Identity crisis

April 25, 2009

So India has influence on pretty much everything we do. The way we dress, what we eat, what we buy, what we watch etc etc. . .the list goes on. That’s for the Bangladeshi population though but what about the rest of the world? Well, obviously India is known all over the world. .thanks to Bollywood and butter chicken! But how does what affect us? Trust me it does and no one knows better than me.
4 years living in North America I had to correct the people saying “I am NOT Indian, I am Bangladeshi!” Just because we have the same complexion and dress the same way does not make us Indian. Gosh! (ok, I did not overreact) but sometimes it was aggravating going all “National Geographic” and “Discovery” on people while trying to explain them where Bangladesh was located and that it was a different country.
I recall a conversation between me and my grade 9 Biology teacher. She was nicely bonding with me over a Bollywood movie and told me how much she loved Shahrukh Khan. I knew what she was talking about but at the same time I knew exactly what she was thinking- she thought I was Indian. I went on talking but I had to correct her, I told her I was Bangladeshi. She looked a little embarrassed (poor her, that wasn’t my intention though) and told me she knew Bangladeshis in her university. (Phew, at least she knew the country!) . At the end of school year most of my classmates and teachers knew where Bangladesh was (Yay! Mission accomplished) but I guess I celebrated too soon. On my graduation day, when they were reading what the graduates would do after school . .mine went something like this ” and Fariba will go to college in her homeland PAKISTAN!” (SERIOUSLY!) arrggg.


“Chipped” off

April 21, 2009

“You get full marks in math I buy you a packet of chips after school” my mother used to say. Gone are those days, full marks or no mark children nowadays get whatever they want.
The other day I was having a conversation with my 10 year old cousin. I asked him if he gets a “reward aka chips” for doing well in a test or exam. At first he gave me a weird look and completely ignored my question (ouch!) then he finally answered “yes sometimes”. I got excited and shared my memories telling him how I would always go for Mr. Twist or Ring Chips. All he said was “eww . . Indian Lays are so much better”. I was heart broken. (Ok maybe not)
Remember back in the day when we were young we would buy Mr. Twist, Potato Crackers or those bright canary yellow ring chips? I have noticed that the children these days prefer Indian Lays or Kurkure over the local ones. If you ask them why they would say it’s because there is something wrong with the ingredients they use, it is not good for health and all that. Obviously this isn’t something they came up with, it’s what they hear from their parents. It’s true that in the past some foul content were found in some food products but now things have changed. These food products are made in a hygienic area with modernized equipments.
Therefore we shouldn’t discourage the children our scare them away rather encourage them to buy our own food products.


Happy stylin’ new year

April 20, 2009

14th of April was Bengali New Year. A lot of mela, concerts, (Dj party & Car rally?!) and different other events took place. Almost half of the city was on the streets wandering in the scorching heat looking for something interesting to do. While they were preoccupied in search of amusement I was busy looking at them! Why? Because of the clothes, the make up, the hairstyle.(Not just the ladies, even the men . .yes you men in your slim fit panjabi!)  Some girls looked like they came straight out of the Bollywood movie Om Shanti Om! The Deepika hairstyle and eye make up is still in. Seems like we can’t get over the 07 bollywood hit.


A concerned music lover

April 16, 2009

So many channels! What to watch? When to watch and what to follow?
In this hectic life of ours it becomes tough keeping up with what’s on television.
I personally enjoy watching videos on music channels because it doesn’t require you following a particular show just enjoy non-stop music. I was changing channels and I noticed that all 4 music channels provided by my cable operator are Hindi! (Indian)
There is so much influence of Hindi music in Bangladesh that I am pretty sure we know more Hindi songs than Bangla ones. It seems like Bangla music is being overshadowed by catchy Indian music.


Heritage, love and bathroom tiles!?

April 11, 2009

Photo Credit: Mehran Kabir

Ah oh . .looks like we have copied that mausoleum that is in our neighbouring country. (although it is nowhere close) My first impression when I saw it was “something Ken would build for Barbie . .only if they were still a couple”. Putting my crazy imagination aside I think we shouldn’t be even comparing it with the real Taj Mahal because that would be insulting it but let us not get too serious and critical as well. We know that in Bangladesh we don’t have that many places we can visit. This new “tourist spot” or “recreational spot” or however you want to refer to it gives the people of our country somewhere to go to with their families over the weekend.
A lot of criticism has been made by the Taj Mahal lovers primarily because of the colour (pink!) and the materials used (bathroom tiles!) but lets just think of it this way, given the present economic condition in the world, if Emperor Shah Jahan was alive now, he probably would have considered bathroom tiles over marble. Who knows?


IPL fever

April 6, 2009

Indian Premier League (IPL) is in less than two weeks and the excitement can already be witnessed in almost every Indian TV channel. Well, us Bangladeshis, we are as equally excited because 1) its cricket 2) three of our National players are playing in the IPL. This year all eyes are on our Vice Captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza who is playing for Kolkata Knight Riders and is also one of the highest paid players in the IPL.
Bangladesh has a close connection with Kolkata since we speak the same language and share an almost similar culture. So, naturally we tend to support Kolkata and having our own player in a Kolkata team is like the icing on the cake.
Looking forward to this year’s IPL . . Can’t wait!


The inseparable bond

March 30, 2009

Snow storm, cyclone, earthquake or any other natural disaster so be it! But you can’t miss a Bollywood movie on a Friday night. Let’s go thousands of miles away from Bangladesh somewhere in Europe, North America or any other part of the world. No matter where we Bangladeshis go Bollywood is there. The longer the distance the stronger the bond is between Bollywood and the Bangladeshi community. I remember the maximum numbers of Hindi movies I watched was during my stay in Canada. Even in this hi-tech era, my friend’s mother in Toronto bought a VHS player just so she could watch those rented tapes of Hindi TV shows-a true fan! I don’t know the reason behind it but I guess when we are abroad we feel closer to home when we watch these movies and TV shows.