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It's Not Your Problem Anymore


I have fallen into a big problem & now I can't solve it myself. I have fallen in love with a girl who lives far away from here- she lives in Pakistan. She came to Bangladesh with her family toÊsee my Mother (her mother is my mother's friend). She stayed here for aÊmonth and that's when I fell in love with her. I lovedÊher cause she's beautiful and simple, unfortunately I couldn't tell her that love her. Now IÊwant toÊtell her but IÊdon't know how, her parents are very strict. I can't live without her. Please help me.

Dear Arif,

If you love her, just e-mail her and tell her. If you want to be more cautious, take a step at a time and first correspond with her via e-mail. After all your families are friends and they wouldn't object. After becoming friends with her, look for the right moment and express your feelings. If she reciprocates and you are both adults of a certain age then marriage would be next in line. If you are only in your teens then continue with your friendship. Love is a test. If you think her parents will object to your notions of love then remain a friend and then when you both become adults you can formally propose. Patience is a virtue.

Hi Riyana,

This is Robert. I'm 14 and I've known her since last year. She's my ex-friend's younger sister. I sent one of her friend as well as my friend to ask her whether she had some feelings for me or not. But whenever she was asked, she said that she didn't want to talk about the topic. I myself don't know whether I really love her or not. But I'm crazy about her, I even dreamt about her. What do you think about this case? Does she love somebody else or she is still not interested in love?

Dear Robert,

I think she isn't interested and as you said you aren't sure about your feelings either. Dreaming about her isn't enough. It's best to leave her and the matter alone.

Here is my problem. It's a very common problem, but a big problem to me: I never thought that I'd find my love. I never thought that I'd feel like this for just one person. I thought that I've already been through this love once, 'the pain'... but when I compare this feeling to that I called 'love'. Then it feels like this is more painful than ever...I like a girl. I really do. She is 'SHORMY'. She is very simple & I like her simplicity. I am a very handsome boy & quite brilliant, too. I told her that I like her but she took it as a joke. She doesn't want any serious relation with me. It's not that she has someone else or she likes someone else. It's just that I'm not enough. I think she likes me, too. But she dares to make a relation because, she thinks as she is not a very good-looking girl, I'll leave her just after playing a game with her. But it's really not the case...I want to be happy for her & I am. But it hurts me to know that I'll never think like a girl like I think about her. I'll never love a girl like I love her. I'll never cry for a girl like I cry for her now. How can I convince her that I really love her? How to go about winning her heart? Please show me a way.

Dear Tamal,

Unfortunately, there's nothing you can do other than respect her wishes. Sometimes a person simply isn't interested and it doesn't matter if you're drop dead gorgeous, the person won't respond. It would be best not to badger her because if you do, you'll lose her respect as well. And presuming that she has feelings will only cause you more disappointment. Forget her. The right girl will come along. All you have to do is wait.


Mail your problems to notyourproblems@yahoo.com and we'll try our best to solve them. Due to limited space, I'm afraid we're only able to print a few problems at a time. Please have patience and give us ample time to reply and print your problem.

Dogs and Men

How Dogs and Men Are the Same

1. Both take up too much space on the bed.
2. Both have irrational fears about vacuum cleaning.
3. Both mark their territory.
4. Neither tells you what's bothering them.
5. The smaller ones tend to be more nervous.
6. Both have an inordinate fascination with women's crotches.
7. Neither does any dishes.
8. Both fart shamelessly.
9. Neither of them notice when you get your hair cut.
10. Both like dominance games.
11. Both are suspicious of the postman.
12. Neither understands what you see in cats.


How Dogs Are Better Than Men

1. Dogs do not have problems expressing affection in public.
2. Dogs miss you when you're gone.
3. Dogs feel guilty when they've done something wrong.
4. Dogs admit when they're jealous.
5. Dogs are very direct about wanting to go out.
6. Dogs do not play games with you, except fetch (and they never laugh at how you throw).
7. You can train a dog.
8. Dogs are easy to buy for.
9. The worst social disease you can get from dogs is fleas (OK, really, the worst disease you can get from them is rabies, but there's a vaccine for it and you can kill the one that gives it to you).
10. Dogs understand what "no" means.
11. Dogs mean it when they kiss you.

