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    Volume 11 |Issue 33| August 17, 2012 |


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Cover Story

The Sour Chronicles

Aasha Mehreen Amin

It is sehri time and Queen Shaksina is savouring her second mango yoghurt. This seems to be the only time that she has a few moments of peace. These days 'peace' has become such a dirty word and people have the gaul to give 'peace awards' to undeserving people. This yoghurt is really good thinks Shaksina, until a nagging knot of worry begins churning her stomach. Power Curd – now where had she heard that name before? As her brain goes on overdrive the horror dawns on her. The curd is no other than the vile pudding made by that sly sorcerer Master Hearthrob of the World – He Who Cannot Be Named (HWCBN).

Her Majesty elegantly spits the remnants of the offending curd which is psychological poison for her and she screams at the Royal Bua (uncharacteristic as she is usually quite kind to her staff): Are you trying to kill me woman? Why this curd, couldn't you make it at home?

Shaksina is still fuming when she settles into bed after the morning prayers. But sleep eludes her with so many bitter thoughts creeping into her tranquility.

It may be mentioned that Queen Shaksina is currently suffering from severe allergic reactions to certain irritants - persons, words, smells and even songs (Ay Padma Ay Megna…) resulting in high blood pressure, heart burn and paranoia.

No surprise then that top on the list of allergens is He Who Cannot Be Named, that smooth skinned smooth talker with that dazzling Colgate smile, that sorcerer who cast his spell on all foreign kingdoms and local wise men and wiser women. Now they believe that he is some kind of Saviour of the Poor and Sweetheart of the Powerful when actually he is just an imposter who is set to take away Shaksina's thunder.

It is he who conspired to take over the throne during the nasty Rebellion of the Queen's Guards and Shaksina was thrown into the dungeon along with Dolly Bee, a fate she had thought at the time, worse than death. But their shared misery created a kind of camaraderie and they even exchanged meals, though of course making their respective cats eat the food before sampling a single morsel.

Oh yes, coming back to that scheming, wretched curd maker, after he failed to take over the kingdom (Let's face it he just doesn't have the feminine charm we gals have hah!) he went about chanting his hypnotic social business mantras in foreign lands until they bestowed upon him the highest honour of all kingdoms – The Order of Peace.

Peace my foot thinks her Royal Majesty. He has turned everything topsy turvy. W ell, I will strip him of all his powers within this kingdom - let him go crying to his foreign patrons, that fake fakir who conspired to stop the World Money Lender from lending their gold bars to build that Great Bridge of Dreams. He must have said bad things about me and my courtiers. Why even our close family friend Lord Babulia had to give up his dukedom to save face of my rule, though I did grant him the title of Royal Patriot as a conciliatory gesture. Babulia of course has kept smiling his evergreen smile despite all the cruel conspiracy against him.

These days even Dolly Bee is looking less hateful compared to that curd-making sorcerer.

Not that her nobles have helped the situation. Take that old fogey Sunny Shane with his silly smile (why do they all smile like mental asylum escapees?) whose minion blabbed away to the Queen's Guards that he hadn't been given his share of the loot that was meant to reach dear Sunny's quarters. In his characteristic way, Sunny kept smiling like a Cheshire on crack, denying everything and mysteriously suggesting that the real culprits would be caught.

Then there is that ridiculously stubborn son of her father, the former King's most devoted but unappreciated knight – So Hell. Despite all her attempts to keep him in court, that chit of a boy had the audacity to keep resigning until she was forced to accept. What the Hell was that all about?

But worse has been those demonic locusts who have swooped on her, trying to tear her apart like starving hyenas on Bambi. These scribes have infested all kingdoms and have nothing better to do but dig out dirt from every nook and cranny, vilifying kings, queens and their cronies, sorry courtiers. The homegrown ones have tried to make a mockery of her kingdom by spreading scrolls full of lies about her ministers. It has been her remarkable tolerance that has left their heads intact, even though they have been trying to tarnish the kingdom and its Queen's image through their exaggerations.

But even these rascals are nothing compared to some of those diabolic foreign scribes who have tried to humiliate her in front of the world, with little success of course. She showed those Smart Alecs what Shaksina is made of.

Excerpts of the dialogue between Queen Shaks and foreign scribe Succour.

