Cow versus politician
The Look- Usually whatever looks good may not always taste good. Therefore a good looking leader may not always be all that good in the interior as well. Discard any thoughts of cannibalism before you proceed. A good looking cow must have good skin color, good skin condition, clean, properly trimmed and with a healthy set of white teeth. A good leader on the other hand must also have a good complexion (read fair in stupid terms), must be properly groomed, have teeth that s/he can flash at regular intervals, be clean and nicely dressed. A moustache helps and so does a weird hair-do, with or without lots of gel which you may not get in jail, where our leaders must go, at least once. Having these things in order establishes that the preliminary requirements are met. A good cow must also be healthy and apparently when selecting leaders we also consider width to be important. I avoid examples. Once that is done, we can now move on.
The Charm- When purchasing a cow, one must consider the cow's charm. That is what draws you towards the cow. But the cow's charm is overshadowed by the person who is selling the cow, i.e. the farmer. If the farmer manages to convince you that his cow is any good then you will usually jump on the deal. If one fails to convince than it is time to move on. Similarly, a politician needs to be charming to be selected. But his charm is overshadowed by his patron, in this case, the party he belongs to. If you have the best charm and the best idea, you will not be selected on a case of merit if your party sucks. The party on the other hand is represented by certain symbols. Before freaking out about how many hands we have, freak out about the symbols. These includes donkeys, boats, candles ( bad one, promotion of non-electricity) and other stuff that have nothing to do with politics or the election or anything at all whatsoever. Politicians, go figure.
The Price- This is just extremely important because this is what it all boils down to. If the price is right, then the potential's bright. Usually prices of cows are ridiculously high but seasoned bargaining skills can help bring them down. Also, knowing more about cows also helps to understand the value gained for money, from purchasing the cow. If all the above conditions are in order but the price is considered to be too high, then the sale is out the window. How is the price related to the politician? In more ways than one, as I shall now illustrate. First of all take note, that price means everything to the politician as well. With the right price, he will get any job done for you, regardless of its consequences. This is one part of the price factor when dealing with politicians. The other factor involves the price that YOU pay for selecting your choice of candidate. If you make a wrong decision, the price can be the downfall of your living standard and also high tax rate, no social benefit, poor condition of roads etc etc. You get the picture, right? So the price that you pay and the price that you can pay all play a vital role in the outcome of things to come. And since you are the one paying the price, don't go blaming the farmer if he cons you or the politician if he ruins you. Learn to take the blame!
The Background- This is the last and also a very important point to consider when buying a cow or selecting a politician. A cow's price/suitability/appeal is highly dependent on its background. People are inquisitive about how the cow was raised, whether it was shown proper love, whether it was well taken care of and where it is from. The story of the cow's life needs not only to be spoken but also to be proven by the state of its health, its behavior and any evident physical marks. Any blemishes are not tolerated. The whole of these rules may not apply to politicians but the basic ones do. Firstly, if the politician was raised properly with all the right education, he will NOT be selected. He must need to have been a local goon and/or have liaisons with local goons. Or s/he must be descendant of some former leader and must not in anyway be related to any war criminal. Even a neighbour of any war criminal does not qualify. Proper love doesn't matter in most circumstances, but family name does. And coming from an unpopular district doesn't usually help and your race and skin color play vital roles for your candidacy.
These are basically the four most important things when considering purchasing cows and selecting politicians, comparatively. What separates the two? Well, for one, cows don't lie or make fake promises. And they are slaughtered without being charged with corruption. If they do lie, it would be hard to establish that fact, since I have never been lied to by a cow but numerous times by politicians. Comparing the two wisely and remembering the important rules, let's this year hope for buying the best cow and selecting the best leader for OUR country and not rave about leader's of OTHER countries or cows of OUR neighbors!
Author's Note- If you buy a really intelligent cow, don't slaughter it but make it run for the prime minister's seat. Heaven knows that what our leader's know about politics can be fitted on a pin's head and thus a cow has a better chance of helping the country than those that we can currently vote for. Vote for COW.
By Osama Rahman
Give them your blessings
IT is an invitation over the phone. The wife of a college friend calls up to say that her son's having his reception over the weekend, and how very obliged would be if we graced her family with our presence. My father says of course, he'll be there. By the time he hangs up, I already have my head in my hands.
We take a ride with another Bengali family. The reception venue is at a Westin hotel, a half hour drive away. The wedding starts at 7 pm. We get there at 6:30. By then the parking lot's already filled up with punjabi-clad men and sari-clad women. The function is taking place on the second floor banquet room. It is unlike any Bengali event I've been to. The lounge is decked out in tables serving nothing but cheese and crackers and fruit. There's an open bar for those who like to live a little dangerously, and punch and coffee for the more prudish. I help myself and stand around feeling like a fool. I know no one there. Female intuition being the superior thing it is I know the evening's not going to get much better.
The tables are reserved and set according to name, each setting accompanied by a little box of chocolate and a little printed sheet with an overview of the bride and groom. There is an allotted hour for everything, for the socializing and the hors d'oeuvres and the dinner and the dance. There is no noisy merry-making, no Bollywood songs playing over the loudspeakers. The music of choice is the bride's favorite Norah Jones CD, which accompanies a slide show of the actual wedding itself. The various family members come on stage and say their little piece and leave. It runs like clockwork. I am used to people eating in double shifts and crowding around overused wash basins and bearers being yelled at. The smoothness of this event's execution disconcerts me.
The guests all seem to know each other, too. Aunties walk around the tables and air kiss various acquaintances. Uncles stand around and crack jokes with the kids. The kids sit and text away on their swanky cell phones, or lean towards each other and exchange gossip. Who's dating who, who's got an issue with who, why this uncle and that auntie broke up…you soon get lost in translation. So much so that it's a bother trying to work your way back into the conversation.
The food is also nothing like the weddings of Dhaka. There's no biriyani and chicken and beef and jorda. No, it's a one-course tandoori-chicken-and-rice meal with bread and butter served on the side. The chicken is a travesty in the name of tandoori, but the guests don't seem to care because they've never had any better. So they work their way through the dinner and the desserts and sit back with coffee to watch the younger members of the makeshift extended family present the evening's entertainment. Singing, dancing, a few jokes and it's done. The guests air kiss goodbye and wake up their sleeping children and get on their way.
And by 11 o'clock I am back home. The evening's over, three hours of my life wasted. I turn to my father and say, 'Never again.' He nods, but we all know there will be more.
By Shehtaz Huq
The night was once so beautiful
I have waited for this moment,
I take the risk this moment,
I hold my breath in anticipation,
I open up my eyes,
And from your lips comes forth,
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