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The week in re(ar)view

Private tuition mystery solved

Kids that don't like to study won't find a better place to go to school than in Bangladesh. It turns out our schools generally have 137 official holidays besides temporary closure due to natural calamities. And yes, we are experiencing quite a few natural calamities. This is the least time spent in school among the Saarc nations.

No wonder so many teachers are hell bent on providing private tuition> we always thought it is the love of money they make. But it seems they love the students so much they have to make up for the loss education due to holidays.

Got the munchies
This has to be the easiest form of protest ever, especially considering the current situation of the country. You see, if you cannot eat to satiate your hunger, you might as well use that period of non-munching to hold a hunger strike.

Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), the student wing of Awami League, brought out a token hunger procession on April 6 protesting the price hike of essentials. Then they ate.

No sabotage, just plain old greed
Last week we mentioned about the theft of 3,510 clips holding down rail lines between Banani and Cantonment stations. Turns out it wasn't an act of sabotage, just plain old greed to make some cash.

Now The Bangladesh Railway (BR) authorities have decided to install highly secured modern anti-vandal sleeper clips on rail tracks in theft-prone areas in the country.

In the meantime, as an immediate preventive measure, the BR would temporarily weld regular sleeper clips that are currently in use on rail tracks running through some of the areas susceptible to theft.

Some parts of the nationwide tracks have already been fitted with these clips. A temporary solution employed is to weld the clips.

A normal clip costs Tk 110 and an anti-vandal clip would cost Tk 350. Of course, a nagging thought is that someone somewhere will devise a way to remove those anti-vandal clips.

Meanwhile, Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) has already made arrests and recovered some clips.

Save the gas
The government is calling on the people to become more cautious in using electricity and gas due to our shortfall. Question is, what with power outages and so on, do we have a choice in the matter?

Tempers take flight at airport
Apparently many of us believe that breaking things and going on rampage will make things better. A group of agitated passengers of Biman flights vandalised computers and windowpanes at the Biman office in Sylhet city last week as the flight schedule was cancelled several times for about five days.

Of course, maybe we just like to go on a rampage.

Archives lie dusty and empty
Government offices are not handing over public records, which have crossed 25 years, to the National Archives although there is a law that specifically says the archives will preserve those and ensure people's access to them.

Officials decline to send the documents to the National Archives saying the practice is yet to develop. Of course, someone has to start and apparently there is no such brave soul willing to leave the comfort of his towel draped easy chair.

Why this matter is important is that some time in the future someone might want to look someone up to discover a blooper that others can all laugh about for years to come.

By Gokhra and Mood Dude

A Different New Year

Photo: Zakir Hossain
Another Pahela Boishakh is upon us, I see. The exact spelling of 'Pahela Boishak' no one actually knows so since this year is a different new year, we will use variations of the spelling, hoping one of them is finally right. So how is this year going to be celebrated differently, you ask? Well it can't be celebrated differently, actually but of course on another hand it can be celebrated differently. Confusing isn't it? Well, no one asked you to read this in the first place.

There have been a lot of changes since last year, thus let we have to celebrate keeping the changes in mind this year, albeit forgoing or compromising the show of spirit of Pohela Boishakh. So what are the differences you ponder?

1. Food Habits- Unfortunately, in the interest of keeping prices fair and protecting the already disappearing shoals of fishes, this year we would have to stay away from the infamous 'Pantha Bhaat' (soggy rice) and 'Maach' (fish). It is year to be innovative, and a more wise and affordable choice maybe potatoes ( preferably not the ones rotting outside the cold storage), as advised by the government and chicken, whose prices had fallen but have increased again. Of course one can always spread rumors about catching strange diseases by eating fish and rice and this would prevent people from buying them, but it's a hassle really. So forget the staple items unless you are a millionaire and stick to vegetables and all.

2. Choo Choo Train- April 14th will mark the grand opening of the Friendship Train, which will connect Dhaka directly with Kolkata. This would open up a world, or more appropriately a state of opportunities. Now Bangalees from here can go and celebrate the new year in Kolkata, while people from there will be coming here to celebrate Pahelo Boishaakh.. It may happen that none of us will be here and no one will be there, but it'll be a break from the traditional visitations at Ramna Park.

