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by Icarus

What's the opposite of virus? Why, bonerus. (Sorry if you are not a Bangalee, you have missed the joke. And if you did not get it as a Bangalee, you are a goof.)

If you knew Babu bhai, you'd probably got to know a lot of synonyms and antonyms such as excited-duicited, actually- duichually, naturally-basic ali and so on. Even if you did not know Babu bhai, I am sure some of you are wordsters by your own merit. Wordsters, as I have seen, are born--not made.

There are different kinds of wordsters-- who create words instantly to say something in a very interesting manner. Some make synonyms and antonyms on the fly, some make weird and brand new words to describe something and some even create unreal sound replicas to say something.

Both my nani and mom are brand new word makers. They pick some words to say something once and they will never repeat those words later. Words like "Choklabazi" (bluff), "bhodor bhodor" (blah blah), "kispis" (squash) are their natural creation. And the amazing thing is that when they use it, we understand it without any difficulty.

Our friend ‘Kha Kha’ Rafiq (he acquired the title from the sound of his laughter which, again, he inherited from his father and his 14 generations) is a master of making unreal sound replica to make us understand what he hears. He describes a thundershower impact on the bamboo trees close to his house: have you seen how it rained yesterday? And what powerful thunderstorm it was? The thunders sounded churum churum when they were hitting directly on the bamboo trees!

Churum? Churum? We asked. Thunder may hit with a bang! It may sound "Dhrum!" But churum churum? Are you trying to replicate Daler Mehendi's "Tunuk Tunuk" or “Balle Balle” or something? He vehemently shakes his head, surprised, "why the thunders always sound churum churum! How do you describe the sound then?" he counter asks.

My friend Elahi also imports weird new words like "Pachom". How to use the word? "When he said his dad stole money from his wallet, I became Pachom!" What's the meaning you ask? It means becoming "awol!"

Actually these words may apparently sound nonsense, but when someone uses it in proper context, they not only carry the right meaning--but also add spice to the discussion. And if you wrote some nonsense words, it could also bear meaning. But it depends on your wit how you would interpret these nonsense words.

For instance, we got a newsletter from somewhere that writes a headline "Badekusha!" The newsletter then goes on saying many things in small type faces. We were discussing what could be the possible meaning of "Badekusha!" So we approached a wise guy Afzal bhai (well he pretended he knew everything). We told him that only he could decode what Badekhusha meant. Seeing our absolute dependence on his knowledge, he raised his eyebrows and smiled, "you can't figure this out? I am not surprised. After all, you never studied Persian language."

"Is it a Persian word?" Biltu asked.

"Off course," he said as he figured out a meaning of the word "Badekhusha!" with a special attention paid to the exclamation mark. The newsletter was about some success story of a NGO in some place.

"So what does this mean?" we ask.

"It means bravo! Don't you see this is about a success story?" he said as he threw the newsletter on Biltu. Biltu caught the paper, turned it to his eyes and said, "ahh! You have not noticed this part!"
"What part?" Afzal bhai pauses.

"Look here," Biltu reads, "30 kilometers from Dhaka lies the village called Badekusha. Hmm, Afzal bhai, looks like its just the name of a village."

Off course Afzal bhai instantly turned around and left our fandom.

There are other sound specialists like Biltu. But they don't use mouth. And the sounds are always accompanied by stink. And this kind can deploy such sound (with stink) as a weapon of mass destruction and a weapon of revenge and intimidation. I better not write further--cause if Biltu reads it, he will attack me.

Daddy's Little Girl
By Sabrina F. Ahmad

My family never tires of regaling people with tales of the day I was born. It was a stormy day, and me being a much-awaited Caesarian baby, there was a huge crowd of my relatives cramming the corridor that led to the Operation Theatre. When the doors finally swung open, and the nurse brought out the slimy, pink bundle that I was, they say that I stared at the crowd with unfocused eyes. Then my gaze alighted on my father's smiling face, and then one of my eyes closed in what could only have been my first wink. As everyone burst into laughter, my father announced, "That's Daddy's little girl".

That's the way it's been ever since. My father's been the one to sing me to sleep when I was a tiny tot. He was the one who sized up the bullies of my kindergarten years. Over the years, he's been my Tarzan, Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, walking bank; personal chauffeur and personal masseuse all rolled into one. He's the person who accompanies me to all the exam halls, giving me all the encouragement I needed. In fact, if you readers enjoy my writing, you can thank him, because he's the one who's been pushing me into writing for the paper all along.

