Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 42, Tuesday June 6, 2006


enter the devil

6.6.6 supposedly the date for the return of the Antichrist. So what happens when the devil comes out to play? While we're waiting to see what he does this century, we're taking stock of the seven deadly sins as are rampant in our society today.

Generation L
We are breeding a generation of absolutely lazy children, with no drive or passion for life. Yes I know what I am saying. I see some sloppy looking, shabbily dressed, utterly unkempt, incoherent and not to forget irresponsible girls and boys around me. I see youths, who are de-motivated, confused about their lives, lack clear goals and ambition. I see kids who are given an allowance of more than what many adults make every month, kids driving Ferraris and buying cell phones worth 35000 plus; believe me it gives me the creeps. They are lethargic, pampered and spoilt to the core.

The majority of young adults of today's generation are growing up in boxed apartments. They play ball on that thin slice of space called a veranda. Their entertainment is watching TV or playing video games, or spending money at expensive food joints. As a result they have constipated, sluggish approach to life.

They get every thing dished out to them from a glass of water to even a part time job. Nothing in life seems ' wow' enough for them. Walking into an interview (engineered by an obliging daddy, or mama or chacha), they sit and SMS friends or talk as if the interviewer is not worth their time and effort. Coming to editorial meetings, I've seen kids drag themselves in, dump themselves in a corner and say they are 'fresh out' of ideas or going through a block with total disregard to deadlines or mere etiquette.

The small allowance they would get for writing a piece, their first hard earned cash, and their first assignment in a real office- nothing seems to make them feel in high spirits about themselves. They would look at you with that 'whatever' look and find everything a trifle matter. In fact the cushioned life robbed them of the vitality and eagerness of youth, the passion and the enthusiasm of life. They act as if they have seen it all, done it all at sixteen, seventeen.

And yet, living a life determined by school and coaching routines, they don't get to see much of the real world, or experience real life till they leave school, and as a result, we get a generation of bemused, confused youngsters with no clear goal or ambition in life.

My work allows me to deal with the younger generation on an every day basis. It is a job I have been doing for the past fourteen years and my experience is the reason of my confidence.

Gone are the days when I worked with bright kids like Nameer, Rommel, Adnan, Ronny, Sabrina, Munjilika, Tahiat. They had an air of confidence, an air of intelligence around them that was contagious. I'd come to life talking to them or taking part in their animated debates on life, politics, girls, and boys, getting into Ivy leagues or IBA. It was indeed a pleasure to see lively children who were studying hard, partying hard and working hard. They were quite contrary to what I see now.

In fact childhood, teenage hood is all about feeling good about life, being happy and positively energetic about life because adulthood is a different story altogether.

I don't want to end on a negative note here; there are perks in every generation. Even though happy, energetic kids who are juggling work, party and deadlines very comfortably like Rohini, Nusrat or Shoib, Tauseef or Adnan Fakir and Zulquar are rare today, I still tend to look for them among the totally de-motivated, lazy, pampered souls I now see mostly.

By Raffat Binte Rashid

Sex sells. Thus goes the common adage. We believe it is lust that does the selling. Some people look at a new car and salivate enough to require a set of wipers for their tongue. Others look at a dress and have the same effect, which is why the good stuff is always wrapped in plastic. Still others drool looking at heavenly bodies and these are NOT astronomical ones. Sadly, lust does not last. The new car becomes an old junk. Fashion changes. Heavenly bodies can only withstand just so much cosmetic surgery. The drooling moves on to newer models.

By Ehsanur Raza Ronny

Dial W for Wrath
Unbridled wrath is one of the Seven Deadly Sins they say. Adherents of Christianity say that causeless, excessive, or protracted anger is sinful. Buddhism presents a quite different view on anger. Anger is defined here as “being unable to bear the object, or the intention to cause harm to the object”. Anger is seen as aversion with a stronger exaggeration, and is listed as one of the five obstructions to life.

If all anger is sinful then how do we justify a nation's wrath to a dictator ruler, or people's violent reaction to a certain form of injustice? People's wrath, recently demonstrated in Kansat or the rage of the garment workers that sent a panicky fever all around the nation, do we also term it as sinful act? Anger has become the general state of mind for all Bangladeshi. Load-shedding, traffic jam, bribing, price hike, less payment, unemployment, failure of our political leaders and their tyranny all these have sent Bangladeshis in to a boiling state. Outburst, like at Kansat is just the beginning some say.

Scientists on the other hand say anger is an emotional response. Now that the human genome is fully-mapped, scientists begun to pinpoint specific genes that increase the risk of socially harmful behaviour such as desire to yell, destroy something, hit something, violence or aggressiveness, behaviour that are generally termed as manifestation of anger.

Anger can be an emotional response to a grievance (past or present). It can be a response to threat. Anger has a predisposition to violence. Anger may be provoked or triggered by perceived threats, like conflict, or by abstract concepts such as injustice.

Research also shows that some individuals can be genetically predisposed to higher levels of anger. So what do we do with the teenage brother who slams the door on the face or smashes valuable household items like mom's favourite vase?

