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Hindi serials

The entire female population of Dhaka, and any other city with access to cable TV, can be easily split into two parts: those who watch Hindi serials and those who don't. The former consist of people of all shapes and sizes; from gawky teens and pre-teens to paan devouring buas to bored housewives- Hindi serials have a, subtle or otherwise, way of making their presence felt in our lives, whether we like it or not.

In innumerable households, all activities come to a halt every weekday at 8:30 p.m. with all the female members of the household (maybe even a couple of males) huddled around the television, awaiting the latest news on Tulsi's family or some other equally 'weighty' matter. Every single eye is glued to the screen, I mean, literally. So why is it that so many people watch these seemingly predictable and monotonous shows?

"Well, its simply addictive!" says a very animated Priyanka*, a 13 year old Hindi serial devotee. Priyanka watches 8 serials a day, and ensures to avoid any interruptions during the time when are favorite shows are telecast. "Even if I do miss an episode, I don't mind staying up until 3 a.m. to watch the repeat." she says. "My life is pretty dull, so these serials actually give me something to look forward to."

Of course, people who do not watch Indian serials tend to have their opinions about the ones who do, like Nafisa*, for example, "I think the people who actually see these shows are delusional, because what these serials show are too far fetched. They are all basically the same. It is manipulating the minds of the people in our country, and as a result, India is only gaining more money. Instead of people utilizing their time, and engaging in productive activities, people indulge in this mindless drivel. Indian T.V shows hardly give Bangladeshi shows a chance." Sania* shares this view and somberly adds, " These shows are not in tune with reality, they are not only impractical, but are inappropriate for young children who have impressionable minds."

Rafa* does not regard the effects of Hindi serials as seriously. She casually says, "Though we don't have anything to learn from them, we just enjoy them. They're very effective in getting your mind off problems and just letting your imagination go wild." Seema* is not critical of Hindi serials. "One thing I like about Hindi serials is that they're family oriented. They allow you to see how every individual contributes to a family's stability, and also how a family communicates with each other during times of distress. Sometimes Hindi serials successfully portray the joys and sorrows of life, but occasionally they go too far."

Another reason why Indian shows are such an issue is the impact they have on the Bangladeshi culture, as Alisha explains "People practically adopt the Indian culture by watching such serials, leaving very little space for our own culture. You can see people imitate Indian fashion, mentality, etc. This is the extent of influence that Indian serials have on the minds of people." Alisha also mentions how many people try to apply the "baseless" morals of these shows to their own lives. She also complains about how predictable some serials are, due to the fact that the same producers produce multiple serials.

" A positive aspect about Hindi serials is that they put a lot of emphasis on religion and mutual respect between family members," says Reshma*, a middle- aged housewife who watches serials on occasion. " Hindi serials mirror society in many ways" she says. Reshma also talks about how serials allow us to explore the grass on the other side, while at the same time showing us that it is not as green. Aman, on the other hand is not happy with his mothers viewing of Indian soaps, "Serials are like nicotine; once you watch it, you get addicted. I hate it when they play the same music over and over again whenever something happens. The special effects are horrible as well. I remember one time seeing them make snow with party sprays. That's so weird!"

How attached are people actually to their favorite serials? Well, if you are wondering, many people admit to crying when a tragedy occurs in the household of the predominant character. Others agree that they do try to synchronize all their activities so that everything fits according to their TV schedule. People have a range of opinions on the effect of Hindi serials on our lives. Some justify their viewing by saying that serials permit them to explore the boundaries beyond the limitations posed by modern life, others heavily censure the triviality and uselessness of these shows. But whatever opinion one may have, no one can deny the fascination that is aroused within the minds of the people in our country, positive or negative.

*Names have been changed

By Bushra Sameeha Anwar

To eat or not to eat…that is the question!

Okay, this is one topic that's been overdone everywhere, but I guess a bit more overdoing won't hurt! The whole freaky obsession of teenagers (especially girls) with the word 'diet' is something that's turning out to be a pretty serious issue, so here goes…

When I was around 16 and weighed an ugly ton, I used to read a lot of supposedly motivating articles about how it's okay to be fat. Even now, I think they're trash. Of course it's not okay to be fat! Fat kills you, gives you heart attacks and all sorts of other very serious health problems! It's okay to not be the most beautiful girl in the world, but it's definitely not okay to be nonchalant about your health. And if you're fat and you've cried enough to refill the Atlantic Ocean, you deserve it. I myself am a perfect example of that. Weighing a ton, and longing more than anything to be human in size, I used to cry almost every night of my life. But I've always been fat because I eat like a pig, and crying over it is a wastage of precious tears, don't you think?! Every single overweight person should try to lose the extra weight, not because it'll make you good looking, but simply because it's essential for you to live a better life. I think a diet is something that's essential in everybody's life, not just the ones who are overweight. Let me define diet here for all the people who think it's starving oneself to death. Diet is just less of your favourite food and a bloody whole lot of stinking vegetables! So all those girls who totally give up eating in the name of diet to lose the extra weight, you're doing the total opposite of getting fitter. Seriously.

It's one thing to eat healthy and a whole different thing to stop eating altogether. It's definitely easier, considering you won't have to take the trouble of proportioning your meals properly. But it's really not worth it. This girl in the States who considered herself too fat for this earth stopped eating altogether, and naturally got so weak that her heart shrank in size. One day while crossing the road, a simple horn from a passing car gave her a heart attack and killed her. It's a true story, and anybody who wants to die such a death, well, God help you because nobody else can! 'Over dieting' as one might say leads to painful ulcers (darned painful), bulimia, and all sorts of other illnesses, which instead of making you fitter, makes you much more vulnerable to diseases than the fat itself. So why don't you give the vegetables a shot? Trust me, they're not worse than ulcers!

