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The stuff of ads

Advertisements, the only thing wrong with HBO. Those stupid ads are always getting in the way of blissful viewing. No matter what you want to watch the ads are always there to remind you that what you're seeing ain't real and tell you to not get your hopes up (since in real life the girls don't fall for geeks). Even if you're watching a sappy romance or the news the ads don't provide any relief from the melodramatics (which is prevalent in both the aforementioned). Some of them though do provide comic relief.

The Bad:
1. Marshall Chips: This ad has haunted my dreams ever since I first laid my eyes on it. The stupid catch tune and the equally stupid kids jumping around in lieu to the song make this one of the worst pieces of cinematography ever to hit the small screen. Throw in that unconvincing, man painted yellow trying to pass of as a robot and the whole thing becomes unbearable.

2. Fair and Handsome: This is by far one of the most demeaning ads on TV. Everything about it is wrong and totally inaccurate. Guys do not risk eternal embarrassment by breaking into the girls' room for a tube of gloss paint in the form of cream. The guy in the ad doesn't even look like a convincing guy in the first place. The notion that you can't hit it off with the girls without a skin which has the semblance of a blazing tube light is sickening. The director should be hanged in public.

3. Beauty Soaps and Creams (all of them): These ads seem to have no inkling of reality in them. They are even worse then most ads since some of them tell you that if used the beauty soap increases the chances of landing a job as an air hostess. Coupled with the obscene shots which tell you that women take their showers with their make up these ads are seriously corrupting the minds of today's youth who now only rely on beauty products for a shining career instead of concentrating on their education.

4. Model Towns: The sappiest and most melodramatic ads on TV. They always start of with a scene which shows the uncaring husband leaving for the office with the wife left at her dreary home dreaming of a duplex in some model town. Then suddenly the husband (dude probably skipped work) jumps through the door and surprise her with the duplex of her dreams. Then the happy family proceed to bore you with details of the model town their beloved duplex is in with shiny graphics of that model town (emphasis on shiny). The thing that gets me is how does that husband afford such a grand house? Houses in Dhaka are expensive and the only logical conclusion I can come to is that the guy's corrupt (since honest hard working men can't afford duplexes). And what's with the wife? Why are they always dreaming of bigger houses?

5. Soft and Energy Drinks: These ads have some actor or the other running around with a can of cola after some girl (sometimes in the rain). The only message the ad gets across is that the drinking of such drinks may cause hyperactivity. The energy drinks are a whole different matter. In one of them you've got Azam Khan wheezing 'Crown Enerzee” while in another there's this guy running across valleys and mountains only to catch up with his bus. If he's so energized why catch the bus at all, why not just run over more mountains all the way to his destination? I don't get it.

The Good:
1. Phone Ads: Some of these ads that advertise cell phone operators aren't all that bad. They worth the watching and keep the interest level up. One of them I heard even got some international acclaim. The music, the cinematography, the direction are all worthy of praise and others should take inspiration from these ads.

2. Mofiz: This advertisement is actually kinda cool. The idea that a guy stops speaking just because of his breath is outrageous and the fact that the catch phrase is so imaginative (Amar naam Mofiz, bhara hoilo tirish!) brings tears of laughter to your eyes. The other notable advert is the one of Orbit chewing gum, you know, the one where the vetshows of the cow's teeth. You should listen to Sabrina when she goes of about this ad.

As you can see, the bad by far outweighs the good. After it all boils down, in the end you realize ads are just a plain waste of time. No matter how good they get I'll always hate 'em. So there…

By Tareq Adnan

Between signalst

It was a monotonous routine everyday, stuck in the thronging roads of Dhaka City. It became quite an ordeal for students like myself situated far away from Dhanmondi, to travel amidst depressing weather and the exasperating traffic to the numerous coaching centers sprouting in the area. Boredom slowly reached the final nerve even before I arrived at my destination. I never envisaged that there could be anything appealing on the streets to look out for throughout my countless journeys. This perception though, proved to be quite incorrect. One eventful day, I was sitting leisurely inside my car listening to music, unconcerned about the events occurring on the other side of my window. Out of the blue, a tiny figure emerged and obstructed the sunshine through my window. I speculated it was just another beggar who would eventually move on to the next passenger. Instead, when I glanced I saw a boy possessing a slender physique examining me with a broad smile. Surprisingly, besides leaving, the boy enthusiastically told me to descend my window. As I lowered the glass he questioned me why I hadn't gone to coaching the previous day. I was remarkably flabbergasted by the fact that he had noticed my absence and knew I go to coachings. I inquired how he had remembered me amongst the myriad of passengers in the innumerable cars. Instead of a reply he handed me a bunch of flowers and hopped a step back as I attempted to return it back. Realizing that I had no intention of purchase, with a gracious smile he instantaneously said that it was a gift. He must have been a very good marketer if he anticipated that I would buy his flowers in the future, as his eccentric behavior succeeded to impress me somewhere down the line. I found the car suddenly accelerating; the signal had finally turned green. I turned around and noticed the little peddler waving until his silhouette vanished in the far distance. That brief meeting was just the beginning of many more to come.

