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Fat but Not...

Being fat has its benefits. For one, a fat person takes three times longer to drown. Since fat consists of oil and oil is lighter than water, fat people stay afloat even when their thinner companion has long gone down. If Leonardo Di Caprio had been fat in Titanic he could have saved himself too. Now, that was supposed to be a joke I heard some days ago. Source is forgotten. Even though it is so much advantageous to get fat (and easy too) very few people would like to become one in this world where being thin is being attractive. Okay, stay thin for all we care, but don't make false assumptions about us. We may be fat, but we are not-

Cold-proof polar bears:
Every time Sir Winter Season extends his icy fingers over our country, it is not rare to hear from thinner people that we do not feel cold because of our avid resource of body fat, which, according to them is immune to cold. A mere forgetfulness on our part to bring some warm clothes with us is greeted as being entirely normal as we “don't feel cold”. It seems that this idea has spawned from watching polar bears on Animal Planet and hearing the commentary on them. I don't know if people have noticed it or not, but we are humans and they are polar bears. And in addition to body fat, polar bears have a thick mass of fur, which, the last time I checked, are bad conductors of heat. It is hard to find people with as much hair as a polar bear, isn't it?

Extremely heavy eaters
At almost every other social gathering, we fat people get a charming smile from the host/hostess which spells, “I know you will want more servings of the rice and meat and every other thing, because you are fat.” And sometimes the understanding hosts/hostesses make a point to mention it in falsely pleasant voices in our face. We have no choice but to smile back at them and politely refuse the serving even if our stomachs aren't full: their choice of words fill them anyway. Sure there are many who love to eat, but they consist of both fat and thin. We are not so hungry to pile up the rice on the plates in three servings. We don't barf loudly in public either, unless it's for superficial purposes.

Very strong individuals
It's a common joke about obese people. Even friends would comment that they would not like to get in a fight with us; they ask us to carry the heaviest things because we have sufficient upper body strength. This is not entirely true. We may have larger than average bodies, but in most cases our strength remains on the same level as any other man. We won't, rather we can't kill you if we smack your back in a friendly fashion: you don't have to avoid our affable gesture with a shriek. It was Obelix who was unusually strong, and that too because he fell into a cauldron of magic potion.

Earth-quake makers
“When he walks, the very ground shakes,” it was joked about Po the panda. We are not the mythical catfish who makes earth-quakes with flicks of its whiskers. The earth isn't something puny that it would shake vehemently if a human runs around the field for 10 minutes (not that we can anyway).

Big-headed fools
The expression itself is very racist, or 'size-ist'. If our body is big, naturally our head will grow big: we are big-headed. But as that insulting phrase suggests, we are not so stupid as not to recognise a jab or a joke ridiculing us. So when you say, suppressing you laughter, “Oh my, you have lost so much weight,” or “How did you get rid of all that fat?” or “I want to be healthy like you. Tell me the secret to your body,” we understand. Yet we smile and act as though we were flattered.

We are supposed to be jolly and happy-go-lucky people. But I think this idea is actually a sort of protection for the natural order. Imagine us snapping one day after being subjected to all sorts of fat-people jokes and going berserk. It won't be that fruitful though, we can't run after thin people for long, because if all the obese run at once the earth will surely move.

By Jawad

Once Upon A Magical December

It was late one Christmas Eve when an ordinary 'moholla' in the ordinary city of Dhaka woke up to a situation quite out of the ordinary. A lot of people were gathered at the base of a four-storey building while its owner shrieked and made fists skyward. No, not at the sky actually. He was pointing at the roof of the building and shouting his lungs out. The rooftop housed an enormous Gazi tank whose lid was open and a funny silhouette could be seen protruding from the opening; that of an elderly man positioned precariously on top of the tank, his huge belly stuck at the opening of the lid. There were shouts of 'Thief! Thief!!” from everywhere, but then again nobody had ever heard of a thief this peculiar. Why would someone want to steal an old Gazi tank? And even if he did, why on Earth would he want to slip inside it?

Someone in the crowd scratched his head, “Buira re age namao oihan thone (Get the old man down from there first).” And so they did. To their utter amazement, the man seemed to be wearing really funny clothing. Although it was quite appropriate for the chilly winter, elderly people hardly ever marched around in flashy red and white garments these days. Did he think it was Pohela Boishaakh already? Was he out of his mind?

To add more fuel to their curiosity, right beside the tank on the roof there stood a large sleigh laden with packed goods which was pulled by… live huge antlered deer. Many gasped audibly when they were brought down.

