It took only 3 hours to come to Sherpur starting at 5 AM in the morning from our home in Uttara. Starting early is my favourite practice since I don’t want to face traffic at the busy crossings on the way. Plus the wee hours of hartal gave no traffic at all! Although we were thinking about the activities of the pro hartal hoodlums but they too being wicked mostly, were insincere at their work. But right at 5:45 when we were crossing Bhaluka bridge (usually takes 3 hours from my home in a regular situation now a days) we saw one young boy, perhaps under-paid for this work, was lazily setting fire to an old worn out tire on the street; symbolizing as if the whole nation’s grievance for implicating Khaleda Zia in the Arial Beel Case. Well in fact, I will be happy if AL please takes some serious lessons from this uprising in Arial Beel and never takes anti people so called developmental projects.
Sorry for the digression! The firing on the tire created a somewhat panic in our car and Faria was concerned if the picketers were around. I knew for sure, they were still in sleep and wouldn’t join their work before 10 AM. We passed the tire fire peacefully. Within a mile we came across the second fire and then a series of tire fire. But hardly any one was around the fire. Looks like a local leader engaged one stalwart in every 2/3 Km to set fire on tire just before the beginning of hartal hour. How much could it cost? Including the price of an old dumped tire, it should be few hundred. Altogether 10K for 30 or 50 tire fire? Not bad! An impressive show at a very low price to set the mood of the day! But I was thinking about the huge price the environment was paying in terms of carbon emission in this process. Who cares!
It was still dark and misty when we arrived Mymensing, only at about 6-30.. Haven’t imagined a fast drive like this ever! One of my last trips here to visit some fish farm and hatchery took 4 or more hours and I was very frustrated, I remember. The kids were all sleeping; Shejuti in her mom’s arms, Anisha in our middle at the back and Emil with our spare driver Jamir Ali on the front seat beside driver Shumon. Emil is growing bigger fast and soon the space for a spare driver will be further squeezed in a small car such as this. Faria was chuckling, you need to buy a van soon, she said. I was dreaming of a day when the buses and trains will be efficient and I will rather be able to set out in a public transport in my country. Oh God!! How long…
I was trying to stop the car and ask people for the Sherpur road. One of my fish farmer friends living in Sherpur (I have friends like him spread all over the country, thanks to our association) gave me vivid direction of the road to the Modhutila eco park which is in Nalita Bari upazila under Sherpur district, the area of Begum Matia Choudhury. Another heavily underutilized leader of the nation who received similar treatment from her boss like Tajuddin did. What a waste in the country of individual worshipping!! Looks like after the departure of both Hasina and Khaleda, the country will be further plunged into the frenzy of worshipping… Both the groups will have dual Gods, enabling more frequent and larger rituals of million devotees!
People looked at our car with curious interest, as if an emergency sortie being made for passengers in somewhat crisis. Inside, we were feeling thirsty and a bit hungry. Although I had a fresh parata-omlet breakfast at 4-30 at home, but others who missed needed to stop and I didn’t mind refueling with an additional genuine ‘gorur dudher’ tea. Shejuti also needed a change up of her pamper etc. After a comfort and refueling break for 20 minute on the sherpur road, we started rolling again. It was a well carpeted road, bit narrower than earlier onese but empty as before. The 60 KM was covered in 60 twinkles I guess. The last CNG refueling was done at Sherpur town and a group of alert police in a narrow cross road showed us the way to Nalita Bari. Some corrected that we need to make a right before even reaching NB to take the road to Modhu Khali eco park. My Sherpur friend had told me last night that a nice and large bungalow can be rented inside the park from the forest people but the entire park is off limit for tourists at night. He further explained that the wild cats (small mechho bagh) and numerous foxes in the hills and forests are too hungry to let a human move safe there. Lack of safety adds up when the elephants drop by from the nearby hills.
Well they didn’t know that an adamant night time resident was coming with an army of children to defy that!
( to be continued..)