The upcoming days, I got acquainted with the boy further. His name was Babu, and as his father did not6 have inconsiderable amount of money for his education, he had to opt for his son to sell flowers instead. We would have little conversations every now and then when the signal turned red. Even if I were keen to purchase flowers he would refuse to accept the money and would have to be forced to accept it. One day, as the signal illuminated with red light I saw Babu, looking extremely fragile, sitting on the wet pavement holding small drenched roses. He noticed me and shivered across the road to my car. The doleful look on his face suddenly lit up with a bright smile as he questioned how my day was. When I inquired why he wasn't taking shelter from the heavy rain, after hesitating for a while he replied that he hadn't sold a single flower and hence he couldn't have any food that day. Seeing the look of pity of my face his smile broadened and told me not to be grieved, as it was a frequent scenario. The next thing he uttered astounded me further. He told me to appreciate the beautiful rain and all the other wonderful things in life, and with that he sprang away and played with his little friends. The bundles of joy they possessed overshadowed the bitter sadness in their lives. From then, I've started to look at things from a different perspective. If they can overcome problems with such joy and patience, why cant we?

By Jasia Haider

Petition for beard

Beards continue to stir up a controversy this week. This comes from a reader.

Couple of weeks ago Shuprova Tasneem explained a lot about beards and that got the ball rolling for many. She said she is not against it and I know that. Some girls want guys to be clean and precise and that means death to beards. But does that mean beard make us ugly? Hell no! Don't you think it's a gift from god for men only? I mean we can do so much with it instead of hiding something in it (which incidentally is not such a bad idea).

I like beards. In fact, I love it and am proud of it. We can experiment with this bunch of god gifted hair and come up with all kinds of artistic (?) creations. There are various cuts available such as full beard, stubble, Van Dyck, Verdi, goatee, Garibaldi and of course the infamous French cut. Beards give us an array of choices to change our looks and trust me we need that. What if you get caught with another girl in front of your girlfriend? The solution is you have to go undercover and form a good size of beard. Then wherever you go she wont be able to recognize you and you will be safe. Lame but it is so lame it just might work.

Seriously though, beards can get you respect. My cousin once had a real hard time studying so he couldn't find (or tried to find) time to shave his beard. He also didn't get time to go out either. So after a few days when his study was over he went out to see the world. There was the para's boro bhai who came and asked, “ Bhaiya, how are you? Are you new here? Just let me know if you need anything.”

My cousin was amazed and he said nothing except; “hmm……” From that day he is obsessed with his beard. No wonder! Beards can also serve as a trademark. Look at Mr. Amitabh Bachan. His facial hair is a trademark of Bollywood and goes to show even at this age he defines cool.

Now beards can also scare the hell out of people. When you go to give (or more truly take) your girl friend a treat and see the place is full, your day will get ruined for sure. But not for long if you have beard. Everybody will think of you as a JMB member and soon you will see seats are empty. Dubious trick but it just may work. Of course, you could end up going to the shoshur baari (jail). It's in fact a weapon itself. It doesn't cost you a penny. Just sit back and relax. It will grow automatically.

You can just go on and on about beards. Now it is no wonder the girls can be because they don't have any. They have to use make-up and facials to look good. We guys on the other hand have nothing to worry about. We can enjoy the moment with a comb to our cheeks. So those who are in love with his beard join for the petition to save our beard.

By S.M.M.R. Shaon

Harry Potter and the order of the phoenix 

JK Rowling

By the time Order of the Phoenix came out, people were stark raving mad about Harry Potter. Oh, the rumours that floated around before the release! Apart from Deathly Hallows, this was probably the most anticipated book of all. But reading too many rumours has a very harmful effect on you. So this book disappointed people in the sense that, what they wanted was not what they got.

The Plot
The book opened with tremendous action right from the first chapter. This stream of adrenaline continued up to the end of the third chapter, and then the book kind of went into fatigue a bit. Harry is in his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But due to distressing circumstances, there occurs a certain amount of, well, uncertainty about whether or not he would be able to get back to school. But he does eventually [sorry about the spoiler. In my defence, it's a pretty obvious spoiler]. But it is not the future that the sad, yet hopeful and fiercely proud, ending of Goblet of Fire had promised us. Voldemort is back to his original body, but few people believe it, other than the Order of the Phoenix, which is a secret society Dumbledore had founded to fight Voldemort during Voldemort's first tenure as the villain of the wizarding world. Dumbledore is trying to spread the word around that Voldemort's back, but he's being discredited all around [he is still on the Chocolate Frog cards, though]. The Ministry of Magic is resolutely refusing to believe that Voldemort has been reincarnated. Voldemort, seeing this as an advantage, is lying low, putting secret plans in motion to acquire a “secret weapon”. Harry is having disturbing dreams. His mental state is not improved by the Ministry assigning a teacher for the so called “cursed” Defence Against the Dark Arts post, since Dumbledore couldn't find anyone brave enough to take it.

The Verdict
This is the book where everyone starts to grow up. Fifteen is such an age. It is a wonderful, though rather bitter, concoction prepared by a cauldron full of misunderstandings, a pinch of romance, with a litre of rebellion and boiled with the ever popular teenage angst and confusion. We go a lot of places and meet a lot of people, which kind of drags the book on a bit. It is not one of my personal favourites of the series, but it does give you answers to some questions, but many more arise to replenish the ranks, as they say.

Although you'll feel a little like the book lacked something, but it's a Harry Potter book after all. There is a lot of humour [more of the sarcastic type than anything]. And you'll be laughing yourself shi-, er, laughing your head off at many places, I mean. Jo captures hormonal influence at its best. It portrays a pretty accurate picture of teenage life, which is all the more reason to feel a little disgruntled, as it will remind you of your past [or present, or future], one way or the other. But there is the very satisfying Dumbledore's Army as compensation. Curious? Read the book to find out.

By Kazim Ibn Sadique


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