An aged rickshaw puller!

A FEW days ago, I went to the faculty of business studies in the University of Dhaka for some personal reasons. After my work was done, I was ready to return home and was looking for a rickshaw in front of the faculty to reach Shahbagh. Suddenly I met a rickshaw puller who was aged and skinny. As he appeared to not be in a very healthy condition, I tried to avoid him as I thought that he could not peddle the rickshaw as anyone younger than him would. What will people think if I get on his rickshaw? However, after a while I again thought that if I avoided him and avoided others like him, how then he could survive?
When I approached him, he asked me ‘Where will you go?’ I told him that I wanted to go to Shahbagh. Asked about the fare, he demanded that he should be paid Tk 20. Without bargaining, I got on the rickshaw. However I was surprised to notice that the rickshaw puller was peddling his rickshaw smoothly and fast. I tried to know about him and the reason for his pulling the rickshaw in such a situation. He told me that he was 74 and that he had two sons and a daughter. He stayed with his daughter and that one of his sons was studying and that his eldest son had completed his studies but was doing nothing. I felt sorry, but I am not in a position to do anything for him. The government should come forward to help such elderly people under social safety programmes so that they do not need to pull rickshaws, a toiling job, for bread and butter.
Mohammad Zonaed Emran
by e-mail 

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