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For the love of cars I have no idea what I'm talking about

By Osama Rahman

The love that boys have for automobiles is an old and compelling tale. Even if one doesn't share that love but is a boy by birth, than he must accept that he has to love cars. He must also pretend to understand all the terms that are associated with cars. A teenager who can't change the tire or has never learnt to use the manual shift, in whatever manner of translation, doesn't apparently qualify to be a guy. See, guys aren't like women; we can't admit to disliking something just because we don't understand it. What is a statement of independence for women is basically perceived as one foot dangling outside the closet for a man. But, come on now, let's admit it; we are not all fascinated by cars. And that's perfectly fine.

A passable knowledge of cars has helped us throughout our lives. Google and car magazines have only made things easier. Rappers have just given us names of vehicles we can use in conversation. At times, we both know we have no idea what we are talking about, so we both decide not to mention it. There's no shame in the inability of being able to sprout off the names of a million cars with their engine-something when one asks, 'So, what's your favourite car?' Our favourite car? A Ferrari or a Lamborghini or that really cool car we drove in Need for Speed, a game which we were actually never fond of. Of course, by this point everyone knows our knowledge of cars is limited to say the least. Think the embarrassment stops there? No. The feeling of inadequacy never dies around people talking cars.

See, car lovers won't just stop at names of the cars. They'll prod you for further details. They'll ask about horsepower, engines and words which we have never heard before. They will boast about going 0-50 in 2 seconds. Our dirty minds will laugh but our eyes will express awe and admiration. We will try chipping in too. “Hey, the Batmobile's pretty fast, right”, we'll say and they will just roll their eyes at us. But, we'll struggle forward. We'll say Chassis number when the topic of car theft arises. We'll also mention how we can open the bonnet or something and pour water in something that holds water or something to cool down a car that is heating or something. We'll also learn about what the different colours of exhaust pipe smoke says about the engine. We'll also never put out hands up the exhaust pipe and start the car to learn of its engine condition. No, we were never fooled to do this. Ever.

While the car lovers will discuss things they did with their cars, we'll pop up with sentences like “totally drifted up the flyover the other day”, “skidded off the highway last Sunday” and “was driving 180 on Airport Road with the pedal to the metal (metal to pedal? Foot on gas?)”. Always we will nurture a false hope that one day we will be accepted in this tribe of awesome people who share an undying love for cars and redefine the term 'metrosexual' in entirety. All the while we will pray that our true colours are not revealed. We refuse to be car-illiterate. We will also make lame car jokes, which will “auto”-matically come to us. Get it? “Auto”matically as in Automobile? No?

However, one fine day we will stop. We will just stop trying because we will realise that everyone isn't meant to know everything. We can't love everything because others do because among those others, within that sacred tribe, there are men who have no idea what they are talking about and are just trying to fit in. We'll fit in elsewhere. Someplace better, wetter, sunny, sweet and salty. Ultimately the sad reality will dawn on everyone; the ones with the least knowledge on cars can actually afford the coolest cars. Sadly, we don't fall into that category. We'll live to fight another day but for now we'll zoom off into the sunset in our cool new imaginary Nissan Skyrim.

Of Italian Food and Corpses

By Mastura Tasnim and Zarif Masud

"Hey. Waiter, gimme some la-sag-na, will you?” You may be one those people who pronounces it like that, with the silent 'g' not being at all silent. Then you sit there wondering why the waiter has a bemused expression on his face and the kids next to your table are giggling.

Look, it's not your fault. We won't point and laugh. Well, we will, but that shouldn't get you down. If it's any consolation, we point and laugh at anything remotely funny and sometimes, at stuff that are not even that. We Bangladeshis keep coming up with newer and more innovative ways to pronounce words that leave the phoneticians and grammarians baffled.

And how are we to blame? When our teachers tell us that an assignment is due on 'Wed-nes-day' or the next 'Tweezday', we have nothing to do but accept our fate and wonder what kind of a twisted day 'Tweezday' must be. We even remember one teacher of ours telling us about the T-sunami.

Some wise man said that learning starts at home. Whether it be your mother asking you to find her those pesky 'sipty pins' that keep hiding out whenever she needs to pin up her saree or your older sibling threatening to seal your lips with 'cos tep', your home couldn't have played a better role in sabotaging your chances of perfect IELTS scores.

If you're fashion-savvy, or tech-savvy, for that matter, you're bound to stumble upon some real gems of mispronunciations. Gucci is so often 'Gukki' and memes 'meh-meh's that we shudder to think what the average Bangladeshi makes out of Bvlgari. Not to mention Vogue.

And which one of us music-fanatics hasn't mentally strangled the person who asked us what 'jener' of music we like? With heavy metal playing in the background, too.

But 'tis true: the English language begs to be mutilated. Why else would 'privy' not rhyme with 'ivy'? Even the president of one of the top English-speaking countries in the world, Barack Obama, has trouble differentiating between the pronunciations of 'corpsmen' from corpse-men. We understand, it is human to err, divine to forgive. That didn't stop Fox News from having a field day guffawing at the gaffe. You see what we did there?

Then there are the French words some annoying hipster (what else?) decided should be used in English. Sure, it's funny when people pronounce rendezvous all wrong and funny, but when you think about it, there really is no sense in having that 'z' over there at all. None whatsoever. We sympathize with you mispronouncing people.

So whether you're the victim of or the criminal behind the atrocities listed above, remember that it doesn't take a lot to stop, replay the mispronunciation in your head and give an appreciative little chuckle. Also, if you're into pronouncing silent letters, we think you'll have a great time with the location of the Internation Justice Court, i.e. The Hague. No wonder the legal system stinks.


The Tenth Circle

By Sarah Nafisa Shahid

"MY SISTER'S KEEPER' famed author Jodi Picoult returns in her thirteenth book 'The Tenth Circle' with a remarkable variation in her way of story telling. The book centers on a comic book artist, Daniel Stone, who had a troubling past in his old Eskimo village before he became the calm and composed family man that he is now. And now that he has finally settled down, the peace of his world and his perfect family is threatened by his wife's extramarital affair and his teenage daughter's date rape.

The title 'The Tenth Circle' refers to the nine circles of hell from Dante's Inferno and how everyone deserves the punishments they get. The book consists of a graphic novel which develops with the actual narrative and allegorically portrays Daniel's journey through hell in order to protect his daughter. This incorporation of a comic book in the story line not only makes the book a unique read but also provides a complex insight to the main character's emotional state.

One of the better things about the novel is how it has been written from different points of views of the various characters without confusing the reader. The author not only exhibits a parent's concerns about keeping the family tight but also a teenager's fears which emerge from social pressure. The theme focuses on an important social issue which has not yet reached the conversations of family dinner tables but it naturally should have.

It is one of those books that would make a good company during long plane journeys or bus rides with a mix of various mediums of story telling from comic arts to vivid description of the Arctic plains. The novel's success has convinced Hollywood producers to adapt the story into a movie in June 2008. I'd suggest both teenagers and adults to read this because it emphasizes on topics which are taboos in our society but which need to be exposed.

Rating: 3/5



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