Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home



BECAUSE. We are the embodiment of the previous generation and inherited every nerdy trait and legacy they had to offer. And because we like saying because. That is the mode of this article; we will rebut everything for the sake of because. Because because is awesome because we are. We didn't get that too.

Note To Confused Readers from CK: The Murgi, in epic rage and not a little bit of despair at the general disregard for Murgis, has finally flipped it and the veneer of icy, feathery calm he used to play COD under has finally cracked. I fudging beat him for once!!! Which is also why the intro is so fudged up. Because.

CK: Dude, what the hell are you talking about? We writing about games or what?

NM: No we are not! We most definitely are not my good Kauwa. We must protest!

CK: I see. What are we protesting against? More importantly, what are we ranting about? And why not about games?

NM: We must protest about how they won't let me sleep in the afternoons anymore! And to think my mother used to beat me with a stick if I didn't snuff out every afternoon! Also, to the plight of the murgis. Because apparently we need to do some community service or something. Something about obscene conduct in the presence of pigeons.

CK: Wait, wait. Are they talking about that incident down at Moghbazar? I thought everyone forgot about that. The pigeons were making fun of me 'cause I'm black! That's not right!

NM: And because I can't fly... Too fat apparently for aerodynamic lift. Darn physics.

CK: At least no one shoots you with air guns, man.

NM: Anyway, we won't be talking about games this week, much to the great dismay of our abundant fans numbering 45. We will talk about how they won't let me sleep in the afternoons... and how I miss Swat Kats.

CK: You know what else I --

[Editor's note: They talked too much. So the rest of the conversation was cut for the sake of brevity.]

Swat Kats: Two little far-from-cute-feline individuals, against all conventions of cats being feminine, bandied together to repaint the image of cute fluffy kittens as boisterously masculine and added a jet to it. How could impressionable little boys, on the verge of discovering testosterone, not fall in love with them?

Their heroics, their attitudes, their radicalness- it was all way too much for us impressionable kids. It was love and fascination at first sight. Their jets, their cool gadgets, the junkyard that they owned- we wanted it all. We dreamt of living in Megakat City, flying our black jets with red stripes, shooting homing missiles at the bad guys. We dreamt of it all, in the cool afternoon of back, back then.

And then some of us, with cynical demeanours and who harbour a general hatred of all things nice and fuzzy would remember how, back, back then, in the afternoons, we'd be forcefully put to sleep. No, not killed. But just forced to go to sleep, because our mothers thought it was what was needed after a long day at school. Little did they know, that we'd spent the day at said school not learning algebra but actually dreaming about flying a black jet at a dinosaur. They took away our dreams. They took away our jets. They stole the possibility of us ever growing up whole, instead of these scarred, and crippled nerds that we have become.

But one supposes that it's not ALL bad. It is, after all, nerds who rule the world these days, whether it's Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Sergey M. Brin, Lawrence E. Page, and whoever not - they rule the earth and that's how it is. So, the question is, are we nerds because we lived for Swat Kats, or because we took our afternoon naps? Swat Kats inspired us into the world of gadgetry and technology, about building something great from a heap of junk, about not taking crap from people.

Actually, except for the last part. We never really learnt how to not take crap from people. Weird.

Afternoon naps were at time, when we were hyperactive and still not so jaded, pretty much a chore. What kind of an idiot chooses to sleep when he knows there's this awesome jet flying around on the other side of the TV? Seriously? But our mothers never understood. They thought school drained our minds and thus we needed to sleep. And when we woke up, all of us collectively would sulk because Swat Kats would be over. But on the flip side, with our refreshed minds, we were better equipped to think dark thoughts of taking over the world with cool shiny gadgets. Quite like Gates. Quite like Jobs. Two people with random, innocuous names like ours who are now killing red communists as we speak by throwing apples out of windows. Are we, murgis and kauwas destined for that as well?

Well, if you get down to think about it, we did take out a big chunk out of the world at large at some point. The avian flu was all us, all murgies and kauwas. Sure, we weren't famous like Gates and Jobs (that's sinister, that is), but in our own little way, we were gods. We made the world tremble. And I reckon we'd have to be satisfied about that.