I think fathers and daughters have a special relationship all their own, one that is different from the one enjoyed by boys and their dads. Some girls I asked told me that their fathers were the ones who spoilt them, while 'Ma wields the khunti'. For others, the fathers are the disciplinarians who manage, by their strict and imposing presence, to make their daughters toe the line and always put their best feet forward. Whichever the case, the father-daughter relationship has relaxed considerably in our times, as compared to the way things might have been for our grandmothers, and our lives are that much richer for it. As women step out into the professional world, demanding of their partners equal contribution in the house, men are being forced to play a more active role in raising the kids, and as a result, children are able to bond with their fathers as was impossible before. Of course, this is a wide generalization on my part, but for the most part, I've seen fathers today enjoying a more informal relationship with their children, and both parties can only benefit from this.

I was reading Nandita Das' interviews, and in most of them, she mentions how her father has always been one of the prime sources of her strength, allowing her the freedom to pursue her interests, often pushing her on when she needed that extra boost. Then there are the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, who were coached towards the spotlight by their father. Of course, everyone knows about Laila Ali, who has just picked up daddy Muhammad Ali's boxing gloves, and is making a name for herself in the sports world. Natalie Cole, in her "Unforgettable" duet with her late father, Nat King Cole, is another example of a girl stepping into her father's shoes. One of the most touching real-life father-daughter relationships I read about had to be that of Benny Cheung who fought tooth and nail to save his daughter from going blind. The story, called "A Father's Love" appeared in the Reader's Digest, in the July 2000 issue. For a fictional father-daughter relationship that warms the heart, the relationship between Marner and the young Eppie in Silas Marner is a glowing example.

Okay, so maybe life with daddy isn't all roses, but that's just life in general. Ever since I stepped into my adolescent years, and started forming opinions of my own, the kid gloves came out, and the battles began, as I began, in my own way, to challenge my father's authority, and believe me, he didn't take it lying down. I have a friend who's studying medicine primarily because, as she says 'this is one area where he cannot have the final say'. I think, for both of us, it's just a rite of passage, an understated version of what most boys go through with their fathers. This isn't always the case, though. The relationship between Louisa and Gradgrind in Charles Dickens' "Hard Times" is a literary example of a father-daughter relationship gone wrong. That, however, was the result of miscommunication, and not the lack of any love on either side. Hey, let's not get morbid here. It was just a story after all.

Through thick and thin, through the ups and downs, our fathers have played a significant role in our lives. On Father's Day, which is coming up in three days, let's remind them how much they mean to us. As for the man in my life, Pap, in the worst of times you're a real pest, and in the best of times, you're a corny, cuddly teddy bear, but at the end of the day, you always find a way to remind me how much I love you, and I'll always be your little girl.


Mighty Winds on Saturn Calm Down


Saturn, one of the windiest places in the solar system, is undergoing a dramatic weather change.
Just over two decades ago, snapshots of the distinctive clouds in Saturn's equatorial region showed a jetstream that sped along at a bruising 1,700 kilometers (1,050 miles) per hour.

Now the winds have slowed to a relatively pedestrian 1,100 kph (690 mph), according to astronomers writing in the current journal Nature. Outside the equatorial belt, the planet's wind speeds appear not to have changed.

Their study compares pictures taken during the Voyager-1 flyby of Saturn in 1980-1 with images taken by NASA's orbiting telescope, the Hubble, between 1994-2002.

The discovery has thrown up useful evidence about how the weather systems function on the gas giants, the huge, enigmatic planets that dominate the chilly outer reaches of our solar system.

Saturn is almost as large as Jupiter and they both have powerful winds in the equator. But there the similarity ends.

Jupiter's jetstreams vary far less in speed than Saturn's; they are only believed to oscillate by around 10 percent.
Saturn orbits much farther from the sun than Jupiter, and so gets less light and warmth than the jovian king. Despite this, sunlight is a much bigger factor in shaping Saturn's weather than it is in Jupiter's, according to the study.

This is because Saturn is tilted at a sharp angle. As it crawls along its long circuit around the sun each orbit takes more than 29 Earth years different areas of the planet are progressively warmed by the distant solar rays and then cool again.

It takes a long time for this sunlight, coupled with relative proximity to the sun, to affect the weather patterns. But when it does, the change is dramatic.
Another likely factor in the weather mechanism is the shadow cast by Saturn's broad and beautiful system of rings, which again prevents large regions from receiving sunlight for prolonged periods.

"All these differences between the planets need to be considered when developing future general circulation models for the jet origin in the giant planets," the study said.

The lead authors are Agustin Sanchez-Lavega of the University of the Basque Country in Bilbao, Spain, and Richard French of Wellesley College, Mass.

Saturn's atmosphere is comprised mainly of hydrogen and helium, which means it is a very light planet. It is more than nine times bigger than Earth, but has just a ninth of its density.


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