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We love to see others suffer

We malicious creatures love to see others suffer. It's in our nature, only the degree of malice varies. Some of us would love to see our most hated teachers be dipped bubbling vats of radioactive gunk and then be thrown into a pond full of piranhas. Of course, then the piranhas would not have much left to nibble on. Whereas the rest of us can't help grinning when we see someone slip on a banana peel and land on their bottom. And that brings me to my point, that although most accidents are scary or painful, there are some that make the stomach hurt from laughing no matter how hard we try to nod your head and put on a tragic air.

A favourite mishap is when someone stumbles and falls flat on their face. This usually occurs in the bathroom since it is so easy to slip on shampoo, water or your own filth, with the saddest part being that no one is ever around to witness the tumble. The only way you can entertain your family by doing this is if you are a very tall, burly guy, because then if you fall against the door there's a great chance of it breaking down, forcing you to land on the floor in a mess of broken wood, water and total humiliation.

Another extremely enjoyable sight is watching someone else fall into an open manhole or drain quite abundant in Dhaka. I myself managed to fall into a big hole once, although it was only filled with water and not “grandma's home made halim” as one RS writer once called the stuff found in most drains. It's always hilarious to watch your friends fall into one and come out smelling like rotten dung (as if fresh dung was not bad enough). But it was even more satisfying when I saw a “cool dude” check out a girl, walk up to her and then step into a drain on the way!

And then there was THE funniest incident about a guy who had a knack for falling into drains. Since the roads were flooded again one day, and he didn't want to walk into a drain like he always does wearing his brand new Nike shoes, he decided to jump onto the next rickshaw that passed. This he succeeded in doing, only he landed on a rickshaw carrying a small and at that moment extremely annoyed young lady, who quite obviously pushed him and yep, he fell into a drain again. Only this time, he fell head first.

Road accidents are usually disastrous and can lead to terrible results, but there are one or two that can give you a good laugh. The usual ones are where two people get on a motorbike and start the vehicle, but only one person goes along with it while the other flies off the seat and lies helplessly on the street. But something different happened to my cousin, who was cruising down the road in his leather jacket, dark shades and usual “mood”. He happened to meet a cow blocking the road and loudly honked at it. Obviously the poor animal's feelings were hurt by this rudeness, so it kicked as hard as it could and proudly marched on its way, while my cousin sullenly lay under his bike and wished he had asked the cow to move. Politely.

After this incident, he developed a long lasting grudge against cows, so he was really happy to hear what happened to my friend's one. There was a huge storm a few days before Eid, and since the ground floor was getting flooded, they somehow managed to move the plump cow to the roof. Either that cow was too proud to be butchered by knives and chose suicide or it was really afraid of lightning because it jumped from the roof, got tangled up in some wires and got electrocuted. That was a horrible way to die, but at least my cousin got a bit of his lost 'mood' back by eating grilled beef all Eid.

There are a million other random mishaps that brighten up your day unless you are the one involved in the mishap. It could be anything as mundane as someone falling over sitting in a chair or accidentally lighting their beard on fire, which did happen to a person once because he was too busy looking at a girl!

But my absolute favourite one occurred at a little store, where this girl I know went to buy ice cream. She was very short and was addicted to ice cream, and the deep fridge over there was a monster one. So one moment she's trying to reach the ice cream, when suddenly I hear a loud thump, and next thing I know she's fallen into the fridge and all I can see is a pair of legs thrashing wildly in the air.

Like I said, accidents like these can be really funny if you actually witness them, but it can be extremely awkward to the person who suffers them. I should know, because I've managed to get my leg plastered twice due to bruised ligaments, once when I turned (yes, that's all I did, I turned) and again when I missed a step in a busy market. So all you victims of such embarrassing twists of fate, just look at the bright side of it, at least you got to put a smile on everyone's faces!

By Shuprova Tasneem

The Grunt-Dance

A short while ago in a galaxy close by…

The story begins in a new world in that galaxy. A world where the age of dinosaurs have just ended, and the age of man has begun.

Around a large blazing fire, a group of primitives in loinclothes were dancing and grunting. Here on earth, it's known as calling the ancient spirits, or ancestors. But since, there, they were the ancestors themselves, this was called grunt-dancing, a revolutionary sort of dance in itself that would carve the path to break-dancing.

They circled around the fire, stomping their feet and striking the ground with their blunt and useless spears, their skin thick as rhinos and their brains the size of beans.

A lot more of stomping, striking and dancing later, they finally settled down. As they sat around the fire, from a distance another primitive with a large long piece of wood came running towards them, shouting in strange grunts in hieroglyphic accent. As he got nearer, one of the primitives around the fire who was apparently the leader, which could be deduced by the fact that he had the least number of teeth in his mouth, and the most number of teeth with the necklace around his neck raised his hand and spoke in the same hieroglyphic accent.