Succour (S): You have said you have zero tolerance for human rights abuses but the following (he gives a long list) indicates otherwise.

Queen Shaksina (QS): Wait. Listen. It's not true. Of course we have zero tolerance – for any kind of nonsense.

S: But you have totally failed in reigning in your Rabid Knights – they are called the Death Squad by the people.

QS: Wait. Listen. It's not true. We are trying – it does not happen overnight.

S: (incredulously): Overnight! It's been over three and a half years, just how long is 'overnight' for you?

QS: (smiling benignly): Well, in Bangladeshi time…

S: Ok so what about zero tolerance for corruption?

QS: I told you nothing happens overnight. Wait. Do you know, we have a high rate of growth, our silos are full of grains, our people are getting wiser through learning, we have brought more power from lightning bolts…

S: But who is benefitting from all this prosperity, your nobles or the people?

QS: I am only for my subjects, er, my people.

S: Why has the World Lender lost confidence in you? Why are you badmouthing one of your most respected subjects?

QS: Why don't you come to Bongoland and see what this sorcerer is doing, draining the blood of the poor like a handsome vampire. My ministers and myself, we are the ones who stand by the poor. Only I can bring change because my politics is for my people.

S: So only 'you' can bring change?

QS: I meant 'our' or 'us' or 'we'. You know what I mean.
(Succour grins evilly)
Oh what an exhausting conversation that was! And all Shaksina had wanted was to enjoy the Olympiads in England with friends and family.

All these disturbing thoughts are exhausting the Queen. She yawns delicately and ponders on her latest strategy – to only surround herself with blind loyalists – no matter how incompetent, ineffectual, greedy or senile they are. It is a small price to pay to have the peace of mind to know she is safe from murderous traitors. Suddenly she remembers a line from an old bard that chills her heart and drives away all sleep – E t tu Brute?

Tiptoeing to the fridge she takes out a few mango yoghurts and polishes off two in fifty-two seconds. Hate to admit it but that sorcerer sure knows his curd.

All places, characters, institutions and events described in this article are fictitious. Any resemblance to any person or institution living or dead is purely coincidental.

The Interpretation of Dreams


Dream: Khaleda Zia smiling at you or having a pomegranate.

Interpretation: An extremely serious matter. Do not take it lightly. If you see her smiling at you, you will be evicted from the house you have inherited from your spouse.

If you see her having a pomegranate, there is going to be a string of grenade attacks on your home and business establishment. You will not die, but your hearing ability might be permanently lost.

Solution: Spit on your left side thrice and seek Allah's help to fight off evil. If you keep on seeing this dream, you should seriously toy with the idea of joining the BNP.

Dream: A black cat roaming around the BGB Headquarters or Jigatala area.

Interpretation: You are in deep soup. All your hard-earned ill-gotten money is going to be lost, forever. If you are a public servant, you might as well be made an Officer on Special Duty (which means no duty, no bribe and thus, no fun) or a Minister without portfolio. To make matters worse, your son, who has just bought a huge number of shares in some business organisation, will also land into a similar trouble. Your son has been a simpleton, working in an obscure IT firm, and now that the media is refusing to stick its nose, all you are left with is high blood pressure and a broken heart.

Solution: Don't lose hope. Butter your boss up, if she is not happy with you, try to please your colleagues. Do not forget, your ultimate power is the gift of the gab, say outrageous things, the more the merrier. No one takes you seriously any way.

Dream: Minister Obaidul walking on the platform of some obscure, run-down railway station.

Interpretation: This is an open-ended dream. You might get stuck forever in a traffic jam or you, an honest person, will get a job in one of the most corrupt offices in the country. If the latter becomes true, you are in trouble, because your subordinates at work are not going to listen to you, they will take bribes and laugh about you behind your back.

Solution: Visit Jatrabari Flyover every Friday till it becomes complete. Try to remove photos or anything that relates to former Minister Abul Hossain from your home. If your first name is similar to that of the former minister, change it within seven days of the sighting of the dream.

Dream: Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir is laughing and you can see his molars.

Interpretation: You are going to get a raise at work. Now, the molar part is important. If you can count the molars, you will earn a lot of enemies among your 'friends', who are going to make your life difficult. In the worst case scenario, one of your favourite employees might be abducted by unknown people/group and you will not be able to do anything about it. You will have to play hide and seek with the police.

