This is an unbelievable time. Perhaps, all of us are thinking about an incoming disaster but the face of that catastrophe is unknown to us. So when the outbreak of coronaviruses shook the whole world, my predictions did not coincide with reality - maybe because my imagination could not reach beyond the scenes of science fiction movies. Or maybe it was due to the fact that I was so caught up with my personal and professional life, or my hidden romantic self, that I failed to see the obvious happenings around me. As I was lost deep in my thoughts, a voice behind me called, "Madam, madam!" and I was jolted back to reality.
I was on my way back home from the office and I was exhausted. I was not in a mood to have a chat with anyone - known or unknown. I tried to ignore the voice calling me.
The chain of thoughts in my brain was halted and I looked around myself. Day by day Dhaka is turning into a deserted place and only a third of the people were on the busiest street on which I was walking - unmindful, walking like a ghost and hiding myself behind a mask. These days I hardly look at people's faces. Everyone is wearing a mask. Every face I see turns into a creature from some science fiction movie.
I do not look into their eyes either. In fact, I am unable to recognize people by looking into their eyes. So I avoid looking and talking to anyone in the middle of the street. But the voice behind me was louder and closer. I heard a man calling "Madam, madam!" again.
I stopped under the yellow streetlight and looked behind. A middle aged person with a bloated belly was waving his hand and coming towards me. I failed to recognize him, as usual. The light was also quite dim and I was quite exhausted by over thinking and walking. The long hours of work in the office only added to my fatigue.
He finally appeared within three meters of my periphery. I looked at him with sharp eyes but nodded my head in denial. By this time the person also understood that I could not recognize him. So he unmasked himself and I was left shocked. An overwhelming sweep of electricity ran through me. I had just survived a fall.
Two years back, I slipped on the stairs of my previous office. The fall was so hard that I could not stand up by myself. I sat there and waited for someone to come and help me walk. And my savior appeared within a few minutes. He was the driver of the official vehicle. I did not even know his name. But on that day on the deserted staire, he came to me as a savior.
He was hesitating to hold my hands. I asked him to hold my hands tightly so that I could stand up. But as I tried to put my weight on him and stand up, I fell. I lost my consciousness for a few seconds. As I started to regain my consciousness, I felt his hands all over my body inappropriately. I was helpless. Did I scream? I do not know. I lost my consciousness again and this time I regained my consciousness in the hospital.
After two years, he was standing in front of me. I thought a lot about what I felt during the accident. But I was confused. I did not know whether his hands moved over my body intentionally.
But today, under the dimmed yellow streetlight when he unmasked his face, I saw his lips curling upwards in a creepy smile. I got my answer.