Rising Soap

real-life drama in the office


The Mood Dude, The Girl Next Door , Da Big Boss (The RS Editor), Riyana, Alex , Armeen, Afreen, Solitary Sniper, Nusrat , Ishita, Alien-Angel, Bonhomie, Boycott Babe, Hamdu Mia, Shahnaz Apa

Episode Five:

Okay, okay…I just realized I've been keeping you in suspense over weeks and weeks without really answering any of those questions I raised at the end of each episode. In today's special episode, I'm going to try and solve just a couple of the mysteries, but don't blame me if they turn out to be total anti-climaxes…and then hang on for the soap of the week.
Q 1) Why was the Mood Dude all duded up? (Episode 1)
Ans.: He had a very special interview to take. Can't say what it was, but let's just say at some point over the past few weeks, he had to visit a psychotherapist.
Q 2) Why do the twins and The Girl Next Door address each other as 'Bhabi'? (Episode 3)
Ans.: Well, their cousin is marrying her cousin. (Go figure). Also, TGND and Armeen are members of a secret society. It's all very hush-hush…feel free to play some shady music here.
Q 3) What was the outcome between the battle between Mishel and Alex? (Episode 3)
Ans.: Well, let's just say both earned their titles. Mishel is now officially the villain of the Rising Soap, while Alex is now the anti-hero extraordiare…DBB, who intervened in the nick of time to prevent the scene from getting too violent, is now the only semblance of sanity that presides over the RS team.
Right, well, moving on to the soap for the week. When the scene opens, the team is seated in the conference room, waiting from their weekly dose of jharification from DBB. [If you think that's harsh, you should've been around when we got the third degree from He-who-must-not-be-blamed…(Thunder rolls) No! Wait, I didn't reveal his identity… (Crash! Thud!) Noooooo!] Ahem…back to soap…while we wait, a small disagreement between Riyana and Solitary Sniper turns violent when the lady problem-solver surprises him with her 'Twister' maneuver
Solitary Sniper: "Hey! Oww…Riyana! Please! Oi, you pinch me one more time, and I'll…"
The Girl Next Door: "What? Burst in to tears?"
SS: (blushes furiously) "How did you guess?"
Hamdu Mia: "Isn't it amazing what one can learn while copying and pasting from the mail folder to a stupid column?"
(TGND glares at HM; HM makes a weird, scary face. TGND screams, and the rest all burst into laughter).
TGND: "Right. Hey, anyone read my column this Thursday?"
Solitary Sniper: "Why would we be interested in something you Ctrl+…" (TGND glares.) "I think I'll just shut up now."
Riyana: "Oh my God! What was Reader X thinking? Hey, is that Morse Code?"
She turns to watch TGND and Nusrat, as they take turns grinning at each other from across the table, braces glinting in the light (Enter DBB)
DBB: "Okay, people…I want to thank you for your productivity this week. We've managed to pile up on the articles, and we even have this enormous backlog of contributions from the readers. The next few weeks will be a challenge. A-twins…good job with the cover story."
Boycott Babe: "Hey, that's boring!"
DBB: (raising an eyebrow) "Boring? Did I hear the word boring?"
What followed next was a verbal brushfire of angry words, facts and statements that would have put the US attack on Iraq to shame. When DBB finished, the rest of the team was beaming under the praise and the encouragement showered on them, and BB was a much wiser, if much paler…err…babe.
DBB: "Alright guys. You all know some of our members are leaving: Tahiat, Alien-Angels, the A-twins, and Riyana…here's some money, and you guys go and have lunch somewhere…it's a farewell party. I'll join you as soon as I take care of some work here. Shahnaz from LS will be your chaperone."

(Scene 2…the dim interior of a bustling restaurant)

Shahnaz Apa: "Okay, we're all having biriyani. What does everyone want to drink."
TGND, Afreen, Nusrat, Ishita, BB, Alex, Alien Angel: "We wanna do the Dew!"
Solitary Sniper: "You guys serious about this?"
Reply: "We wanna do the Dew!"
Heads turn, and the team settles down. The topic of dissention that arises is, who's going to take over Riyana's column when she leaves? Rumor has it that Solitary Sniper and Hamdu Mia are both vying for the post. Then again, Snape wanted to teach Defense of the Dark Arts, but has he gotten the job yet? Readers, I'm about to create some suspense here again…keep reading the RS to find out what happens to your favorite problem column when the efficient Riyana leaves us. For now, let the music be one of nostalgia as the scene fades away, and we're left remembering the good times we had while these nutty and lovable members were in the team…sniff! I can't take it anymore! Where's that tissue box? Stay tuned for the next Soap…waaaah! (Breaks down into sobs).

