Part 2: Tongue in cheek retorts

This is a continuation of the previous post – Part 1: Tongue in cheek retorts. I received so many entries that had to break the post into two to accommodate them all :) Enjoy!

Btw, here’s the latest from the IT help desk, cracked me up again and with each reading it got funnier.

Dear mister Khan,

That is not exactly an issue, but a known problem.
At the moment there is nothing we can do about it.

You can press “OK” and refreshing the page ( F5 ) will be enough.

Kind regards,

Service center

  • Bengalies often ask me,, ‘Why aren’t you married? I have some perspective,, I can find you a nice guy,, ”
    My answer usually is a smile,, but I’m saying to myself,,,

    • There are Gazzilions of Bengalies exist,, Am I the last offspring of Dinosaurs, that Imma extinct soon,, therefore, I must reproduce??
    • Yeah,, I could be a offspring of the Bengali Tigers.. for sure !
  • Being complimented with words like ‘sexy’, ‘hot’ etc. from random people who behave like they are paying you the ‘biggest’ compliment ever and you should roll over in excitement/happiness/gratitude…
    • Too hot to handle – for you – move on
    • “roll eyes” & wonder if the skull houses a brain
    • “deikkhai shanti”
  • Random people who send you CV’s that are used to broker ‘arranged’ marriages
    • All the reactions listed above and then some (plus an auto-gag reflex)
  • Random people, you have never met or spoken to, sends you CV’s  then hound you to find them a job
    • Not running an employment agency here
    • No one is hiring stupid…. when someone does, I will inform you.
  • People you have never met, sends you messages titled “dear friend” and then a long-winded monologue that results in whatever else they want from you with a pathetic reason as to why you should comply with their request.
    • This ain’t a ‘dharamshala’ .. this is not a ‘charity’
    • I think I know ‘who’ my friends are.. and they are certainly not people I have never met
    • If you can’t say it simple with a compelling reason to comply, don’t bother at all
    • Using big words, only makes you seem stupider…. as if the ‘greeting’ wasn’t stupid enough
  • People who think they have grown too big for their boots
    • Better watch that ego, I might ‘accidentally’ bruise it
    • Ain’t no one shown you the ‘highway’ yet?
    • Buddy, take a hike and just keep on walking.
  • Men overdosing on testosterone
    • Where’s your cave?
    • You lose your way in the jungle?
    • So what did you hunt today?
    • someone stuck a bamboo up your ass or what?
  • Women overdosing on hormones
    • Woman, you missed your calling on the stage
    • Oh you would’ve been fantastic in ‘so & so’ hindi serial
    • What’s up with being so passive aggressive?
  • Men who live in the ‘foreign’ land and think that their passports/non-resident status are enough to draw the girls in hordes. Case in point, messages like ‘I live in USA, can we be friends?’
    • I live in Mars, I don’t think we are compatible
    • Why? They ran out of friends in the USA?
    • Got plenty of friends thank you… don’t need a weirdo from wherever you are.
  • Comments and messages that start with “I don’t want to annoy you but…”
    • Dude, you are already annoying me
    • If you don’t want to annoy, why start?
    • Move on….

Ahhhh… gotta love them… sarcastic retorts &  humor at their best :D

Being victimized, when does it end?

Why did the sexual harassment of 20 women during the Pohela Boishakh incident rattle so many people? Why are the people out in hordes, lining the street, demanding that the perpetrators be brought to justice? Why did this resonate with so many people on so many different levels?

Gender based violence, sexual harassment is a worldwide epidemic problem. It’s a human right problem. The fact that it has struck a chord with so many is a testament to how pervasive & endemic it is. Almost every single women that I know has stories. Yes, stories, not ‘a story’ but many stories of being objectified, vilified and violated… in public space and private. Where does this end? Does it ever end?

And why are we still stuck on telling women what they can wear, not wear, be, not be, do and not do? Why the hell is it still our responsibility to ‘not get raped’?

People tell me that I am brave.

I am not, it’s because I know what it is to live in fear, I can no longer accept being ‘fearful’ as my default mode of living.

I have had my house broken into and robbed a few years ago. I remember not being able to sleep for several nights. I no longer felt safe inside my own home.

