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Slaughtering sanity and other Eid-day troubles

Story: Osama Rahman
Art: E R Ronny

Qurbani Eid is tantalisingly close. By now, some of the kids have already grown attached to the cow brought for the sacrifice and may already have given it a name. Like Nehari or Beef Bhuna. That's right; don't get too attached. On that note, let's just point out that the glass is actually half empty. Eid isn't all fun and games. There are obstacles to conquer and pitfalls to evade.

Where the girls at?
Remember the song that goes, “So many girls, where do I begin?” That song isn't about Dhaka. With Qurbani comes all the gore and the rampaging cows and bulls; it's not a pretty sight. This is why most people don't buy new clothes this Eid around. There's no point. A single man will find wandering the streets of Dhaka the most pointless activity ever. Women do not like to involve themselves in bloody messes. They are disgusted. On the off chance that you do happen across a fair lass, heed the warning, and walk away. Fast.

The Hug Bug
People in Pakistan have recently given up drinking water, because water kills you, or the brain eating amoeba in it does. Sometime ago, many of us gave up eating chickens and even beef because those would also kill you. Germs are a big problem in society these days. During Eid everyone is just going to hug you. Well, not everyone but some people will. These people are usually sweaty. Wet germs are the worst kind of germs, to be honest. Remember to avoid certain types of huggers at all costs; those that hug for more than three seconds, those that brush their lips on your necks while hugging and those that insist you change the direction of your first hug. We hate the last kind the most.

The Fridge Fillers
After Qurbani, you may find yourself unable to use the deep freezer for at least up to six months. It's only going to be covered with beef and most of it won't even be for you. Qurbani Eid is the only time in a year that people turn your house into their cold storage. If you are unlucky enough to have a big enough fridge, then people will insist handing you all the beef they could scavenge and hope you store it until they need it. This gives them an excuse to come knocking at your door, at any damn time.

Some like it Skinky
Even before you slaughter a cow, people will try to buy its skin off you. These people are most unreasonable. They are also usually from the orphanage, fresh out of prison or just people who jumped on the bandwagon out of curiosity. They will all offer you the best price and explain why you should sell to them. They will lie. Then they will turn on their charm. Then they will try to kill you. The cow-hide business is more Mafioso then you'd expect. Solution? Always sell it to the mastaan. Nehari tastes better with your teeth intact.

Mr. and Mrs. First Class Liars
This is the final breed of people who can ruin your entire Eid. These breed of people lie. About everything. In fact, they aren't even sure what to lie about. Sometimes they'll lie about paying an outrageous sum for the biggest cow of the year but “too bad, Mofiz, now it's all cut up but you should've have seen the size”. The next day they forget about their first lie and tell you just how little they paid for the elephant they bought, because “Batman bargaining skills, Mofiz”. Mr. and Mrs. First Class Liars will also tell you about how their cow gave them 1000 kgs of meat and how “I swear there was no fat at all. It didn't even have bones, only meat, believe me, Mofiz.” These utterances with their fake Indian accent will make you want to physically hurt your brain. Finally, they will tell you that they need to keep the meat from Dumbo in your freezer.

Yeah, so you see, Eid isn't all roses and cupcakes. Or beef. It's a lot of negotiations too.


BETA WRITERS

In the spirit of the upcoming festivities, this submission was chosen. Happy eating, people.

The Dish and the Spoon Event

By Thio Wan

Everyone looked excited, surprised and happy that the event was back. But my face was different; well it betrayed my attempts to look calm.

The event was set up in a huge park. I had goosebumps after I saw the contestants or should I say my 'opponents'. I couldn't believe I got qualified for this famous event. And I was hungry enough to keep biting my lips. I saw the gigantic sign board which had the event's name. It was written "The Dish and the Spoon Event".

This event started five years ago, when I was just eleven years old. The time when I used to cheer for my favourite in the event who won two years in a row. He won the 'People's Choice Award' once and the Golden Spoon twice.

He was so awesome and fat. He inspired me to win the event but the fat followed anyway. I went through the rules again just to be sure about everything. There would be thirty-two contestants and they would all have only one spoon given by the event. The spoon even had a name. The 'Rookie's Spoon' which was small and weak.

When the competition is about to begin each contestant will get their first dish which if you are lucky is sometimes soup. When the whistle blows, each contestant starts digging in. Only half a glass of water will be given to each of them, if they ask for more then they are 'out'! In your dish if you find a crunchy brown looking weird thing called a 'Bonus Tracker' then you are one of the five lucky people. If you get two of 'em then you are one of the four. You can unlock special stuff with those. When you finish your first dish, you move on to the second and so on. One by one people will start giving up (raising your hand and saying 'I QUIT') and if you are the last one then you are the winner with the Golden Spoon!

I was qualified as I was the fastest eater in all the school competitions in the city. I was called inside and they took me inside where all my opponents were waiting. They were big and healthy and when they looked at me a shiver ran down my spine. Many of us were hungry as we hadn't eaten anything for the tournament. When we were taken to our seats in the middle of the park, people screamed their heads out. I thought about the bonus trackers and what I would use it for. Two trackers for a bigger spoon, or a bathroom for five minutes, or extra water for one tracker – the choices were plenty. While I was thinking the whistle blew loudly. Spoon, meet dish.


BOOK REVIEW

The Casual Vacancy
Author: J. K. Rowling

Reviewed By Musarrat

When you open Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling, you think the world has been set right again. Finally people can focus on a real writer and not that ‘Fifty Shades of Garbage’ that everyone and their mother seem to be gushing over. You expect to place yourself at the hands of a trusted storyteller and an old friend.

Oh, but Hedwig, I have a feeling we are not in Hogwarts anymore.

Casual Vacancy had its debut a couple of weeks ago to mixed reviews, most of which haven’t been the best. It’s hard for a Harry Potter fan to be objective about anything that Rowling has written, but can you really still love her blindly if it’s just plain bad writing?

The story is set in the small idyllic town of Pagford, where councilman Barry Fairbrother drops dead in a golf club creating a “casual vacancy” - that’s the technical term for these things, apparently - for someone to fill. Fairbrother, it is soon revealed, was working on a housing project on the outskirts of town called The Fields which wasn’t being too well received by the town’s gossipy, stuffy, upper middle class residents, and upon the news of this death, it’s a scramble for his place in the council to either continue or abolish these plans. Will it be Colin Wall, deputy headmaster of Winterdown Comprehensive, who wants to continue Barry's good work? Or will it be Miles Mollinson, leader of the group that would turn its back on The Fields? It might even be Simon Price, who's under the impression that Barry was taking kickbacks, and wants to do the same.

Sounds dull, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. It’s not fair on JK Rowling to compare this to Harry Potter - let’s face it though; fans are going to be doing it anyways - but even if you start it with an open mind, it still won’t change the fact that the book is quite boring and somewhat badly written. Aren’t you supposed to be getting better at this after seven books, JK?
The redeeming qualities come from the teenagers and their drama filled gossip girl-esque (but without the couture and the Louboutins) lives, this is where the book gets somewhat interesting - but not till page 242!

The book is number 2 on the New York Times bestseller list (but then again, all three of E. L. James books are in the top 6) so it’s worth a read if you have nothing better to do this coming Eid vacation. Just don’t be too disappointed because it’s about as far from Harry Potter as you can possibly get.



 

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