By Sabrina F. Ahmad



Hey everyone!

Wow! I don't think Tanjila realized what an impact her suggestion would have on the readers when she brought up the topic of summer jobs. I've been bombarded with mails, each representing different views on the article. I'm featuring two today. The first one is from Fahima, who writes:

"At present, there seems to be quite a lot of debate on part time jobs for the young people of Bangladesh. Last week, Wasim wrote, '…if one young boy/girl gets such a job as a sweeper ore cleaner or card maker s/he will indirectly take some poor one's job…' Which is quite true, since as we all know, there is usually quite a rush for such jobs. But, I ask you this, how many of you readers are about to apply for the job of a sweeper or cleaner? In many families such jobs are unacceptable. Nayeem thinks 'O' and 'A' level students who're attempting to get jobs are just trying to copy the American culture. Well, that may be true in some senses since a larger number of young people are seen doing part time jobs these days. But I still haven't seen an 'O' or 'A' level student as a toilet cleaner. Besides, Bangladeshi culture is much too colorful and eventful to leave us with enough time to accept the American culture. Finally, part time jobs are definitely not a civilized version of robbery. In fact, it is no form of robbery since the person concerned will earn money through his/her capabilities not through fraud. You can expect that much from the present generation. There're a variety of jobs for teenagers which could provide some cash and wouldn't derive the job of a needy civilian nor budge the social barriers. If you are good in art or music you could teach as a home tutor. Apart from teaching art, you could also sell your handicrafts. Designing clothes, ornaments, pottery and show pieces are also a form of art and could earn you quite a lot. Ever heard of 'alpona'? That's Bengali for decorating and painting the walls and floor of a house where a ' Gaye holud' will be held. Your talents in art could help you there as well. As for music, you could start hosting some occasions with your talent. These jobs don't require an English or Bengali background, they just require a strong motive. One last thing, I have noticed that RS has an advertising corner. Why not advertise your talents here?"

Fahima, I agree with you. Readers, if you feel you have a talent you want to put to use, you're more than welcome to use the ADZ section. Mail me the ad, and I'll send it over for you. Also, we're planning to start something called 'campus news', so if there's anything hot happening at your school/college, mail us and let us know, and we'll send one of our RS reporters to cover the event. I think it's a good way to publicize your respective institutions. Moving on, here's a very strong reaction from a reader and my good friend Tahiat, who writes:

"Although I'm an avid reader of your column and I've read many an outrageous letter in it, I've never added two or rather any cents for that matter. Nayeem's letter, however, was so beyond outrageous and so utterly unfair that I simply had to write in. I am very much impressed by the fact that people like Tanjila have given so much thought to this matter of teenagers getting summer/temp jobs. But I also agree with Wasim that we might be usurping some poor man's job and also that it's not safe for children to go out sell lemonade on the streets, or wait on tables etc.

However, Nayeem's labeling these thoughts as 'copying our beloved imported American culture' is pure garbage. Why do we even have to look at it in that way? Why can't we just say that it's a way of becoming independent, gaining experience and trying to get the feel of how difficult it is to earn money? Why can't we just say that we are trying to make some cash to pursue our pleasures without bothering our parents. Why does Nayeem have to call it culture-copying? Teenagers all over Asia do summer jobs- but they don't consider it to be a copy of US culture. And I bet Nayeem doesn't think about this culture-copying when he bites into a burger or I don't know, when he wears a T-shirt and trousers rather than a lungi or punjabi. Silly as it may sound, if whatever we do has a resemblance to what Americans do and people like Nayeem end up calling us copycats then even our eating habits and wardrobe choices should be labeled as copying. After all burgers, pizzas, steaks and jeans all did originate in the Western world. And even if it were copying, it's not as if we're copying the bad, we're copying the good, if at all we are copying.

It's only when people have an inferiority complex that they resort to such unfair, thoughtless remarks and Nayeem's views only prove that he too has such an inferiority complex. Furthermore, if we were really copying culture, we would be getting jobs as waiters at Helvetia or mowing the garden for our neighbor and earning $5 (Tk 300) rather than working for a national daily, tutoring, teaching music or even working at AD firms and earning a way better salary then any American teen could earn over four summers. Then again I wonder how many American firms and national dailies hire teenagers like they do in Dhaka? In the end, are we really copying? I think not."Send your polls, opinions and comments to: thegirlnextdoor1@hotmail.com

By The Girl Next Door


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