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Greeting people with a regular ‘hi’ is too mundane. Replying to how are you with an ‘eito’ (equivalent to so-so) is just plain lazy. None of these mean anything. What’s life without the regular inclusion of a good catch phrase? Like pinik, or wazaaaaaaaap? They spice up interactions. But then they go the way of the mundane hi. Thikaseee? But that’s old stuff. What’s next? -- E R Ronny , Editor Rising Stars

Unwritten Rules of Dhaka

Story: Orin
Art: Fahim Anzoom

'Dhaka is more than just a city; it is a giant whirlpool that sucks in anything and anyone foolish enough to come within its furious grasp.' That is how Lonely Planet introduces our much loved, more loathed capital to the whole world out there. Travel guides feebly try to explain how to survive in a new city, how not to get lost in the mazes of the old town, which meal to take that won't poke a hole in your stomach or how to haggle your way into shopping paradise. Since we live in the most glorious city in the face of this planet, we are already familiar with a lot of things, but we specialise in survival. We may not have roads, no subways, power system might be a myth, our sewers might flood the footpaths, our food might distinctively taste of plastic, our brands might be Dolce and “Cabbana” and we might just be the craziest 20 million people alive, but one thing is for sure: Dhakaites are the ultimate survivors. Nuclear wars, floods, hurricanes, politics, Dhaliwood films, we beat 'em all.

That's when it hits us; there must be a method to this endless frenzy that manages to leave the city dwellers utterly overwhelmed. There are unwritten, unspoken codes that Dhaka city works on, and whether you've been living here all your life or just came here to get mugged, it helps to know those rules.

Shopping: Nilkhet for books, Gawsia for clothes, Katabon for pets and New Market for everything else. If you are unfamiliar with this, you are too rich.

Haggling: National sport and Dhaka is the champion. We haggle for everything - phone bills, rickshaw fares, relationship statuses and class schedules. If the person you're haggling with settles on your offer, you consider yourself a failure and then leave. There is no honour code.

Transportation: Buses run without a worry even when the exhaust decides to fall off. You may say Chuck Norris, we say just a guy driving a bus. Bus drivers play bumper cars with double-deckers. There are private cars (Toyota Corollas, mostly), taxis (virtually non-existent) and CNG driven auto-rickshaws (plays hard to get) but buses run the show.

Streets: You walk on them. Do not confuse with footpaths, those are for the motorbike kings to reign. If anyone calls you on the street do not look back and under no circumstances stop. No one knows anyone in the streets.

Social Interactions in the streets: Kept at a minimum. Unless an accident occurred, someone famous comes to town or Bangladesh team has a cricket match. Then everyone is each other's best friend, describing minute details with endless pleasure and blaming the government.

However if more than two people looks at something in particular, soon enough there will be a crowd gathered. Individuals may be busy but a crowd has infinite time and patience.

Mugging: Your first mugging experience will be the Bar Mitzvah of your life as a Dhakaite. You didn't choose the Dhaka life, we know.

Street-food: Comes in an assortment of viral diseases. If you need a month of staying at hospitals and being spoon-fed jau bhaat, sugarcane juice van is the place to hit. Meat is cheaper than you can imagine.

Beggars: Most effective way of dealing with beggars is questioning their career choice.

Entertainment: Watching people is the favourite pastime and substantial time and effort is dedicated to perfect that art. The city hosted a few parks in the past, notably Shishu Park, Shishu Mela and Wonderland, but everyone went to the parks and gawked at others.

Rule breaking: There are no rules to break. We prefer to break random cars on the street instead.

The most important rule about Dhaka is that nothing is as it seems. It's not the most charming city in the world, but somehow we adjust and keep on going and once in a while this does not seem half as bad.

Speeches, rants, heartbreaks, losses, demands. We hear it all. Some we ignore, some we answer, and some are here.

Mustabeen Qazi
What are your thoughts on the Boshonto plate throwing episode in Pizza Hut guys?
Saif Mahmud Boshonto? As in Borsha+Ananto?
Shadman Mahmud Rakin I'm regretting now for what I was telling about him these days (after) what happened last night at pizza hut.

Kazi Rafid Ahmed
A pound of stone! I claim a pound of stone!

“'Nearest his heart:' those are the very words.” - RS

The Friendzoners were out in force this week.

Fardeen Zareef
Osama nailed it #Respect

Muhtadi Faiaz
Osama Rahman's "The friendship zone escape plan" was awesome and considering the issue as a 'burning' one for our generation, it gave us (yeah! I am included) some hope in despair.

Peter Regal Whittam
Ha! Osama Rahman's article reminded me that I'm the guy in my friends circle who's well-known for escaping the friend's zone not once, but four times. #truestory

Osama King Rahman It's not from where you escaped. It's where you entered after you escaped.

J-man Jisan
What is it like working for RS?
Shaer Reaz Rainbows, unicorns and butterflies. Also, ponies. In fact, the pony leads us.



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