The ranting writers column
Unlike many of my healthier peers I am prone to be eternally plagued by some form of illness or the other. Be it the weekly headaches or the monthly bouts of fever or the incessantly blocked nose that forces me to make peculiar breathing noises through my mouth. Being so sick literally means the doctor's office is one of my most visited haunts. Consequently the doctor's knew me well too. My arrival would bring a smile to their face (was it a real smile or a smile that they will now fill their pockets rather deeply) Then my doctor would rue how thin I am, how weak I am, how my blood is so depleted etc and etc waiting for my mom to shell out yet more cash. Recently two things happened. I became sick again and Apollo hospital finally gained the confidence of my ever-criticizing mom. (She was initially insistent that the hospital is too modern, the cost too high etc and etc) Now she thinks that the higher the cost the better the treatment.
I walked into the doctor's office a sick weak little kid, gasping for breath. The doctor became very sympathetic checking my temperature, pulse breathing etc and etc. Next the barrage of questions started.
D: So describe your illness?
Then suddenly the doctor looked at me eyes and exclaimed
At this stage my mom butted in and made a comment about how much we eat fast food and neglect home food. Mr. Doctor obviously agreed wholeheartedly with mom, how bad 'baerer' khabar are and forbade me not to eat anything 'unfresh'. The ongoing conspiracy of the medical people against commercial food continues.
I performed the multitudes of blood test the evil doctor gave me. After it I am sure about 5% of my body's blood had been taken away. We got the test result soon and took it to the doctor.
D: Hmm…just as I thought.
I looked speechless at the doctor. What did he just say? How can we understand what he said?
My mother however kept on nodding really appreciatively throughout the jargon. She thanked the doctor and as we left his office, she suddenly piped up cheerily what a good doctor he was!
Me: did you even understand what he said?
The Road to Nab End
The clash between the classes and masses isn't unique to the current times we live in. Ever since Man discovered money and separated his community into categories based on what one had or didn't have, we've been fighting. Whether by bloody guillotines like in France, or shooting tsars like in Russia, since long before Karl Marx thought up his life-changing theories, the poor and the hungry have been struggling against the rich and the glutted. No matter how this difficult this life may be when one's living it, one tends to look back in the end and remark on how wonderful the journey was.
The Road to Nab End is one such personal account that looks back on the fall of the Lancashire cotton industry. William Woodruff recreates his childhood as a weaver's son in Blackburn, right before the bottom dropped out from the Lancashire cotton industry.
The story is written as a flashback when the author decides to revisit the homes where he grew up. Woodruff recreates the scenes of his home, and his earliest memories in a way that lends an almost pleasantly nostalgic feel to a picture of abject poverty and hardship.
"I'd always believed that I had been born in our cottage in Griffin Street, until I discovered that I was born prematurely across the street in the carding-room of Hornby's cotton mill. Day long, mother cleaned cotton there.”
And so, through his recollections, William 'Billy Boy' Woodruff takes us through his early years. From the constant, bone-chilling cold unmitigated for want of the too-expensive coal, to the din of the cotton mills, to the hunger, he revisits them all. The story is peopled with simple-minded, yet complex characters that weather the good and bad times together.
The author talks about his school years, and the whole confusion between Catholicism vs. Protestantism vs. No real religion; about his 'wild' years as part of a street gang, about his various odd-jobs, and then, as he reaches his teens, how politics entered the daily lives of the cotton workers.
Rich with a wealth of detail, it is an interesting study of issues like family, religion, politics, and the class struggle. Since it is set in the 1920'-30's, i.e. while the British Raj was still in place in India, it's interesting to note that all the profits the British made from their Sub-Continental colony were not enjoyed by the general mass; rather while people at home (in northern England) literally starved on the streets, the rich grew richer, and the fat, fatter.
If you're looking for a slightly serious, yet heart-warming read, make sure this best-seller is part of your reading list.
By Sabrina F Ahmad
This type a thing probably happened to a lot of you guys out there. You come home after slaving away at trying to finish two successive three-hour mocks, decide to relax by watching TV, only to find that the accursed plastic cube is showing news on half a dozen different-but-quite-similar-Bangla-channels (really, there seem to be a lot of these deshi channels these days; starting from 1 you have to go on until 8 or 9 until you get to see some good old white men, or our Indian counterparts shaking their bootie to a song). You get irritated and start changing channels and then suddenly stop to watch people fighting and burning cars on some channel or other. Only, you see scores of ladies, in military style regalia causing all the aforementioned mayhem. Tell me you find something weird about all this.
Female participation in mayhem related things have increased haven't they. Come 'hartal', you are bound to see females jacking cars, burning cars, beating people up, terrorizing police, things that normally, in the past were done by males. I mean, this previous hartal, I saw a bunch of middle aged ladies stop a car, drag the driver out and administer on him some very painful stomping. One of them even tried to drive the car into another parked micro. However thankfully the driver had enough sense to take the keys out of the ignition. All hail the driver!!! (For showing common sense, something that seems to have drained out of us and gone into the depths of the murky Buriganga)
It isn't just beating up drivers, people trying to get to work on a hartal (people who obviously work in one of them private companies that refuse to shut down on a hartal) end up in the hospital sporting injuries. One of my friends fathers had his arm broken, and after laughing about it for five minutes I stopped and thought and concluded: Cheating on your girlfriend has become all the more dangerous, I mean who needs a broken arm?
Maybe this new embracing of violence and beating the crap out of people is the new way of showing us males that females are equal to us men. Maybe they're trying to tell us that women are equal and anyone disagreeing has got a very painful future awaiting him. I think it's time we males stopped saying females are equal but actually start believing that they are equal. Instead of just saying it.
Now, the other day, while watching the news (and only because I was waiting for a movie to start on HBO, and so I decided to see our lovable female leaders sparring) I observed another example of female violence. College girls from some reputed university were settling their difference's out on the street, showing off all their admirable girl power (although that power is offset by the fact that they were beating up other girls). The most obvious reaction from any male would be: “ Wow! College girls fighting! Awesome!” This fact was proven by all them males standing on the sidewalk watching girls belt out their arsenal of kicks, punches and scratches.
Even the police are terrified. Some guerilla-commando-SWAT-hawk-from-hell-kung-fu-master type ladies were really giving them cops a run for their (bribe) money, according to the scenes shown on some privately-owned-Bangla-channel (anyone notice a pattern here, what with all this female violence and female newsreaders showing all this violence on the news, maybe we guys should get the hint and buy more teddy bears for the girls). Creepier things were never shown on the news before. The lady in question had felled numerous cops to the ground, before being finally subdued by a cheap shot from behind. Talk about drama! (I kinda felt sorry for the lady though; I was rooting for her)
And oh, before I forget, all you 12 year olds out there! Never ever read the RS. This is R-rated, restricted, mature, 16+, adult banter. It'll rot your brains out. Read something more educational, like fashion magazines or Stardust.
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