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     Volume 4 Issue 51 | June 17, 2005 |

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Care, Compromise and Collusion


This budget in one aspect has been very people oriented, well if you can call some of them people, that is.
No sooner was a wife from among the people charged with stealing her husband's mobile, its price was reduced, meaning she will be guilty, if at all, for a lesser sum.
According to psychologists this fiscal move shall also deter wives from stealing their husband's cellular phone because it will not be then that costly an item, and so the motivation to steal shall be greatly reduced.
That's the only bit of budget that was also understandable, thanks to policy analysts who pointed it out. For without their help the entire package appears to be a lot of gibberish.
Some people, however, have the knack of understanding rubbish more quickly than most and even before the minister concerned had alighted from his podium there were pro and anti michhils with banners that must have been penned as the budget was being written.
Many wives have since queued up at lawyers' chambers querying what constitutes a mobile set theft that can provoke a loving husband to file a divorce suit. With lawyers sweating without difficulty in the prevailing heat to calm down the paranoia with assurances, such as, you have to have six crore of his taka in your bank account, which you don't; and that he must have had at least a dozen known lovers.
This advice has also led to some additional marital problems.
Many wives have rushed back to her husband demanding why she is given cash each month and not paid through her bank account. At least one husband was slapped by her wife when he innocently said, 'But, Darling you don't have a bank account'.
Some wives have appointed detectives, actually their friends, to find out whether their husband's love track is as barren as he claimed on nuptial night. There has been significant backtracking when some wives were reminded about theirs. In some cases it was also same-side, meaning the detective herself had been somewhat involved. It's a small world you know, she explained while pocketing her fee.
A client deserves an answer and some lawyers are of the opinion that a wife may hold her husband's mobile phone for ten minutes each hour before it represents a robbery. If she holds the set at his request while he is fixing a tie knot, and when he is driving a car, and when he is being extremely mobile, such times shall not be added on. The reason for exempting during tie fixing is care, during driving is compromise and during the third act is collusion.
The policy analysts did mention something in that line while evaluating the budget now on the table. Care for the poor, compromise for supporting investments and employment generation, and collusion with big interest groups.
If however the caring lady ties his knot while also holding on to the husband's mobile (you know most men believe the wife has more than two hands); the compromising wife lies to his boss about his illness on his mobile; and the collusive spouse recharges his mobile before hers, she will earn some bonus time.
If all these sound confusing, the lawyers have explained that laws are meant to be like that. Otherwise where would be their bread and butter? But for a fact most lawyers in this country prefer rice.
What however has most people confounded is why on earth a wife should need to steal her husband's mobile, particularly when she has more than one herself. Let's see, if an expensive set costs around twenty thousand, how many can one buy with the bank interest from taka six crore?
If arresting ladies for pinching their husband's mobile be the trend then our police will be awfully busy if wives start complaining about their bottoms being pinched by their husbands. And it is not easy to stack every alamat in a police station. The mobile belongs to each other as much as does the butt.
Having studied Irish-born Mathew Carey's essay "Rules for Husbands and Wives" from his book Miscellaneous Essays (1830, Philadelphia), we have developed a modern day set as follows:
A good spouse
1. will always regard the spouse as an equal; treat the spouse with kindness, respect and attention; and never address the spouse with an air of authority.
2. will cheerfully and promptly comply with all reasonable requests of the spouse, when it can be done, without loss, or great inconvenience.
3. will never lose temper towards the spouse
4. will consult the spouse on all great operations. Many a spouse has been rescued from destruction by the wise counsels of the spouse. Many a foolish spouse has been most seriously injured by the rejection of the advice of the spouse, fearing, lest, if followed, one spouse would be regarded as ruled by the other! A spouse can never procure a counsellor more deeply interested in one's welfare than one's spouse.
5. will always receive the spouse with smiles leave nothing undone to render home agreeable and gratefully reciprocate one's kindness and attention.
6. will study to discover the means to gratify the spouse's inclinations, in regard to food; in the management of the family; in the dress, manners and deportment.
7. will never attempt to rule, or appear to rule the spouse. Such conduct degrades spouses and spouses always partake largely of the degradation of their spouses.
8. will, in every thing reasonable, comply with wishes of the spouse and, as far as possible, anticipate them.
9. will avoid all altercations or arguments leading to ill-humourand more especially before company.
10. will never attempt to interfere in the spouse's business, unless advice or counsel is asked for, and will never attempt to control the spouse in the management of it.
When grapevines had it that a famous former president had married a young lady who stays abroad, some of us thought we heard she was bideshi, a twist in fact to the lady's name. Come to think of it, that in reality would have been far better and wiser, not that we are trying to encourage the tiger to bat a fourth innings.
If bideshi had any political ambitions we would all protest on the street that she cannot become our prime minister. She would be dispirited, would have no reason to threaten herself to widowhood, no reason to break her own prized possessions in her own house and definitely no valid reason to steal her husband's mobile.

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