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A Predicted Mess

By Munawar Mobin

If you've been travelling round Dhaka city, been on the web, or even read the papers, or you know, if you don't live under a rock, then you'd know that September 6th marks the day Argentina and Nigeria face off in a FIFA Friendly here in Bangladesh. If you do live under aforementioned rock, then this bit of news is quite exciting, I'm sure. Think about it: Argentina, a team that has been talked about and worshipped ever since Bangalis set their eyes on the game, is going to come to our country, our Bangladesh, to play an exhibition game. In Bangladesh, whenever Argentina talks arise, no country (other than Brazil) is ever brought up, thus Nigeria gets the axe. No one here really cares much about them, even if that seems unfair.

However, this article is not written to educate you on Bangladesh's football craze. Since this is amar shonar Bangladesh, things go wrong more often than they go right, so this is about all those things that can go wrong concerning the match. Hopefully, the scenarios described won't happen, but every sensible person would whole-heartedly sympathise with our desire to not count our blessings.

First off, we all know Argentina means Messi. Messi, Messi and more Messi. Ever since he showed up, he's been quite the entertainer on football pitches all over; also he's given the common Bangali something other than 'Maradona' to shout and scream while watching Argentina games on his Konka TV in his lungi. Thus it's safe to assume that as much as the game will be about the Albicelestes, it'll be more about Messi.

Umm... yeah, that might be trouble.

Messi needs to be in top shape and has to bring his A-game when he's landed in Dhaka. The reason as to why is not because of the team he's facing but because compared to any other international football pitch, our one just sucks, simply put. Add a little rain and our football pitch, the one the greatest player in the world has to play on, becomes a mud themed fun park suitable for Shrek and Donkey's mutant kids. It might have looked insanely fun when that green ogre was splashing about in it in the movie, but in reality, Messi might have more trouble walking than actually getting to the ball (just for gags or money, some of the street kids might even steal the ball. That should be fun). So, during one of his amazing runs or perhaps during a jog he's going to fall and have a colossal slip that might break his leg and forever ruin his career. While a lot of people around the world will start “hatin' on us”, we might also get sued by Pep or whoever is the sorry excuse for a manager of Argentina at that time. That might be a good thing because, considering all the media attention, people might actually start to pronounce 'Bangladesh' right. Or not.

However, chances of Messi breaking his leg are slim compared to something that is bound to happen - him being subbed off the pitch before he can even sweat. Nigerian goal keeper, Vincent Enyeama, was the one who kept Messi in check during the World Cup and it wouldn't be surprising if he does it this time too. With Messi subbed off, Argentina won't be able to do much at all. The match could end as a draw, with mixed responses from the crowd. However, and this is very probable, if Nigeria does manage to get one in and win the game, it wouldn't be a shocker if the whole stadium is lit on fire.

What do Bangalis love more than rioting? Trick question. There's nothing we love more than rioting; okay there's fuchka but rioting always wins. It's like rock verses scissors. Wins every time. Just the thought of engaging in such an activity brings out the Bangali spirit in all of us! If Nigeria manages to win, we're looking at one of the worst riots this world has ever seen. When we riot, we fight and then we run, we stop and we burn buses, and we fight again; but we are not blind fools, we have logical causes and reasonable reasons. We do all that because of passion and in football we're more passionate about Argentina than our own national team.

Hell hath no fury like a Bangali Argentina supporter scorned.

It's hard to predict which football team's bus we shall throw stones at, but it's safe to say that either one (or both) shall be badly damaged if the above scenario does occur. This writer takes no responsibility if the feebly predicted events do unfold, for he is not a conspirator nor is he a physic; but you might see him in the mob.

Last week's topic Juggernaut received a lot of interesting and original entries. However, the one below was exceptional, least because of its powerful narrative. It's a story we can all relate to, but surprisingly won't know how until the ending. Next week's topic is “The Evil Eye”. 500 words limit and the deadline is extended to 3rd September, 2011. Ample time, so we expect to see some brilliant stuff. Good luck!

Juggernaut: that which destroys

By Tasfia Fairuz

The inevitable: destruction follows destroyer, and destroyer seeks opportunity for destroying. And so it came; the Golem, the Goliath, the Juggernaut.

It came. Sickeningly, slowly. Along the uneven road, it rose and fell like a boat among waves. But its arrival was far from picturesque. It was ugly, but with the kind of deformity that awes and forces one to watch. His skin was a distrustfully bright shade of yellow, blotched by grime and filth from other triumphant battles. It had a head, just a head. No arms or legs, torso or anything. The eyes were a long rectangle, grossly plain, also marred with dirt; its own dirt. It had a “mouth”, an arm jutting out from the front of its head, with a pair of jaws stuck clumsily at the open end. Jaws lined by uniformly triangular rust-grey set of filthy teeth. Beneath the grotesque structure of its head, lay a pair of legs; a set of wheels encased by chain. It moved slowly and sluggishly, as if it was tired of destruction and wanted no more. An obvious act, hiding the swagger. It came, with that sickening clank of rusted metal against rusted metal. It came grinding through the dirt. That noise. And with it, that filthy mechanical Golem.

It broke the path it came upon. Destroyed it further more. The road, which once was, was now just a bedlam of wet and slippery soil. Grey mud. Filthy, like the Golem. And then it turned to the sentinels of the road.

Many Davids died that day. Many were maimed, scarred like Goliath itself. Sadistically, it ripped their branches of bright green foliage. Their unforgivable acts of beauty enraged it. The Davids made no sound, except that of falling, crashing down on the filth and mud, which was once the road, green meshing with grey. None fought, as none could fight. Dead and soulless they became, just like the creature that massacred them. A massacre it was. Without blood, yet just as gory. Immoral.

I watched from my room three stories above, clutching the window bars, my knuckles white. Watching, hypnotised with hatred as the demon uprooted a David, my David. The people of the streets however, did not share my repulsion. They watched, swarmed around the Goliath, with their foolish expressions of amazement, amusement and even, indifference. 'What do we care if the road's gone and that entire roadside “weed” is dead? In the end we'll get a new road and better plumbing. Goliath here will see to that. A couple of weeks….'

Wrong. It's been months. The field of that one-sided battle remains. Goliath this time as mender, didn't come. After all, it was just another sadistic machine set to destructive uses by malicious people. The road still lies undone. The people of the streets don't wait anymore. My sneakers are caked with a new layer of dirt every day. But dirtier than my boots, filthier than the road are the minds of the men who control the Juggernaut.


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