I don't visit anyone unless forced to. Once I was ordered by the Court to present myself and I did. It was a strange experience seeing all these people who had been charged under various dahara of the Digital Security Act. Women in purdah sat on the verandah, breast feeding their children, some loitered about with very bemused faces.
When I was called in, I stood next to a man in handcuffs, apparently a Jongi. Police stood all around. But I was more worried about corona infecting me rather than jail. I tried to look as non-jongi as possible to stop any infection as he wasn't wearing any mask, I had two. Anyway, there it was. I survived on all counts, at least that day.
But I do walk the streets of Dhaka every day. Slowly over the months, I have become more familiar with the pavement running from NIketon to Gulshan 1 and around the DCC market than what goes inside its houses and homes. It's a city I am slowly beginning to feel very familiar with. It's a strange city, full of sinners and saints, more of the first I am afraid.
It's also divided between buyers and vendors. Everyone sells or buys, there is no intermediate class unless those who don't really belong there, those going home. That's how the city stands I guess.
To walk without a destination is odd for a person like me who is obsessed with objectives. Walking for health which is what I basically do seems almost like waste of time. So I make up destinations, make up objectives, give myself targets to achieve and reach there.
Time is a good one to play with. Making Gulshan 1 in 19 minutes not 20 is a good one. I had started to shave the minutes but have to remember that I am a senior at 69 years. After three days the feet protested with pain and so I kept it inside 55 minutes and the body felt safe.
But this is a different city that I know, a city where the people like water flows on the footpaths, flooding it. I had once thought that it was a city without faces, covered by masks but slowly the masks have come off. And people as always suffer from a risky sense of vulnerability. A new surge is coming, health authorities warn but people have become short of hearing. It will take more shouting to be listened to. Who knows what will happen but for the moment, the walkers reign.
Street fashion in Corona
The male walkers -fashion wise- are rather boring as there is no variety. Most dress the same and as a male I don't notice what they wear. But women are different and the dress, the attire, the way it's worn, stitched, carried and adorned all bear some signature of some meaning.
Women are walking more and sneakers have made a huge appearance as many prefer to foot the road home. This includes dressers who are fancy and those who are less so. So the feet are more functional while the rest of the body is for more ornamental wear.
There are more girls in Western dress then I remember as jeans and pants- skin tight to floppies- are common accompanied by tops and shirts. Couple of skirts I notice, close to Dhaka's business district outlets too, so I guess the city embraces diversity more than some of us think. And then of course the hijabis and the burka wearers walk the walk.
They are about one third of all women on the streets but the most common adornment is the nikab, since they are stretched across most faces, the most fashionable to the least. The masks are the new normal and the nikab when not lending hand to observe purdah is also offering protection against corona.
But couples do walk the streets and as crowds get thicker in places so do the twos. In our days, few help hands publicly, today it's so common that few notice. A couple shouting at each other standing just where the DCC market begins did so while holding each other's hands oh-so-tightly was so much part of the scene.
Family life amidCOVID-19
They had an evening to spare so the five of them had come out together and walked aimless around the DCC market area. It's clearly not their shopping zone but they window shopped peering at the wares and the people who come to buy and those who sit and haggle. They walked from shop to shop, the children dressed in half ragged dresses. I wondered if they were street dwellers taking time off since they looked so decrepit to be honest.
Finally, they came to the chola boot wala and ordered some. As the man added ingredients and mixed, shook the container violently afterputting muri, chillis, potato, thinly cut veggies to makesomething rich and strange, the faces of the kids -unmasked -broke into smiles. The parents stood there with hands on the shoulders of the kids. For a brief moment Corona died.
Leave a Comment
If you stumbled on the scene too late, you might have missed him there ...
Climate Crisis is one of the most vogue crises people are facing in th ...