Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, August 11, 2005


By Hamdu Mia

Recently, we've seen things we never thought we'd live to see. We saw cockroaches crawling over prawns on the cover a national daily newspaper; we saw African magurs visit the Bangladesh Secretariat. Pests, as we call them, have suddenly become stars. Rising Stars (RS), in this exclusive edition, gives you a scoop on the two rising stars in the animal kingdom, Kalaiya Magur (KM) and Tela Mia (TM). The former is one of the famous magurs that made it to the Bangladesh Secretariat not long ago on a very rainy day and consequently made it on national news. The latter, not far behind, had his life-size pictures printed on a well-known English daily after being discovered in his habitat at a local restaurant along with some shrimps. Along with these two potential superstars, we have Lady Aedis (LA), who has taken dengue to such heights that it's now a household name. In this exclusive interview, these three talk about themselves and Bangladesh, giving you an insight into things previously unknown.
RS: Thank you all for being here today. It's been very kind of you guys to be here and give an interview together.
KM: Mention not, dude. Us brothas gotta look out for each other, you know what I mean.
RS: Very modest of you to say so. So Mr. Magur, word's out on the streets, I mean drains, that you hail from Africa?
KM: Hey dude, what kind of an interviewer are you? Don't you know I was known as the African Magur before making it big with my national TV debut?
RS: Aha, so how come you're known as Kalaiya Magur? And why are you here in Bangladesh?
KM: Look, dude. I needed a hip name 'cos, you know, I gotta be cool, gotta stand out in the shoal of normal everyday magurs. I'm special, you know. Hey, tell me man, how many magurs do you know who've been to the Bangladesh Secretariat and back?
RS: Err...not many.
KM: See, that's what I'm talking about. A magur's gotta be what a magur's gotta be. So, as I was saying, I hail from Africa. But with poverty, landmines, AIDS and all messing things up, man, it was getting hard for a magur like me to keep his cool, you know what I mean. So I applied for US immigration, but dude, those guys are hypochondriacs when it comes to security issues. Wouldn't let an honest dirt-eating magur in, 'cos I'd be a security threat and all! Hell, no! Now what can a helpless magur do, man? But then I got smart and saw how my African brothas were playing football here, and I'm like, woohoo, Bangladesh baby, here I come.
RS: So are you happy in Bangladesh?
KM: Hell, yeah! Man, all the ponds and drains and lakes are so dirty here. Dude, no magur could wish for a nastier place to live in! You got one hell of a polluted country here, man! So much dirt to eat, so much poo to swim in! This is Heaven! So I thought I gotta thank all the big guys who made Bangladesh this way, those who just don't give a damn about how polluted your country is. So I pulled ma' self into the Secretariat as soon as I got unrestricted access through the rainwater pouring in.
RS: So did you get what you wanted, could you thank the authorities?
KM: Hell, no! The guys there thought it was real funny that an African magur like me turned up, and out of nowhere the TV cameras came. Like dude, I don't mind all the attention, but seriously, a magur's gotta thank the people a magur's gotta thank! But don't worry, dude. I got my appointment and I'm gonna thank those guys for all the good things they're doing for me and my magur community. God bless those angels for keeping this country nasty and polluted!
RS: Hmm...very generous of you to say so. So, Tela Mia, you seem a bit upset with what Kalaiya Magur has been saying. Something wrong?
TM: Look, I'm just an average roach. Until recently, I had a life better than what average cockroaches dream of. I live in many places but restaurants are my favourite haunts. We had abundant places for my wife to lay eggs in, and I was looking forward to my days as a great-grandfather with the large number of cockroaches that descend down by bloodline. People coming to restaurants were happy eating food around which we'd fly and crawl and lay eggs, although they didn't know about it. There was nothing much for me to ask for except to live the rest of my life in peace.
But no! Law enforcement agencies had to come and raid the place. They had to play "good guys" all of a sudden. Hey, they didn't do anything about the dirty places Kalaiya Magur has been talking about? Why on earth did they have to disturb us innocent roaches? And just think of our poor old managers at the restaurant. He had to go to jail! I'd say this is discrimination…discrimination against telapokas/cockroaches. Us telapokas are of pure Bangali origin, khaati bangali as one might say. We have democratic rights too! The authorities should mean what they say when they call Bangladesh a secular state.
RS: Very strong words. Lady Aedis, you're a legend compared to Tela and Magur here. You've been there, done that, seen it all. You're the most famous creature known to Bangladeshis. What do you have to say about the way Tela Mia's looking at things?
LA: I'd say our dear Tela Mia here is just a bit unfortunate, that's all. The administration here in Bangladesh has always been very caring to citizens like us. We've had our way around here, and the people have learnt to live in peace and harmony with us. Tell me, son. Haven't my people loved you and your family? Haven't we given your entire family the dengue fever? In fact, we thought you were so deserving that we gave it to you twice. Tell me, son. Have we ever forgotten you? Haven't you always been in our hearts?
RS: Yep, you and your people definitely helped me stay in shape with all the weight losses you inflicted upon me.
LA: See, that's what I mean. We need to have a symbiotic relationship with the people of this country. Some of the over-enthusiastic so-called social welfare groups don't realize that, but the government sure does. That's why so-called pests like us live life to the fullest. I'd say Tela Mia has absolutely nothing to worry about. Tela Mia, listen to me. I have friends in the Dhaka City Corporation. I actually call the Mayor by his first name. I'll tell my friends about you. You'll have the life you want. As a legendary pest, I can do at least this much for a fellow pest.
TM: Oh, my lady, how can I thank you?
LA: Oh, nothing much. Just tell your friends at the restaurant not to use mosquito repellants. Us mosquitoes don't have free access there. If they can maintain a pathetic kitchen for you roaches to live in peace, they can easily let us mosquitoes come in and treat ourselves to some innocent human blood.
KM: See, man! That's what I'm talking about. People looking out for each other, showing some brotherly spirit. That's just cool, man, so cool!
RS: Very nice to see this interview end on a happy note. So guys, once again I'd like to thank you on behalf of all our readers for being here and sharing your valuable views with our readers.
LA, TM, KM (in unison): You're most welcome.
KM: And, yo Bangalis, just keep the poo and dirt flowing baby, just keep 'em flowing! There's no end to how much dirtier this dirty country could get.


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