn’t apply to cars. Its like the kissing culture in the Arab countries, don’t get confused who you should kiss and who you better not. We have proven to the world that a discrimination free traffic flow is possible to accommodate all kinds of vehicles (including walking humans) in the same street to provide a level playing field and access to all citizens.

#4. We have (nearly) become like London and Bangkok
Make sure you divide any local price by 120 to figure out how much you would have paid had you been in London. You will be happy to know that in some instances, we have beaten western countries in terms of price of daily essentials. The amount of vehicles and the choking jams are indicators of economic vibrance and activities, even Bangkok was like this before. We are turning into Bangkok very soon.

#5. We have become more initiative-taking
Although law, law-makers and law-enforcers all exist here, since none implements them we need to take things in our own hands. We can jay-walk, park at our own will and mercy. If we don’t take the initiative to rule the traffic, the traffic will rule us – and that will not be a good thing.

#6. We own Japanese vehicles, foreigners in Bangladesh don't
With car prices hovering around 15 lacs, we are proud owners of Japanese made vehicles, sometimes more than one in a household. We feel sad and bad for foreigners when we see them around Gulshan, Baridhara walking through dusty roads negotiating with the vehicle spaghetti as we sit comfortably and patiently in air conditioned Premios or in a simple rickshaw. Although the footpaths remain empty and roads are choked – wonder why these poor white foreigners come to our country and walk from place to place. Don’t they have any status or care for their prestige?

#7. We have become more observing, curious, exploring
We need to explore more. That is the best thing to do while in a traffic death situation in Dhaka. We can look around at other vehicles, check out any women drivers etc. We can also hang around in fly overs, foot bridges, shopping malls to observe people and figure out what they are upto. (Bashundhara City is a good urban zoo)

#8. We have become more secured
As an example of the expanding social security and safety net, we have installed protective shields, kind of mini cages, in our three-wheelers – which we fondly call CNGs. This ensures that we are safe from beggars who touch you in traffic junctions or muggers who used to get on your lap from both open directions to rip you off. While travelling in a cage, smoking car smoke as natural sheesha – you can even count money and update your status message in iPhone safely from inside a CNG.

#9. We have become more festive
The cacophony we create when we are in roads proves again that we are a festive bunch. In other countries they honk to draw attentions, to swear at a fellow driver or a road user or sometimes during celebrations. But here we do it in any case, its very tempting and it creates a strange symphony to take you to a trance mode. This shows that we are always happy no matter which situation we are in.

1 comment:

Corporate Training said...

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