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MAD Hatter’s tea party

Pepperoni pizza, with chicken wings as the appetiser, chocolate croissants, a large chunk of chocolate cake, a nice,
mouth-watering vanilla ice cream, enriched in chocolate syrup, and to top it all off? A wonderful, cold glass of coke. Ever wondered where all these came from? Ok, they came from plants, cows and chickens but that's not the point here! In fact, they're all from the kitchen. I never spared one minute of my time to think about the torture cooks have to go through to present us with mouth-watering food. I never understood what it was like to spend an entire day in the kitchen? Until I was put to the test myself.

I knew I had to admit it one day or other - I'm no cook! In fact, I can't and never tried to cook. When my friends used to talk about all the dals and bhortas they made, I always stayed far away from the conversation. Living in a joint family, it's quite natural for me, my sister and my cousins to come up with weird and absurd ideas to entertain not only our family members, but also us. One of these strange ideas was to hold a tea party. We would make food and sell them to everyone. Not only would we relieve our mothers from the hassle of making evening snacks for us, but the party would also feed our hunger for money. We soon had printed out nicely decorated invitation cards.

Tea Party
Dear Dada and Dadimoni,
We are having a tea party, which will be held, in the 'dotala veranda' at 4:30 p.m. on the 9th of April (Friday). We are going to serve tea, fresh juice, cookies and other mouth-watering items? we would enjoy your company if you could please attend the party.

P.S. There are no such things as free food so please bring your wallets!

The invitations raised eyebrows from all the moms. "You people are going to cook?" asked one of my aunts. "Do you even know how to switch on the oven?" my mom asked us. Ok, so maybe I didn't know, but I could learn, right? I hoped so.

The very next day, my sister, two of my cousins and I set off to Agora to gather ingredients for our party. I couldn't remember a better shopping experience; we were going to be paid back for everything we bought. That night, when I went to bed, I was relishing what was going to happen tomorrow. I couldn't wait to put on a chef's hat and the professional apron!

The next morning shone bright and sunny, and I had a very good attitude towards the day. We started cooking a little late, a little behind schedule. Unfortunately and very unfairly, I was not offered the chef's hat or the apron! Instead, I had to read out recipes, and later, separate egg yolks and egg whites! An hour later, a couple of 'misfortunes' occurred that changed the bright, sunny day forever. First of all, I accidentally poured the whole bottle of vanilla essence into the cookie dough, although just a teaspoon was required. Next, one of my cousins accidentally put three cups of salt instead of sugar.

We found out the reason for the mix-up. While wanting to buy sugar, we accidentally picked up the salt packet. After nearly an hour of begging, wheedling and promises of extra chores, our mothers agreed to spare their precious sugar. At around 4:00, the cookies were nicely wrapped up in decorative papers and settled in baskets and creative and pretty box made by us. We were all relaxing until my sister realised we had forgotten to make our so-called fresh juices, tea and other mouth-watering items. In a hurry, we all made a few sandwiches, made muffins and got other ready-made items from all our moms' refrigerators. We didn't really get them, we stole them.

At around 4:15, we went to the veranda, armed with our beautiful cookies, only to find that Bhaijan a.k.a. 'Baron of Irresponsibility' had set up only one stall, so far. I was ready to wring his neck, but we all went over to him and helped him out with the next five stalls, leaving the cookies on the swing in the veranda. My younger cousins came and bothered us for a while, but thankfully they left with our cookies!

We sat dumbstruck watching my brother breaking the head off a teddy bear shaped cookie and offering it to my younger cousins. The guests were arriving fast, armed with fat wallets. As quickly as we could, we snatched the cookies from the kids, sent the guard for more ready-made food and put on big smiles on our faces to welcome our guests as warmly as possible. As soon as the bought goods arrived, my family members started shopping. All throughout the evening, they were too busy bargaining with us to notice the half-eaten cookies. We realized we hadn't settled the prices of the goods. At one stall, a cookie basket was being sold for TK. 150 and in another, it was being sold for TK. 250.

Then, everyone started asking for change of the money they paid. I think we ended up giving everyone more or less money than the one amount they were supposed to receive. Less or more, I'm not sure, but one thing I was sure of was that no one got accurate change. We decided that everyone deserved to share in our bad luck. If things weren't worse enough, the attack of the vicious Bangladeshi flies started. I'm sure everyone living in Bangladesh has experienced a ride through that movie made out of our national resource! However, we had managed to drive out the flies armed with mosquito coils and mosquito bats.

Near the end of the evening, people were starting to leave not only with full stomachs but also much lighter moneybags.

Later that night, my sister, three of my cousins, Bhaijan included (popularly known as Baron of Irresponsibility) and I sat down and counted the money inside our bursting money bag. Believe it or not, we made a huge profit. It was a great success! We had very satisfied customers, very empty dishes but most importantly, an overloaded moneybag!
And so, ended my unforgettable date with disaster.