The new man came forward and pointed to the long stick of thick wood and said some hieroglyphics words. He motioned to the stick that it could be blown, and handed it to the leader.

Upon examination, the leader saw that it was hollow inside with the top and the end open. He smiled in triumph and nodded his approval to the second man.

Here now, the second man jumped up and down in elation and threw away his only loincloth in the fire. This is where the phrase, “You don't need pants for a victory dance” stems from, one would suppose. But, it should be noted that those immediate surrounding people might not be too fond of your special exhibition. Next thing you know, you're being roasted for dinner with an apple inside your mouth.

That was what happened to the stick man.

Back to the leader he blew on one end of the stick and air rushed out, groaning. He frowned and confirmed the roasting of the stick man. He began to speak articulately (this is done by taking a chisel and pieces of stone or wood and engrave in what you want to say. It's a very effective method, except that it sometimes takes days to say a simple sentence.).

“We. Must. Evolve. We. Primitives. Far. Long. No More. Say. I.” That took three days (they had meat). The moon hung high above them and the stars numbered in billions.

The leader walked cautiously to the fire and sat cross-legged. Experimenting, he placed one end of the stick into the fire and the other on his mouth. With a thoughtful look, he inhaled taking in all the air inside the hollow stick. The hot fumes, smoke and dust and whatnot rushed through the stick, into his mouth. Ears steaming and eyes blood red, his heart burnt like hell.

With a large grunt, he said articulately, “I. See. Future. Don't-” Before he could finish the rest of the sentence, which would have taken a mere single more hour, he died. They assumed he forbade them to breathe the stick. What the leader had actually wanted to say was. “Don't. Evolve” He did see the future. A pretty sick one.

The others looked at themselves and grunted to each other, (a much faster form of communication) “We shall follow leader's advice. As he said, we evolve.”

One of them laughed out and said, “Who you to say what we do. I say, we evolve.” After several nights and days of turmoil and chaos, it was finally agreed that they would evolve. And in a fort night, they did. They were now dressed in tuxedos, used unnecessary walking sticks and had an attitude that said, “I own the world.”

The evolved primitives with their classy clothes and beautiful blonde women sat circled around the sculpture of the world. One of them, his hands clasped, muttered sinisterly to the rest of the group, “I think it's time we destroyed the eco system. My contact on Earth, some multinational company owner, says it's a good idea. It should be a good idea. Look where he is Multinational Company Owner!” And they began their long hard way down to hell, continuing the legacy Earthmen set upon then.

Strangely enough, even though their world had soon gone to hell, one thing remained. Something of pure beauty. Something that couldn't be evolved, something that everybody did whenever they had the time, and it was their only hope it was Grunt Dancing!

By SS Emil

Book review


For those who want to move away from the ornate-ness of Austen's portrayal of Victorian society, and want a glimpse into the era's darker side, Sarah Waters' Fingersmith is a perfect read. Fingersmith is the Victorian term for petty thief. And these shady characters are the main focus of Waters' book. Filled with thieves and tricksters, this Victorian macabre tale of deceit and trickery pulls you into its murky mansions and menacing mental asylums while still holding onto a contemporary feel.

The story is primarily about two girls: Sue and Maud. Sue grows up in a shady back alley house surrounded by fingersmiths while Maud leads a life of seclusion with her uncle. As different as chalk and cheese, little do these two know that their fates are forever entwined.

In a complex deception concocted by Sue's loving, guardian Mrs. Sucksby, she is sent to a sinister old country mansion, to be a maid to Maud Lily, the heiress she must deceive. Maud is kept isolated from the real world by her obsessive and eccentric uncle. Sue's job is to convince impressionable and naïve Maud to marry Richard, a charismatic trickster. Once married Sue and Richard would put Maud in a mental asylum and spilt Maud's fortune.

Till the point at which Maud and Richard get married, the plot is steady and simple enough. It is after they are married that readers are jolted out of the smugness of their predictions by a un-thought-of twist in the plot. From that point on the twists and turns rise to a crescendo making it one of those can't-put-down-till-the-end books. Roles are reversed, new discoveries are made and the protagonists become as confused as the readers for a while.

Written in the first person, this book is not for readers who want a quick rush to while away some mundane, layover hours. It asks readers to get accustomed to its gory, Dickensian characters and patiently wait for the plot to stew and see what comes next. And once into the book, readers often squint at the brightness of reality when they tear themselves away from the book. A departure from the deluge of pulp fiction that floods the market, Sarah Waters is a true contemporary master piece that every book lover should read.

By Tahiat-e-Mahboob


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