THE plight that is Dhaka city, the magnitude of its unlivability (though we continue to live and endure) has become a daily platitude, a nauseating ritual to commence and conclude our days and nights. The streets fester with the stench of our collective waste, these open, free-flowing urinals clogged only by our incapacity, withdrawal or ennui. Wasteland is more than a metaphor here.
There go the men with their hoes and wagons, spewing wind and rot as they carry the indissoluble remains of our indulgence. One need not imagine – a hoe and a wagon. They are our coexistence here in this desolate place where nothing is anachronism. Or where anachronism alludes not to the relics of the past but the very present as experienced here though not elsewhere.
We are buried in the past. Modernity is our Godot as we wait in a festival of stench.
See, carcass meet blood meet intestine on the day of Eid? Mounds of waste on Bishwa Road and even in the corners of Gulshan's coveted streets. Even the parks carry our filth; the ducks frolick either in cesspools or Renoir paintings -- everywhere a Puente Hills in the making.
We are an unhygienic, dirty, dirty nation who throw trash on the streets and out our car windows. Everywhere a dystopia, everywhere an anachronism that is not an anachronism.
But the greatest tragedy is not the waste itself, but our complacency towards it. To our clubs, societies, NGOs and Western graduates (myself included), just averting our eyes and holding our noses – is that all we can do?
And as the VIPs vie for coveted positions of honour and an air of responsibility, let it be known that every single letter I have sent to these City Corporations in the past, posted and hand delivered, remain unanswered to this day. The level of responsiveness of these corporations to citizens' concerns is apalling and undignified.
So, it appears, we have become a city without sense or senses – blind, deaf, anosmic and lacking in taste.
The writer is faculty member at North South University, Bangladesh.