Gone with the Wind

With the sun over the equator, it is hot as hell. July 19 records a high of 39 degrees Celsius, thus almost touching Bangladesh's record lowest 43…runs against West Indies. A huge line at AC stores at the stadium after selling off the HD TVs bought during the World Cup. Kind of like me which gave me the chance to watch The Naveed Mahbub Show on ATN Bangla for the first time!

Ice caps are dwindling, so are many things in tandem.

First, Swiss banks see a 27 percent decline in deposits from Bangladeshis. Well, that probably means a 27 percent spike in Malaysia, My Second Home programme.

Then the HSC results. From the pictures of jubilant examinees, one may conclude that the number of male candidates has dropped to a full 0 percent—for some reason, male candidates are not that attractive to photographers.

Not only that, the number of Golden A+'s has declined, hopefully not from being in the vault of Bangladesh Bank (BB). If just sitting ducks can lessen anything, I will throw my tummy in to the sacred chambers to lose a few pounds and let the Vault Diet do my arteries a huge favour.

But the hue and cry on the discrepancy of the weight/purity of the gold in the BB vault has been responded to with the explanation that there is apparently a mix up between the Bangla "4" with the English "8" during the record keeping process. That is not even a misdemeanour considering the paragon of perfection and accuracy, NASA, did that once—with Mission Control using the American measurement system while the Mars Climate Orbiter expected the British measurement system in its trajectory correction manoeuvre resulting in the spacecraft to disintegrate after its 225-million-kilometre journey.

Thank heavens the errors of alphanumeric characters nor measurement units are applicable in the case of Barapukuria. The figure would be much, much worse than it already is, if the Bangla "1" is a mirror image of the English "6" and the Bangla "4" is meant to be the English "8". For that would mean 688,000 tons instead of the reported 144,000 tons of coal that have gone missing.

That is still a whopping 144,000 tons of coal, worth Tk 227 crore. Wait, the Bangla "7" in English is "9"! Noooooo!

Relax! That hasn't happened, else the coal would be worth Tk 229 crore!

Well, those who designed the Bangla numeric characters, are surely getting a chuckle from the heavens.

Now comes the explanation. As it happens during any crisis, the narrative comes from Mars, speaking in metric units while the world is expecting British units. Brace yourself—the coal has blown away in the wind!

Now that is a LOT of black dust flying around, enough to attract Fair & Lovely to make a killing. As a happy nation with big smiles, I would then also expect a LOT of white teeth from the automatic coal brushing.

All that coal Gone with the Wind—no wait, blown away in the wind. Blows my mind that somebody has surely blown his lines while blowing his bugles. It is a blow to the collective conscience (and intellect) of the nation to hear that 144,000 tons of coal has actually blown away in the wind. After all, all this coal can't just have gone in one blow, striking a blow to the Barapukuria power plant. A nation demands answers and is not resting without striking a blow. It has blown the cool of the powers-that-be demanding that the cover of those responsible be blown and there be a blow by blow account of what exactly happened.

Well, whoever did this, has blown it. Kudos to those who have blown the whistle on this. Let's see which way the wind blows, but it had better blow quick, for our enthusiasm for the news may blow hot and cold at the moment, but as the weekend blows away, the news may very well blow away.

Two things are for sure—the flight (oh yes, pun intended indeed) of the coal has not ended its journey at New Castle and the plight of Barapukuria has turned the coal field into David Copperfield.

Wonder if we will ever know what exactly happened. Many such incidences seem poised to be resolved when pigs fly, or should I say, when coal flies.

Naveed Mahbub is an engineer at Ford & Qualcomm USA and CEO of IBM & Nokia Siemens Networks Bangladesh turned comedian (by choice), the host of ATN Bangla's The Naveed Mahbub Show and the founder of Naveed's Comedy Club. E-mail: [email protected]

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