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Phreaky phobias

Among the many useless phobias known to man are gamophobia (fear of marriage, which mostly afflicts men), enochlophobia (fear of crowds) and kathisophobia (fear of sitting down). Here in Bangladesh we have more serious things to be afraid of:

1. RAB-phobia- Oh, the abbreviation explanations that were invented when RAB first formed- 'ridiculously attired black', 'really anal bastards'… But no one even dares to pull the black-socked-and-booted legs of Bangladesh's crime fighting elite now. Did anyone hear the story (I can neither confirm nor deny this 'story') about RAB members stopping a school bus 'cus one of the students showed them his thumb? The RAB members said it meant 'kochu' while the accused maintained that it meant 'Way to go dudes! Awesome job!' Any way, these guys have it all- guns, 'stylish' uniforms (hey, black is always 'in'), immunity from the law, and of course, 'trendy' sunglasses. Since this is not a bona fide phobia, the name of the phobia is written within inverted commas as in 'RAB-phobia'.

2. Mullah-phobia- they defy George Bush, they get the backing of politicians, they manage to pull of a synchronized (as well as it can be in our country) firecracker attack, and if all that doesn't kill you, they'll poke you with their pointy beards. Yes, mullahs do spice up our mundane lives. What would we do without them? Ooh, gee, I don't know…maybe not be in list of countries the US wants to keep an eye on, maybe not be afraid of bombs blowing us to smithereens when there's a festival or not, maybe just be plain bored with the uneventfulness and unexplosiveness of daily life. I pity the fool who has both RAB phobia and mullah phobia.

3. Awami-Ladies-phobia- Imagine walking along a footpath during a hartal, bombs dropping all around you, tear gas eating away your eyeballs…yup, it's another normal hartal day, nothing to worry about. Then out of the haze of the tear gas darts out a horde of angry women shrieking ear-splitting war cries. 'Oh my God, it's the revenge of Xena!' you think. WRONG! It's the females of Awami League and man, are they tough! They are fantastic role models for the next generation of girls. They teach us how to hold our own, hold our ground, never lose hope and how to resist arrest. Yes, Bangladeshi women are incredibly emancipated.

4. Spit-o-phobia- This is mostly a seasonal phobia which afflicts people during Ramadan. In this holy month, it is the sacred right of every Muslim to spit publicly, whenever the need or desire to do so should strike. Most people who have this phobia will say it is caused due to a past spit-related experience for example getting a healthy dose of spit while standing beside a bus, standing below a building and then there are a few teachers who like to spit in your eye when they talk. Similar phobias include bird-poop-phobia i.e. fear of being the target of an aerial poop bomb attack (a certain teacher of mine was pooped on twice in one week which led to her having an aversion to standing below trees).

5. Peeing-dog-phobia- This particular phobia is restricted to a certain group of people, namely the RS team. Forget to hand in an assignment and Ronny sets this canine phenomenon on you. We don't dare speak the peeing dog's name (well…it's mainly because we don't know his name). He uses the art of Kung-Pee to defeat his adversary. No one really knows the secret of Kung-Pee. Some say the pee is radioactive; others say that it's concentrated acid. It is rumoured that this pooch's diet consists of a rare variety of chillies from the mountains of Mexico. But one thing's for sure, the RS mascot definitely deserves the title of 'Da Dawg'.

By Verity

A life, a dream

As the sun rose on a changed landscape I felt a stream of icy cold water running down my spinal cord. Well, it was not because I was scared; it was mainly because it was the first morning of my new job, the first morning on which I opened my eyes in an entirely new city. I did not know what to expect at the office. I waited for the office car to come and pick me up. Being an early riser, I woke up at 6:30 in the morning, offered my prayers and made myself a cup of tea.

8:45 dawned, but there was no sign of the car. I had to reach the office before nine but not knowing the location of the office, I was stuck. I thought of hopping onto a rickshaw and asking to be taken to “Ariyana”, but then snapped out of the idea as I remembered last night's incident at Sylhet Railway station where neither could anyone understand what I was saying, nor did I get what others were saying! The office secretary of 'Ariyana' saved me, as she was not a Sylheti.

The car's horn brought me back to reality and I saw that it was five past nine. Gosh it was the first day of a brand new job the first job of my life! I locked my apartment and stepped into the car. The driver grinned and greeted me in the local language (obviously I did not get a thing!). Within a very short time the driver, in his own language, tried to make me understand the reason behind his delay. After listening to his words I could only sum up that there was a problem with the car's tire. I glanced at the sights around me and found that Sylhet was a small city compared to Chittagong. After exactly fifteen minutes of driving, the car reached the front gate of 'Ariyana'. It was a building, which seemed to be something out of this world. I stepped out of the car, placed my first step on the staircase. As I entered, I realized that the furniture, the floor, the walls, the people and everything else had a posh touch to them. I looked at myself and considered whether my blue sari fitted into this atmosphere or not. I had been appointed as the secretary of the managing director.

