Friday night at around 10 PM I ventured into Kawran Bazar in search of quality Langra Mango for a bargain price. The surrounding of the wholesale fruit market was extremely filthy. I felt so squeamish at the sight of mucks and heaps of wastes and so badly nauseated by putrid smells out of decomposed and rotten fruits that I was a little hesitant even to park my tidy car near the market dreading that my car's clean tires and mudguards would get dirty and nasty.
However, after parking my car on a grubby roadside, as I was walking amid the grimes and debris I caught an unusual sight of a healthy man enjoying a sound sleep with his body curled up inside his basket. I couldn't help my temptation to snap the sight by my phone camera. I asked a man why he did choose the basket to sleep in? "There is no clean place nearby where he could enjoy a good sleep and his basket, his only means of earning, is too precious to be stolen", was the answer I received in awe.
The moment you enter a kitchen market in Dhaka city or elsewhere old or young men and women would follow you in lockstep, earnestly begging to be hired for carrying your shopped materials. But in most cases, we refuse to answer their nagging calls because the loads are often light enough for our two hands to carry.
But when the loads are quite heavy they must be hired. They are the ones on whose heads rest those big baskets and bags full of merchandises. He is accustomed to backbreaking labour of lifting and carrying loads on his head and shoulder. At times, such a coolie bears on his head a load of more than one hundred kilograms.
He is the one who thrives on our loads, making a living out of his strenuous physical labour. He is unskilled. So, he must be healthy and stout. He cannot afford to deprive himself of a good amount of sleep whenever or wherever it is convenient as he must maintain a strong health.
His employment opportunities are however diminishing with the introduction of smart malls equipped with efficient trolleys.