By Shahnaz Parveen

The Heavyweight of Sins
Bulging bellies, bursting buttons
Are the trademarks of the gluttons
Soaring levels of triglycerides
Is what you get when you don't exercise
Snacks and fried food may taste great
But before you, you're overweight
So wisen up, and watch the BMI
Before your blood pressure starts rising high
To stay in shape, it's only proper
To have breakfast like a king,
Lunch like a queen
And dinner like a pauper
So ease off the meats and beef and mutton
For it's a deadly sin to be a glutton

By Sabrina F Ahmad

The grass is always greener…
All was a-buzz inside the Salon. Scissors snipped dutifully at locks of hair of all textures and colours, eyebrows were plucked, nails clipped and polished, and faces liberally slathered with all manner of herbal gunk. Conversation was carried out over the sounds of the beautification process.
“Did you just see the sari Mrs Omuk wore at the party last week?”
“Must have cost a fortune.”
“I would never be so ostentatious. Seriously, all that money wasted on someone with such appalling taste.”
Titters all around. The principal complainer arched a freshly plucked eyebrow at her own reflection in the mirror, surveyed her overworked coiffure, and turned to the stylists and said “More spray on the top, I think, so that it holds. See if you can add another flower on the right; it looks too bare.”
The doors swung open, and, preceded by a cloud of perfume, a new customer walks in. All eyes turn to take stock of her slim figure, her smooth skin, and lustrous hair quite an achievement for a mother of two. The critical stares focus on the clothes, but can find no flaw to pick apart. Immediately, heads bend closer to one another.
“That's Mrs Tomuk, isn't it?”
“Yes, our kids go to school together. You should see the amount of time she spends with each teacher nit-picking over her son's grades. I mean, I'm concerned about my children too, but she just overdoes it.”
Nods of agreement all around. The subject shifts to tutors and how kids these days never study.
Across from the hairdressing section, the stylists and parlour girls are seated on a sofa, waiting to be called to duty. Their seat provides a vantage point from which they can see their rich customers come and go.
“Wasn't that Madam wearing the loveliest shoes? I'd kill for a pair”
“Yeah, but she takes no care of her feet. I get nightmares while giving her a pedicure.”
“The Aunty with the hair always asks for girl X by name, and gives her generous tips.”
“She would! X is the biggest brown-noser in the whole parlour.”
Voices of assent. The character assassination continues.
Oblivious to the gossip pouring like sewage into Gulshan lake, the Coiffured Customer pays and leaves. Clip-clopping in her high heels down the stairs, she pulls out a shiny new cell-phone to call her chauffeur, who arrives promptly with the brand new car. As they zip off to an unknown destination, the security guards exchange glances.
'Mia earns the black money so that Bibi can spend it on flashy toys like this…”
“While you and I have to go marching up and down in front of their shops and salons for pay that won't buy you a bicycle even!”
Seated behind the steering wheel, pausing at a traffic light, the driver tries to maintain a non-commitant expression while the begum sahib at the back yammers on ad nauseum over the cell-phone. His gaze flits over to the sidewalk where a beggar lies asleep, mouth open, oblivious to the world.
“Lucky bugger! Probably doesn't have kids to pay for.”
Oh, the green pangs of envy!

By Sabrina F Ahmad

Greed is what makes life so worthwhile. It's a reciprocating emotion that benefits everyone. You want more stuff and manufacturers want more revenue so they make more stuff. As a result governments want more taxes and thus you want even more tax evasion. That's just a small figment of evaluation of the scope of wants. It's a classic action and reaction 'thingy' where the more you like something the more you want it. Look at our power hungry leaders. They simply cannot have enough. Lucky for them they keep coming back to power in alternate terms to satiate their greed.

With leaders like that we cannot be any different albeit in our own ways. We all want more. Rickshawallahs have a rule of thumb to ask more than whatsoever amount you offer them for a ride. We always offer less than what they ask. In such cases less is more.

Ultimately, greed is what makes us live.

By Ehsanur Raza Ronny

“Shundoro eshe phirey jae, tobey kar lagi mittha e shojja?”

If Tagore figured that out over a hundred years ago, then why are we still so behind in our own thoughts? Why is it absolutely necessary for us to have a new gadget, iPOD, Bluetooth, expensive laptops and cell phones even when we don't really need them, to own the newest car in town even when it's hard on our pockets, for our daughter- in- laws to be the epitome of gorgeousness regardless sometimes of how she is on the inside and our children to be doctors and engineers even though they aspire to be something else? Over the years, Bengalis seem to have mastered the art of Vanity, the art of doing and owning things only so they can show it off and people can talk about it! But what are we giving up while trying to be the talk of town and is it really worth all the trouble?

In many cases, the showing off is but a harmless attribute, the stuff of exotic books on the oddities of our culture but as soon as it steps out of that definition, it becomes a big problem. The man you rejected as a possible suitor to your daughter because of his balding head may have been a much better person than the handsome philandering business tycoon that you chose. It could cause a failed marriage and leave someone you love at a loss much more significant than a loss of 'face'. Your son may be the most successful doctor in the country but maybe he had talent in those other fields you never let him explore not wanting to fall behind others in your social circle.

Not just in our personal lives, vanity seems to have seeped into every crack and crevice of our little world. Magazines with the most glitters and stars on their cover often have the highest sales these days and it's almost as if it no longer matters what is inside! During job interviews, you have to 'look' smart in addition to 'being' smart! On television, every newsreader and host must first and foremost, 'look' the part and have the stamp of picture perfect grace regardless of whether they have impressive resumes or any talent.

There is nothing more important than happiness in our lives, not even the labels people give us and we give people and yet it is the labels we seem to crave more. It's true that a little showing off never hurt anybody and maybe all this pressure to 'look' impressive would ultimately help us improve in some way. But maybe it's time to reconsider the attributes we choose to 'define' ourselves with and draw the line between harmless pride and destructive vanity.

By Diya



home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2006 The Daily Star