Let's take a minute
Devious Devious Devious.....that's the only word that keeps going back and forth like a tennis ball in a match boasting Federer and Sampras in his hey-days. The incredulity of the current political scenario and the concoction of numerous conspiracies, transparent ones, all put in one broth by numerous cooks is really spoiling it. What are we blind?
Take a second to contemplate, prestigious award achieved, amidst political uncertainty, hopeless people suddenly find their savior. Savior refuses to step up and bring the candle, and all of a sudden BOOM! Top underdogs are brought to the ground and their corruption is revealed and they all stand butt-naked in front of millions of watchers. The audiences in this elaborate stage-play carry out their parts well by acting awe-struck, as if they didn't know all the bribery and stealing was already happening. Opposition's consistent demands are silenced with a crack-down as a justice-thirsty nation lauds the act. Political bigwigs run for cover as the future of Bangladesh perks up. It looks bright, we have our savior, he has his ideas, they have their satisfaction and it is a relief.
Finally, the biggest of them all, is captured and his regime along with his head-quarters is exposed of all the wrong doings. But, according to old adage you have to strike the iron when it's hot, and so the iron is heated with evictions and destruction of anything illegal. The Untouchables smell a rat, they want to get mass awareness but they are blanked out by the media, via the orders of the State. The sweet sighs of relief caresses the very air that was once considered as corrupt as the leaders itself. The iron is soon struck and the one time Gods are brought to the ground, flat on their faces. As a political puppet enters the catastrophe, the nation hails the decision and a great burden and fear is lifted. As the nation rejoices, I sit back and chuckle at their naivety. A dangerous game is about to begin, I tell myself.
Surely, such a resourceful country is up for grabs, anybody would jump. How else can we account for the crackdown on the once untouchable messiahs? How can we have the guts to giggle at the names of those people, when a few months ago a gasp of fear was synonymous with their names? By covering our eyes with a black cloth like models of "Blind Justice" we are surrendering a nation to the unknown, we see the puppets but the puppeteer remains elusive. As the days go on my chuckle is silenced by the inevitable horror that is soon to come! I envision a loss of culture, history and independence. Let's a take minute now shall we?
By Osama Rahman
Kahaani har show ki
It is thankfully that time of the year again. No more long hours to be spent crunching on revision notes painstakingly gathered from tuition, only to be eclipsed by that itching sense of nerves before entering the dreaded exam hall. This is freedom and at last. So after what seemed like months, I finally turned on the television.
Only to be struck by just how many channels there are dedicated to the typical saas bahu serials, the mere mentions of whose names win disapproving glances from the masses. In reality many of us are fixated to the daily melodrama that unfolds as the articulately clad female manipulates the many loves of her life for money, power and power, money.
The pioneer behind such serials, Ekta Kapoor, has been heavily criticized for her repeated weak and under developed portrayals of women despite her desire to feature female characters who can be 'idolized'. Take for instance one of the recent dramas where a pretty middle class girls struggles to secretly uphold a job whilst her marriage is arranged. It is indeed ridiculous that she is reduced to tiptoeing around her own household when the completion of her education should rightly lead to pursuing a career. But then again how many times have we heard of that friend's sister being stripped of her ambition in the face of entering marriage? Unknowingly, and rather ironically Kapoor has managed to highlight the still dire conditions of women imposed by rigid social norms. Whereas the girl's situation can be identified with, we are not presented with an idyllic way of breaking away from the cycle of repression for the character herself is only pushing the 'boundaries' to raise money for her sick father. Otherwise, as a dutiful daughter, she would not dream of defying tradition.
In Kapoor's world the traditional image of the home maker is willfully glorified, depicting the other lone woman in the corporate world as a scheming vixen with elaborate eye make up that accentuates her trademark screechy background score. Clearly we cannot have it both ways. Arguing that she caters for the 'mass audience', in a recent chat show she stressed that her serials offer glimpses into India, a country, the viewer learns, that has a high accident rate and minimal plastic surgery costs.
Yet some shows do make an impression. Who can forget the bespectacled, brace faced fuzzball of Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin? This protagonist's misadventures at work as monopolized by her glamorous peers struck a chord with the audience, forcing us to question just how much we value the physical appearance. However it is only after a drastic makeover that this ugly duckling finds acceptance, concluding the show with a rather drastic solution to the age-old inferiority complex.
Then why do we still loyally watch Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and its contemporaries, despite always guessing the villain's plans and hero's shocking revelations? Simple. Such serials are childishly entertaining to enjoy on a lazy day when all you want to do is lie in bed. And of course they are very addictive, prompting the viewer to tune in the next day just to confirm their assumptions.
Not that slightly more realistic television would not go unappreciated. Then again when was The OC or One Tree Hill something we could all relate to? Gorgeous teenagers with their deluxe designer wardrobes acing exams and life's miseries all with perfect hair-suddenly Indian serials don't seem quite as dramatic.
Majority of television shows may not offer us any profound little tips of surviving in the big bad world, but just try to endure a serial for 10 minutes and its certified that it will make you giggle in sheer delight or horror. Just don't knock it till you've tried it.
This writer forgot to send in the name
Men at Arms
It's funny how you spend your school years cursing your uniforms and your routine, with the endless coaching classes, wishing you could 'grow up' and taste the 'freedom' of university life… Then you wake up from a sleep-starved doze at 2a.m., probably in your sophomore year, with the midterms and assignments breathing down your neck, longing for someone to guide you through like your old tutors did, wishing you had the security of fixed routines and classrooms. Now that I've managed to survive those four roller coaster years, I'm looking at what lies ahead: 'real life', stretching before me like an unlit highway, and it looks scary.
Which is probably why Men at Arms struck a chord with me. This Pratchett novel (and I can see my regular readers muttering 'Figures..”) is the fifteenth in the Discworld series, and opens with Captain Samuel Vimes about to retire from his life as a copper on the Night Watch upon his impending marriage to Lady Sybil Ramkin, an event that would make him the Duke of the city of Ankh-Morpokh. Even though this means he's going places, he's been a policeman all his life, and old habits die hard, and Vimes views his near future with all the enthusiasm of a condemned prisoner heading for the gaol.
Obviously, this alone wouldn't make it an awesome story, so we have a nice little murder whodunit, or rather, what Mr Pratchett calls 'a conundrum wrapped up in an enigma shrouded in mystery'. We also have what my dear friend Tareq Adnan calls 'a generous helping of Carrot'. This novel sees how Corporal Carrot revolutionises the City Watch, expanding it and making it more representative of the multicultural community of the growing city. We get to meet his new love interest, the lovely werewolf Sgt. Angua, and the comically lovable troll Sgt Detritus, who pool their resources together to save the city from a mad serial killer, while stopping communal riots and solving the problem of racism within the Watch.
Pratchett isn't called a genius satirist for nothing. He manages to poke fun at class snobbery, racial prejudices, gender roles, and more, while telling an action packed story that has everything from suspense to romance to side-splitting humour.
So if you want an entertaining read that leaves you thinking afterwards, find yourself a copy of Men at Arms.
By Sabrina F Ahmad
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