Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ami Ki Chu Nai (I Have Nothing)

I debated writing this in a three-parter series, but seeing the amount of work I have, it might be better to finish it off in one shot.

"Don't try to be a hero." My father is particularly fond of saying this to me. He was quite wrong though. I wasn't trying to be a hero when I rushed off to Purang Dhaka, zipping through the roads on the back of Antu's bike, trying to make it in time to grab us a seat on the last launch leaving for Patuakhali in Barisal.

I wasn't trying to be a hero when I made the decision to go, I was trying to do something differently for once - which basically includes the act of doing something rather than sit and whine about how I wish I could.

And I certainly wasn't trying to be a hero when I got on the motorbike. It was our only option to reach the villages. The roads was busted, and we had a time constraint - plus everyone used these taxi motorbikes to get around.

So the three of us hopped on, and I certainly had no heroic intentions when I ended up sitting at the back. Perhaps just didn't want to be squashed in the middle.

Maybe, just maybe, I was wearing a secret red cape without me realising it, burrowed deep in my consciousness along with my domesticated, submissive self.

But whatever the heroics I may have had, I can assure you that there was none when I screamed in pain as my right foot got caught in the back wheel of the motorbike as we sped down the country road.

I don't really know how it happened, and I am thankful I did not break anything and that I am now back on my feet and capable of walking (slowly) unassisted. I am thankful I had the good sense to cling on and resist all urges to fling myself off the bike and onto the ground. I am thankful that only skin came off, although I really don't like looking at my flesh too much.

Well it all sounds worse than it really is.

I could post a photo of my swollen and blue-black foot that looks like something out of a drowning incident, but what I really want to express is how much I wanted to hit myself for my sheer stupidity. I've run out of things to blame.

But anyway, this post is not about me.

This post is about them, which I cannot do justice to because I was utterly useless. At one point one of them tried to find me a walking stick, and the irony of everything was too much and I sat down in the middle of the destroyed and muddied marketplace and just cried.

My injury made a mockery of their loss. And for that, I want to apologise. But to who? I don't know.

The photo set is up. I have no time right now to do the captions again. I am aware there are spelling errors.


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They came to me, since I couldn't really move away and was walking too slowly or sitting down for most of the time. "Ami ki chu nai," they all said. They wrung their hands to express their nothingness.

Some had it worse than others. Some drowned, others survived. Some have half a house left, others have nothing.

I still can't quite reconcile that a cyclone did this. It looked too much like an earthquake, the way the ground had been wrought open.

So I am sorry, I wasted a lot of people's time and caused a lot of worry all because I didn't know where and how to put my foot on a 100cc Honda motorbike. I don't know why, I really just want to apologise to someone for all this.

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