The One-Day Love-bug
Last Friday so many fights were seen on the streets, in the parks, in public buses and shopping centres that one could easily work out how many divorces took place inside the four walls of a house; though we pray otherwise. For last Friday was unfortunately the day after 14 February, the day when young and old couples were caught on camera, both mechanical and human, in their loving ways; that view the nation gathered from newspaper and channel coverage wider than women empowerment in the forthcoming elections.
It became the common expression on that one particular day. Rickshawpullers pleading car drivers to give way shouted, 'bhalobasha… bhalobasha…' Vendors demanding more money from angry punters justified the price hike by meekly saying, 'bhalobasha… bhalobasha…' By contrast, only a judge had little maya on the day when he handed a 13-year not-so bhalo basha to a seasoned city politician despite the meki festive season.
The Indian sub-continent was never short of love look at our population. Take a look at the legends of Shiri-Farhad, Laila-Majnu, or for that matter heartthrob Kabori singing 'why he did not come and so everything seems glum', and debonair Razzak crooning L-O-V-E love means what? Or was it some other hero? It did not matter. By the way, Kabori's song was in Bangla, 'shey je keno elo na…'
The only thing that mattered then, and I am positive now too, was that mutual human adoration was the result of physics and chemistry between two souls, not prompted by commercial rallies, sponsored concerts or the printed poetry of card traders. I know some of you are thinking of biology too, and that is the problem it seems these days. It was also no different then.
It may make me sound old, but in those days (consider that I heard this from my Dadu) those who perceived there was love in the air (for Barishaillas, even water) exchanged letters pursed between the pages of an innocent novel, dropped accidentally on the corridor of Curzon Hall. That they did throughout the year. Those who were under ten (in class and age) were excellent and essential abetters, passing verbal information and written messages among the amorous. Yes indeed the real throb was the seemingly 'criminal' element in the relationship. It still is. But now some poor kids and the aged suffering from age-old bhimroti have to wait a whole year to sing L-O-V-E love maaney ki? Tch! Tch! Tch! It does not make sense to millions of others who are in love throughout the year.
When two persons are in love, they are supposed to be in that doting state every moment of their living, 24x7x60x60, or else the three words are just that, and not the essence of paradise that they are supposed to encompass.
The situation has improved from last year for, bewildered as they are in keeping pace with the 'progress', fewer guys sent out Valentine's Day wishes to guys this year. Some well-meaning gentlemen have included divinity in expressing their wishes on the day. There is total confusion.
Yet once again we Bangalee have fallen prey to the Western-style corporate machine of commercialising something which was very private, and supposed to be. You don't go out there peddling your 'beloved'. It is demeaning to both the partners. You don't need a hip-hip hurrah or a zindabad or a michil to ensure or assure that either is definitely in love.
Celebrate at home (yes even on Valentines Day) in private, in the company of your friends if you have to; not beside a giggling group of youths, who do not even have a partner in sight. Or, maybe they are the clever ones, hiding theirs at home.
This day was not 'celebrated' in Bangladesh even a few years back, say four-five. Was there no love then? Millions of people did not send any cards this year; the business people would wish otherwise. Are they not in love? I am.
In concluding, I would like to share a sombre event that took place in Chicago in 1929 on February 14. The Associated Press (AP) reported thus:
Chicago, Feb 14 (AP)Chicago gangsters, posing as policemen, invaded the North Side stronghold of the George (Bugs) Moran gang, lined up seven victims with their faces to a white brick wall and mowed them down with automatic pistols and machine guns. The wholesale execution was carried out at 10:30 a.m. with all the precision of an army firing squad.
Italian-American gangster Al Capone, also known as Scarface (gaal kata) because of a knife cut to his cheek, and his gang were blamed for the execution-style murders of members of the rival “Bugs” Moran gang. The hideous underworld murders came to be known as (would you believe?) the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre. Love! Huh!
Al Capone, like any modern day criminal, got away with the murders and was jailed for income tax evasion in 1931 for eleven years. He was involved in some sort of love and was crippled by syphilis. He spent the rest of his life in his mansion in Miami Beach, Florida.
Who said Dhaka is one hundred years behind Chicago?
