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The Stuff We Eat

Food. The world revolves around food. Think about it, a dude will never get a dudette unless he takes her to fancy restaurants (or at least a phuchka stand); he will never get a promotion unless he invites his boss to dinner; he will never get to go bungee jumping unless he finishes his broccoli. Undeniably, it is the most important constant in our lives.

Given the importance of food, a lot of people have an immense respect for it and hence, out of that very respect, eat in reasonably large volumes; but often, one of them will notice that almost all forms of food make him/her high. They will also notice that friends who eat as much, but suffer from chronic diarrhoea or vomiting, do not get high half as easily.

Thus, armed with a tattered copy of the popular Bengali recipe book Ranna Khaddo Pushti (which has a whole list of Bengali-English translation of food ingredients), and blessed by the Age of Information, this writer (who strongly believes in the multi-faceted importance of food) began the search for truth. We agree, that due to the nature of the subject, most people are largely ignorant when it comes to botany; which is why, discovering that the postor dana our mothers sprinkle on various dishes are actually poppy seeds is mildly disturbing. And yes, they do make you high. Never mind the fact that you would probably have to finish off a year's supply to get to la la land. They are still poppy seeds.

You know that feathery stuff that they put on kheers and other sweet dishes for colouring and garnishing? Yes, its saffron that we are talking about; botany says that they are dried anthers, and for some reason this realisation doesn't make one feel so good. And yes, this can also get you high; Aphrodite likes it for reasons which I won't/can't discuss here.

The most bad**s ingredient ever has to be nutmeg and mace, the stuff we call joyphol joyotri. Go ask your mommy dearest to show you this stuff and tell her that it won't take a lot of her joyphol joyotri to make you high and start hallucinating; she might slap you, but that's not a bigger problem than the nutmeg, considering it was used in prisons…I repeat, PRISONS… as a“Legal hallucinogenic”. About eight teaspoons of nutmeg will take approximately five to six hours to get into your system and get you high (a warm, fuzzy feeling followed by hallucination). However, this will be shortly followed by symptoms similar to bad flu: sweating, runny nose, feverish feeling and anxiety. In short, it will make you feel like a miserable loser. In much smaller volumes (say, half a nutmeg), it's another one of Aphrodite's favourites. As a matter of fact, we have a lot of ingredients which fall into that category. No wonder the Brits were so interested in our spices; it seems that the history text-books censored the main reason for their spice-craze. Tsk tsk.

Now, apart from the spices put in foods, there are others that also deserve honourable mentions. For instance, there is ridiculously sweet khejurer rosh (the sap you get from the tree), which you might get to taste if you visit your village in winter; however, you will need to dry out quite a lot of trees to get there. There is the betel nut that some grandparents (and their curious grandchildren) like to chew, which can gives a sense of well-being and euphoria. And let's not forget bananas they can do wonders with your dopamine level, that is, if you can devour dozens after dozens of it. There's a reason monkeys are so hyper all the time.

We, the younger generation, probably end up getting high on caffeine: from coffee, tea and caffeinated energy drinks. 12-14 lattes, and you'll be beyond high; you will be hallucinating, convulsing, vomiting and…quite disoriented. Apparently, there is defecation involved as well. Unless you are related to Voltaire (who gulped down fifty to seventy cups of coffee per day), caffeine high is a bad, bad idea.

Hmmm, one does wonder…with all these potent hallucinogens dumped into our daily diets, how do so many people manage to stay sober in this country? It might be the Bengali gene, which seems to provide immunity to virtually everything. Either that or there are way too many people with irritable bowel syndrome.

By Sarwat Yunus

If The Dead Could Talk

Whenever talking about serial killers, one of the first names that come to mind is Jack the Ripper, even though his kill count is five women, compared to the several tens murdered by others. Most people know about Ted Bundy with a count of over 30 women, but not Peter Curten, who confessed to 79 killings. We are concerned about the murders of 3 old women by Dana Sue Gray, but don't know about the 7 men murdered by Aileen Wuornos. In fact, Jeffrey Dahmer is better known for being cannibalistic than for killing the 17 young men, one of whom the police returned to him after the kid escaped.

