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|Volume 11 |Issue 51| December 28, 2012 ||
Marmalade or Jam?
AASHA MEHREEN AMIN
Repetition, though often necessary for learning certain skills, quite often turns out to be boring. The idea is to liven things up even with context to the most mundane of realities. Hence the above title which one hopes will intrigue the reader enough to want him/her to read this piece.
It refers to our constant companion, the one we hate but must endure (unless we want to live as hermits who attain nirvana without any kind of material want) - traffic jam. Rumour has it that two friends, who share the same inane sense of humour, in a feeble attempt to make it seem less unbearable, have started to call this kind of jam, marmalade. It has been pointless to ask why and despite much eye-rolling from their children at the lameness of the joke, they have stubbornly stuck to their guns.
Now that we have got that cleared up let us move on to other aspects of this 'marmalade situation'.
It has been observed over the countless number of hours of being stuck at a particular place that certain changes have been going on in the city dwellers' behaviour, lifestyle and attitude towards life. Here are some of the observations.
Much to the delight of the telecom industry, the usage of cell phones has gone up in exponential proportions. Finding all this extra time to kill people are now talking on the phone more than ever before. And not all of it is just idle-banter of extra tele-talk. A lot of it includes instructions to the tailor, the cook, the maid, the child, the husband, the wife; courtesy calls to elderly relatives you are most likely not going to see in this lifetime; freely ranting at one's significant other as you still have another hour left and then calling up your local flexiload guy to top up your credit before it runs out while conducting these very important calls.
Not Savar nor even Shakhari Bazar, going to Dhanmondi or Gulshan is now the new destination for a day-long trip. Though there is hardly much sightseeing on the way people prepare for this journey. Flasks of tea or other beverages, sandwiches/ shingara, wet tissue, hand sanitiser (in case you want a quick, smart bath), socks, pillows and blankets are part of the travel-kit, among other things.
With more time spent on the road than anywhere else people have developed what is called jam-lag (like jet-lag) and require long periods of stretching and napping once they are out of the contraption. The rich have masseuses coming over their homes to relieve the tension while the poorer citizens just use a rolling pin on their backs.
Traffic-jam phobia is the new psychological disorder that seems to have hit many city dwellers. It has turned them into recluses - making them refuse to go anywhere outside their homes. Unfortunately for some, few people come to visit them on account of their unkempt look - going to salons or the barber's having been cut out from their lifestyle. Others just have everything delivered - including work that the poor subordinate must lug all the way after hours stuck in the 'you know what'.
Important deals are being made inside cars and CNGs as the parties concerned decide to pick each other up and talk, sign and shake hands as they go towards their destination, often the club where they socialise.
Women have developed special skills of applying makeup within the luxury of the vehicle they are travelling in -even perfectly putting on eyeliner no matter how bumpy the ride.
People no longer go to all four events of a wedding but chose perhaps just one and are invariably late even then.
All-night parties that start after 11pm are all the rage for obvious reasons.
Finally, people out of sheer exasperation, have cut jam from their breakfast table opting for marmalade, which has a bittersweet novelty factor about it, instead.
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