I remember being molested at maybe 5 or 6 years old. I no longer felt safe in my own body. I remember the fear & disgust of all those groping hands of fathers, uncles, cousins and strangers.

It’s not a new story, it has happened before and it’ll continue to happen, all over the world, unless something changes.

And that something that changed for me, was me.

At some point in time, I was done with taking it – quietly. I was done with keeping silent, to keep the peace. I was done with not creating a scene for fear that it will draw attention to me or rock the family or social ties. I was done with suffering alone, so that other’s are not inconvenienced. Yes, it would’ve been inconvenient and awkward you see to explain to others why the situation has changed, why something that was seemingly normal is no longer so. I learnt to raise my voice instead, to swear to high heaven – worthy of putting a drunken sailor to shame. I learnt self-defence, to fight back and I learnt how to break bones when needed.

You see I am done with being victimized. If you mess with me, I will fight back. I will use my voice, my hands, the law, or whatever else I can get my hands on. I have had it with sermons of religion and coverings/clothing/hijab and good girl vs. bad girl arguments. Arguments that make no distinction for the 10-year-old girl who had her clothes torn off and was covered in bite marks by a bunch of rapists hiding in the faceless crowd.

Remember this fact: Worldwide 1 in 3 women face sexual violence and a very conservative estimate puts it at 1 in 6 for boys/men. It’s not ‘your’ fault. It’s not ‘their’ fault irrespective of their clothing or the lateness of the hour or anything else. No one is ‘asking’ for this. The worst part is that this victimization starts young, 7-8 or younger. Abusers target young kids because they don’t know how to react. Women are conditioned to ignore it and tacitly accept this violation by society/parents/others telling them that this shit is normal & it happens & it’s their body’s fault. Men are asked, ‘why didn’t you fight back?’, ‘can men actually be raped?’.

I am extremely over-protective about the people in my life, be that my son, the 10-year-old daughter of my neighbour, my 22-year-old cousin or my 40-year-old friends. The best way to show that you care and that you don’t support violence, is to call out the perpetrator on their behaviour and stand up for the person being victimized (men or women) wherever they be, at home or in public. Teach your daughters / sons / sisters / brothers self-defence, to keep their chin up and keep those line of communication open. Pay attention to how a child behaves around an adult, if they are not comfortable, don’t force them to be nice. This isn’t a contest on how well you have ingrained manners in your children or daughters, it’s about how well you ingrain self-respect.

If you think it only happens to certain people (men or women) because of something they did or because of the country they live in …  then read these:

In creepy Reddit megathread, thousands of women recount the first time they were perved on by a grown man: http://np.reddit.com/…/women_of_reddit_when_did_you_first_…/

1in6 was founded and the website was designed in response to a lack of resources addressing the impact of negative childhood sexual experiences on the lives of adult men, one of many under-recognized aspects of childhood sexual abuse: https://1in6.org/men/

And to the lovely people out there, who genuinely care and are horrified that people have to go through these, stand up and be heard. When we avert our eyes in the streets, in the bus, on the road, in schools, at parties, office, or at home we are allowing space for the criminals to continue their crimes.

One sided perspective = bias + prejudice

My impossible dream for this morning:

1. A world without borders

2. A world where you could travel anywhere you want, live anywhere you want.

3. A world where you meet so many different people, see so many different cultures, that you realize the richness that is inherent in each.

Blogged about this one here before :) ran across it again this morning and once again, I love her example of how watching ‘american psycho’ didn’t make her think that ALL american teenagers were psychotic serial killers, because she had been exposed to many other stories of american-ness. Yet her African authenticity was questioned when she portrayed her childhood in Nigeria as normal.

I have a Nigerian colleague in the office now. I think she’s funny, articulate, intelligent and no different from my other colleagues, regardless of their nationality or the colour of their skin. The reason we are all same is because we have many different stories of each other & the richness of our cultures. We struggle with the same issues and relate to each other on many different levels. Our perceptions are not one-sided or colour biased.

Watch any news channel and you’ll see coverage of ISIL and it’s atrocities. What we don’t see is the richness of culture & the generous spirit of the Middle East. The simple generosity and rich cultural heritage of the Arabian tribes and nations are lost in the coverage of war and strife.

