Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, June 21, 2007

By Tareq Adnan

Pointless adda, be it about politics, sports, news, Bush or Bin Laden, we Bangladeshis revel in pointless yapping. Yakking nonchalantly about a whole range of issues that stretches the spectrum is our main source of enjoyment. That's why adda never ceases to be a huge past time, and that's the reason why a lot of adda locations are always enjoying one adda after another. The list of places that most people frequent to while away their time chitchatting about nothing goes on and on.

Chaer Dokan: One of the best places for people to go and have a cuppa'. With the cup of tea you also get to experience the colorful debates that are going there. First and foremost in the list is politics. There is always one fat guy who laments quite extensively that the daily 'oborodh' is killing his bank account because the prices have soared due to it. Then there is a skinny guy who makes some really derogatory remarks that the two sparing female leaders should be murdered and men should take over rule. This particular guy gives examples of the previous 'male' leaders of the past and how people were happy and the country actually developed in their regimes (there is always one chauvinist in every adda who will never back down from clearing his point about how females suck at everything).

Also you'll find a university student who will tell his woes about how session jams have ruined his life and forced him to complete a four year course in five years. Then there is the business executive type guy who chips in his two cents in a very condescending attitude by making stately remarks about how the economy has fallen and commerce has taken a dive.

Local Bus: This another good place to yap about zilch. Usually the adda starts with two people talking about say, a subject such as the degenerate youth of today and how these kids have no sense of family and tradition and etiquette. Hearing such remarks a lady with a considerable waist line joins the conversation about the matter with an example of how her “friend's” daughter has gone awry. The way these aunties talk will give you the impression that they seem to know the details too well for the daughter to be her friends and not hers.

A bald guy will join in and start yapping about how the guys these days are too interested in girls and too lazy to take responsibility for their actions. If you're my age, don't make the mistake of joining this certain adda, the topic hits too close to home. And umm, remember, these conversations are the perfect premise for pickpockets. Don't get too caught up in the yapping to not notice a big hairy unknown hand go into you pocket, grope inside and take out your valuables.

Boat: In the time of floods and monsoon rains, boats and boat rides go hand in hand. If you have gone to your 'desher bari' while the place was submerged under water, then you must have noticed those 'shalo noukas' that plod the uncharted flood zones. Well, I had the privilege of riding in one and listening in on the adda they have. Mostly it's concerning things connected with farming and political calamities. There is always a old dude who looks uncannily like your grandpa and this certain dude will talk about how everything's changed and how farming the land is not on the minds of the farmers these days. And oh, be careful, this old dude uses farming and village jargon that differs greatly from the version of Bangla we speak in the city. Don't make the mistake of asking him what he means when he says that the harvest of “kushoor” has been below standard. Anyway, this adda is quite enjoyable if you don't join, since you being a city slicker have no idea what the farmers are talking about. But listening to them pochafying the two leaders of our country in their own unique way is quite interesting and gives you a insight into how politics in Bangladesh doesn't really do much for the common man…or farmer.

The Barbershop: This is probably the epitome of pointless adda. Almost all barbershops here in Dhaka have a radio or a TV or both. And something I noticed which is kinda weird is that all of them seem to be Bihari and speak in a disjointed version of Bangla and Hindi mixed together. Anyway, the TV is always switched on and tuned to one of them Hindi channels showing some sickening made up Hindi soap or if you're lucky then it might just be the afternoon news broadcast or the latest cricket match. The topic of discussion here is obvious. Whatever's on the TV is what the 'napiths' yap about, with the guys in the barbers chairs sometimes joining in. There is always a skinny mustached barber who speaks in a fluent mixture of Hindi and Bangla. This guy will be yapping about the cricket match going on and discussing his opinion about how Tendulkar's time has gone and that India should dump him. In between another barber with a really crappy hairdo (maybe the barbers try to cut their own hair, but I have yet to see a barber with a good hairdo) will object and promptly tell him that India is doing a good thing by bringing in Tendulkar, arguing that it helps the teams morale (this is another topic of discussion, I've never heard these Barbers discuss the Bangladesh cricket team, it's always either India or Pakistan). Either way, you're in a no holds barred pointless discussion about sports and politics which goes nowhere but toward a haircut.

That's about it. The best places where pointless yapping about nothing goes on. Undoubtedly, most of you have been a part one or more of them, even if you didn't speak.



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