These days, Toru is passing a very busy time. Besides her usual schedule of eating, sleeping and internet browsing, she is now spending a great deal of time in answering back to salams (greetings) from nominated participants in the upcoming Dhaka city corporation election.
It all started a week ago when Toru was nestled against her soft blanket and snoring away. All of a sudden, a microphone blaring through her window startled her awake and made her fall off the bed! It was a message from some Shehezadi Apa, requesting her dear voters to receive her warm greetings.
The recorded voice was struggling to keep balance between breathing and uttering every possible word on earth which rhymed with Shehezadi Apa. It was a nightmare.
During breakfast, Toru struggled for some minutes to try and decode the rhyme "Shehezadi Apar dui noyon, otro elakar unnoyon." She was so absorbed in the thought that she did not notice when she had added three spoons of sugar in her coffee. Or was it salt? She did not know.
Not taking this slogan seriously was one of the biggest mistake of Toru's life. On her way to university, she found herself amidst a sea of posters, hanging high from ropes above her head. The wind was not helping the situation, at all.
It had always been a struggle for a hardly 5-feet tall Toru to look ahead a large crowd, let alone hundreds of blinding posters. Now the struggle was real.
The noise pollution did not end even when she entered the classroom. However, this time the songs changed to upbeat versions from popular Hindi films. The cacophony was the same though.
During lunch break, Toru almost had a panic attack when she opened her Facebook. She saw a video where an uncle from her locality was dancing his heart out, twisting his hands and legs in every possible way that perhaps only a serpent can. Was this the famous 'nagin' dance? Toru wondered.
Needless to mention that the greeting receiving programmes never stopped for a moment for Toru.
Even when she chose the comparatively quieter lane while returning home, out of the blue a boy jumped in front of her, saying, "Shehezadi Apar salam nin, Turkey markay vote din." Fearing that she might fall off the rickshaw to save herself, Toru held on to the handles for dear life.
The main crisis started when Toru could not find the lane leading to her own home. Everything was camouflaged in black and white posters.
When she could finally find her building, she discovered a temporary booth for furthering the publicity all day long. It was set adjacent to their gate and had some huge microphones attached to it. "There goes my sleep at night," she sadly thought.
The dancer uncle in the Facebook video she watched was there already, perhaps preparing to show his reptilian moves again. Toru rushed into her room, closed the gate, put on her noise cancelling earphones and decided not to go out until Shehzadi Apa won the election.