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Story: Shaer Reaz
Art: Fahim Anzoom

It's not often that you see so many wife-beaters under one roof. Not the actual wife-beaters mind you (we don't really know if being a koshai equates to being a wife beater); we are talking about the convenient piece of clothing favoured by butchers and alcoholics worldwide. There were netted red, green, blue and traditional white sando genjis as far as the eye could see.

Meat cleavers were the hero of the day. At Koshai-Con 2012, these sharp tools of mangsho-destruction were sharpened and ready to have a go at the several competitions that were in store for the attendees, later on in the day. More on that later.

“K-Con is a legitimately massive event. We are brothers in arms. Every year, Koshai-Con is held at a secret location so that only those sworn into the inner circles of our koshai-dom are able to attend. We thought about making it open to the public once, but it was quickly decided against, because mixing with the public is like mixing with the wallets that pay us later on. We can't be their friends now, can we?” said the appropriately titled the Butcher of Polashi. He didn't participate in the war, but he owns a shop in the renowned Polashi bazaar.

Some distance away, a massive five feet tall cow was being dragged to its final resting spot. It thrashed this way and that, putting up a challenge. The crowd loves a challenge. They moved forward, a mob of wife beaters united as one. Even in the middle of the commotion, someone managed to ask, “Koto porse?”

It's a huge honour to be able to slaughter the first cow at Koshai-Con, and the top contenders this time are the respected butchers of Polashi, Mirpur and Karwan Bazaar with the surprise contender from Rayerbazaar. Apparently Rayerbazaar is full of, uhm...bazaars. Also, it has a bloody history, a good breeding ground for future koshais.

The competition kicked off and after consuming a little of the energy drinks provided by the main sponsor, the koshais manned their stations. The wooden chopping blocks were top of the range for the top koshais, a veneer of expensive sandalwood.

The categories ranged from chopping time, shredding time, preparing the cow for destruction-time, debating for cow-hide prices, style points on slitting throats, and creative design with stripping meat off a cow carcass. An additional category was thrown in for panjabi/sando genji/white t-shirt design competitions, where koshais go at it like Dexter in a kill-room, trying to get that perfect splotch of blood on their white apparel. The last one seemed to be a crowd favourite.

The results were in, and the Butcher of Rayerbazaar stepped up to the podium in first place through an unprecedented upset, with Polashi taking second. Mirpur took third position and every decided to ignore the crybaby that was Karwan Bazaar. Koshais don't cry.

The day wore on, with stalls selling meat cleavers polished to a tee, various apparel suited for a koshai, fake moustaches and beards, and others handing out leaflets for the ultra-reclusive koshai schools. Towards the end, this reporter was unceremoniously bundled out of the warehouse (at a secret location which I will not disclose for fear of my life) and dumped on the street, the manhandling ruffians mumbling something about, “Syndicate meetings… cow prices… shortage due to the K-Con… leather business booming”, etc. etc.

If you had to pay 20,000 taka extra for your cow due to a shortage of cows in the country, blame it on your koshai. They must be stopped!


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