Saturday, April 22, 2006

Hartal = Bike-to-work day?

Today is a hartal day so I biked to work. It's about 6 km from my house to the office and it took me 30 minutes.

Since the streets were reasonably empty, I breathed only an acceptable amount of fumes. The lowlight was when I got stuck behind one of those ancient "murir tin" busses. That stuff coming out of their exhaust is noxious!

I noticed at the outset the rear tire was low on air, so I tried to find one of those roadside stands where the rickshaws get their tires pumped. The first one I found had to use an adapter of sorts to fit his pump into the tire of the Schwinn hybrid. When he finished and disengaged the adapter, he must have let out some air, because the tire did not look that much better. While I was biking and searching for another pump at the roadside stands, I saw many shoe-polishers, couple of "juta-shelais" (cobblers) and even one guy who had laid out a shaving brush and assorted shaving paraphernelia. Eventually I found another pump, but he said he could not do it, and I needed a "car pump". I asked a Rickshawallah, is there a pump place nearby, to which he nodded and said over there, pointing to nowhere in particular.

And so it went. But I got to work ok.

The only place with signs of trouble was in Mohakhali where some serious looking men were sitting in the middle of the street, wearing punjabis, and looking solemn. They were surrounded by the police, who looked like they were protecting the sit-inners. About 5 yards down the road, there were broken bricks and rocks on the street. Further on, saw broken glass so some car or bus must have been attacked.

1 comment:

mobokrasher said...

Reading your blog made me go back to the future. Came of age during the pre-and post '71 days. Things never change (maybe for the good?). I can still smell the tires/garbage burning. Don't be surprised if you receive an e-mail from a Josephite ('74).