Office was at 11:00 and so I set out at 9:30 in the morning. It was raining hard. I realised I wouldn’t be able to get a bus today. Even if a bus did show up, it would crawl along and take about an hour just to get to Malibagh. It was like an ocean out there and it would need a Noah’s Ark to get across. A CNG-run auto-rickshaw wouldn’t be able to make it.
The murky waters of Motijheel, Bijoy Nagar, Khilgaon, Malibagh and Maghbazar seemed to have warned the little vehicle against even trying to make the journey. So my mind sped to the last resort - Uber service!
But my Smartphone had bad news - no Uber in a three kilometer radius. So what was I to do? No choice but to walk! My wife implored me not to go, my two little boys tried their best to get me to stay back, but I had to leave.
I stepped out onto the street and into the rain. Not just rain, incessant rain! With an umbrella above to keep my head dry at least, I set off with my pants rolled up and umbrella above my head. The footpath was just a muddy mess and I felt the anger seething up inside me. The city corporation invariably chose the height of the rainy season every year to take up their repairs, renovations and anything to get their hands on the annual development programme allocation.
Wherever I looked, there were these little signposts declaring. “Development work in progress! Sorry for the temporary inconvenience!” I knew they were addressing me and I felt a bit important. The corporation was actually apologising to me! If only my father was alive, he could have seen what clout his son wielded!
By the time I reached the Malibagh railway gate, my Tk 2,500 Apex sandals had swollen up most oddly. I could neither walk in them nor carry them. I decided to walk along the railway line. It stretched all the way up to Karwan Bazar. It was a good way to walk. So much to see on the railway line, not to mention human waste! And a conglomeration of anything and everything that rots. It was okay until the railway line went under water and I had to wade through all that dirt and who knows what! I just tried to be philosophically above it all, until I finally reached Karwan Bazar.
Then began the real trek. I would have to take the road through the bazaar that leads to CA Bhaban. But that was completely submerged in water. It looked like I’d have to take the plunge. Even if I had worn a lungi, it wouldn’t have been of much use. The water was up to my waist!
A half an hour wait over there finally resulted in a rickshaw van turning up. It was a two minute walk on normal days, but I had to then take a van ride. It was water, water everywhere, but not just water. Just remembering those putrid unidentified floating objects makes me want to throw up.
I sat on the van with the water gently swishing below. I realised I might never get this chance again and pulled out my Smartphone and began recording my journey on video. I was so intent on my filming skills, that I hadn’t seen a group of people standing in front of the van, sneering at me in derision, “People can hardly survive and who does this man think he is, making a video of people’s woes?” I had no answer. The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind (in the rain, rather!).
* The article, originally came out in Prothom Alo Bangla online, has been rewritten by Ayesha Kabir