I had a friend who called me from UK when he saw a flood coverage in Bangladesh. He was worried that I was drowning in the flood. I didn’t even know that there was an ongoing flood in my country. He’s coming down here for a visit and I hope by the time he goes back, he’ll know many more stories of my country. Stories that dispel the myth of Bangladesh being a country of disasters and calamities or atrocities against women.

The Bucket List: 15 Must-Do things in Bangladesh before you turn 30 !!!

Arman:

Some of these places, I didn’t know about, so it just went on my bucket list of places to see in Bangladesh :)

Originally posted on শাইখ মাহদী'র বাংলা ব্লগ:

If you are a Bangladeshi youth, you may have missed some of the most wonderful things-to-do here because of the stereotypical mindset and mostly, lack of information. It is not quite uncommon, thanks (?!) to the socio-economic reality of our country. The popular myths among the general Bangladeshi people are like – Traveling costs too much; it is not for me; I won’t survive in the wilderness; I am happy with my life; So why ghuraghuri !!!

Well, from the great prophets to philosophers to global leaders to social change makers, everyone had spent a considerable time of their life in traveling, roaming around the earth. Nobody in the world can teach you better than the world, the Nature itself. Just make a decision, take the step and you will be the part of the nature! Like Gandalf the Grey once said to Bilbo Baggins – ‘Home is now…

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Part 1: Tongue in cheek retorts

I have always wondered, how in a country of 160 million people cramped into a tiny piece of land, we manage to get by without killing each other constantly. I think I might have found the answer. It seems that we as a nation have  honed the art of sarcasm, essentially defusing tense circumstances. Most retorts in Bangla are hilarious, but the hilarity is lost in translation, without the cultural context that is conveyed in the tone and the specific choice of words.

I have had to learn to curb the urge to retort back in most professional settings, yet sometimes, it’s just too tempting. Like a few days ago, when I had a very interesting interaction with a so-called tech guy. I had called a help desk and conversation went something like this:

“Can you check if the internet connection is working?”

A pause and then I get the following advise:

“Yeah it’s working, all the sites you are trying to reach are down”

The retorts that ran through my head ……

“ALL the sites are down???”

“How do you know which sites I was trying to access?”

“How the hell did you ever qualify for this job?”

So this lead to the following post on my FB:

A shout out to all my people here, I am putting together a blog post on all the things that annoy me and bring out the ‘sarcastic’ me. You know all those tongue in cheek responses to ‘stupidity’ that my usual “diplomatic” self refrains from spitting out.

So I have been putting together this list & I got to thinking I am sure a lot of you can add a lot more to this list of things that makes you groan, roll your eyes, hit yourself in the face, wonder what the hell was going on in the other person’s head..

So wanna share? ;) if you don’t want to publicly post it, send me a msg and I’ll add yours to the list & keep you anonymous

 

Hence this list of things that bring up the sarcasm … feel free to add on :) (some of the retorts are priceless in Bangla and translation doesn’t do them justice, so I’ll include both)

  • People who jostle you from behind in a queue.
    • ‘Amar ga er upor uthe apni koto duur agaben?’ – if you climb over me, how far are you going to go?
    • ‘please shore daran na hole guard k deke apnar be ijjot korabo’ – please stand apart, before I call the guard to teach you some manners.
  • When I go shop something, say a sweater, I will definitely find just one type in all the shops I hop in. I am particularly pissed off by the copy-cat attitude and lack of creativity in Bangladeshi manufacturers, lack of variety, whatever the product may be
    • “I am not just as good as the rest of the 160 million to have this “substance”, I am the one with a cheesy taste, do you have something for ghetto people like me?”
    • “amar fashion sense eto unnoto na..apnar kase puran kisu ase” I am not a fashionista, so do you have something that’s out of fashion?
  • When Indian call centres make their employees use western names.
    • What, we don’t have Asians here?
  • When someone (repeatedly) asks to borrow money
    • Yeah, I only work hard to earn enough to keep lending you money.
  • With “pachelokekibolbe situations” – With situations, where people say things like “what will other people think/say?”
    • “Ami tar-ta khai, na pori, chudlam na tare!” I don’t give a fuck what they think, they neither feed me nor clothe me.
  • When people have a problem with me,
    • “Its not my problem, its yours.”
  • When some one attempts to provide “unwelcome” advice,
    • “Dure jae mor!”  go far away and die
    • OR “Tui amar maa na baap? Taile tham!”Are you my parents? then stop!
  • When rickshaw or any other vehicle riding through the wrong side of the road and making us move to make his way
    • what kind of education did you get?
    • “eita ki tor baper rasta?” does this road belong to your dad?
  • Random connection requests from people on LinkedIn with messages like “you have the best profile picture here”.
    • If I wanted random hook-ups, I would be on a dating site instead of a professional networking site
    • Are you mistaking LinkedIn for Tinder?