By Mahareen Khalid


Spikes -are they really OUT

It was probably in the 4th or 5th grade when I first noticed kids spiking up their hair. In fact, that's when I began spiking up my hair too, with the hope of joining the elite. More than half a decade later, I look around and I still see people smugly boasting their oh-so-perfectly posed spikes. But half a decade is a long time for a hairstyle to last, let alone stay big (as possibly one of the most popular hairstyles among teens).

Most hairstyles go extinct within a year max, as far as teens are concerned. I mean I'm the kind of person that has vowed to stick to a different hairstyle for life every two weeks (give or take a day or two). So I know. However, I have to admit, for years I had been a hardcore spikanatic. In fact, I only let it go a couple of months ago after painfully extensive sessions of persuasion by my friends and 'well-wishers'.

To be honest, that's not the only reason. It all started when one fine day, one of the many faithful 'elements' of the elite group had decided, out of the blue, to change his hairstyle. Soon enough, others too had gathered up the guts to do the same, as more and more people opted to part their hair on the middle, or maybe just go for that good ol' Al Pacino style back brush.

It seemed like, indeed, the end, as an increasing number of spikanatic had decided to abandon their spikes for those cheap TC-parted-in-the-middle haircuts. And truth be told, I too had at some point, decided to do likewise (don't remember exactly when) as the end of the spike era seemed inevitable. But little did we know, that there was but a new beginning awaiting.

About a year or two later, right here in Gulshan, a revolution seemed to have taken off. The word 'spike' seemed all the more common to the ear again, as the once much worshipped hairstyle had started to resurface, in style, with an absolute transformation. It was a brand new 'spikes'!

It started to spread like a virus, almost as fast, if not AS fast as its predecessor had. And the highlights made all the more irresistible. Soon enough, pretty much everyone I knew, who had once ditched their spikes for good, had started to spike up their hair once again.

That was years ago. And now, it seems as though history is repeating itself as spikes, once again, are slowly starting to disappear, while people are split into three basic styles. There's the Indian kewl look, the basic cool/hot guy look, or the rappa' / gangsta-in-da-hood look...o yea, and the desi 'muslem panjabi-n-jeans' look.

Is this the end of our beloved spikes, or is it, yet once more, in for some big transformation. If it is coming back, alright, if it isn't, brace your selves for dreadlocks people because that's all there is in sight.

So stay tuned, same hair, same country 'for about two years or so' to find out.

The music television for Bangladeshi music

Everyone has been talking about Bangladeshi music lately. There has been an ongoing discussion on theRock/alternative/metal music and introduction of rap at the place-next-door. The Bengali New Year is here as well, so more Bangla music is getting into the playlists alongside Metallica, Audioslave, Blink, Stink, and so on. Bands like Aurthohin, Black, Cryptic Fate, Artcell, etc. are really in the spotlight. Yet something seems to be missing in that spotlight; something that is preventing the people from 'seeing' them properly.

Surprisingly such a growing and talented music industry is not viewed on television programs. No, we do not need to see some guys dancing on the music studio; call that music video; and see it on Music Plus on Channel I! We could, however, take a look at the country next door India, and learn how they promote their music through the television. MTV India, Channel V, Z Music, B4U the list flows good. But we do not really have any music television channel that can promote our music industry at the international level. Let that aside, we do not have any decent standard TV show that could inspire these bands to make music videos like Linkin Park, Korn, and all.

Now in a nation where there is necessity of literally everything starting from food and clothes to education and medical facilities it is not surprising that there is a necessity for a music channel. But if the bands are playing music that is of international standard, then we should try and promote them internationally. That could even benefit this country in other aspects, if Bangladeshi music succeeds globally. Let's face it, there will be more money in the music industry; all the talents will leave their reluctance to make music professionally; and ultimately there will be more earning in this country.

There are many Bangladeshis living abroad. There are many, many, many men… ahem! I mean, there are many Bangladeshis living in the UK and US. They would surely love to listen to the bands here. If we can broadcast music videos to those countries, Bangladeshi music could easily spread there through the Bangladeshis. Language may seem like a problem, but it really isn't. Look at Rammstein. They are a band from Germany singing German songs, but they are popular worldwide. Some people are so crazy about them that they translate their lyrics and then listen to them all day. Rammstein is performing all over the world and even performed at the MTV Europe Music Awards 1997. You don't have to have an English tongue to be an internationally acclaimed band. Music has its own language. And if Bangladeshi bands get proper promotion outside the country, then why shouldn't we be able to see Aurthohin or Black performing at the MTV Asia Awards some time in the near future?

Everyone knows that it is not a walk in the park to make a TV channel. You need to pour gallons of money on the project. But someday, someday there will surely be a moment where we will get to see our own artistes make Bangladesh globally alive through the flames of their creation… Someday.

By Azhar Chowdhury







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