Abu Ali works at a buying house dealing in readymade garments for export. When his office was closed on March 28 due to the coronavirus pandemic, he went to his home town in Rangpur.
But on Wednesday Ali received a message on his mobile phone asking him to join work on Thursday. He immediately packed and set off for Dhaka at noon on a goods-laden truck.
Ali changed trucks twice and finally reached Abdullahpur, an entry point of the capital, at 12:30pm on Thursday.
"If I could not join office on time, I might lose my job. I had to change trucks frequently to reach Abdullahpur. Yet I could not join my office at Uttara on time. Now I will request my boss to allow me to join in the afternoon," said Ali.
Abdus Sattar (not his real name), an assistant engineer in a giant company, entered Dhaka through Saidabad point on a private microbus.
"I had to come to Dhaka as our factory will open on May 2. A few of us hired a microbus together and started the journey from Chandpur," he added.
Abu Ali and Abdus Sattar are not alone. Thousands of people like them have been making their way to Dhaka every day amid the nationwide shutdown enforced to combat the coronavirus spread, eventually carrying the risks of increased infections.
Many are entering the city through such main points as Gabtoli, Saidabad and Abdullahpur, while some others are using pocket entrances to evade the law enforcement agencies.
Due to the ongoing suspension of public transport, some travelled on goods-laden vehicles while others opted to make it to the capital on foot, according to traffic police on duty at different entry points of the city.
A visit to the Gabtoli bus terminal on Thursday revealed some goods-laden trucks, pick-up vans, private cars, microbuses and auto-rickshaws entering the city.
Sub-Inspector Abdus Salam said many people, introducing themselves as garment workers, and many others saying they were going to hospitals, were entering the city by using different modes of transport.
"We allowed in only those who have urgent work to be done. Some people are entering the city through different pocket entrances such as Bosila and Meradia," he added.
The situation was similar at the Abdullahpur and Saidabad points.
"We are doing our duty of preventing people from entering the city. But many people are using different strategies, such as travelling on goods-laden trucks, ambulances and newspaper vehicles. So, we have nothing to do," said Arif Hossain, a sub-inspector of Turag Police Station at Abdullahpur.
Shuvro Sinha Roy, a resident of Shonir Akhra, said he had seen hundreds of people entering the city via Signboard and Jatrabari areas.
"Nobody pays any heed to the law enforcers or government instructions," he added.
However, Rakibul Hasan, assistant commissioner at the Demra Zone of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, said, "Some people say their factories have reopened while others mention medical reasons. We only allow them to enter the city if everything is okay."
Due to the arrivals of a big number of people from their village homes, some parts of the city have been getting quite a different look despite the countrywide shutdown.
The movement of CNG-run auto-rickshaws has increased in the city over the last few days.
Visiting Motijheel's Shapla Chattar area around 12:30pm on Thursday, this correspondent saw hundreds of people roaming about and around a 100 private cars plying on the road.
It did not look like a city in shutdown, but seemed to be a city busy as usual.
Md Al-Amin, of Mugdapara adjacent to Motijheel, said people are moving here and there for their regular needs like purchasing groceries, attending offices, and in some cases for social gatherings as well.
Wahidur Rahman, a passerby, said around 50 percent of shops and business institutions are now open in the Motijheel area.
"I had to come to deposit money for my business purposes. I wear a mask and use sanitisers, so there nothing to be worried about," he added.