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Fish and new year: The stuff we don't see…

OUR intrepid, cowardly Reporter, after taking a long hiatus, whence he finally learned how to ride a bicycle and how to climb banana trees, checked into the office with much gusto to get back to his wily stupid ways. While there he spilled a cup of tea mistakenly on the RS mascot's tail (a naughty bunny…don't ask us why, it's something to do with rabbits gone astray) and decided to scarper quick. Rabbits scared him and this one was astray… no trusting a rebel rabbit after all. Also the tea didn't seem to have agreed with the bunny, being a coffee dude.

While on the run from the infernal rabbit and with a burning desire to prove himself to his editor (who had yet to promote him) our Reporter decided that this time he was going to take the cake, and what better time to do so than Pohela Boishakh? Success was paramount and he sorely needed to succeed… more appropriately he needed the extra pay, the mortgage on his bicycle was up and he didn't want to lose it, not after finally conquering it.

While on his bike, on his way back home, after spending the day running from the rabid rabbit, our fine journalistic friend happened upon a fish vendor, you know, the kind that go about yelling all over the place. And while he was passing by, he noticed a red tailed hilsha. Most hilsha tend to have the normal scaly tails, this one though had a red one and it intrigued the Reporter. So he promptly bought at a woefully inflated price… thanks to Pohela Boishakh coming up. Also, the fish was still alive. Being a soft hearted fool, the Reporter put the fish in his goldfish bowl; and stared quite for a long time, watching the larger fish chasing the smaller golden one. After awhile, we believe he became schizophrenic because the hilsha actually started talking to him.

Hilsha: Ah… that's better. That goldfish needed to be taught a lesson you know, can't let him run around all over the place. (The gold fish was cowering in a corner)

Reporter: You talk?

H: I was never big on sign language. Yeah, I talk.

R: Wow. Tell me, why is my goldfish cowering like that?

H: Because I told it too. Goldfish may have memory spans of mere seconds, but they do get it when a superior fish is around.

R: Oh…I see. You've a red tail I've noticed. Is it a genetic trait? Or are you a different species?

H: (smugly): Hmmph. If you must know, I come from the royal family!

R: (thoroughly confused): The Brits are descended from fish? I didn't know that…

H: Not the English you dolt, the Hilsha Shogun ate. My ancestors rule the hilshas all over the place. I'm the 9th in line to the throne!

R: Ah… You fish follow a monarchy? Isn't that old fashioned? I mean the whole worlds screaming democracy and everything…

H: We fish have always believed in tradition. This new democracy thing is newfangled tag line that the pheasants all yell over. It will tide over. If not, they'll be crushed.

R (slyly): Seems the fish are ruled under a tyranny.

H: What tyranny? The pheasants need guidance! And you can't expect the people to guide themselves! I mean look at the world's biggest democracy! The same people voted same warmongering dolt back into power. Now if there were a King, nothing like that would have happened.

R: Kings have fought bloodier and lengthier battles in the past.

H: The fish haven't! The only things they ever fight are divorce cases in the courts against their wives!

R: Ah…so, how'd you end up in a vendor's cheap wicker basket? I mean your royalty after all.

H: Eh…this whole Pohela Boishakh thing. It's like the fisherman have gone into overdrive! They've been fishing the waters at all hours. I was out for a nightly stroll and before I knew it I was in this net with other fish.

R: That's harsh. So what's like being fished?

H: Unpleasant. These fishermen have no regard for personal space. They stuffed hundreds of us into one small compartment.

R: Must have been hard.

H: It was, the pheasants kept praying and some even offered bribes to the fishermen!

R: Whoah, you guys are corrupted too?

H: They offered to supply the best puti maach over to the fishermen in return for their freedom.

R: Isn't that cruel…? Selling someone off to get your freedom?

H: It wasn't me! I was trying to chew through the walls. Bloody good it did me too. I have to go to the dentists now.

R: Ouch! So this Pohela Boishakh doesn't bode well for you hilsha eh?

H: Absolutely not! It's like an epidemic. We get hunted like the dodos of yester years! Even the little jatka! I mean, let them grow man!

R: You guys don't seem to be into the whole Boishakh thing…

H: How can we? We're almost driven to the point of extinction every year! Do we actually taste that good?

R: Well, fried hilsha is a delicacy… except the stuff you get on Pohela Boishakh tends to be kinda soggy.

H: Ew… fried fish… (Gags)

R: Hey, it's tradition. We gotta do it.

H: Can't you at least extend the menu to include other fishes. Then maybe the focus on hilsha will lessen. We will die out otherwise you know.

R: That is a consideration.

H: So, if I may ask, what do you plan to do to me?

R: I was going to eat you. But since you talk… well, there's space in the bowl.

H: Can you throw him out though? He's keeps forgetting his name. (Points at the goldfish)

R: No. I like him. Reminds me of me.

H: Figures.

Our oh-so-fearless Reporter actually sent this in. We pray for the eternal salvation of his soul. As for the fish, the Reporter's aunt who was visiting on Pohela Boishakh fried him for lunch. Guess you can't escape fate, even if you're royalty.

