Reality Game Show:
The Great Dhaka Ramadan Challenge
By Bareesh and Orin
Illustration by: E. R. Ronny
Believe it or not, Dhaka city works in a delicate, intricate way. Anything even a little bit different from the most ordinary day manages to turn the whole city upside down and warp it beyond all recognition; a single drop of rain can turn the roads into lakes and a slight increase in the temperature ensures that half the population will run wild. Ramadan in August could not have more of an effect on Dhaka. People fast, meaning they are low on blood sugar and they're dehydrated, and all they have energy for is to either spit or fight. Or both.
Also, with the advent of Ke Hote Chay Kotipoti, we thought we'd start our own Reality TV Game Show. In Dhaka we don't really have to worry about an audience; a million people are always watching. And we have the participants: you. Here are your tasks for the Great Dhaka Ramadan Challenge.
Challenge 1: Get home in time for iftar
This challenge is about how well you can manage to find a vehicle during rush hour that wouldn't mind having you on. If you can make it to Mirpur from Shahbag in 20 minutes, you can stop playing. Frankly, if you manage that, there's a good chance that you are Superman's second-cousin-twice-removed living secretly in Bangladesh.
Reward: Not sitting in your car, hungry and sulking.
Spit-Attack: Spit-Attack is a mini game that will start automatically if any part of your travel involves walking. The contestants have to walk on a footpath filled with trained professional spitters (and by that we mean the regular Dhaka-ites) and they would have to walk as fast as possible, without getting spat on.
Challenge 2: Not flipping out
It's hot. The sun beats down on you like an enraged Bangla film action hero. And you're not allowed water or food. You're not even allowed to swallow your spit. It takes the slightest provocation to make you lose it and beat someone to a pulp. Or at least unleash your skills of gali-galaj on them. This challenge, as you might have already figured out, means you have to keep your temper until the sun goes down. After that, anything goes. It's harder than it seems.
Reward: Not ruining your fast by swearing.
Bonus Challenge: Walk around outside in the crowded streets alone while attempting this challenge. 3 extra points for every hour spent on a crowded road without massacring everyone around with a verbal machine gun.
Challenge 3: Either go out to a restaurant for iftar; or get takeaway from Chowkbazar.
There are only so many restaurants or fast food joints you can go to for a family iftar. This challenge is not for everyone and should not be attempted by those with heart conditions.
If you have gone to any unlimited food offers in the last few years, you know they fill up pretty quick. This challenge will require a few tries as the challenge is: find seats in a restaurant 15 minutes before iftar. We advise that you do reconnaissance work before trying this. And also, bribing helps.
You can otherwise attempt an alternative challenge for an extra 5 points (40 all in all for those who failed 3rd Grade Math). Go to Chowkbazar (ask your parents for directions if you don't know where that is), make your way through the 10,000 strong crowd and find an item called the Boro Baaper Polay Khay. You also have to do this without breaking the rules of Challenge 2 and after 4 PM. Failure is near guaranteed.
1. Bargain the price of the Boro Baaper Polay Khay to half price. 15 points.
2. Find the rumoured Boro Polaar Maye Khay and confirm that it exists. 15 points.
Reward: Food. Lots of it.
Challenge 4: Not overeating
Virtually impossible. Contradicting the theme of abstinence during the holy month by indulging in sinful gluttony is now common practice. Here's your chance to prove that what is impossible can be possible and thus not be impossible in the first place. 15 out of 30 days, don't overeat at iftar. Make our Commerce minister happy. Eat less.
Reward: Pangs of hunger but staying true to Ramadan. Makes dinner taste better.
Challenge 5: Shop for Eid
If you've had the misfortune of shopping during Ramadan, the difficulty of this task would be apparent to you. Navigating the city streets and running through the malls while fasting and bargaining for clothes that you are not sure you really like is the mother of all challenges.
Extra points: 1. if you can figure out the origin of this year's kameez designs. 3 points.
2. If your newly bought clothes don't have any holes in them and the shoes fit. 5 points.
3. Applicable for guys: Survive shopping with your mom, sister or girlfriend. 4 points per hour.
4. Refrain from kicking the salespeople if they say the pink velvet shirt they're trying to sell you was worn by James Bond. 10 points.
5. If you manage to threaten or bribe your tailor to deliver your clothes on time. 8 points.
Rewards: An empty wallet.
Challenge 6: Preparing to go to the village for Eid
This challenge is more execution-based rather than goal based. Basically the goal is to manage tickets and get the hell out of this city, but judges will see how you do it. At first, the participants must queue for 12 hours, and buy the tickets at twice the usual price. Protesting will cost 5 points.
These tasks will earn bonus points:
1. Fighting off other passengers who have been sold the same ticket as you. Extra points for peeing around the seat to mark territory. 20 points.
2. Thinking ahead and arming yourself with death metal music to survive the crying babies on the bus, train or plane. 10 points.
3. During the allotted 15 minutes at the highway restaurants, being able to feed, freshen up and not leave any family members behind. 4 points.
4. Finishing the journey in just twice the time actually needed. 5 points.
5. Not dying. 0 points.
The ultimate reward of the show is eating overcooked, fried sweet food at your aunt's, hoping to scrape a few bucks as salaami and staying alive to play another season.
30 days. Six challenges. Good Luck and Godspeed.