Solution: Try to grow a backbone, presently you have none. Watch 'Catch me if you Can' thrice on DVD. Don't laugh without any rime or reason.

Dream: Dilip Barua counting money.

Interpretation: We have talked to dream interpreters from across the world, including former Ugandan leader Idi Amin's voodoo expert. They have all agreed that it's a good dream. In fact, an Ethiopian dream interpreter has said that some junior-level corrupt politicians in the country regularly stare at Barua's photograph for seven minutes before they go to bed in the hope of seeing him in their dreams. Be that as it may, you will suddenly become rich, your wife, her brother, your brother, his wife and their friends will get acres of land in Uttara. Some businessman is going to give you a BMW, and your bank account will swell like mighty Karnaphuli during the monsoon.

Solution: Wait till Lady Luck smiles at you. The world is going to be yours. Meanwhile, regularly read Mao Zedong's On Contradiction.

Dream: Seeing Hasanul Haq Inu or Rashed Khan Menon or a girl under a boroi tree pouting her lips.

Interpretation: You will form a party with Marxism/Leninism/Maoism/Trotoskysm/Hoxahism as its political ideology. Your brother-in-law is going to be its Secretary General, and your maid will be your party's organising secretary, who in two years time will form their own parties.

Solution: Name it Rock and Roll Youth Marxist League, it will attract the youth. Given that general elections are in the offing, forming a party as a business proposition is not bad. Rent an office in Topkhana Road, and contact the BNP as early as you can, they badly need to expand their alliance. Take advice from Dilip Barua on the nitty-gritty of joining alliances and how to become a minister even after your security deposit was forfeited twice in two general elections.

Dream: Abul Mal Abdul Muhit is angrily saying, "Abul is down, because he is not in town, London Bridge is falling down, and you are a clown. Padma is a noun, and where is my gown? Ghooow-taa!"

Interpretation: If you have invested in the share market, you will lose all your money and will go on telling people that they are mischievous, not the market. Banks in the country will refuse to give you a loan, and you will become irritable. You will become delusional (not Gen Ershad type though), disowning in the evening whatever you have said in the morning. People will flock you to be entertained.

Solution: Send a copy of Fundamentals of Financial Management by Eugene F Brigham and Joel F Houston, Dale Carnegie's How to Put Magic in the Magic Formula and The Batman Family of DC Comics' comic book series to Muhit. Watch 'Three Idiots', 'Bodnam' and Dildar-acted 'Abdullah'.

Dream: People agitating in front of Dhaka Stock Exchange.

Interpretation: Depends, really. If you are a loan defaulter, everything will turn out well. You will buy a new television channel, grow a beard and earn the title dervish. If you are a nobody, you might be pick-pocketed in the Gulistan area and lose your life's savings.

Solution: Do not go out with a lot of cash. Stay away from the share market.

Dream: Sahara Khatun at Dhaka Reporter's Unity.

Interpretation: There is going to be a dacoity at your home, and you will become delusional, thinking it is someone else's abode, not yours.

Solution: Watch News at Ten every night for a month. If it becomes difficult, put a life-size photo of Nazi General Joseph Goebbels on your bedroom wall and say, "Everything is fine, law and order situation is good" 100 times before sleep. If the problem persists, consult a psychiatrist.

Dream: Gen HM Ershad giving a speech in Wrongpur.

Interpretation: This is worse than seeing a black cat. You will develop bi-polar disorder. If you already have the disease, you will be cured soon. If you have the habit of making passes at women, you might be mobbed in Farmgate.

Solution: Put the deposed general's book of poems 'Konok Prodip Jalo' in front of the mirror and try to read the poem, or try to read the poems backwards like a person suffering from dyslexia. Do not think of marrying again, one wife is good for you.

Dream: Zainul Abedin Faruk shaving his moustache.

Interpretation: You will fall foul of the law and get beaten up by the police.

Solution: Shave your moustache, stay away from the police. Watch Rajanikanta movies, learn the way he fights.

Dream: Reading these interpretations.

Interpretation: You are a loser, the worst ofthe lot. You believe everything that is said about the 'great personalities' in your country.

Solution: Get a life. Don't believe everything that the media says.


All places, characters, institutions and events described in this article are fictitious. Any resemblance to any person or institution living or dead is purely coincidental.

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