Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home

Baby in da house

A new born child is the world's most uninteresting thing. IT doesn't move, IT doesn't react.

A new addition to the household can mean a lot of things. When we say new addition, we mean a human baby and not a puppy, although they are quite interchangeable in the first few months. First hand experience will tell you that the birth of a baby, yours or otherwise, is the start of one hell of a roller-coaster ride.

Now, remember those cute pictures of really cute babies doing really cute things? You just want to hug them to pieces, right? In fact, looking at those pictures makes you beg for a new brother, son, daughter or niece, right? Well, like everything else, reality is a bit different. A new born baby, for the first few months, is the most boring creature on Earth. If you thought that The Notebook was the definition of boring, wait till you meet a week old child. The child does absolutely nothing.

For the purposes of being politically correct, let's just refer to the child as an 'It'. A new born child is the world's most uninteresting thing. It doesn't move, It doesn't react, It doesn't do things that make you go 'awww' and It sure as hell can't engage even in the most simplest of conversations. All It does is sleep, wake up, cry, eat, sleep and then more sleep and then It wakes up in the oddest hours of the night and keep you up as well because It cannot stop crying. Also, It stares weird. In fact, a new born child can really creep you out.

But the funny part is, even though It does absolutely nothing, knowing that It is a miracle and the most innocent thing in the world, you can't help but stare at It for hours. And while you stare, you are filled with this overwhelming sense of love. Also, you still want It to do something. Anything.

The birth of a new born also gives way to numerous conflicting emotions. There is the obvious elation, closely followed by numerous forms of fear. For a sibling, it is the fear of being replaced; for a father or mother, it is the fear of being a failure and for an uncle, it is the fear of being a bad role model and so on. But there is one fear that people refuse to admit; the fear of admission of old age.

Imagine, just imagine, becoming an uncle. The very word conjures images of a man with a bald patch, wearing a tweed suit, talking politics and using every opportunity to flash a wrinkly old smile. It isn't pretty. Yes, you may decide to become a cool uncle and what not, but by the time she is old enough to need a cool uncle, your perspectives will have changed. With age, your broad mind and narrow waist will change to a narrow mind and a broad waist. In an instant, you will go from being a 'bhaiya' to becoming a 'chacha' or 'mama'. In a span of hours, your fast life will flash before you. The hardcore partying will all seem like a phase of the mid-life crisis. The love letters will turn to diapers. But, while you stand there, letting her tiny fingers intertwine with yours, and as a smile appears across her small lips, you will forget it all. It will all be worth it. Then It will suddenly burp and spew a little undigested milk and you will run. Because although babies may puke a little, it is a terrifying sight.

Finally, you will notice the baby changing you. You will find yourself washing your hands regularly. Using soap. Then, you will be taking off your shoes after coming home from work. You will actually disinfect yourself before going near the baby. Also, you will always be coming home sober as a priest, every single day. Hygiene will actually become an issue for you. Friends and parties will take a backseat. Your top played will not be Tupac. It'll be Twinkle, Twinkle. The only thing on your mind would be coming home to the baby. Also, if you find yourself reading books on babies and memorising nutritional charts, stop yourself. That's a bit extreme, ok? There's a limit to changing.

Slowly, you will take the baby in your arms, gently because she is so delicate and precious. You will also attempt to use the feeder but don't, because babies can't speak and they choke unless held at a certain position, which only mothers can master. And if you find yourself constantly uploading pictures of her and talking about her then don't come to my parties, because I hate people like that. Although an apology is due for the digression, it was a valid point nonetheless. Remember, the baby may be the greatest thing to ever happen to you but apart from you, no one in the entire world really cares what you thought she signalled, because babies can't communicate in anyway except for crying.

Indeed, a new baby is a roller-coaster ride. Although frightful at first, in the end, you'll be glad to have experienced it. That is a guarantee. Treasure the moments because babies grow fast. And so will you. And before you know it, the first grey hair will show itself. But don't worry, it will be worth it... or will it?

By Osama Rahman
Dedicated to Namishta Ahmed, my little baby niece


Genre: Novella Rating: 18+

Black Water

If you've ever entertained a serious ambition to become a writer, Joyce Carol Oates is a name you're bound to encounter at some point or the other. With some fifty novels and at least as many volumes of short stories, poetry and novellas to her name, she is something of an institution in the field of Creative Writing.

Black Water is a novella published in 1992, which was nominated for a Pulitzer the following year, and is considered one of her finest pieces of work.

The story is a short one. A young woman named Kelly meets a US Senator at a Fourth of July party on an island. There are instant sparks, and the pair leave in the Senator's car, presumably to get to the mainland and get better acquainted. The politician, however, had had a little more to drink than was good for him, and misjudges a turn in the waning light and the car plunges into a swampy marsh. The cold water has a sobering effect on the drunk driver, who quickly frees himself and escapes, but Kelly who is badly hurt and trapped in the wreckage, is left behind. The rest of the story is told in prolepsis, with the story of the meeting and the decision to leave unfolding in progressive segments of flashback sandwiches between dark flashes of the present, in which Kelly waits in the cold and dark, certain that the Senator will come rescue her.

The incident that the story is based upon is reminiscent of a similar one involving Ted Keneddy in 1969. In fact, the book makes several harshly critical references to politicians like George H W Bush and Ronald Reagan, to name a few. While her readers mine the piece for political and cultural nuances, Oates herself has maintained that her main intention was to capture an ill-fated romance between an impressionable young woman and a powerful, older man.

As you may have already guessed, the subject matter isn't for light reading, and the fragmented narrative, while it does wonders in capturing and crystallising the characters it deals with, makes for a lot of mental gymnastics. However, if you're reading for style and are interested in the craft of the story, you're in for a real treat. This is definitely a must-read for aspiring writers.

By Sabrina F Ahmad

Event watch

Shurjo Uthshab 2012
in Photos

Shurjo Uthshab (SunFest) 2012 was as brilliant as ever from what I've heard. By now you must have read all about it from the cover article and is regretting the fact that you missed it (so did I!).

Good news for us this year Bangladesh Astronomical Association has organized a photography exhibition at Galerie Zoom of Alliance Française de Dhaka (AFD), Dhanmondi Branch. The exhibition was coordinated by our very own Adnan M. S. Fakir and it displays 30 photographs from this year's festival.

A short visit to the exhibition will definitely give you a new perspective on New Year's Celebration, one that includes neither road-blocks nor RAB or any form of "eyebrow raising elements" but instead a lot of adventure, creativity and incredible natural beauty! Drop by AFD if you are interested to take part again end of this year.

The exhibition will go on till the 20th of January every Monday to Saturday from 5pm - 8pm. The photographers are Md. Fakrul Islam, Ashrafuzzaman Khan, Zia Islam, Aditi Huq, Md. Asifur Rahman Bhuiyan, Modhumita Dasgupta, Reaz Rahman, Asraful Kabir Konok, Tutul Nessar and Adnan M. S. Fakir

By Mohammad Ar-Rafi Waseq Hossain



home | The Daily Star Home

2012 The Daily Star