The last train home
We, the Dhaka people, wait for the Eid days. This one-of-its-kind wait has two reasons behind it. First is the obvious one, to celebrate the biggest of holidays the nation gets. The second reason is the selfish one, to get the city all "by ourselves". Yes, you are thinking what I am thinking. I like the "fanka Dhaka" more than anything. A few days of roaming in the city with little to no crowd, the joy of going to multiple places a single day without a hint a pollution- who wouldn't love that?
While us braggers keep posting pictures of empty roads and how we utilized that, inside, we, the people who seldom have a "root" to go back to, sigh when we see the fun our friends are having back "home"! I confess, at one point, when my empty Dhaka gets boring and lifeless, I envy the happy, sunny, green pictures I find from all the people who left, and allowed us to enjoy our empty city. Suddenly, all the trendy restaurants, apartments of friends and relatives I wished to visit and every other hangout plans seem dull. All my heart wants is a place to go back to, even after waiting for buses for six to sixteen hours, and then traveling equal ones or more, to go back to the people I call my own.
Life in countries like ours never fails to amaze me. We are a unique bunch of people. No matter how hard the going gets, we keep on moving. I sometimes fail to find the source of this nonstop drive. Where do we get all this energy? Where do people get all the patience to travel, sometimes even risking their own lives, to get back to their families for only a few days? Where do people find this endless vigor to work hard the year round and sacrifice their every happiness to get back home with their brightest of smiles and nicest of gifts? Where do we get the inspiration to forget all the difficulties of life, and return home a winner, like we have it all?
The scenario appears to be the same for the people living abroad. I cannot truly imagine how lonely their festival days might get; especially for the ones who are away for the first time! These people are away for the better future of themselves, their families! They drink their silent tears and hold a fake smile on their faces, thinking about the purpose they have come to serve, for themselves and their families! I wonder where they get that strength from!
There are also the people who have to be there, for us. They are the people serving their duties; the people who are not going home, because someone has to do their jobs. Be it the doctor on duty, the waiter serving at your favorite restaurant or the cleaner to take care of all the mess the city is going to produce. I wonder where they get all that patience from!
And there were the people who were waiting eagerly to get the bonus and catch the next ride home. Were they excited? In a hurry? Waiting eagerly to finish the day's chores and grab their bags? Were any of them carrying their luggage with them at work? With the intention that they will rush back home as soon as the day ends and payroll starts? I cannot imagine again. Those 24 fresh souls caught their last train home to the inferno, only to never return.
I cannot imagine again. I do not want to imagine things like these again!
I hope we do not have to. I strongly do!r
Mehnaz Tabassum is a Lecturer in English, East West University and is a critic and writer