I was dropped off by Tazveer at the Mohakhali flyover from where I am supposed to be taking a bus to Uttara. I started walking down the pavement towards the bus stop. But, I just didn’t want to get on a bus and reach home by 20 minutes.
With so much of confusion, so many voices speaking on my ears, so many thoughts storming through my brain, and so much of mental instability engulfing my minds I wanted to walk, walk and walk down the road while I see the high speed traffic running by my sides like some careless man-killing machines.
I have always noticed one thing. When you are mentally stressed out, try staring at the high speed traffic passing down the road. Get on an overhead bridge, get on your terrace, get on a post, or stare at the road out of your window; the rush of the machines would simply take away your stress with themselves. Try it out; it really helps.
I just didn’t know how to put aside my worries and depressions after I came out from the party and, hence, I started walking down the roads as I defined my finish line at Uttara (10 kilo meters). It was 7:20 PM at that moment and there started the scariest night of my life.
Cars were driving at a minimum of 80 kmph, It was quite dark night and the pedestrians were just lucky to have the street lamps on. As I started walking, I felt that I was falling tired by walking only a few meters (I was having a nasty headache that day since the morning) and my shirt became sweaty like anything. I stopped by a grocery store and I bought a banana and a bottle of water so that I don’t faint in the middle of the road. There were grocery stores and market places by the footpath.
As I walked and crossed the Kakuli bus stand, then came the eerie feeling of loneliness. There were no more shops by the side of the road, no more markets, no more society; just trees and forests took over the side of the pavement. I was walking down alone, I was falling tired, and only God is there to help me out in the middle of this night.
I was thinking what should I do if I come across any mugger in this deserted street. Wasn’t coming across a mugger quite probable on a deserted street of Dhaka at 8 in the night? Cars at 80 would not stop for me. I was carrying a cell phone which had all the SMSs that I exchanged with my lovely lady, I was also carrying a SONY digital camera in my bag and I was wearing a genuine GUESS watch on my left wrist. It wouldn’t take a mugger more than a stab or two to snatch away all these expensive gadgets from me. As my heart was pounding with fear, although heated up due to frustrations, I thought, “if a mugger actually gets ready to attack me from where I cannot really escape but can try dodging just once, what would go through the hearts of the two most important ladies of my life.”
I thought I would tell the muggers, “if you guys plan to stab me, please don’t leave me here; drop me in front of a tea stall so that there is at least someone to take me to a medical assistance. And if you plan to chop me off into pieces like every other mugger does after they are done snatching away all the valuables in the middle of a deserted street, please don’t throw my body parts into a river or a pool or a waste bin. Take my parts to Uttara Sector 4 Road 3 and drop the bag of my parts in front of house 34; at least my mother would be there to recognize the body and I wont have to rot and pollute the community at a pool or a waste bin”
I know you are probably giggling by reading this and wondering ‘Rakib can be so weird with thoughts at times.’ Well guess what; avoid the transport and come over to Uttara from Mohakhali at 8 PM in the night through those deserted streets by walking – our thoughts for your last desires would be your only companion throughout your journey. I was scared, I was tensed up, I was threatened by my fate, I was full of risk – I was unsure about what’s going to happen tonight. Hence, I wrote a SMS to my love and said 'Pray for me so that I reach home safely;' even she didn’t know that I was actually taking the footpath all the way from Mohakhali to Uttara
I walked, walked and walked and was thinking about how all my actions have always been getting misinterpreted by my friends and family and close ones. Whose misfortune has I ever wished for? Why do these frustrations always circle around my head after every two/three days. Did I care any less about anyone at anytime? All because I care too much about every one and because I do not have PRIORITIES of caring about one person OVER the other.