One very important thing that must be said here is that there are plenty of guys out there too who go through the same 'fat' problem. One very desperate such guy actually started taking drugs in mouthfuls because he thought that would get him to slim down, and for once, get him a girlfriend. Isn't it better to be just plain huge and teddy bearish than to take poison in order to be something else? That's just out of my comprehension!

If you want to go on a proper diet, just cut down on those calories a bit. Pizzas, fried stuff, soft drinks (and hard drinks), sweet stuff and their likes. You don't have to totally stop eating those things, just cut down on the amount you take of them. And if you're an absolute food freak who can't stop eating at any cost, just get a bit more active. Join the school sports teams, even if you suck at sports! Don't sit down and watch television all day, walk a bit. Don't take a rickshaw for going to Café
Mango from your house in Dhanmondi Rd#32. Walk that extra bit. It's fun, and it's a lot better than starving yourself. So get fitter, lose the extra pound, but make sure you don't kill yourself in the process!

Complaints and suggestions regarding this article can be sent to desert_rain87@yahoo.com. Feel free to also send in the teen problems that you want us to write about in Teen Central.

By Fahmina Rahman

RS Mailbox

Dear RS, I would like to refute few points in the article "Varsity Blues Revealed".

Firstly, fortunately the private universities are not pretty much all the same. If someone first studies in well-known universities like North South and East West and then transfers to other newly established universities like South East, Stamford, I am sure they would notice the distinction between them in terms of quality of education and environment. In addition, every new institution requires time to adjust themselves in competition with well reputed universities.

Secondly, although in private universities there is no open campus and lack of space, they have enough space inside the buildings: they have well equipped common rooms with television, table tennis games and other entertainment facilities; they have separate study rooms for each department, and they have a good number of canteens with good quality food.

Thirdly, yes EWU premises are in a worse condition due to the ongoing construction, but an important point is not accounted here; that the construction is temporary project. When it will finish there will be a well-formed premises in the university.

Fourthly, parking problem is a common phenomenon not only in private universities, but also all over Dhaka city due to unplanned construction of the buildings by the city builders.

Fifthly, instead of commenting that ' the university premises are usually drowned in rainy day' it should rather be a worth commenting that 'rarely drowned in rainy season'.

I would like to ask the guy Shafiq, who told you to smell drain water, why don't you change your direction or put a handkerchief to your nose while passing? Aren't you aware of the fact that every lane in Dhaka city is drowned during rainy days?

Sixthly, I think whoever has written this article has no idea about the water and bathroom arrangements in private universities or never even got a chance to visit inside to look at the campus. There is a row of bathrooms in every floor in each building and every bathroom is well equipped with tiles and modern bathroom accessories. Moreover they have drinking water container in each floor. The comment which is made about the students who could not even use the toilets even though their bladders were bursting while they had to use their last resort of drinking water---- I think is referred to public university students, it is an appropriate comment for the public university students because bathroom is so unclean and out of order that students have to use their last drink of water to use it. I am a private university student and well aware of this fact.

Seventhly, arranging a temporary solution by placing bricks on the roads is very simple job, which could be done easily by students themselves or by university guards. Moreover if the students have launched a complaint about this factor to the registrar office, the authority would have no reason for not taking action. In the case of our university we don't have to launch a complaint regarding this matter.

Eighthly, we can't form a general impression of private university from highlighting problems of one particular university in this article to judge different universities. With an image of one university we cant justify the overall varsity image.

Private universities provide us with international level education. Through transferring credits any student can study in any university in country or outside country, if they don't like the quality of education or environment. So if there is no benefit to study in private university, please give us a better suggestion where our students should study?
Sumayia Delwar

Dear Sumayia,
Thank you for taking the trouble to construct such a thorough criticism of our cover story. However, the author of that article would like to clarify some of the points you referred to.
First of all, whenever a student studies in North South or EWU as you say, they rarely actually go to study in another university. They don't bother changing their universities since they have to go through the painful administration process.
About Universities requiring time to adjust themselves in competition, well most of the new universities hire professors without proper qualifications. If they start right form scratch, by admitting higher average students, and hiring good faculty, then they could have made a name for themselves in a very short time.
If they had enough space inside the buildings, as you claim, people wouldn't have bumped into each other and complained while this interview was taken. The only entertaining game they have within the campus is probably the table-tennis game as you say. And if you were really talking about private universities in Dhaka having space inside the building, we would love to know which university you come from!
You talked about parking being a problem because of unplanned buildings all over Dhaka. May we point out that private universities form a sizable proportion of those unplanned buildings? It all comes back to choosing or building proper university campuses!
We asked Mr. Shafiq, about the water-logging and his reply was: "The ankle deep water remains right in front of the main door! No way of changing paths!"
You talked about launching a complaint to the registrar. However, we feel that good staff would have the common sense to place the bricks without needing a formal complaint to point out the obvious for them. Why would the students have to place bricks on the streets? Aren't they paying enough as it is?
Finally, why on earth would our students want to transfer credits to foreign universities if our own private universities were good enough? Students attend private universities here mostly because of the fact that they either cannot afford a foreign education, or their parents do not want them to go abroad.

-RS Desk


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