The Gray Exile


The Gray Exile

Ariful Abir 

It’s midnight. A miserable solitude is wafting throughout the mist. Dense fog is flowing all around. I’m waiting for a bus at the Malibagh Rail gate. A strange hymn can be heard from the slum next to the road. There’s a fire that can be seen. And some people have gathered around.

After 10 minutes from now, all the buses in the town will be closed for the election. I need to get a bus heading for Badda. But the road is empty.

A dog is staring at me for some reason I am not aware of. Maybe it’s getting the smell of danger. Or maybe it wants me to give her some pieces of nan which I have in my hand. Bua was absent today because of illness. So, I bought some nan for dinner with spicy grilled chicken. Maybe the dog wants a piece of grilled chicken from me. I won’t give any piece of chicken, never.

The dog is itching its body.

I see a few people waiting for the bus just like me on the other side of the road. Some of them searching for a rickshaw that is available and will be available between the election. Should I take a rickshaw? Nah! It will cost much. I should wait a bit.

I can wait all night long, but I have to go home and wake up early in the morning. I finally managed to get a job with great difficulty. I won’t ruin it as long as it provides me money. Getting the salary after the end of the month probably the best feeling that ever exists.

A strange old man is coming towards me. Does he have any bad intentions? Probably he has. Probably not. The dog is getting closed.

“Hey boy! Hey sweet boy! Do you know which side of the road is perfect to get buses heading to Shahbagh?” The old man asked.

“I don’t know,” I replied.

The old man stares at another side of the road and suddenly disappeared.

I know from where he could get a bus for Shahbagh. But I just didn’t like the way he called me boy. So, I didn’t help him. That’s what I am. There’s an evil deep inside me. He shows up very often.

A drunk man from the slum is calling the dog, “aah aah tuh tuh. Here’s your food, aah aah…”

I saw the drunk man has a piece of bread in his hand. He is filthy dressed up. Even his pant is ripped somewhere. Only a jumper he is wearing which is barely stitched. Whatever, It’s none of my business.

Here comes a bus. Few people rushed here suddenly. Some of them are in a hurry.  Some are hijackers.

I throw the packet of my nan and grilled chicken to the dog and get into the bus. The dog was surprisingly stared at me. Not the drunk man. He was interested in the meal he gets after a long period.

The bus started moving.


Ugh! It’s too much gathering. I just can’t take it.

My phone is ringing. It’s my father. Let’s cut the call. I don’t like him.

Dhur! My data is on.

Wow! Himani is active. Let’s have a chat.

“Hey! Stop the bus.” people shouting from the road. The bus has stopped.

“Agao agao” people shouting inside the bus. The bus began to move.

“Where’s my moneybag?” someone screaming from the tail of the bus.

The bus is moving.

Let’s talk to Himani.

“I’m coming Rajshahi.”

“Oh! Really?”



“I don’t know.”

“You okay?”

“Yeah, I am.”

“Will you meet the girl you love, after reaching home?”

“Let’s see.”


“Badda, Link road, Gulshan-1”, the conductor is shouting. I have to get down. I need to get down from the bus. I need to get down from the world I am living. We all should. We all have to. Yet, nobody realizes.

“Good night, little bird.”

The bus has stopped. It stopped at the wrong place. A freight truck appeared out of nowhere. This is a mistake. This is a mistake that is no longer be atoned. I saw a hand grabbing a moneybag tightly. It seems to me it is impossible to separate the moneybag from the hand. But the hand is no longer to spend the money at all. And that was the last thing I saw in the world.