Thursday, May 30, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Eid journey: How a JU student covered 350km for just Tk5

Tasnim Hasan shares his hitchhiking journey from Dhaka to Kurigram 

Update : 09 Apr 2024, 04:46 PM

Tasnim Hasan, hailing from Bhurungamari in Kurigram and a student at Jahangirnagar University in the capital, planned to spend the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr holiday at his village home.

Anticipating the ticket sale for the April 4 train starting at 8am on March 24, Tasnim attempted to secure a ticket through the online portal from 8:30am onwards. Despite repeated attempts spanning eight markets, he remained unsuccessful in procuring a ticket.

Tasnim eventually embarked on an adventurous journey to Kurigram at the suggestion of an elder brother, all for a mere Tk5. Recounting his thrilling experience to Bangla Tribune, Tasnim shared the tale of his 350km journey to reach home.

According to Tasnim's narrative, the journey commenced on the morning of April 3 as he departed from the university hall bound for Kurigram.

Standing at the university's main gate with a placard reading "Tangail" in one hand, he attempted to flag down passing vehicles. Despite his efforts, thousands of vehicles passed by without stopping.

After half an hour of waiting, a truck driver finally responded to his gesture, offering to take him to Tangail in exchange for fare. Declining the offer, Tasnim continued his wait. Eventually, a cement truck agreed to transport him to Kaliakair after an hour of waiting.

Upon reaching Kaliakair, he hitched a ride to Tangail in another pickup truck. Facing the challenge of a new destination, Tasnim improvised a new placard, only to realize he lacked paper. Acquiring a packaging box from a shop required a payment of Tk5, the same amount he had spent on his entire journey from Dhaka to Bhurungamari in Kurigram.

From Tangail's Elenga, he proceeded to Hatikumrul in Sirajganj on foot, then continued to Rangpur in an ambulance.

However, upon learning the ambulance was headed to Rangpur, he decided to accompany it despite the late hour, fearing a lack of transportation options upon arrival.

Making a pitstop in Bogra for the night, Tasnim found lodging in the mess of Azizul Haque College with the help of an acquaintance.

The following morning, Tasnim resumed his journey, hitching rides on two unknown motorcycles from Charmatha in Bogra to Rangpur and then to Kaunia.

From there, he reached Raiganj in Kurigram by clinging to the roof of a pick-up truck, an experience he found most enjoyable throughout his journey.

Finally, Tasnim completed the last leg of his journey on the motorcycle of a government college teacher in his upazila, ending with a mile and a half walk from where he was dropped off to his home.

Why did Tasnim choose an unconventional travel manner?

Tasnim's chosen mode of travel is hitchhiking, a concept less familiar in Bangladesh but widely recognized in Europe. Hitchhiking involves journeying from one place to another without money, relying on the generosity of strangers for rides.

The decision to hitchhike stemmed primarily from Tasnim's inability to secure a train ticket. Reflecting on his choice, Tasnim remarked: "I had considered hitchhiking before, but it was the unavailability of a ticket that prompted me to embark on this adventure. While hitchhiking doesn't always adhere to a fixed plan, I devised a rough outline before setting out, detailing where to stop, when to switch rides, and estimated travel times. Though not flawless, my plan proved moderately successful."

He continued: "There were moments along the journey where adjustments had to be made. However, lifts were only offered by goods vehicles and motorcycles, which was perfectly fine. After all, not everyone feels comfortable offering a ride to a stranger, and I respected that. Overall, it was a delightful, secure, and memorable journey. Particularly, the experience of riding in a pickup truck loaded with sugarcane stands out as a highlight."

If you're considering hitchhiking

Tasnim emphasized: "While hitchhiking is common in many foreign countries, it's relatively new in Bangladesh. Although hitchhiking carries inherent risks everywhere, the context in Bangladesh presents unique challenges. However, with careful planning and awareness, these risks can be mitigated. My advice to novice hitchhikers is to thoroughly research the practice beforehand, familiarizing yourself with the roads and areas where you intend to hitchhike."

Exercise caution

The primary concern with hitchhiking is the potential for robbery. It's advisable to avoid carrying valuable items such as expensive phones, watches, or laptops while hitchhiking, as these can make you a target.

Remember, just because a car stops doesn't mean you're obligated to accept the ride.

Politely decline if you feel the vehicle or driver is suspicious.

If you feel uncomfortable after accepting a ride, don't hesitate to exit the vehicle. Before getting into a car, consider informing a trusted contact of the vehicle's registration number and your location, ensuring the driver is aware.

Additionally, keep a map handy. Patience is key; hitchhiking may require waiting for 2-3 hours for a lift.

Dress neatly and maintain a friendly demeanour.

Women, in particular, should exercise extra caution and avoid hitchhiking at night.

Stay alert, as conscious travel can help mitigate risks.

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