2012: The year of Viral Videos
If 5 years before you heard the world would dance to the beat of a guy dancing like a horse singing in a language we don't know, you'd think the Mayans predicted the apocalypse based on that. From Anata Jalil to the zombie craze, the year saw many fads start up and die down as the 'internet people' suffered from a Youtube ban by Instagramming their indignations. Or something like that. Here's a look back at the best (worst) things that came out of the past year.
12.12.12: This year, people were divided: between Awami League and BNP, between Potato Crackers and Mr. Twist, between Shakib Khan and Ananta Jalil. People were divided on Facebook and in real life: to celebrate the date that comes once in a century, or to bash it? Countless statuses, counter-statuses and counter-counter-statuses filled our newsfeed as people rushed to get married like they rush in Gawsia. All in all, it was an eventful day to say the least, with the restaurants coming out as winners out of all the dates people were coerced into.
Instagram: So Facebook bought this zero-profit generating app for 1billion dollars and unleashed the floodgates of photos we could survive without. Oh you had aloo bhorta and shutki for lunch? The world must be dying to take a look. Your cat made a poopoo? The internet needs to take a look, surely. First hipsters pretty much hogged Instagram to make all their photos look like they were from the 1960s, then it became mainstream and hipsters left. At the end of the year, Instagram made a booboo and said they were going to use all the photos of their database whenever they want, and so hipsters are now jumping on it again. Gotta love 'em.
Bangladeshi Flashmobs: We like mobs. In fact, we are pretty much the world expert at routine ganjam. You see 30 odd kids gathering and walking about; you know in your heart that there's going to be a few broken cars. This year, reality changed as Bangladeshis put their own spin on flashmobs. Teenagers jumped into the unmentionable-filled streets of Karwan Bazar to dance and apparently were dancing for some kind of 'change'. No one really knows their cause even now, but they brought about an influx of flashmobs featuring latest Indian dance-moves to the tunes of the flashmob anthem of the country: Gangnam Style.
Mayans - oh the poor dead civilisation: You'd think people would be spared all the curses hundreds of years after their death, although, predicting the end of the world has been known to be a bit harsh if you're not right. The ones who thought the world would end and celebrated by failing two midterms are now facing the music, and the Mayans are without a doubt the guilty party.
Pom Gana: Ghana sat quietly in Africa for all our lives until a man came and changed it all. 'Are you Pom Gana?' will forever be etched in the minds of all Bangladeshis who have had the fortune of witnessing it. For the less fortunate, there are memes, memes of memes and t-shirts to commemorate the death of English language.
Facebook stores: The internet, for about half the population over here, starts and ends with Facebook. Just in case they logged out to go out, people opened shops featuring the same Pakistani salwar kameezes that you saw every Sokhina and Morjina wearing on the streets. But since they are 'in', you can get away with these uniform-like clothes sold at Facebook home stores.
The story below was beautifully crafted with great imagery and it showed that mediocrity, like everything else, is a matter of perspective and there's nothing a little imagination can't make better. For next week we have 'Change of Seasons' as our topic. All submissions need to be sent in to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday noon. Word limit: 350-500 words. Good luck.
By Maisha Maliha Luba
"Two times ten is twenty, not thirty! Why can't you do simple math? Use your brain for a change.” I looked the other way, towards the large mango tree. As always, the mango tree smiled back at me, its roots emerged above the ground, its branches metamorphosed into the giant wings of an eagle and taking in a long breath, the mango tree shot up into the sky, at last free of its bond with the ground and soared as high up as it could, almost as if it wanted to touch the sun. I looked up; trying to see it better but a tight slap on my face brought my attention back to my teacher. “You better look at me when I am talking to you! Detention for you again. This school is only for the brightest and I will not tolerate any mediocrity.”
I sighed. Inadvertently, my eyes set upon the hairy mole marring the stern face of my teacher. Slowly, hair sprouted out of the mole and it grew and grew until it became a few meters long, making my teacher look like a drunken Santa Claus. I burst out laughing and it infuriated her beyond bounds. I ended up with three tight slaps on each of my cheeks and my teacher said, her voice trembling with contempt, “You mark my words, you impudent little girl, you won't be laughing when you fail your tests again. You've been in the same class for three years and your mediocre results will get you nowhere, except land you a job as a boot polisher on the streets!”
With my head bowed in shame, I walked out of the classroom into the playground. The basketball prodigies were busy flaunting their skills but I could not join them, I wasn't very good at sports either. Suddenly I heard a loud chirp; a young bird was taking its first flight. It was enchanting but I was haunted by the desolate look in its mother's eyes because her child was leaving her forever. The young bird started flapping her wings and then she slowly turned back to her mother, gave her a kiss on the beak and said, “You'll still always be special.”
I was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was reminded time and again by my mother that whatever extraordinary things I saw were just a figment of my imagination, nothing else. Due to my illness, I'd always been mediocre at everything, but somehow I felt differently. I felt I'm…special. That I had the power to change drab reality; to transform despair into euphoria. I had the power to make an old bird hopeful, to give freedom to a tethered tree; the power of imagination, the greatest of all powers.
It was night and the sky was alight with stars. Suddenly I saw myself soaring up into the sky like a shooting star, alive and completely …free.