We all have complicated histories. When was the last time your past experiences informed a major decision you’ve made?
Fortunately for me I really didn’t have complicated histories.
I was twelve when my father passed away, all the decisions regarding where we’d settle was made by my Mom. She thought there was no reason to stay away from our homeland, therefore we packed our bags and left.
We settled in a small town, it provided everything we needed such as schools and colleges. After graduating from high school I registered in the local college, completed two years and decided to go to Dhaka city to complete the rest of my education.
Things could have been complicated if my two brothers refused to pay my tuition and residence fees but they were very co-operative, they paid my fees regularly, all I was expected to do was study. I kept my end of the bargain, and successfully completed my education without any problems.
I did not have to make any major decision like quitting school to get a job.
Situated on the banks of the river Buriganga, is Dhaka City, the capital of Bangladesh. In year 2011, it’s population was 16 million, it is the ninth largest and 28th most densely populated city in the world.
The climate is mild in winter and extremely hot in summer. The monsoon season gives some relief , it cools off the temperature to a certain extent.
After partition in 1947, the population has grown more than the city can handle. With the increasing number of people one would expect the transportation should improve, it hasn’t. There are a large number of the population who drive without a license. driving schools do not exist, but life goes on.
I left the city after my marriage and occasionally visited it because of the expensive air fare.
In 2010 I went to Dhaka for some personal reasons. When I got out of the building to find my brother, what I saw around me was not only unbelievable but scary too.Inside the building passengers with valid tickets are the only ones who are allowed to go in. Outside there are thousands peeking in, may be they came to greet their family members. Some that were there did not belong, they ranged from pick pockets to kidnappers to other miscreants.
I cautiously came out and looked for my brother, there were beggars a plenty asking for money, cab drivers came forward asking me if I needed a ride home. Then there were young boys with their cell phone volunteering to let me use it if I wanted to call my family members.Amidst all this chaos it was tough to stay calm.Thankfully I spoke the local language. All these people realized I was not just a visitor, but a bona fide citizen.
After crossing the hurdle of getting out of the building in one piece. Next my brother had to tell these people who were crowding the place to get out of our way. I finally got inside my brother’s car, the ride from the airport to my brother’s home was another obstacle I had to overcome.
The roads were blocked by all kinds of traffic, the car was crawling, even then it seemed it was a trying experience, just when the driver thought he’d speed up, crossing in front of him was a herd of cattle. The driver had to let them go, but the cycle rickshaw driver thought it was an opportune moment for him to overtake the car.
We had probably gone a few yards, when to our dismay we found behind us a huge public bus roaring in, the driver stopped on the side, unfortunately there were several other buses following the first bus driver one after the other, each of these buses have one guy who yells out, “move on the side.”
Then there are personalized chauffeur driven cars, the drivers are extremely arrogant, because they don’t own the vehicles they drive like lunatics, the feeling is if it is damaged the owner will fix it. If one had to deal with one mode of transportation, it probably would not be that bad.
The types of transportation are private, public, and personalized vehicles . The primary ones are a) pedestrians, b) cycle rickshaws, c) transit and non-transit.
Transit mode is motorized public transport system which includes bus,small motorized vehicles e.g, cars, and light vehicles such as three wheeled cycle rickshaws which can have only one or two passengers. There are very few lights, most of the time they do not work. The traffic is mostly controlled by traffic police.
Personalized services are taxis, auto rickshaws are three wheeled mechanically operated vehicles , its body is manufactured locally, the chassis and the engine are imported. Next there are human haulers these are small four wheeled contraption hauled by humans, used mostly to carry various kinds of goods.
Dhaka city is also known as the ‘Rickshaw Capital Of The World’, there are four hundred thousand cycle rickshaws moving on the streets of Dhaka city, along with all the other modes of transportation.
When I finally reached my brother’s home, I realized how difficult it is for the people who live there, or may be they do not think about it because they are used to it.
I was not used to it, when I lived there, the population was manageable. There were not that many cars, buses or auto rickshaws. Life was simple, very few people owned cars. It is completely different now.
I live in a small city. There are private cars, buses. What’s more people obey the traffic signs.