Special note: Neither RS nor the writers take any responsibility for any tummy ache and/or vomiting that may or may not be caused by reading this article. Also, we're not responsible for ruining your appetite. Now we know you're gonna read this. We humans can't help it, we're naturally curious. Ah, how we miss Eden!
'There is nothing in this world that human's haven't tried to eat,' said Britta, our sewing teacher. It's compulsory in Sweden that you take woodwork for one semester and sewing classes for the other semester. Do I have to mention that I liked the woodwork better? I still have the wooden camera, ship and chessboard I made. They didn't give us the planes we made for the EU week in school, with wings painted in the colour of two member countries. It's a shame; that was my best work.
I never was much good at sewing [just made a Bangladeshi flag with light green material; they were out of dark green cloth], so when Britta said this, my ears perked up, my nose smelled to air for the scent of a discussion class, which in essence meant a free class.
10% of the Swedish populations are immigrants. There was a diverse group of people in my class, Chinese, Bulgarian, Burmese, Iranian, Pakistani, Swedish and two lone Bangalis, including me. It turned out that Britta wanted to talk about all the weird food we had eaten. Prepare yourself to be disgusted.
Gou Yuan a Chinese guy who acted like he was a Kung-fu master, but didn't know squat but still managed to beat the living daylights out of me a couple of times went first. He told us that he enjoyed squids and sharks. I said that fishermen in our country eat sharks as well. He fired back by mentioning a special restaurant. They have a display of a variety of snakes [poison removed of course] and let you choose which one you want to eat. Apparently snake blood is pretty tasty. That shut me up.
There was another Chinese girl, Xian Xian [pronounced Chen Chen] who said that she found a dog on the streets once, when she was in China, and brought it home. Her parents were really happy. The next afternoon when she came home from school, she found out that there was dog meat for dinner. Her parents relished the food, but she didn't eat it though. Apparently not only Koreans eat dogs, some Chinese do, too.
The Iranian girl, Tahmina, said how she had liked eating the roasted head of a bull at a feast. She said that the brain tasted really good. I was too disgusted to bother with asking how they prepared the food. I hate brain.
When it was the Burmese guys turn, I said that poet of Bengal wrote about Burmese nuppi, or something like that. Shukumar Ray had written “Bang khay forashira [khete noy mondo]/Burmar nuppite bapre ki gondho”. I told him it roughly translated to “the French eat frogs [tastes quite well]/oh God, does Burmese nuppi smell”. I also said that I'm a rubbish translator. And he said he didn't know any such food. His disgusting food was duck. He didn't like ducks. Come to think of it, neither do I. I keep seeing a duck in front of me every time my aunt or someone serves ducks; those weird green heads and webbed feet make me wanna throw up.
Finally I asked Britta what the weirdest food she'd eaten. She mentioned blood pudding. Yes folks, you heard me right. Blood pudding. And guess which animal's blood? Pig's! It's more like a sausage really, not pudding as we know it. They mix it with flour and the usual stuff along with some blood. It's quite tasty according to Britta. They enjoy it with a nice cold glass of milk at breakfast.
Sazia and I exchanged a quick panicky glance. We had nothing disgusting enough. Sazia was the only other Bangali in the class. She was a typical Bangali girl but had a really cute smile that somehow made me feel as if my insides were melting away. Our class was full of blondes that would turn heads; an Iraqi girl with eyes that could kill you; Middle Eastern and Spanish girls so pretty that you just couldn't help but stare; younger versions of Hallie Berry walked around listening to Destiny's Child; and to top it all off, there was a Turkish bombshell who had guys lined up for her all the way from here to the other side of the universe. But Sazia radiated a sort of calmness and innocence about her that just made you stop and think about some beautiful flower you saw or some touching poetry you read.
It was Britta who saved us. She asked us if anyone had ever had rotten fish. As Sazia and I piped up that we had indeed had shutki, the rest of the gang was almost at retching point. The Norwegian folk eat dried fish, which can be considered rotten and which is very similar to our shutki. But imagine our glee as we realised that we had eaten the most disgusting food among all present [is that a good thing?], except Britta with her blood pudding. But we were overwhelmed by the great rush of pride about our country and eating habits; hey, we showed those snake eating maniacs.
Anyone who wants to sue me for ruining their dinner, you had a fair warning *evil grin*
By Kazim Ibn Sadique
City of the damned
And what's the deal with all those deformed and mutilated beggars annoying us for petty alms? We didn't chop off their arms and legs, so why should we pay for them? Handicapped or not, if they can't earn their living they shouldn't be living at all. Then there are those who shamelessly use the alleged life threatening illness of their son/daughter/father/mother to con us out of our hard earned money. But fortunately we aren't nearly dumb enough to fall for that. Even if the 3 year old kid has a 3 inch long tumor sticking out of his head, we know they are just faking it.