Now, dear readers, you're probably wondering what point we're exactly trying to make. The point is this: we miss it. We miss watching cartoons, we miss running home from school JUST barely in time to watch the intro to Tin Tin, and then grab a quick bite of something, and move on to Swat Kats. We miss grinning from ear to ear, lounged up comfortably in our couches, eating a mix of muri and chanachur from our favourite bowl. We miss the exhilarating feeling of seeing the Radical Squadron win their battles. We miss watching Looney Tunes (CK: Whoa! Looney Tunes!) in the evening, the highlight of the day. And most ironic of all, we miss our afternoon naps. Why are our mothers not there ready with a stick to make sure we have one? Work and more work has left us with bent backs, crippled minds and a jaded personality, and an inability to sleep much. So much so, that we can hardly remember what Swat Kats looked like. Or Centurians. (NM: Whoa! Centurians!)

And thusly, while we slog it out, to make the sure the world don't beat us down, we are subject to reminiscing in pain about the things we once railed about. Where once we were pissed of at our moms, now we wish she was around a little more, that the man would let us go home and go to sleep. We have actually refrained from re-reading Roald Dahl and watching Swat Kats, because re-doing those things would take away the memories. And in this sad, sad world, a murgi or a kauwa only has his memories to help him by. And this article, is to a point, dedicated to the memory of our childhood, which inevitably shaped us into becoming these two idiotic bumbling fools. Swat Kats FTW!

By Ninja Murgi and Captain Kauwa

For Gray Skies

DROPLETS lift off the surface of the ocean, pinpricks suspended in the air, wafted upwards by the wind. They detach cleanly from the sunlit, greenly tinged waters. The silver fish dart around the rocks and somewhere upstream a woman beats a load of laundry against the bank, stopping every now and then to tip her bucket of soapsuds into the river. And then filmy bubbles join the debris from the tannery downstream to form multicolored stains that swirl their way south.

Almost quiet, the wind taut with expectation, the day suspended in languidness. The air drifts past the branches being sawed off, the tract of land being cleared for some new development. Vertical strips of steel punctuate the vista.

Downstream the river rushes into the sea and a barge cuts across the waters, trailing foam-capped waves, wafting the dead fish shore-wards.

The air, warmer, rises in a column past the cow chewing cud and the little boy rolling a deflated tire around the vegetable patch. Past the river choking on plastic bags. Past the woman with the laundry now wrung out and stained deeper shades of primary colors, limping from last night's beating. She drags a foot almost imperceptibly behind and shifts her load from one arm to another, and no one notices.

Farther south the cacophony picks up, the countryside blurring into the metropolis, those fields fast morphing into shapes of steel and brick. Tracks weaving past the thatched roofs, earth pounded flat, they now give away to tarred and pitched behemoths that breed potholes along every five-foot stretch of road. Diesel-laced is the air, shrouding the sky with its miasma of noxious fumes. “What's that smell?” the people ask, and feel obligated to plant their feet wide apart on the uneven road and sniff, but it is only the city that they inhale, only the city that leaves their lungs.

The warm, eddying air mass curls around the cinderblocks that rise unapologetically from the ground. Glass-fronted faces reflect the sky, blue sky shredded with cumulus clouds. An airplane spews a thick line of smoke before disappearing into the light. “Oh, the noise,” someone complains. Always the noise, always the fumes, always that flustered curling of the lip as cars are abruptly halted at the signal and power outages that plunge entire neighborhoods in real darkness.

Clouds cling closer to the ground now, a darker shade of gray than they were in the morning. Cloud streets, parallel with the wind, and the burst of daylight is suddenly dimmer.

“Rain,” the people call out. They point to the sky, gray sky, and nod sagely. “It's going to rain.”

“Cumulonimbus clouds,” the weather forecaster announces, in those living rooms backlit by neon lights and swabbed twice a day by some fifteen-year-old girl who drags around a bucket of soapsuds and a rag under the gimlet eye of a not-as-harrowed middle-aged woman. “Expect showers tonight.”

That line where warm air meets cold, occupying just that space in the atmosphere when the moisture condenses to form precipitation. “Rain or hail, depending on surface air levels.” But the asphalt roads of Dhaka are always steaming, always burning, always raging under the unison of pounding feet and plying wheels.

By Shehtaz Huq


home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2010 The Daily Star