Part three: Rain
We had begun the journey at dawn and it was a lengthy one. We saw almost ten hours on the road, embarking from the Bashundara district of Dhaka, in a minibus. The roads were empty at this time of day and it was certainly out of the ordinary, for the bustling street side stalls and teahouses never seemed to close or get any less busy. The roads lay dormant, swathed with a cool, white mist. There were eleven of us cramped into the minibus, not including the driver, who seldom spoke. I suppose no one really spoke all that much – most of us preferring to use the journey as an opportunity to catch up on lost sleep. I wasn’t about to waste this time sleeping though. I seldom got the chance to admire the streets of Dhaka city in the absence of the crippling, constant traffic jams.
The first two hours of the journey went by and I, for a brief moment, was disillusioned into thinking that we would reach our destination before the traffic set in. It was four hours in and we were at a complete stand still. We hadn’t moved for two hours, and I started to think that perhaps there must be something more to this delay.
I was right.
I had never seen blood so bright red in colour. Fresh. It flooded the entire left side of the road. A congregation of people surrounded something in the middle of the road. I squinted to get a better look but I could not make it out. And then I realized what it was. A contorted figure of a man lay lifeless as an amassing of spectators clambered around him. H was indistinguishable as human from the torso down.
After a short exchange with a patrolling officer trying to mitigate the commotion, our driver turned to us with an irritated expression on his face, sighing deeply. “Someone’s been hit by a truck. Looks like we won’t be moving for some time yet,” he said nonchalantly.
At this moment, my phone lit up with a message. It was my girlfriend and she was mad at me. Mad that it had been hours since I had last replied to her message. A hot tear burned as it rolled down my cheek. This man, whose life had so abruptly been taken from him today, was perhaps going to visit his girlfriend too. He wasn’t much older than I was. Perhaps he was sneaking out from his home, where his family awaited him – they probably didn’t know about his girlfriend. Cultural customs in Bangladesh don’t usually smile upon dating before marriage. Maybe his girlfriend was angry at him too for not coming to see her on time.
The driver scowled. “We’ll be on the road for another hour at least.”
A sad truth dawned upon me. He was accustomed to this. Everybody was. Nobody among us seemed to react. This was something that just happens. Something that they are simply to accept.
Like the traffic jams. Like rain.
Hardware: iPhone 5S
Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh