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5 Things You'll Only Get to do in a Village

Yeah, the city's all 'cool' and 'happening'. Sure. But just how many of the following can you ever do in a city?

Always have people to play with
The endless fields are just too good to be true… it's cricket time! You unleash your inner Chris Gayle with no worries about breaking windows or denting the car. And even if you hit the ball right into the pond, rest assured that there's a kid somewhere who's more than willing to hand it back to you with a smile. Everyone from the village mastaan to the gap-toothed kid will join in as soon as they see you with a ball and you can actually get enough people to have that full-blown cricket match you always wanted.

Talk the talk
Have you ever heard actual villagers talk in their native tongue? Or better, fight in their native tongue? It may sound just like chickens squawking at first, but if you take the time to get past the accent, you could actually learn a thing or two. And when you let your newly-learnt linguistic skills loose on them city rats, you can have a good laugh at their faces as they wonder what hit them.

Bathing bliss
You can't have a bath without a bathroom… or can you? Getting your daily cleaning duties done in the pond is the most amazing experience ever! I mean, you can have the biggest bathtub in Dhaka, but you still won't be able to swim around in it. And the temperature of the pond is always just right. Despite what people think, village ponds are actually pretty clean and don't smell like septic tanks. Cannonball, anyone?

(Warning: this only applies to village ponds. Don't try taking a dip in Gulshan Lake. That one DOES smell like a septic tank)

Yum Yum Moo
The goat that's munching grass over there? That's lunch. And the blasted rooster that woke you up at 6am? That's your cock-a-doodle breakfast! Villages are the only place where you'll get fresh food these days. Health benefits aside, food in the village tastes so much better than what we live on in the city. Maybe it's the extra love and care that goes into the cooking, or maybe it's just the smell of the earthen stoves in the food. Whatever it is, it sure beats our 'Have a Nice Day' cheeseburgers.

Feel like royalty
Long, greasy hair: check. Scary death metal T-shirt: check. Skinny leather pants with neon pink belt: check. You're all ready to go out there and steal the spotlight. Except no one even looks at you. But when you go to the village in your scruffy jeans and your old football jersey, you instantly notice the eyes following your every move. No, it's not just the kids. Even the shy village wives have come out to sneak a peek at you. You feel the Extra Khatir everywhere you go, and not in that Djuice way, either. The last time you got that royal treatment in the city, it was at one of those swanky hotels, and it came with a price tag of $299.99. That's in dollars. Yeah.

By TheAlien4mEarth

Village Homes: A Reality Check

A bone-jangling journey for hours and you arrive at your ancestral home hungry and tired with sleep tugging at the corners of your eyes. As soon as you enter your village home, you decide to visit the toilet. Then, to your utter dismay, you are told that the 'toilet' is situated right outside the house. Instead of getting the bliss of a tiled, well-accommodated room with the freedom of showers and flushes, you now have to take a bodna and do your job in the night under the starry sky, inside one of those tinned 'cubicles'. Nature's call heeded in nature.

Most of us don't remember our first forays into our native villages, but the above specimen could very well be one of them. For many of them, however, the first adventure is not always the last. Journeys into dadabari/nanabari are quite common occurrences in some people's lives, and most of the time, it's not the sugar-coated sweet dream that we love to think of.

There's the matter of privacy. In villages, most of us are seen as the 'city brats' that come to visit from time to time to please their grandparents. Consequently, we are the beloved pieces of curiosity. And to appease that curiosity, people must come inside the house at the most ungodly hours and stare at you all the time. It doesn't matter to them that your marrows are being dried up due to tiredness, there's always another set of them coming to greet you at your own home. “Tumi na ettotuku chhile, Allah, kotoboro hoye gese bacchata!” (You were so small. You have grown so much) are the first words you hear, and then “Amake chino, ami tomar mama/chacha/nana hoi" (Do you remember me? I am your uncle/grandpa). You scratch your head and offer an apologetic smile, knowing that you won't remember their faces the next time they ask the same questions.

Also, you have to trail at your parents' feet during all those visits you must pay in return. Wherever you go, strangers accost you with the assumed blood ties you have with them. After the food is over, your dad and the said relatives will sit in discussion over the current goings-on in the village. You sit bored and most often don't understand a word of what's going on, sometimes because you don't know what they're talking about and also because both of them have now relapsed into their local tongue.

There's nothing to do once you come home again; there is no channel except BTV, no internet, even the mobile network is irregular. There's only so much you can walk and explore, and when you are alone you don't really feel like going off all by yourself. You don't know anyone well enough and of your age to really talk to. So you decide to close your eyes and take a nap; only, you have forgotten how quarrelsome the village people can be. Midway into your sleep, you are jerked awake by the din and racket going on around you, and your ears are rewarded with the choicest of swear words.

That is when you decide you have had enough. Taking your earphone, you decide to scramble off the bed and head over to the rooftop. The sky is clear, at least, so you plunge the earphones over your ears, intending to drown all sound by the thrashing music. Only then, you look up at the sky and another unusual feature greets your eyes. The full moon, ever so full and beautiful, bathes the whole vicinity in silver, with no electric light to taint the absolute beauty of it. And you've never seen so many stars. You forget the music. You forget everything. Then, at that moment, you realise that this might be one tiny lacking the city has; nature in its purest form.

By Kiddin' Kid

Enter Vegetarian

All men are born equal. Then some of them turn into Vegetarians. Theirs is a life of sacrifice, of missed steaks and veggie burgers, but they do not regret. Stoically, they bear the cross they nailed themselves to, and they go on through the days believing in something.

So what drives people to give up meat? For most, it is a moral battle to save animals from the grip of human cruelty, and for some, it's a way of standing out. The others just got bored of meat.

But just because a person thinks eating meat is cruelty towards animals, it does not mean that they do not miss out on the taste of it. Sure, the pimples disappear and the skin adopts a healthy glow, but the tummy whines hungrily at the whiff of beef curry. When asked what the reason was behind her turning into a vegetarian, a friend says, "I once became a vegetarian to show my parents that I could make a decision and stick to it. Then I got so used to being a vegetarian that I don't even want to change back now."

Another friend said that "Once my father brought home live crabs. I saw them preparing the crabs for cooking, and when I saw them tearing their legs apart, I decided that I could never eat a living being again."

The daily life of the vegetarian can get a little humiliating at times, no doubt. At recess, the vegetarian is tactlessly avoided. His lunchbox reveals something unappetising like pale green cucumber slices, or oily vegetable samosas. All his friends flock around the fat kid whose mum prepares salami sandwiches, but at least the vegetarian can bring chocolates to draw them back.

"It is only after becoming a vegetarian that I realised the importance of meat in creating social bonds. If you cannot share pizza with someone, they just refuse to open up to you," says a baffled vegetarian, shaking her head.

The worst place for any vegetarian is definitely a wedding. As the people around them delve into their rezalas, the vegetarian sits stiffly with a small pile of polao and salad on his plate. At first the meat-eaters do not notice anything unusual happening around them, but as soon as their stomachs are filled with food, they start looking around and discover the vegetarian. Then follows piercing stares and pitiful chuckles as people assume you are either on a very strict diet or a foreigner. But despite all this, true vegetarians continue their war. They evoke different reactions from different people. Some feel sorry for them or call them 'hipsters' or 'the anti-matter'.

This writer wants to end with a few words of encouragement for the fellow vegetarians. We are on the right path, and because of our decision even if one less cow is slaughtered, we are successful. Don't let the meat-eaters get you down, comrades.

By Anashua


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