There are many terrible people who have walked the earth, but we only know about some, even though several have stories far worse than those of their more (in)famous colleagues. The following are only ten, from a list of hundreds.

Elizabeth Bathory (1560-1614) - She was a countess of Hungary, and is the most well-known person of this particular list. The 'Blood Countess' tortured and killed over 650 girls, yet she was never convicted, only placed under house arrest in 1610. Her accomplices were, however, convicted of 80 murders and executed. Legend tells of her bathing in virgins' blood to maintain her youth, and thus you know how Countess Dracula came to be.

Andrei Chikatilo - The Ukrainian stabbed, strangled, battered, mutilated and killed 53 women and children, inspired the next person on this list as well as his own son, possibly framed a Russian man who was thus executed for a murder he claimed innocence of, and was himself executed by gunshot. Motive? He got off of the violence.

Alexander Pichushkin - Now this Russian dude, other than being obsessed with chess, was a little too competitive. He wanted a kill count of 64 in accordance with his name 'The Chessboard Killer' (his other motive was to score higher than previously mentioned Andrei Chikatilo), but was convicted when he got to 48. He preferred using hammers, and didn't like throwing his victims (mostly homeless men) into sewers. He is currently rotting in prison.

Huang Yong - “What do you want to be when you grow up?” “An assassin!” That was pretty much this Chinese's motive. A survivor reports Yong suffocated and killed 25 teenage boys (he was convicted of 17 murders), having selected this gender because murdering men was a more heroic deed than murdering women. The fact that these 'men' weren't even legal adults didn't seem to cross his mind. Executed by the Chinese firing squad in 2003.

Dean Arnold Corll - 'The Candy Man', perpetrator of the Houston Mass Murders, was killed by one of his two accomplices, who found victims for him for the price of $200 each. He killed about 27 young boys, and probably would have gone further, had his accomplice not one day brought in a guy with his girlfriend as a plus. The girlfriend managed to make the accomplice feel guilty about what he was doing, and thus he shot Corll with the latter's own pistol. This explains Corll's extreme distrust of women.

Ahmad Suradji - He murdered 42 women in Indonesia, over a span of 11 years. His killing method was rather interesting, but unprintable, and his motive was religious. According to Suradji, his father's ghost appeared before him in a dream and told him to murder 70 women and drink their saliva if he wanted to become a mystic healer. The Indonesian firing squad took care of Suradji two years ago.

Mary Ann Cotton - Hell really did hath no fury. This English woman murdered 21 people, namely husbands (four of them), lovers, and women whom she viewed as threats to her relationships with the men. Basically the guys died after cheating on her. One of her motives was also money. She chose victims (or romantic companions) with life insurance policies. Method: arsenic poisoning. Verdict: death by hanging.

Moses Sithole - The perpetrator of the ABC Murders got away with killing over 30 women before being tried. Having been sentenced to 2417 years in prison and being eligible for parole in 916 years, South Africa can rest in relative peace for now. On a sadder note, Sithole contracted HIV and passed it on to his family, who died of it due to a lack of health care coverage, while he receives treatment from the prison hospital even today.

Saeed Hanaei - 'The Spider Killer' strangled 16 drug addicted prostitutes in the name of eliminating moral corruption, although his method of luring in victims was rather less than moral. He was hanged in 2002, and was for a long time a controversial figure in Iran, where some fundamentalists actually praised his actions.

Luis Garavito - There are 138 confirmed child victims of Garavito, which earned him the title 'La Bestia' (The Beast). His actual kill count is over 300 boys, considering trials for another 172 murders are ongoing. The sentence he received for murdering 138 young boys is 30 years (maximum time in Colombia, where capital punishment is also inapplicable). Unless he's convicted of the remaining killings, he will be able to apply for early release within… oh, three years. Good behaviour and all.

By Professor Spork


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