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A Breakdown of Balloons

By Mastura Tasnim

Balloons, of all colours of the rainbow, have the ability to turn a group of perfectly professional, highly able individuals stark-raving mad. At least, that's the way it is at RS. As we play handball in the office and cheerfully pop balloons in each other's faces, we share our exclusive insight on this joy of childhood, and indeed, life.

From our early childhood years, balloons have hung in the background as we cut through countless birthday cakes, danced through a dozen gaye holuds and ragged our juniors to pieces. Doubtless, these were all precious memories and they all have little balloons attached to them. No wonder when you see one floating around, you can't help but give it an appreciative little fistbump. Thanks, buddy.

You're all probably aware of what an awesome replacement balloons can be when your cricket-bat is broken and your football has leaked. What you probably don't know is that balloons have a set of laws. One of these laws state clearly that Under No Conditions Should A Balloon Be Allowed to Touch the Floor. None. Whatsover. So if you go into the arena of a balloon match, be sure to flex your muscles beforehand.

Unless you're one of those people who just like to watch the world burn. Yours truly has met some truly awful people in her life, and one of them smiles at innocent children while she pops their balloons and leaves them in a miserable heap, and then strolls off with the biggest grin, probably looking for more victims. The horror.

It's probably because of people like the one mentioned above that so many seem to suffer from globophobia. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the fear of balloons traumatise individuals to such an extent that some avoid parties just to not find helium-filled latex in their way. We feel for them but just now we're busy unraveling the real secret to the balloon's success.

There isn't a child in the world who has looked at a bunch of balloons and not wondered how much it would take for him or her to float. Before TV took our soul, or the Internet took our mind, or before education brought up a wall, our imagination was free to float around in a basket hung from a cloud of balloons. Free to travel the whole world in the blink of an eye. For some of us the imagination brought fruit; movies like Up are a sharp relief from modern-day drama. For others, playing with a balloon at a younger cousin's birthday, it is a memoir of days gone-by, a hope for dreams yet to come true.


A little girl fidgets in her father's lap, peeking out on to noontime Dhaka traffic from beneath a rickshaw shade. She has already demanded, and finished, a lolly, terrorised her dad into a buying another and grown tired of making faces at the delighted couple in the next rickshaw. Now she puts her chin on her tiny hands and gives a long-drawn out sigh, reminiscent of the black-and-white actresses.

Then, right then, through the grey smog of the city skyline, bright, bulbous balls of latex, of all shapes and sizes, float into her line of vision. It is love at first sight, a love that lasts a lifetime.

Mentors' Inter University Futsal:
The Fight for Supremacy

By Ibrahim

Long before the dust had settled on the Bangladesh National Handball court, people were already calling the tournament an unprecedented success. And why not? It was the first of its kind and, more importantly, it finally provided some form of platform amidst all the tricks and flicks; something the underground football community has been crying out for. The ''Mentors' Inter University Futsal Tournament'' organised by 7TEEN Events brought together all the budding footballers from the country's elite universities to compete for the title of being the best. The event was spread over the 9th and 10th of November.

The stadium was almost packed to the rafters from very early in the morning. The referee finally blew the whistle to kickstart the tourney. From then on, it was typical futsal: a test of skill and control with no place to hide. Many familiar faces from the underground circuit turned up along with some exciting fresh talents. In total, 23 teams from 10 universities all around Dhaka signed up for the tournament (19 in the boys' category and 4 in the girls'). Speaking to us about the tourney Sheehan Rahman, a founding partner of 7TEEN Events said, “It feels great to successfully complete the first ever inter university futsal tournament in the country. What feels better is the positive response we got from the participating universities. We want to continue with further instalments of this and build a strong community consisting of these universities.”

On the basis of this, they can go ahead as planned. It was brilliantly organised with BFF providing match-balls and pro referees while there was more than just football for spectators. EZ mobile had a raffle draw with android tabs and phones up for grabs. Apart from Mentors', the tournament had The Bench, Just Juice and Radio Foorti as partners. There was a hugely entertaining concert afterwards and even the now-common dance routine of 'Gangnam Style' was performed before the finals. All in all, good fun.

On the court though, it was end-to-end brutal futsal. All the teams tried to go for the jugular and some succeeded while others failed spectacularly. In the end, it came down to BRAC and NSU in both the boys' and girls' categories and NSU ended up doing a clean sweep of the titles. Individually, Shamim and Sirat from BUET got the Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards, respectively while it was Noshin and Natasha from NSU who grabbed the awards in the girls' section. The tournament was a landmark in terms of developing the game by increasing participation to match with the enthusiasm we already have for it. Let's hope for more in the future.

Candy kid

By Confused Vegetable

Saddam seems more excited than usual to be present at Dhaka University campus standing right next to Madhur Canteen. Today he's wearing a bright red t-shirt with cool, modern art scribbled on the front along with his faded, short jeans. The new red-shirt must've uplifted his spirits by a great deal. Or maybe it's because it's his first day here after the weeks long Eid break he spent back home, because he is carrying a slight smile.

He is a little concerned though, about his studies. Leaning over at the IBA gate, he appears pensive as he mentions already having missed at least 2 or 3 classes much like his other classmates. The teachers, he says, are really nice. All of their names he remembers rather fondly, testified by the slight tinge of hero-worship in his eyes.

Speaking of heroes, his father, as he confirms, is a bit cranky in nature. Saddam gets yelled and sometimes even cursed at by his father. But there's a sense of understanding and empathy he holds for his father which is rather obvious when he explains how his father has to work a lot to earn a living.

His face turns a bit gloomy when talking about his dad. However, its colour radically brightens when he mentions his sister. Smiling at the thought of her, Saddam adds how his sister does daily chores back home in Mymensingh. It's his sister, he declares, he likes the most in his family.

Saddam doesn't have a mother. A discussion regarding the person whose love is the most unconditional in this world, might sweep-in terrible, heart-wrenching memories for the kid (he's only 10), or maybe the lack of it might have the same effect; hence, avoided throughout. He deserves a good day with his best outfit on.

On asking what three wishes he would like granted if a genie was ever to appear, he struggles with an answer. Mainly because he never heard of Aladdin's story. But it could also be because he underestimates what he deserves in this material world.

After a little thought, he decides its clothes he wants. “Yes, that's it, clothes,” he confirms with another one of his giggles. But he later adds, possibly out of realisation of what he had learned at the make-shift school in the campus, that it's the opportunity to study he'd cherish the most. “I want to be a star, like Shakib Khan,” he asserts, “but I must study to be a star.”

It's approximately 15 taka profit he gains from the one packet of 35 taka 'laujen-juice' he sells. That means he sells all the 50 'laujen-juices' in one packet for 50 taka - 1 laujen-juice for 1 taka. On a relatively sound day, he makes around 100 taka. 30 good days would make 3000 taka a month approximately, for Saddam.

He says he gives the money to his sister back home. When asked what his father does, he says, “My father sells 'aamlokis' at Ghulistan every day.”

Apparently, aamlokis grow well in India, he tells me.

Thanks to Adnan Faiaz Mahmud for helping with the interview


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