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The Social Network:
Battle Mode

We've been those hardcore Facebookers who go sit and stare at Zuckerberg's kingdom all day, stalk profiles, and get mad when people comment on their posts instead of writing back on their walls. Through all that, can you imagine a social networking world without Facebook but instead dominated by, of all companies - Google?

Earlier, I found an invitation to G+ waiting in my inbox. Google, being the snob it is, only lets users into G+ through invitations to Gmail accounts. So to have an account, you need a Gmail account and a friend who has a G+ account. Facebook, by the time it made the papers and into Bangladeshis' hearts, was both Harvard and invitation free.

I was resigned to sneak my way into G+ despite being underage. As in, under-18 as opposed to Facebook's age barrier of 13. Apparently, since they're cousins or whatever, Google+ could access my age from my Gmail account. Thus, I had to go log out of my email where I've been logged in forever and create a new ID. While filling the form I ended up mistaking the captcha code, so Gmail told me it found 'suspicious activity' in me, so sent me a security code through text. Whoa, an SMS from Google!

I had to ask random people whether they had Plus accounts through Facebook till my kind cousin told me he could spare me an invite on his Facebook wall. So, in a way, Google+ actually gets Facebook to promote them. Cheeky.

I finally managed an account and feasted my eyes on G+. Signing in was just like signing in to Gmail. Of course, you have to "sign into your Google account." The head bar gives access to Google's features - web, images etc. If you've seen the new head bar of Google, it's exactly that. For registering, they don't ask for much information though. Just the name, date of birth *ahem* and a photo. Logging into your G+ account for the first time, don't consider yourself a first if you have déjà vu. The layout is very similar to Facebook. No initial originality.

So you've been hearing how G+ is all about the circles, and how you can restrict posts to certain circles. Yet, given a little tweaking, Facebook can also control who sees which posts. But on Plus, quick access should be handy anyway. The feature known as "hangout" allows you to add up to ten people on chat. The home gives feeds on friends while using Sparks you can track your interests.

Wait a minute... where's the wall on this thing?

For people, who love to talk about themselves by adding favourite everything just in case somebody wants to bother reading, will be heartbroken at G+. All you can add is a little about yourself. Yet, nobody feels hearty enough to add little details that lie in their FB info because, G+ warns, "Put a little something about yourself." Little is a big word.

Maybe, we just aren't feeling the Google Plus wave yet because all our friends haven't joined. Or maybe we are biased; Google or not, replace Facebook - really? There's something creepy and unwelcoming about the site. Or maybe I feel guilty because I've given the incorrect age. Chrome is still the best from Google other than the search engine. Don't count Google Plus to be cool just yet. Facebook's going to conquer the world!

If you're from Google Plus, do not arrest me...

By Padya Paramita

Something There

She was wearing pink again. He had reached there early and watched her arrive. She seemed flustered, anxiously fidgeting with her dupatta as she took her seat. She had a matching umbrella with her, just in case it rained. He was sure the combination was accidental. Never in the weeks he had been watching her did she ever seem the fashion-conscious type. Another proof of the fact was that she was wearing pale yellow shoes with her attire. However, she seemed oblivious to all the fashion faux pas she was committing. She sat at the edge of her seat, next to some random stranger, peering over a fat book that he assumed was for her university courses. He felt awkward staring, so he decided to find something else to keep him occupied.

He was there again when she arrived, watching her as usual. She felt very self-conscious and began fumbling with her clothes. He was wearing his usual jeans and a bright red t-shirt. Despite all her efforts, she was sure she was turning a shade darker than her kameez. He ordered a cup of tea from the vendor. She noticed that he tipped the old man a little extra, and earned himself a grateful toothless grin. He sat there for a while, enjoying the warmth the little plastic cup radiated. She turned her attention back to her book; she needed to finish reading the chapter before she got to class. Suddenly, he grunted loudly. She looked over to see he had spilt his coffee. She felt she had an idea about what had distracted him, but she decided not to dwell on that thought for too long. She nearly got up to hand him some of the tissues she carried in her bag, but stopped herself at the last minute. Seconds later, he pulled out a napkin of his own and attempted to dry himself. The vendor offered him another cup, but he declined.

For several weeks now, they had been observing each other silently from a distance. They both felt that spark or connection, but neither tired to make contact, even when there were opportunities. They both realised that there would be no space for the other. Their lives ran in opposite directions, like the buses they boarded every week. So, they didn't act upon their emotions. Simply, they enjoyed each other's company in secret, for a couple of minutes at the bus stop.

By Selima Sara Kabir

When Karoks and Bibhoktis Attack

I dreamt of life - a life where you don't need to learn the 'karoks and bibhoktis' just to get a passing grade. Where 'Onushorgos' and 'Uposhurgos' (prefix and suffix for Wren & Martin readers) are meaningless jibber-jabber and the realm of a Bangla exam is confined to a translation and an essay. LA DOLCE VITA!

Sadly the life is taken already- the students who give O levels have it easy. The teeth breaking, tongue twisting terms of Bangla grammar do not haunt their dreams. No, we had to face the wrath of the “Dhoni-tottos” (funny name for the study of sounds and pronunciations) and the “Rup-tottos” (curiously enough not the study of beauty but of words!) and identify the 'karoks and bibhoktis' from 'Katite katite dhan elo borosha.' Confused? I didn't even get started.

It started simple enough; a chapter called 'Bhasha' (language), discussions on the' Shadhu' (standard written form) and the 'Cholito' (standard colloquial form) of the language. This is an easy A, we thought. Then came the sources of the language with 'Totshom' (i.e. the words which came from Sanskrit) and 'ordho-totshom' (the words which came into Bangla after a little change from Sanskrit) - a little complicated but still easy enough we thought. But the nightmares about failing your own mother-tongue started when 'Dhatu' (roots of words) came into the scene. The thought of 'Opinihiti' (the change from 'aji' to 'aij') and 'Onto-shoragom' (bench to benchi) which are just two of many ways sounds are changed - are enough to give you goose bumps. And you toil away at your classes and barely pass the class-tests but months before the Board exam you realize you don't know the difference between the above mentioned. Thus starts the endless hours of cramming. But it never quiet leaves you at peace; you always think, “What if I got the terms mixed up.” So it turns out two of the three months you got for preparation of the coming exam was spent on the one subject. You turn to the remaining ten and before the month is over, you realise that the two months were wasted and you remember squat.

The day of redemption comes when you come out of the exam hall knowing for at least another year you are safe from the horrors. The feeling is definitely analogous to that of a prisoner when he is set free and with your boundless happiness you brag about how you aced that Bangla exam. Just then some relative has to ruin it for you by daring you to recite the Bangla alphabets. Yes, life is hard.

Don't take me wrong here - I mean no disrespect to the language. It's easy enough to see how rich the language is when you see the intricacies and the subtle laws that govern it. But the fact is these laws can and do make some students' life hell - especially since there are ten other subjects to worry about.

By The Mad Monkey


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