My family did not support my wish to travel all the way from Chittagong to Sylhet and to join this company as a secretary. I quarreled and cried and even went on a hunger strike. Finally, I managed to convince my family to let me accept this job, as I wanted to achieve the very best of my career by gathering some experience. This was the main reason why I chose this job and went all the way to Dhaka to give the interview. Surprisingly I got the appointment letter in a week. 'Ariyana' is a fashion house. It not only has its showrooms in Bangladesh but it exports fashion wears worldwide. In one word it is a multinational company. And for a very strange reason the factory was in Sylhet though the managing partners were not from Sylhet. I was proud; I was happy and most importantly I was satisfied to get this job. Before I wanted to start my new journey, I would like to thank my best friend Raihan. He was the one who had informed me about the job vacancy and he was the one who told me that it was the best opportunity for me. Again he was the one who had supported me in the long days of hunger strikes and quarrelling. He was my best friend.

I went up to the reception and said, 'Hello, I am Sabrina Sharmin the new secretary of the managing director.'

“Nice meeting you Ma'am. Here's your ID card. Please go to the second floor. Sir is waiting for you.” She answered in a robotic voice; it seemed to me that she was uttering the words that she had memorized the night before. I thanked her and moved forward towards the elevator. Then I headed towards the managing director's room and knocked on the door. I heard a deep manly voice saying, “It's open. Please come in.”

I entered the room with a mixture of fear and excitement. It was my first meeting with my boss. The person sitting behind the large secretary table was young, handsome, fashionable and none other than my childhood best friend Raihan! I could not believe my eyes! I was not expecting him to be my boss. Seeing Raihan behind the secretary desk was something beyond my wildest dreams. Before I could say anything, he started, “It's your first day in 'Ariyana' so I am not going to give you much pressure. Relax a bit, roam around the office and get to know your co-workers better. Sabrina Sharmin - a nice name. I like it!”

I was totally dumbstruck. I did not know what to say. I was surprised to see him behave so formally. We have lived our lives together. Well, for the past three years there was a communication gap as we could not meet, but we kept in touch via e-mail. Suddenly I realized that I had told him about my dream to work in a fashion house. I had shared every single thought and feeling with him. I also realized that there was some fact about myself that I had forgotten but he had not. In a fraction of a second I recalled that he was the one who told me about the job in Ariyana. I found myself helpless because I did not want anyone to help me achieve my desired goal. I did not like it at all. I came out of his room and took the stairs to the ground floor and went out of the office. At that moment I thought he was a liar. I wondered why he had not told me that he was the managing director of Ariyana.

“Madam, sir is calling you.” I heard the receptionist's voice. I turned back and told him that I did not want to meet his sir. I also told him that I wanted to resign. The person stared at me with a blank look in his eyes. He was very surprised. He again said, “You have to give a resignation letter to your boss, I mean, to Raihan Sir.”

I did not say anything and went back to 'my boss's' cabin. And before I could understand anything I found myself in Raihan's arm. Then I heard the three magical words, “I LOVE YOU” in my ears. Without the delay of a single minute I said, “I LOVE YOU.” I did not know what I was saying. The only thing that was important to me was the warmth of his body, his deep breaths and the heartbeats. The moment was so dramatic and beautiful that I could not get my body out of his hands. Slowly he turned at me and said, “Did you like the surprise?”

“So it was a play?”
“Sweetheart, I have loved you since the very first day we met.”
“Raihan, I mean the job.”
“You can continue to be my secretary but not here.”
“Then where?”
“In my home.”
“Your home?”
“No. No. No. Our home. Our sweet home.”

I did not say anything but my silence explained everything. It was the very first time I had realized that I loved him. It was the first time I found out the reason why I had been acting weirdly with every man who wanted to come into my life. I accepted his proposal.

The rest of the story is simple. We got married last week. Now he is sleeping behind me, on the same bed. It is a miracle for me because my whole life circled around my ambition and goals. I always wanted to become a businesswoman. Somehow I was still happy because I had found true love. Every girl wishes to get a very good friend in her husband but I was really fortunate to have found a husband in my very good friend. I looked at him and saw that he was staring at me with a polite smile of approval. I asked, “What?”

“Did I tell you that I have allocated 49% shares of 'Ariyana' in your name?” He questioned me with the same smile on his face.
“What are you saying Raihan?”
“I am saying that you are one of the managing partners of “Ariyana'.”

I was speechless foe a moment because he was reading my mind.
He started, “Don't you know that I can read your thoughts. I always wanted to see you as a successful businesswoman. I love you. I want you. I know I just cannot live without you. But I just cannot see that you are not accomplishing your goal in life. Honey, I want you to prove the very best in yourself.”

We both smiled. He hugged me tightly and said, “I love you.”
This is not the end of our story. It's just the beginning.

By Tahmina Tasnim


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