WRITE TO CHINTITO <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I went through your recent Saw Nothing, … on SWM 1 February 2008. I would like to add some more stuff in your chinta. Rajakar is a burning issue in our country. But one-sided as we are, we see only through one eye. There are at least three types of Rajakars here: pro-British, pro-Pakistani and pro-Indian.
Those who possess British-era tails preceding or following their names are descendents of PBRs. While they are not responsible for the rajakari of their ancestors, PBRs have a share when they boast of a Khandani past. Everyone knows and most hate PPRs. So any narrative will be a waste of your time.
PIRs are those who confess: “We committed mistake in 1947.” Well, Kashmiris did not (or more precisely, were not allowed to) commit mistake in 1947. What is their (Kashmiris') condition now? Digging into this question may reveal many horrors. I leave this for you. I have more to add but stop short of, to allow you to have a storm around this in your brain. Regards, Mohammad Mozammel Ali (6 Feb 2008)
Have a nice morning.
I'm really impressed your answer, "I was born in 1995 at The Daily Star".
I am not a regular reader of your column! But at present I am interested to make some cartoons, related to your article! Is it possible? Thanks a lot. Srijib Bhattacharjee (9 Feb 2008)
That's a fantastic idea, Srijib dear. I would be delighted to have you drawing cartoons on any of my articles. Maybe Star Weekend Magazine will even consider publishing some of them. Please send your cartoons to me and also to the SWM Editor in the address <email@example.com>.
Best of luck. Best regards. Ch!
Greetings from myself!
I would like to very much appreciate your new initiative. Now, we can easily communicate with you, but we miss your write-up. I think you can develop a mechanism to touch the two matters simultaneously. I also appreciate your response not to divulge your real name because you have an identity, 'Chintito'. You have achieved this by writing for a long time. Obviously, readers always bless you. Iqbal Chowdhury (10 Feb 2008)
Greetings to you too Iqbal. How wonderfully well and with ease you express brotherhood! The world needs more people like you. Thank you for your kind blessings. Regards. Ch!
Hi dear Chintito,
I see you are a bright mentor and a good analyzer as well. Moreover, you can make out the problem of everybody. How can you realise this? Are you psychiatrist or a spiritual saint? You give solution of any sorts of torment. No more, see you. With best regards. Yours ever. Rony (8 Feb 2008)
I am neither. That is why I am Chintito.
That reminds me of the chap who went to a fakir and pleaded, 'Baba, please tell me how I can manage my wife's anger'. The Baba, without opening his eyes, said, 'Child, had I been able to do that would I have been sitting under this banyan tree? Thanks for dropping by. Pl keep in touch. Regards. C
Hi endeared Chintito,
Thanks a lot for your repartee. You are neither a psychiatrist nor a saint, okay, but me seem, you have one great virtue of versatility which I deem a rara avis; that means a virtue which is commonly not found among others. Any way, I see, you are a humorist to some extent. You told me a tale with a teasing tone that pleases me much. How funny it is! My notion, you are not only a writer but also a joker, aren't you? However, would you mind telling me a bit about your qualification and your calling? You can disclose to me undoubtedly because it will help me a lot to ameliorate my avocation. Do you mind my query? I expect your pleasing and positive answer in the twinkling of an eye. Please do not misunderstand me…I am your fan as well. I look forward to hearing from you with abated breath by and by. No more today. Wish you all the best. Adieu! Rony (9 Feb 2008)
Wow! You are so generous with our appreciation. Thanks for your sense of humour.
My qualification? I love humanity like many of you. That single quality of ours together can bring smiles on millions of people around the world. You know, most of them can not and will never read what you are writing to me. Let us help them. Best regards. C
Hi my Chintito,
Okay! Gramercy! Really, your comments set me thinking. I can not make out what to do and what not to do. You are hiding yourself. I am not at all glad to have your retort, yet not completely unhappy again, rather I am astounded to see your purview of thought or thinking over the mass of mob round the universe. I see, you are really a ruminant thinker, so to say, Chintito. Is not it? Any way, why do you fight shy of my query? Why are you dubious about yourself? Bye, Rony (10 Feb 2008)
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