|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 41, Tuesday October 21, 2008|
Dear Dr. Minu,
Check It Out
WHILE we were on our way to the nearest pool club, my friend Hasan was telling me how much he loved the game. “This is the place where I spend most of my money”, he said. It made me ponder about all the youngsters living in Dhaka and their craze for billiard, bowling and video games. Why is it like that anyway?
Dhaka is a concrete jungle with almost no place to play outdoor sports like cricket and football. Perhaps gaming zones are the alternative. But games like snooker requires almost no physical activity, hence arises the question of whether we are missing out on something vital. My friend Zane seems to be content about it. “I spend an hour, four days a week working out and occasionally I go swimming as well. Just because I don't go to a playground doesn't mean I am not getting any physical exercise or that I can't be fit”.
But games such as billiard are extremely addictive. Perhaps that's why many parents are reluctant to see their kids in gaming zones. “Once you start playing, you simply can't stop. I owe my bad results in A Levels to the gaming zones”, a private university student confessed. But his friend, who studies in the same university, has a different outlook. “Pool Lovers is a five minute walk from my university. I only come here between classes. Similarly, Thunderbolt is very near to where I live and whenever I study for long hours, I take frequent breaks and play a couple of games to freshen up. These breaks help me concentrate and be focused”.
But these breaks cost quite a lot! Very few places offer hourly rates; usually it's on a per-game basis, usually twenty bucks for a single game of pool. Added to that is the cost of foods like fried rice and soft drinks. But if you are really good at the game, you can save some money- it is quite a common norm that the loser pays for the games.
I guess to some extent playing is an excuse for hanging out with friends. What better place could there be for meeting up with people? But during all the playing and gossiping runs another activity: smoking. The worst sufferers are the non-smokers. It's not just health that I am concerned about; whenever I go home directly from a gaming zone, I feel a bit anxious lest my parents smell the smoke and suspect me!
My friend and I finally reached the billiard centre. I asked him whether he gets anything out of it other than the fun. “It teaches me to be patient and calm”, he said and then paid for ten games in the most impatient and hurried manner you can possibly imagine. A minute later, he leaned forward in a professional way to hit the cue ball and marked the beginning of the five hours of pure entertainment. I could see the glint in his eyes. “And is the money worth it?” I inquired. He immediately assured me. “Every penny of it!”
By M H Haider
IN our daily life we just go on spending on things that we need to pay for like utilities. But have we ever tried to save up? Did we think twice before taking out the wallet, or organising our daily needs?
Spend your savings wisely and investments should be profitable. All these are possible if only you do your future planning correctly. Now that you know how to keep track of your money, how about your household needs? To elucidate, let's say the gas you need to cook, the electricity that you cannot be without, and of course the water that you surely consider to be indispensable.
First you'll have to minimise your usage, then you can save up these utilities as well. Always try to fill up water, because you never know when you might run out of it. As for the electricity, it isn't necessary to light up your rooms even when you are not there. For the gas, it is a common sight to see in every house that the stove goes on burning although nothing is being cooked; just turn it off.
Now that you have an insight on what should be done, give up an outlandish style of living- conserve and save. It won't be too difficult for you to work things out. All you have to do is be more decisive in what you do. So start conserving right form today!
By Yamin Tauseef Jahangir
On A Different Note
I sat down to watch the ICL match between the Dhaka Warriors and the Hyderabad Heroes. Dhaka Warriors bears the name of our city and is made up of Bangladeshi (ex)cricketers, so for better or for worse they represent Bangladesh. Therefore, it was shocking and sad to hear Aftab Ahmed and Alok Kapalli answering in Hindi when Mayanti Langer interviewed them. My friend watching the game with me was instantly disgusted and asked me to change the channel when Aftab Ahmed started talking in Hindi. I did not, because I wanted to see how well he spoke. As it turned out, he was pretty good; no one could have guessed that he was Bangladeshi. Alok Kapali, on the other hand, wasn't as fluent and threw in a few English words here and there.
Now, what is the problem in speaking Hindi? After all, they are in India. Surely no one would object if a Bangladeshi spoke Spanish while in Spain. Unfortunately, it is not that simple. To a Bangladeshi, India is very different from Spain, or at least it should be. India is not some remote European country; they are our neighbours with whom we have had tensions in the past. More importantly, with a large portion of our cable channels being Indian, we are exposed to their cultural hegemony. Aftab and Alok's difference in proficiency probably merely reflects the difference in their fondness for Hindi movies. In their defense, some might say that it's better to speak Hindi semi-fluently than to make a fool of oneself by speaking broken English. Why not speak Bangla? Surely there are interpreters in India, it's a big country.
Having studied abroad and interacted with Indian and Pakistani students, I know that they expect Bangladeshis to know Hindi. Many a time I have been quite annoyed when an Indian or Pakistani just came up to me and started speaking in Hindi or Urdu. When corrected, they say that most of the other Bangladeshis can speak Hindi.
It has been just 37 years since we won our freedom; not even a lifetime, but some of us seem to have forgotten the thing that makes us unique, is that which gives us our identity. It is particularly painful to see those representing us neglecting that very thing: our language.
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