Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home


Haatt, Goru, Haatt!

Qurbani Eid may well be our most favourite festival. There is just so much delicious beef to go around. The whole thing is made a whole lot better when you consider that not only can you dine on your favourite pieces, but you can also choose the particular cow. Nothing can spoil that, right? Wrong. There are people whose sole purpose of existence is to destroy everything else for the rest of us. So, when one courageously decides to go to the cow haat, it isn't a kick from the animals which will ruin your day, but rather certain types of people who are hell bent on acting stupid.

For editorial reasons, we are not allowed to hate such people. But we can, in all legality, make you aware of the kind of people you need to stay away from.

The Pagla Goru Syndrome
Walking along, perusing cows at random, deciding which one has the tastiest flesh, is a wonderful process. There are so many cows you can eat, that the very feeling that nothing in the world can go wrong is not a misgiving at all. But suddenly, you hear the shout “Pagla Goru! Pagla Goru!” This is merely a formal goru'r haat way of telling you to move out of the way. Pause. Take a breather and then nimbly step aside. It isn't that hard.

But some people cannot comprehend the simplicity of these things. These people, hereby referred to as Moo-rons, will jump and scream bloody murder like a pansy, hopping on your shoes or sandals in the process. These people are terrified of cows. They pretend to be all nonchalant about cows and act like they are minding their own business, but in reality, they have nightmares about cows.

Question is: if you are so terrified of cows, what are you doing in the goru'r haat to begin with? This question has no answers. Because Moo-rons do not have, what we call, common sense. How to spot a Moo-ron? He's always the guy twitching nervously, looking this way and that, assuming that the cow's tail is a lethal weapon.

The Fashion Icons
Fashion icons are people who dress up like they expected the goru'r haat to be a wedding festival. They wear all their expensive things, thinking the goru'r haat is the best place to pick up chicks. Well, it is not. So, these people, in their Armani pants and Hush Puppies shoes tread around the cow haat warily, hoping not to mess up their shoes. Unfortunately, probability is always against them. You will get mud, cow dung and footprints on your shoes when you go the cow haat. Always. There is no way around it. So when these primadonnas scuff their shoes, they blow a fuse. Except, when you are dressed like a groom, no one cares about your tantrums. They know you will not dirty your clothes or ruffle your feathers. All you can do is whine, that is, if they are not standing before a cow. Because, they are scared of cows. Couldn't you tell?

The Bargain-Hijackers
These are the people who can't bargain for themselves, so they stand around while you do it. The minute you bring the cows down by twenty thousand, they jump in and state a price a little higher than yours but a lot less than one originally demanded. They don't do it in an obvious way but rather wait while you pretend to walk away hoping the seller is going to call you back. But he doesn't. So you look back and see that creepy guy who overheard your conversation hijacking the cow you spent half an hour bargaining for. Is that fair? No. Should we hate such a person? Yes, but we can't because it would dampen the spirit of things or something.

Commend or criticise?
Afterwards, having dealt with all the people, the dirt, the screams and the shouts, you begin to walk out with your hard-earned cow. People ask you how much it costs. Everyone around you asks the same question. It's like a rule. If a cow has been bought, his cost will be inquired about, by anyone who sees the cow or even hears of it. Then, the cow's size and price will later be exaggerated, in the company of friends. At one point it gets tiresome answering the questions repeatedly. You can put up a price tag, but that's pretentious.

But answering questions isn't all that bothersome. It's when people start sharing their opinions that it gets really annoying. “Oh, 25,000 taka? You should have got it for 5000 taka,” they'll say, not knowing that no cow in the universe costs less than 15,000 taka nowadays. Also, since these people probably cannot afford a cow, they'll make you feel bad about your purchase. People can be petty like that. Some people will shower praises. These people are the worst kind. They will laud your bargaining skills but their eyes give away their true emotions. These people are hypocrites. We all know them.

The Pity Factor
Finally, having answered all the questions, you will suddenly encounter a sad little boy, sitting in his car, while his driver and helper purchases a cow for him. This boy is sad. He misses out on everything because he doesn't want his Nikes to get dirty. Also, he can't really tell the difference between a cow and a goat. He just wants to have the thrill of saying that he went to the goru'r haat but he is too cool to admit that he walked around it. He is all westernised and doesn't believe that cows should be slaughtered. Because in the perfect universe where he dwells, beef burgers grow on trees. Or he assumes that we eat cows after they die of old age or something. Just coming across this person is infuriating.

Before you head out to the haat prepare yourselves for these people. And prepare well. These people may be begging for a sucker-punch, but remember the spirit of things. And also, a full week of nehari breakfast eventually makes up for everything. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.

By Osama Rahman


Our Immaculate Neighbour
- It's a whole different world inside the cantonment

"Should cantonment be considered a part of Dhaka? "
"Why not?"
"Because they don't have narrow streets, lidless manholes, intense traffic and, most importantly, their roads don't submerge in a two-minute rain."

These were the answers of a friend when he was asked about the Dhaka Cantonment. Occupying the North-Eastern zone of the capital, the Dhaka Cantonment is by far considered the cleanest and safest area to live in, which really doesn't live up to the standards of Dhaka and even the most notorious rule breakers of the country reserve their best behaviour for this place.

Drivers here are expected to maintain a speed limit of 60km/h and this probably is the only place in the country where it's actually maintained. Maybe the tanks at the two entrances have something to do with it; we all know they don't move but who knows whether they can still shoot or not. A common belief among many people is that littering in the cantonment gets people dragged off to jail. This is, nevertheless, a myth because no one actually gives a damn whether you littered (personally done and gotten away with) but someone caught speeding here is in a world of trouble.

Besides these, cantonment's got some really amazing roads and rookie drivers have a hard time keeping their car below 60. To ensure your speed isn't too fast and too furious, they also have speed breakers the size of Mt. Everest in the most unexpected places. The roads aren't just wide but they have the best water drainage system which some of the stadiums of our country could've used, (like Jahur Ahmed stadium in Chittagong, which destroyed a few good test days for Bangladesh.

Speaking of stadiums, what's with these humongous fields? They may have some underground garage for tanks under these (like the Blackbird is hidden under a tennis court in X-Men) but if not, some English-medium schools with driveways for a playground could really use them.

Now we may curse Dhaka everyday for its traffic, water clogged and hairbreadth roads, but we still love it. Cantonment, however, fails to lower itself to our standard and their hygiene can only be compared to the neat and clean neighbour who tries to make his house look pretty, like Ned Flanders with guns. So cantonment can't really be considered a part of our glorious city but if they want to be a part of it, they have to grow into the Dhaka spirit and start breaking some rules.

By Mahir Khan


home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2011 The Daily Star