3. Security Concerns- The dreaded militants are behind bars or 'hanging out' in some execution chambers but that won't stop hoards of RAB officials and policemen and women from guarding the city. We can go out and enjoy without fear. Of course there won't be any firecrackers for us, but we can always toss lighted candles and burn stuff like Rising Stars to get out share of fiery fun.

4. Garments Galore- I don't know if it's just me or whether this is a new phenomenon but with so many clothing outlets offering Pohela Baishak themed clothes, we can all dress up different instead of sticking with the traditional colors and go wild wearing Bangla Alphabets, t-shirts fashioned like our country's flag and what not.

5. Concerts and Discos- No matter what the occasions is, there are always concerts and DJ Parties going on in and around the city. We can totally hand bang to hip-hop renditions of Rabindronath Sangeets, a faster and funky version of 'Ami Bangla Bhalobashi' and other such songs. It is stupid and mindless at times, like rock concerts on the 21st February because for me, 'Gimme The Light' is no way to commemorate the memories of martyrs and neither is discoing, but hey it happens and if you can't lick 'em, you join 'em.

6. The Spelling- Lastly we might actually get to see some more new spellings for our new year and we can all try to spot the most genuine and ludicrous one, just for the heck of it.

Yes sir, this'll be the most different and novel new year imaginable and I can't wait for it. So Happy new year, Shubho Nobo Borsho people….go crazy!

By Osama Rahman

Survival tips for the New Year

There is no other better occasion to flaunt our Bangaliness than on Pohela Boishakh. Only those who enjoy celebrating the Bangla New Year come out on the streets to do so because it not something that is mandatory, like Eid or Puja. Most people plan weeks before what they are going to wear and the accessories along with it. However all that planning can go to waste if you don't take proper care of yourself on Pohela Boishakh. Here are some tips on how not just to survive this year New Year but also to enjoy it,

1. Put on sunscreen as the New Year is usually celebrated in the midst of a hot and humid summer with lots of heat, it's better to put on some sunscreen to protect your skin especially if you plan to hang out outside the whole day.

2. Drink lots of water throughout the day carry a bottle of water with you or carry the money to buy some mineral water as the heat will surely get to you. Don't opt for soft drinks as they only accomplish in making you thirstier.

3. Wear comfortable footwear this is for guys and girls alike. Wear something that won't make your feet erupt into blisters at the end of the day. As Pohela Boishakh usually equals to a lot of walking, unless you plan on using the car, do put comfortable sandals/shoes on. For the girls who are wearing high heels with their saris, make sure you can walk in those heels.

4. Tie long hair for all those dudes and dudettes who have long hair, it would be sensible if the hair is tied (in a bun or ponytail) in the morning and then let down in the evening so that the hair does not frizz out or become fried in the sun.

5. Wear light makeup wearing heavy makeup and then going out into the sun is not a good idea and your face turns out to be looking oily and messy at the end of the day because of the sweat and heat. If you want to look perfect for the whole day, wear light makeup and not too much foundation so that your skin can breathe.

6. Carry the minimal necessities with you and close to you Pohela Boishakh means large crowds and the nicking of a phone of wallet from a Punjabi pocket or from an unattended bag won't entice much notice. Carry only however much money is needed and other basic necessities and make sure you guard your pockets and bags at all times.

Here's wishing you have a great Pohela Boishakh with your friends and families!

By Nisma Elias

Frost in red

I closed the lock on the window
I closed both blinds and turned away
Blue and white all over me
But no magical words to spell it away
I was talking to myself about you
Wrangling with my soul to believe
what I see
But what is it that makes me hold on
Are you really the one that I thought you to be?
I never had the vision of being so different
But you are the one who changed everything
Never came across the paradox you held
Maybe it is the secret inside every being
So short a time
So much to know
So much to believe
So much to show
How do I outwit the storm raging inside me?
How will you reveal your purity inside?
How will I accept your blinds of black cloud?
How do I face the lie you hide?
Perfection is not what I look for
But treachery is not what I expect
Why have I started caring for you?
I don't even know whether I have the right to inspect
You came with nothing but gave me all your colours
Said nothing but took off my precious stone
Are you really worth
possessing my treasures
How do I grope the answer all alone?
Open the veil and reveal the truth
Let's turn our time together to a blessing
I am waiting to grab your hands and let go all the fears
Let us not end our new beginning

By Afrida Mahbub





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