And as if on cue, the police force was there. The owner of the building mentally cursed the Bangla-cinema-theory of police entry scenes. He was hoping for a little addition of deer-stew to his lunch menu. But the law-enforcers were adamant about this case. They had found quite a criminal mastermind on their hands. A dangerous burglar and animal poacher, albeit in eccentric clothing. But who cared? For the first time in history, a criminal had been caught red-handed with ready evidence. It was time to party.

But alas, the interrogation session with the captive was proving, to the police chief's dismay, quite futile. The criminal in question seemed pretty clueless about his surroundings and the chief was getting more and more frustrated with every passing moment.

Chief: What were you doing trying to get inside the water tank?

Captive: (Scratching his bearded chin) I couldn't find the chimney.

Chief: (Lost) The what?

Captive: The chimney. I couldn't find it no matter where I looked. So I thought maybe that fat black thing was a modern version and tried slipping through it. But then I got stuck and my feet got wet.

He smiled sheepishly. The chief however, saw no humour in the situation.

Chief: Okay, tell me about yourself. What's your name?

Captive: (Again scratching his beard) I don't really have a definite name, but most people call me Santa Claus. So I guess you could say that's my name.

The chief furrowed his brows. The name sounded familiar. Where had he heard it before? Was it in the most wanted list? The chief gave the old man a scrutinising look before turning to consult his second officer-

Chief: What do you think of the name Santa Claus?

Officer: (Puzzled) Centre Close?

Chief: No, no, Santa Claus.

Officer: Erm, Santa? Does it have anything to do with Fanta?

Chief: Hmm, you're suggesting he's some kind of a promotional gig for a company? But why isn't he wearing orange then?

Officer: (Shrugging) Maybe it's a new flavour? Or maybe this man's one of those Humayun Ahmed fanatics. You know, like the character Himu who walks around the streets in a Holud (yellow) Punjabi. He's wearing red, so he's probably Rimu. Or Lamu, in Bangla.

The chief now looked troubled. The last thing he needed was a crazy lunatic in his hands. But neither the old man's actions nor his behaviour pointed toward any sign of normality.

Chief: (Clearing his throat) So Mr. Claus, what do you have to say about the loot in your sleigh?

Captive: (Surprised) Loot? They're gifts made by the elves at my house!

Chief: Elves, sir?

Captive: Why, yes.

Chief: (Sweating) And the huge deer?

Captive: They are Reindeer from North Pole. Quite a lovely place, although a bit cold.

Chief: And you have smuggled these creatures here illegally from this lovely North Pole?

Captive: Oh no sir, I keep them in my backyard in North Pole. I live there too, you see.

The chief had heard enough. His criminal mastermind was actually a raving lunatic. He probably got framed by the actual criminal but the chief couldn't care less. He was scared of loonies. They seriously creeped him out. So, by the chief's orders the old man was set free that night, clear of all charges. His belongings, however, were detained as possible evidence to some mysterious crime. The only thing he got back was his wooden sleigh. When he asked what would become of the other things he was told that all would be taken care of accordingly and that he need not worry about it. He seemed strangely happy with that information.

Two days later

The Bijoy Shoroni signal saw a strange scene unfolding before the busy streets of Dhaka. A group of exuberant street children were energetically pushing a strange-looking cart upon which sat an even stranger-looking old beggar. He was an old man, wearing a filthy red attire. The children affectionately called him 'Lallu Paagla' and seemed to be giving him a grand tour of the city while he sat and stared quietly, following his guides' speech

with wide child-like eyes and an expression that clearly said he was enjoying himself.

According to the children, this man had stumbled upon their slum one cold wintry night dragging the strange-looking cart. The head-beggar of the slum didn't seem the least surprised to see this peculiar man. Having lived a long time of his life in the macabre streets of Dhaka, he had seen much worse. He simply asked the old man, “Thelbo keda? (Who's gonna push the cart?)” and the children immediately stepped in for the job with delight. The old man, despite his age, was a child at heart, they could tell and they liked him.

The joyful procession continued on the streets of Dhaka for nearly a couple more weeks. But after that the old man suddenly disappeared. Nobody knew where he went but he was last seen at the Mirpur Zoo before the cage of some newly imported Reindeer. According to the popcorn-selling kid, he was seen talking to the animals and laughing while the other children were busy watching other zoo animals. He then turned toward the popcorn-kid, patted his head and promised he would come back again with lots of presents. After that, he, the sleigh and the deer simply vanished into thin air.

That's what the little kid said. But of course, nobody believed him.

By Kokoro





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