By Tareq Adnan

Three years ago

IT had been the year 2005 (1411 in the Bangla calendar), exactly three years ago on this very day- the 14th of April, when I met her for the first time. “But I don't know how to wear one!” she had whispered over the phone the night before, revealing that she had never worn a saree her entire life. By the time I hung up, there was hardly any doubt in my mind that she would let me down. You must be wondering as to how I got to know her. Ok, please don't laugh, but I actually got to know her through a friend. And that friend of mine knew her through the net himself. To reduce all confusion, the bottom line is that she was a net friend. There you go! Jeez, it sure does sound lame. Anyhow, back then...it had been something magical and having a special net friend wasn't that 'khet'.

She had gotten a new broadband connection and I seemed to be one of the 15 friends on her msn list. We talked for a few months over the net. Nothing out of the ordinary. Then one fine day, she seemed to be in a real flirty mood. And guess what? I actually went along with it. Come on, I'm a guy, what do you expect really?! But don't get the wrong idea, I was a University student, 20 years old and had gone out on a few, useless and meaningless dates. Just when I had decided that love was surely not for me… she crashed into my life and I had been least prepared.

My experience was zilch. I had no clue as to what to say or as to what I should do. But it wasn't all that hard. We chatted a lot, mailed like crazy. She would mail me before she went to school (oh yeah, by the way she was…errr…15) and I would mail her when I got back from Uni.

We didn't have an actual telephone conversation till months after we became friends. We never got to see each other, digital cameras and fancy cell phones were pretty rare back then. But the first time she called me…the first time I heard her voice, I had felt like I really had someone out there for me. She just felt so close, so very mine, like I could go on talking to her forever. The first conversation lasted for hours and that was only the beginning of the series of the never ending calls.

Almond shaped eyes, light brown hair with the most dazzling smile I had ever seen…the girl had to be her. Amidst the crowd of youngsters, the majority comprising of girls clad in sarees, she stood out like no other girl. I knew it had to be her and it was. Just as she neared me with that gorgeous smile of hers, she tripped over her saree. Gladly, her friend caught her right on time and she was saved from what could have been quite a humiliating incident! My cheeks were hurting from smiling so broadly, but I couldn't help it. I had finally met her…

Today, well today, I work for this company but despite that, my life is still almost the same. The soccer matches, late night hang outs and adda's haven't died down. The only thing that's missing is her. But do I miss her? I'm not sure. We had something, something so pure. I had never even touched her! However, once upon a time I had really loved her. Did she know that? I have no clue really. We are still friends, don't worry! This isn't one of those tragic love stories. We just drifted apart I guess. She got busy with her O Levels and with due time I realized that she was much too young for me. I know every love story has some ending, but my one has none. It seems she has moved on with her life, but even now every time I talk to her, I just know that she still hasn't gotten over what we had. Me, I have no intentions of going down that alley again…but I do hope that she finds someone decent and good, someone better than a jerk like me.

By Nayeema Reza

Sci stuff

The cool, the mad and the clueless

Lost in space

Check out this UFO with three bedrooms that sold recently in Tennessee, USA. Okay, so it is not a UFO but it has all the design characteristics. This 38-year old 'Space House' comes complete with the landing gear legs, a retractable staircase that descends to the ground and cubed windows. It sold for $135K at an auction couple of weeks ago.

One of the former owners having an argument with her husband, pulled up the stairway, drove her husband's truck underneath it so he couldn't get the stairs down and left him stuck inside. That makes it a bit of a fire hazard which stops it from making to our 'cool' section.
The cool

Sacrificial males
You know all those stories and movies where young females are thrown into horrible pits as sacrifices to appease horrible deities? Well, it turns out the damsel in distress may not have been a damsel at all. In Mexico City, remains in a water-filled cavern used by ancient Mayan priests showed it was likely boys and young men and not virgin girls that were sacrificed.

An archeologist from the University of Yucatan pieced together the bones of 127 bodies discovered at the bottom of one such cave and found over 80 percent were likely boys between the ages of 3 and 11. The other 20 percent were mostly adult men who scuba dived to uncover Mayan jewels and bones and became breathless at the sight.

Some of the children were even ritually skinned or dismembered before being offered to the gods. It was thought that the gods preferred small things and especially the rain god had four helpers that were represented as tiny people.

Archeologists previously believed young female virgins were sacrificed because the remains were often found adorned with jade jewelry.
The mad

Bikers generally aren't very well liked especially by car users. Many consider bikers to be death on two wheels. And here's a bit of kit to help complete the image. This helmet, as you can see, looks just like a skull.

It looks mean and is expensive only by our standards at $150. In Bangladesh you can get a helmet for about 2000 taka. But bear in mind, the helmet is not DOT or Snell approved.


The clueless

Hartal reenacted
Toys replicate all kinds of real life scenarios. You have doll houses, battle figures and now a child in your household or the child in you can re-enact our Bangladeshi hartal scenes.

These toy model cars from Urban Collectable are hand burned to replicate, um, a burned car. Place these strategically and cue in some 'Ore baapre, bachaoooo!' screams. Of course, at $50 each it would be easier to buy some similar cars available for roughly 200 taka each and put them on the stove.


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