Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 54, Tuesday August 29, 2006




Blackout blues or bliss?

‘I SOOO miss load-shedding, you know!!' Yup! Of all the absurd things that one can imagine someone will say, that little statement would definitely top MY list. Or at least, it did until I gave it some serious thought. That comment was made by a friend of mine, Rohena, doing her undergrad in the U.S.

At first I found her comment absurd. I mean how can one miss load-shedding?!! It's SUCH a pain!!!
I mean picture this…You're watching an awesome movie or a TV show, and they're just at the precipice of the climatic scene or you're working on a report or case study which is due early next morning-like say 8:00 a.m. (yea, the faculty is just like Meryl Streep's character from the movie 'The Devil Wears Prada') right around that time everything shuts down….bam! The only comment that can encompass ALL your frustrations, irritation and general bad malaise at that exact moment is 'Arrrrrrggghhhhhh!!!!'

But then while brainstorming about a copy for an ad with my colleagues, it just suddenly came to me…the thought that there ARE certain great things that go with load-shedding.

Since nearly all the modern entrapments of our lives generally becomes obsolete during a blackout, suddenly everyone in the apartment or house veers towards a single room-usually the living space or the biggest veranda around, and by the flickering candlelight or if your charge light's still working then by its white light, you have an impromptu get-together. 'So how was your day?' or 'Hey! Wanna have a game of Ludo or Life or Scrabble?' You share jokes and viewpoints, laugh at new and happening things. In short, your family gels for a brief moment in time. And somehow because everything around you is silent, no hum of the AC or fan or anything every other sound of nature…the cree-cree of the crickets, the rustle of the tree leaves in the breeze, the distant sound of a rickshaw bell…is beautifully enhanced.

I guess when it comes down to the crux of the matter everything in life has a positive side. My father recently jumped the 'IPS' bandwagon and so even when we do have blackouts there's still electricity, so we remain in our respective rooms, behind closed doors, literally as well as figuratively.

So the next time there's a blackout…take the time out…think about all those people like Rohena who no longer face load-shedding but miss its quirk. Do without the IPS's so-called favour. And have your own impromptu family gathering for a brief moment in time.

By Simin Saifuddin

Reader’s chit

Is your man a metro or retro?

In the image-obsessed society of today, “Metro sexuality” is a buzz word for all the self conscious men out there. You probably know which group of males can be described as Metro sexual. These gentlemen most likely spend more time in the wash room in front of the mirror than their female counterparts and spend a hefty amount of money on skin and hair care products. They are self obsessed about their looks and lifestyle and love to catch the wandering eyes of women.

I was enlightened about the fact recently that many women want their partners to be so called “metros” and are quite proud of them. They brag about their husbands or boyfriends with regard to how they appear-always prim and proper, like a “nayok” of a hindi film. I was at a friend's place when I got the opportunity to partake in such a discussion. Well, a certain bit of self awareness maybe necessary but to worry oneself to death about one’s look and outfit, I believe is a bit too much. It seems that these gentlemen in return wanted their beloveds to look and smell darn good at all times of day and night!! These hubbies regularly observed and commented on the dress their wives wore and how they put on their make up. (Now, that's a wee bit scary!)

I was relieved beyond measure and could not stop thanking the Almighty to have given me somebody completely opposite of what is called a metro sexual.

Yup, he is a total retro sexual. To the men and the mates mentioned above he might appear as a moron strongly lacking aesthetic sense who spends as little money and time as possible on his looks and lifestyle. But to me he is the “manly, strong man” bestowed on me from the seventh heaven above!

He hates using hair gel and keeps his hair so short that he hardly requires a comb. Electric razors to him are too bothersome to use and he opts for those cheap disposable razors and at times uses my beauty soap both as a shampoo and shaving cream (dual purpose served!!). My man is a mechanic, a plumber, an electrician, a computer whiz, a great husband and a perfect father all in one. In a party he takes care of the baby while I get to fret over my jewellery and sari. And when at home, he will enjoy his cricket and soccer matches on TV whilst I am busy cooking and cleaning. I call it the simple division of labour. The best part is he never notices how many pounds I have put on or whether I have just chopped off my waist long hair. And even if he does notice (if the world tells me I am looking like a clown) there is no fuss or fury, he will just smile and tell me how very much he loves me.

It is a matter of opinion if preference is given to metro sexuality or retro sexuality- as for me I am perfectly happy to be the spouse of a complete retro sexual man!

By Syeda Shamin Mortada

New addition

I have been thinking lately, lately a lot more than ever. Should I bring another child into this world? In this world that is so unpredictable, with less and less goodness around us. Is it a wise decision? I feel it is my duty, obligation, and I am responsible forever for the child that I bring to this world. I worry about my daughter. She is four, and I worry about her future.

Was this world ever safe? My mom was pregnant when the war hit Bangladesh in 1971. Did my mom worry about her son's life? Yet he was born, and now he just had his second child. Irfan is his name, with a face that cannot be cuter. I stopped to think- may be I had it all wrong. May be Irfan is the one who will bring some peace to this world, may be my daughter will be an influential person some day. She will find a cure to some disease or have some impact on the human generation.

Little Irfan gave me hope of a better world. I realised despite of the terrorist attack, the war between Palestine and Israel, the war in Iraq and the dark clouds everywhere, you have to move on. You have to dream big, hope for the best, and move on. Make new additions, try your best to teach the next generation all that you learned from your life, from the world, and pass it on to them. They will hopefully make a good difference in this world.

By Iffat Zia



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