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     Volume 4 Issue 25 | December 17, 2004 |

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Bangladeshi Idle?


Unlike everything else anti productive that we copy from our neighbours, such as Hindi-style Bangla songs and khullam khulla attire (right fabric over wrong flesh) imitating the hugely successful Star TV's Indian Idol should be a welcome relief.

Obviously, no self-respecting nation can imitate hoo-boo-hoo particularly from a country which some of our political parties have been grinding teeta as a potion to power since they accorded us welcome relief in 1971. And so in imitating the spirit of Polac, Pelar and Polab, who were damn inspired by Polar ice-cream, we may, reluctantly though, twist the 'idol' bit a bit and name it
'That suits us fine,' drawled an organiser from his bed. It was 11.30AM on Saturday morning.

Applications from the public have been sought but not all designated newspapers could carry the advertisement because the man-in-charge could not find time to send the matter to the press, yet. Competitors however can rest in peace (idea not to be taken too seriously) because in-house employees are barred from the race. Oops! Apologies for wrong choice of word for no true 'idle' worth his or her sugar level would for the whole world race anybody.

Considering that this is yet another Bangladeshi first, predictably the one and only and last of its kind, we went around asking a few applicants why they believe they stand a chance to be voted as Bangladeshi Idle.

While many of the more serious participants were too indolent to even talk, some who were in it to gain experience (like the Bangladeshi cricketers match after match) made some wonderful revelations.

'I dream', said Shawpon Saha from Ghatail, Tangail.
'But what is the use of such empty contemplation?' he is prodded.

'So that years later when that project comes into being, I can claim credit for having dreamt of it,' was the casual reply.

'But you may be long gone.'
'I have no intention of going anywhere.'
'I mean the hereafter!'

'Oh that. I have some friends and well-wishers who can profit from my absence. Going by history they can even claim some that I have never dreamt of.'

Hashu Miah is from Galachipa, Barisal. He is confident about his success in the search for talent.
'And pray why,' we ask him.
Says he with a face as straight as a wooden plank, 'Whenever I need to laugh or cry I never do it myself, but hire people to do that'.
'Isn't that expensive?'
'Well,' (he pays the guy sitting next to him some money and the guy gives a smirk) 'it was not so, but nowadays with so much to laugh at and so many things make me cry that it is hard on the pocket. In fact, I entered the competition because I need the prize money.'
'But suppose you do not win?'
'Don't worry about that. We shall survive.'
'We, who is we?'
Now the guy next to him tips him some money and our guy laughs gently. 'My friend here and I are good buddies. He is also an ideal idle and he pays me to laugh and cry for him.'

As we were leaving the odd couple the two were trying to push each other some money but remained expressionless. We never got to see who managed to pay and who had the last laugh.

Bidyut Beg has come from Srimangal. He believes he will get a lot of votes from the male population because he was late by a day for his own marriage. What courage!
'What happened?' was our obvious query.
Only after we promised we will not divulge this to his wife did he agree to talk further.

'You see, I have always taken life easily. Since everything was finalised about my marriage, shopping, invitations and all, and I knew my would-be bride was not going to go anywhere else, I took the situation in my natural stride, that is relaxed; the world was going nowhere, so why should I?'
'But what did you tell everybody, including our Bhabi, when you arrived the next day?'
'I think I said something like there was a short circuit and the bus flew off the road and all the passengers went in search of the bus driver. Only after reading the newspaper the following morning we discovered that although the bus was seized the driver had actually fled.'
'But our buses do not run on electricity...'
'Bhai, in this country everything is forgiven if you can just boldly say it was caused by short circuit. Have you not heard the committee's report about the latest Bangabazaar fire?'

The next contestant we approached was a genuine candidate. He would do any country proud. He merely indicated the next guy with his old aangool over his shoulder when we set the microphone in front of him.

At that moment we were interrupted by a little commotion. The cause of it were protests by the public who were chanting slogans to bar government officers from the competition because they said the civil administration were too well trained and experienced for the title and the common man was no match. 'Exclude the professionals, we are amateur idles', read one poster written in a very lazy handwriting.

At the end of our going about we were convinced that this nation has no dearth of talent when it comes to being inactive. The judges should have a tough time. But they can get into the groove and not announce the results, ever.
That again reminds me of that story about a lazy angler who is the envy of all idles.

While fishing by the bank of a pond, the angler asked a passer-by if he would be so kind as to fix the bait to the hook of his fishing line. The kindly passer-by picked up a wriggly worm, which made one final squirm of a protest, before being transformed into fish feed.

Asked the passer-by of the angler, 'Why don't you get married so that you could have children who could help you fix the bait?'

The idol of all idles thought for a few moments and then asked of the passer-by: 'Bhai, do you know of any prospective girl who is already expecting?'

Note: Organisers only concern is that the public may get into the spirit and be too lazy to phone in their vote.

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