Onions can Make you Laugh
In business it is of utmost importance to know what commodity to deal in so that the undertaker (to the consumer they are) can record maximum profit with minimum hassle. That is the case if you are living and earning your living in a sane political region.
In Bangladesh, although living and earning one's living are not necessarily synonymous, for instance you may live and yet not earn anything, worse still you may earn a living and yet not live, it is here that you can pick up almost anything and make pecuniary gains despite the hassle.
Ours is an unpredictable market, full of surprises and not any less shocking, one that we always like to weigh in terms of the term of the ruling political party. Hence October 2001 and the present month becomes contextual.
Four years back, with the overwhelming election victory of the jote sircar, in a political sweep that was unpredictable, full of surprises and not any less shocking, you may have considered real estate, taxicab and stock market, but look how the onion merchants are reeling in laughter. And why not? They have been able to blame rain, hartal, transport strike and low supply to raise the price of onion by a whopping 166%.
Who was it that said politics and bazaar are one and the same? I must ring Aristotle to check back. Or, cheaper still, sms. Mobile networks say it may soon be possible, as soon as they can get to cover the Hill Tracts.
The relative price index of four years back and now, according to a vernacular daily, can pop your eyeballs from their socket. Careful, for surely they are not for sale!
The best news from the revelation is that we have become very health conscious and are consuming less sugar and salt, some below five years of age do not even know the difference, and therefore the price has remained somewhat under control.
We also do not care about the distinction between sugar and goor, as both have made a 25% increase over the last about 1500 days. In fact by ministerial decree one has already begun to substitute the other. A note of warning here: Never try to 'goor' your sweetheart or that may be the last time you see your 'sugar'.
The chart also reveals that border checking has improved and cows are now required to have valid documents before crossing over. This has drastically affected the market and almost doubled the price of beef over the last few years. This has also helped this health-freak nation to significantly reduce its cholesterol level.
Thank goodness for that. For if we had to do as the doctor advised and gulped in a koa of allium sativum, that's garlic in Latin, at breakfast every morning that would be an inauspicious start to the day with the price of this medicinal bulb going up by nearly 60%. Add another 40% for the odour.
The Bangalee bua, the survey has exposed, cares a hoot about recipes and measurements shown in the cooking programmes televised hourly on all the channels. It has emerged that she has been using as much holud in her cooking as dry chilli, both having made a 78% increase since the last vote. That's hot!
The market is also playing hell with our idioms. While for centuries we have ridiculed the businessman who traded in ginger… adaar byabshaee…, the price has elevated so much during the period under study, over 200%, that now he can in his own right take as much information about the jahaz as he wants.
The market has been a gastronomic expression of our nationalism. Due to the hawk-eye of our watchful administration, we have been able to keep the price of rice below that of flour. Despite several attempts by the Razakars to enhance the price of Bangalee's staple food above that of the non-Bangalee, patriotism prevailed. Today fat rice is selling at Tk. 18 and white flour at hah! Tk. 22. Four years back both were level pegging at around Tk. 13.
Such news gives you the goose bumps. Yes! The price of geese has also risen. Good news that, because those long-necked waterfowl have lots of fat. Better news for feminists, the price of gander has also shown an equal upward trend. Further health incentives include a cut on your oil intake because soybean oil has leaped by 44%.
We shall also soon be able to eat like our ancestors, (they lived longer, remember?) because with the price of kerosene oil going up by 76% we will be able to eat our food raw, hurrah! Happy days are here again! Little wonder Franklin D. Roosevelt used the Jack Yellen song in the 1932 election campaign.
In summing up it may be pertinently said that the rise in the price of food grain, meat, vegetables, fish, milk, etc. is an issue of matter over mind. The consumers mind but they do not matter, and the government matters but it does not mind.
(R) thedailystar.net 2005