A Royal Swindle
Woohoo! You just got paid for the first time ever. You've worked hard for the past month or so, and now it's finally payday. There was a bald, wrinkly old guy between you and your cash, but even that was managed with an angelic smile and puppy dog eyes. You're already dreaming as he slowly writes your name on that cheque. A CHEQUE, FOR ME? REALLY?? You still can't get over it.
You're stuck in front of Bashundhara City, the ultimate shoppers' paradise (well, the deshi version of it, at least). Your fingers twitch as your eyes move from the offers on one gigantic billboard to the next… but no. The money must be saved for nobler causes - namely, that guitar that your parents have refused to buy you. The beggars are relentless on the way back home. Damn, they can even do the puppy dog eyes better than your little sister! But a measly two-taka note is all they can squirrel out of you, now that it's coming from your own paycheck.
And finally, D-Day arrives. The parents are overjoyed. With the second helping of 'payesh', they gushingly tell all the mamas and phuppis and aunties and uncles how you're finally earning for yourself now. One of these aunties has brought along her little daughter. You swear she's giving you looks now - hungry, evil looks.
No, she's not a vampire. She's much worse than that. In the afternoon, she shows up with a whole horde of picchi cousins that you've never seen before in your whole life. Mummy dearest is tired from entertaining guests all morning, so she wants you to take care of the kids. And besides, you're a responsible young person now, aren't you?
So you sit them down on the couch and get them some ice cream. You even surf through the 200+ channels to find Cartoon Network in the hope that they'd behave. But they're all looking at you expectantly. Yes, YOU. Then finally, “Bhaiya, tumi toh ekhon chakri koro… amader-ke Eid-er salami dibe na?” You freeze. But the half-a-dozen angelic faces are still giving you some very not-so-angelic looks, especially that ugly one in the corner. You swear it's that midget from your mum's tailor shop.
You're outnumbered. Calling for Ammu now will do more harm than good. They've got you, fair and square. You start to stutter some half-baked excuse. They stare at you, making it even harder. Then they open their cherubic mouths to tell you “Accha thik ache apu, tahole khalamoni'r shathe dekha kore ashi.” NO NO NO NO! KHALAMONI IS TIRED!!! You're cornered. Those devils…
Grudgingly, you pay up. You almost wish you'd gotten mugged instead. At least, there's no blackmail there. And wait - isn't that one a little too old to be getting salami from you? His face erupts into a manic grin when you mention it to him, hoping you could save at least a couple of bucks. It's that ugly one. At this distance, you can see that he squints, too. He leans forward and whispers into your ear. Gulp. Your parents definitely do NOT have to know about what happened that night. Nor do they have to see the pictures. You slip an extra 100 into his hands.
They leave immediately. “Nice doing business with you,” is their parting remark. They even have the nerve to give you cheeky winks. There goes that guitar. And your pride. You slump onto the couch and turn your wallet upside down. Not a single measly paisa falls out. And then you realise - they hadn't even given you their salaam!
Haven't we seen that somewhere?
They say movies are an illustration of life. Or at least they should be. In reality, movies last two hours and real lives are traffic jam-filled, coaching-infested, surprisingly slowly moving time that we have on earth. So no; movies are not, in any way, like real lives. And if real lives were made like movies and TV shows, we would get crows as the background sound directors, so no thanks.
We don't expect a lot from cinema these days, after what Transformers: Dark of the Moon brought us; we just want movies not to be disastrously bad. Still there are some things that still manage to bother us. Sometimes, Hollywood is strangely reminiscent of Dhalliwood.
We come across countless movies where the protagonist is a 20- or 30-something living in an expensive city like New York, Paris or London, with a fabulously well-furnished apartment overlooking the city's landmark (forgetting for a moment that EVERY apartment in Paris has a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower). The protagonist mostly spends their day goofing off with friends, but still earns enough to have a great wardrobe and perfectly made up hair.
Saying goodbye to someone over the telephone comes naturally to us normal beings, but in movies they regularly hang up at the end of the conversation, without ever having to say a thing.
Whenever the hero needs to access a security agency's computer, which surprisingly happens very often in movies, the computers have user-friendly interfaces that anyone can easily operate. Also, whenever you need to hack someone's account, you can pretty much think of the password by the third try, by going through his/her desk or glancing at their pet's photo on the desk.
To turn an ostracised nerd into the most popular and prettiest girl in high school, you must do two things: let her hair down and replace big glasses with contact lenses. Also, the best friend of the protagonist must be immensely smarter than him/her but never as good looking.
The dogs have an innate ability to differentiate between the good and the evil people. The moment they see the bad guys, they start to bark.
At the end of the movie, the villains would have a great how-did-I-do-all-that story, while holding the main character or their love interest as hostage. Villains cannot miss this speech and in the meantime someone will most definitely show up to rescue the main character and bring about the villain's downfall.
Who dies first? If it's a war movie, the person who brings out photos from home and shows the most potential is sure to die first. There is no exception to this rule. In an oddball group it is the token black person. If you hear a little bit of coughing from any secondary character, this cough is a sure sign of terminal illness.
Then there are television dramas, where every single problem can be neatly solved within an hour. If it's already 40 minutes and the most unlikely person is not the murderer, it's the former prime suspect.
TV and movies have a long way to go to become like 'real life', but would it really be great if they were like real life? Then what would we watch on TV?
DDIY: Eid Shopping for Others
SO, it's nearing Eid. You've got that new job (tutoring, writing for a magazine, etc) and you've actually got money in your hands for once - like an actual spendable amount. Ramadan has made your spirit kinder and you decide, instead of wasting it all on useless junk you can ask your parents to buy for you, you're going to act like an adult and buy friends and family Eid clothes or gifts. It's easy enough, right?
So, unless you've been watching your parents do the shopping for years, taken enough notes to master the art of 'gifts'. I'd suggest you leave it for someone with more experience. Then there's always just giving them the money.
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