More importantly what was all that shenanigan about people dying in the cold? If they can't afford warm clothes then they should suffer in the cold. Everyone knows the grand law of nature- “survival of the fittest”. How dare some try to create anarchy in the delicate balance of nature by helping the “unfits” survive? And, without even a shadow of a doubt it is obvious that, despite being potato couches and stuffing ourselves with junk food, we are way more fit than those humble folks who relentlessly go through intense physical labor everyday just to earn a few measly bucks. So the politicians are better off keeping all those CI sheets and other relief materials for themselves, as they are the ones who earned it.
And what was wrong with this Karl Marx dude? Why on earth would anyone want to work hard for a living when they can be just be lazy, fat and dumb like the Americans and still lead a wealthy life thanks to their inheritance? It's in our interest to have the majority living below the poverty line, as we need to step on them on our way to becoming insanely rich.
We dream of blazing through the cursed city streets in our Ferraris and BMWs, without having to endure the nightmare of seeing the pale, bloodless and disdainful looks on the faces of the cursed. Why should we worry about them, or this city, or this country for that matter? After all, most of us are just counting the seconds 'till we leave this wretched and cursed place and take off for our dreamlands.
I guess I am going on a bit too much, but regardless, these are still true. It's just that, at times, reality can be a bit too harsh to confront. In the end, with all sarcasm put aside, what I want to say is that, be a bit more appreciative of your country, try to help people in need. Stop living in that imaginary utopia, that we, and in some cases our parents construct around us for the sake of only being with our type of people. Don't detach yourselves from this country and at least, acknowledge the problems we are facing instead of being completely ignorant. If you can manage to do that, you will most certainly realize that even we, the teenagers can make a significant difference, even with our seemingly insignificant contributions. The amount we spend on a latest game, album or some trendy accessory can be the difference between a family starving and having enough food for everyone.
By Sadman Alvi
Just like you, I was born in a cradle, a huge cradle of life called space. How you ask, space is mostly empty space, you think. But inside that empty space are the tiny particles of life, called hydrogen, and bits and pieces of dust particles. Whenever these particles accumulate together to form a cloud in a region of space, stars are born. I was born in a similar way. I was formed in a massive gathering of dust and other particles in space. The gathering was so massive that it was pulled in by its own weight, by its gravity. As the particles of my infancy got closer an closer, its temperature increased, and a fusion reaction took place. A fusion occurs when the hydrogen in the particles are sqeezed in closer and are conjoined together to form Helium. A tremendous amount of heat energy is released, a fireball is formed and I was born. A star, a shining new star.
When I grew up a bit, I was as big as your sun, who is really my distant cousin. Our lives are determined by how big we are. The bigger we are the hotter we are. The smaller we are the cooler. I was just medium sized and had medium level of hotness, only a few thousand degrees of Celsius on the surface. Right now, the hyderogen inside my body is turning into helium inside the nuclear furnace of my stomach. I am still young, only a few billion years old. Within the next few billion years, I will get old, all my hydrogen will turn into helium and then the helium fusion will occur, then all the helium will start to fuse into other matter, oxygen carbon etc. and the beginning of my end will come. As I finish up my energy, I begin to expand and the process of explosion occurs. Some of my smaller cousins, the smaller stars will have different fate than I, and some of my bigger cousins will have different fate altogether. The younger cousins will run out of gas and will become even smaller and turn into dwarf stars which are brown in colour. My bigger, more powerful cousins will will have a violent and spectacular death. Because of their supergiant mass, they will start to collapse under its own gravity. A supernova explosion will take place, the stars will swell up even bigger. Some of them will have so much gravitational power that, instead of exploding, it will implode, and turn into a dreary black hole. For me, I will die a peaceful death, I will turn red slowly. As I spproach my death, my furnace will prodce heavier elements like iron. My outer part will push out to produce planetary nebula. New stars or planets may form frm this ejection on gas. And from a red giant I mwill slowly cool and form Dense white dwarf stars.
SO you see, my life is quite exciting. Right now, I am far away from you, but never fail to bring about that twinkle in your eyes when you look at me in the sky at night. And when I will die, I will be quite a sight to behold. I hope you will all remember me.
All my love for you. Your friend in the distant sky.
By Monty Python
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