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     Volume 10 |Issue 40 | October 21, 2011 |


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Are We Dead Yet?

Aasha Mehreen Amin

According to 90-year-old Harold Camping, the doomsday soothsayer, you should not be able to read this which is probably not such a bad thing anyway. It is October 21 and the world is supposed to have ended by today. This is what Camping, the owner of Family Radio Network, has predicted although he did admit that it wouldn't be as dramatic as the last doomsday he had predicted -May 21. Embarrassingly for Harold, nothing really happened and the world was still in existence with no sign of earthquakes, fire and people rising up to the skies leaving all their material possessions such as shoes and PS 3s. This one, in case you are wondering, why you can't feel it, is predicted to be a quieter affair.

For the May 21 End-of-the-World, Camping and his disciples spent more than $100m worldwide on billboards and posters. People of course, will take advantage of this kind of intensity and sure enough a few atheists decided they would make a quick buck over such delusions. They set up the Eternal Earth Pets that charged 135 US dollars for insurance policies for pets who would be cared for by the Centre after their owners ascended to the hereafter. It displays the typical arrogance of humans to think - that only we, the best of the Lord's creations, are eligible for 'heavenhood' while animals and trees just wither away on earth into nothingness. At least 21 people paid for this service.

A more logical response by other opportunists was to set up websites that would send out farewell letters to friends and relatives who would be left behind. After all, you can't expect everyone to go to heaven. Some of them, well, you know, will go to that 'other place', the one we shall not mention. In which case who will receive the letters?

Talking about End-of-the World predictions is bound to get one depressed. Especially if we think about the ones made by scientists who, most people believe have good heads on their shoulders. Humanity could end with so many natural and man made causes, say the science people. We could be gobbled up by a hungry sun, the Nuclear Club could get it into its head to play some Russian Roulette, breeding of humans could reach such a crazy level that people will just start eating each other, outbreaks of frightening diseases could wipe out nations - these are some of the cheery possibilities.

But let's not talk about the scientists - those nerds who do not bat an eyelid while uttering such chilling news. Instead let us shake hands with the optimists and predict what may happen in our near future, provided the October 21 prediction does not come true of course. For a country like Bangladesh we can predict things quite easily. It would be something like this:

With thousands of cars hitting the roads each year adding to the curse we call 'traffic jams' people will start becoming innovative. Parachutes, hang gliders, hot air balloons, helicopters and even electronic wings will be the alternative transport although there is a possibility of air traffic jams if too many people think the same way. In the short term people will use shoes with special soles that will allow one to stride from the rooftop of one car to the other.

The word 'loadshedding' will no longer be in use. Instead it will be called 'power-saving'. Similarly 'water crisis' and 'gas crisis' will be changed to 'water savings' and 'gas preserving'.

Conning people will be considered a recognised profession. There will be training centres on 'How to be the best in Dui Nombori'. Retired professionals in the business will be hired as resource persons although their natural tendencies to con people may result in the training programme to be a complete sham.

People besides politicians will have forgotten how to talk to others. With more and more hours spent watching television, chatting online, doing Facebook, playing video games, there will be little scope for humans to use their voices. Even 'hellos' in the offices will be reduced to a quizzical lift of the eyebrow or hint of a nod.

These are some amateurish predictions of the near future. Of course it would take a 'proper' soothsayer to announce them with conviction. But at least we can be rest assured that good, old Harold is wrong again. Unless you are getting a strange, creepy sensation down your spine...



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