As I walked on and on and on with these torments through my minds, I reached Nikunjo at 8:30 PM (about an hour passed since I started my walk down the roadside pavement.) After about 15 minutes, I crossed a CNG Filling Station and that’s when things couldn’t stop from being any worse - my left sandal tore off (the amount of physical stress and tiredness was not tolerable by my old sandals either)
The leather snapped open from the edge of my sandal, I started having a tough time walking with my torn off sandals. I walked on a few steps like this but the discomfort was not acceptable anymore. I took my sandals off, took them in my hands, and started walking down the road barefooted: my destination was Uttara (4 more km to go.)
At times the pavement were fine to walk barefooted, but at times there were small pebbles, tiny bricks, granules of stones, sharp edges of small bricks and all such unpleasant materials that were piercing into my barefoot. It was painful, and it was tough and it went on for the rest of the road.
After walking for some more distance, as I stood 2 km away from the airport, guess what I found then. The pavement came to an end as the rest of the pavement was fenced out by barb-wire; if I had to pursue my foot challenge even then, I would have to walk down the pitch road by which all the monster trucks and cars were speeding at 80-90. I would not let go of completing my tough journey from Mohakhali to Uttara just like that. So I decided I wouldn’t get on any local bus and I would, rather, walk down the pitch road all the way to Uttara to complete something that I have already started.
It was night; not all cars of Dhaka have their headlights functioning properly, and I was walking down the edge of the high speed road barefooted because I had nothing else to do.
Motor bikes, vans, delivery vans, buses, trucks and cars passed by my sides: it would take them just a few inches to go whhaaamm over me while I would be knocked out of the road, break through the barb-wire of the pavement fencing and land face-on the ground in the night where no other pedestrian were seen to be walking down the road like me. In the worst case scenario – the dusters of the road would see me the next morning lying on the ground unconscious with a bloody mess all over me. Would I be alive for that long if the vehicle that hit me wasn’t running at any speed lower than what it was? It was so terrible to feel that something like this could be so probable with these high speed traffic passing by my side. I was scared, I was tensed up, I was threatened by my fate, I was full of risk – I was unsure about what’s going to happen tonight. Hence, I finished the banana that I bought and I took small sips from my water bottle.
I walked with all these risks for the next one hour on my shoulder. I was starting to feel ok with the walk and for some reason I didn’t feel as I tired as I should have been. I kept on walking and soon then, I reached the airport. I could see the R.A.K. TOWER label at the top of a tall building which is visible from my house. That made me feel good “destination is close.”
But the pavement which started again from the airport and spanned for the rest of Uttara was not a very good pavement at all: sharp brick edges, granules of stones, and chipped off pebbles were lying all over the pavement. That gave me one BAD time with the barefoot and it was so painful to walk like this.
Later, I was lucky that after just a few steps I found a narrow line of soft soil that cut through the pavement; this soft soil lining was the one track that gave me some comfort while I was moving through my rough ride over the unpleasant granules and fragments of bricks and stones.
I walked on and I got into sector 1. My house was almost near and I was excited that I have come such a long way by just walking. I crossed Scholastica and that’s when the overhead bridge came which I was supposed to take in order to cross the road. I walked up the steel steps of the bridge without my sandals under my feet and I crossed the road: my house was just 7 minutes walking distance away from the point of the bridge where I landed – it was 9:30 PM then.
7 minutes later, ‘home sweet home;’ but when I looked at my feet, it felt and looked like the ugliest thing on this earth – so much of disaster has gone through them. But then again, ‘Alhamdulillah, I came home safe.’
At the end of the two hours and fifteen minutes of journey in which I covered a distance of about 10 km by walking, I was tired, physically stressed out, tormented with violent foot ache and raging headaches, strained, fatigued, and wearied out my brains and eyes. But you know what? It actually helped me in one way.
Physical stress, at times help you get over all sorts of other mental stress.
The kind of mental stress, frustrations and complains that I were facing at the beginning of my walk could not have been minimized to any lower level if it wasn’t for this long (tiring) walk of 10 km long.
At times you do need to do some crazy things in order to get over some of your mental stress.