A litany about law enforcers
By Nayeem Islam
During the duration of the Fifa World Cup, referees tend to become the most hated breed of Homo sapiens whenever their blunders in the football field go against your favourite team. But while these men continue to take a lot of flak throughout the month long football fiesta, for another group of law enforcers the carping criticism they have to tolerate is a part and parcel of their job- our very own traffic police sergeants. If you ride on anything with more than two wheels in Dhaka city, they are sure to be your everyday anathema. Let's compare the two groups of law enforcers we love to hate and find out which group is the worst:
Uniform: The law enforcers in a football field are essentially men in shorts who feel it's too hot to wear full pants while running relentlessly for 90 minutes. Our law enforcers however don a more modest uniform of full pants and full-sleeved shirts.
Duration of service: Our men in blue (that's the uniform colour now, right?) work relentlessly for hours at a stretch but the referees can't go on for more than 120 minutes even with a break sandwiched in between. That's because by the time they become law enforcers of the beautiful game, they are already on the verge of senility!
Modus operandi: The men in blue are armed with that frightening bamboo stick that can decimate headlights with a single deadly blow. They also have that much dreaded case book, every page of which leaks your wallet at an alarming rate. Not to mention the hand that causes all moving vehicles to come to a screeching stop. The men in shorts on the football field operate via cards and whistles. Their red and yellow cards can only caution or expel players but their whistles prove futile to stop melees breaking out on the field of play.
Wages: While the referees receive deserving remuneration from the much inflated coffers of Fifa, our men in blue are left with meagre 'official' wages. However, there is no ceiling on their incomes provided they can catch enough reckless drivers, unfit vehicles, fake licenses and realize 'tolls' from these sources for the interest of their own pockets.
Power: Is there any limit on the amount of fine that can be imposed upon you by the traffic police? Probably not. But if you are a referee you can only provide three yellow cards or a single red card to an outlaw on the field of play. The three yellow cards rule is an innovation by Mr. Graham Poll, who booked Croation Šimuniæ THREE times before sending him off. Before that he had already proven that he could count to two by sending off two players during the same match- so three yellow cards deserves to be a rule on its own!
Implication of mistakes: Lack of efficiency, mistakes of traffic police is actually part and parcel of our everyday life in Dhaka city. After all, it wouldn't be Dhaka any more without those horrible traffic jams and clogged roads. So then, they are not mistakes anymore! But then again referees should be criticized for their deplorable deeds. They can send your favourite eye candy out of the field with a single red card. They can permit brazen breach of rules by allowing 'Hand of God' or 'Hand of Henry' goals. They can contribute to goal droughts or flood of goals by disallowing or allowing goals at their own discretion. However, Mr. Howard Webb is unique among referees because he helps the beautiful game become more 'beautiful' by assisting in goals himself! In January 2009 during the Birmingham Wolves FA Cup tie he inadvertently deflected a pass by Birmingham's Radhi Jaidi to Wolves striker Andy Keogh which led to Sam Vokes scoring - Wolves won the match 2-0.
So next time you are stuck in a traffic jam, think about the good work being done by our men in blue compared to men in shorts plodding the turf!
Strange and Beautiful
Faces of every shape, colour; myriad expressions forming and dissolving, flit around the scope of one's vision in this city of millions. Voices clamour for precedence over the hubbub of traffic, the disharmonious orchestra of construction sites, the white noise of thoughts. We move forward, pushing, wrestling and shoving through a spectrum of smells past busy, desperate bodies, sweaty; rugged, ragged, hairy, or safely ensconced within cars. The spicy, sizzling greasiness of kebab stores. The intoxicating fumes at the fuel stations. The sudden, ephemeral whiff of perfume, the heady fragrance of beli phool on an earthy, rainy day.
You stand on the curb, cooled by the breeze generated by the cars whooshing by. On either side, and before and behind you, a small crowd of prospective jaywalkers have gathered around you. The zebra crossing is for noobs, is the unspoken consensus as they too, watch the cars for an opportune ebb in the flow. You tighten your grip on your bag, shying away from the dodgy-looking scruff-bearded man with in the tattered oil-stained pink panjabi, shooting a warning glare at the pimple-faced youth with the wondering hands, and become aware of the disapproving scrutiny by the veiled woman with the purple flowers embroidered on her wide sleeve. Clearly she has an even lower opinion of your ratty ponytail and frayed jeans.
The anticipated break comes, and you all move as one, defying the sea of vehicles stranded helpless in the face of your sheer numbers. Shoulder to shoulder, you stride forward with pride, the bolder ones cleaving through the trickle of motorbikes and CNG scooters still coming in, the timid stragglers darting nervous looks left and right before making a mad dash. Man, woman, rich, poor, none of those labels matter as you move together, towards the opposite bank, softly aglow in the halogens. The sound of the rushing traffic behind you warns you that time is precious, that a miscalculation means death, but for this moment, there is safety in numbers.
At last, you reach the other side of the road. There is a last exchange of smiles, before the masks come back on. The solidarity of strangers has come to and end, and you part ways, lost in the throng once more.
By Sabrina F Ahmad
Soiling is fat
The only regret I have while penning this essay is that the essay topic arrived years after I have stopped soiling my pants. The reliable source of knowing whether soiling is fat comes in the form of my one year ten month old, cute and cuddly cousin. But any queries to him are answered via babbles of Bangla that even Mr. Robert Langdon would have found indecipherable. Thus I conclude he cannot be a reliable source!
The futility of the above paragraph reveals my failure to expand the definitions of “soil” beyond its sacrosanct meaning: to dirty one's clothing by accidentally defecating while clothed. Because watching a football match reveals how men are willing to soil their jerseys even with pat on their back by an opponent. It's no wonder that at the end of the match, the players are so enthusiastic in taking their jerseys off to showcase the subcutaneous fat they have accumulated during the match.
Soil your hands with the wrong kind of work and you will indeed be fattening your purse. How else do you explain Rajuk officials with meagre 'official' wages metamorphosing into millionaires in a couple of months after joining office! So whether you are soiling your diapers, jerseys or hands with wrong kind of work, remember you are putting undue pressure on the weighing scale every time you jump on that machine after soiling. Remember 'soiling is fat'!
By Nayeem Islam
Brainstorming Is Shallow
I despise the image of "nerdy fat men thinking about how to get rid of socialism" that hop into my mind the moment I think of brainstorming. Other than carrying the stigma of "geekism" and "nerdyness", it also involves the use of one's brain (that is something I really hate to do, trust me!). If you have never seen nerds brainstorming about random dictionary words in your life, pat yourself in the back; you would appreciate watching chickens laying eggs more. But then again, that does not necessarily imply that I hate thinkers in general. In fact, I love it when the guy next to me in the exams turns out to be a nerd who enjoys brainstorming his way out of tricky Chemistry MCQs (and helping me brainstorm is definitely not bad), but when facts are brought up, one would unquestionably and emphatically agree that it is a shallow job. For example, if you were asked to draw diagrams just to decide how many boom boxes are better suited for a late night party; would you not just enjoy throwing bitter-gourds at the advisor instead? BRAINSTORMING IS SHALLOW!
By Eshpelin Mishtak
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