More retorts coming up in the next post :)

“Shuvo Nobo Borsho” Happy Bangla New Year

Today is the first day of the Bengali New Year. Traditionally it’s the time we do away with the old and bring in the new. So even Google’s doodle is participating :)

The festivity starts with street arts drawn all over the place the previous night by a multitude of people who turn out of nowhere and disappear just as fast :)

 

 

And the day itself is full of cultural activities, parades, impromptu concerts, fairs, food, fun, family and friends. In a city of about 16 million people that is a LOT of people who dress up traditionally in red and white and head out towards the university area to celebrate in open air. It traditionally starts off with a concert under a banyan tree in what used to be a ‘race course’ during the British era.

 

Then comes the parade or “Mongol shovajatra” that starts off from the Art College of Dhaka University.

 

 

And the rest of the day goes something like this: fair, food, family, friends :)

We are very attached to our food as a nation. But in a twist, today is the only day in the year that most of us will eat rice that has been soaked in water. Traditionally, it’s the meals of the farmers. This being after all the festivity that marked the end of the harvest period. We carry it on by now eating “panta bhat” with too expensive “hilsha” fish and a variety of mashed vegetables, prawns etc. known as ‘bhorta’. The end of any meal has to be in sweets, so the traditional cakes or ‘pithas’ are served too.

 

 

And last but not least… the millions of people who turn up to enjoy these festivities in their traditional best :)

 

 

Shuvo Nobo Borsho to all my readers … enjoy your new year in peace and blessings :)

Is your life worth living?

 

Important reminder for days when nothing seems to go right or you feel like a hamster going fast, nowhere ;)

Sufism: love & acceptance

 

I have always been attracted to Sufism for its openness, its loving, accepting nature but also partly because of the most celebrated Poet and Philosopher, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī. I have quoted him in my blogs and devoured his book  “Maṭnawīye Ma’nawī“.  I wish in my search, I could say that I have walked away sated, instead it’s like a thirst that refuses to be quenched. He talks about the madness and calmness of longing for one’s beloved, of doing what is right even when it’s not so clear that the path you are on is in fact ‘right’. I am mesmerized by his faith in the Lord, in the fact that our relationship with the Lord is a direct one, that if we search, we’ll find God wherever we will look. His longing, his devotion, his love comes through in his writing in such a way that it pulls you in and takes you on a journey too.

And then there’s such devotion in Sufi music and I am specially loving these two songs right now (took a while to find videos with English translation)  :)

 

 

Being at peace: free resources for learning meditation

I love meditation :D I love the feeling of peace, security, acceptance and over all lightness that I experience in my meditation sessions. As an introvert, my inner world is supremely important to me, in fact so important that from time to time, I like to set dedicated hours apart to ensure that my inner house is in order.

Knowing who I am and what I am has been quite a journey. In this journey of self-discovery and learning, I have found meditation to be quite a tool for inner discovery. Most of us look outside when we want company, happiness, comfort… not quite realizing that everything that you need already resides within you. However it’s almost impossible to find your inner resources when you don’t have the best relationship with yourself.

We all have that little voice that nags us at the back of our head. Maybe a forgotten voice that belonged to a teacher who called you ‘stupid’ for failing in math or a family that thought you were too ‘naive’ or ‘angry’. All those labels that people we have forgotten, labelled us with and that subsequently became part of our personality. The voices that say that things aren’t quite how they should be, that you could always do better, etc. and you keep beating yourself up over your perceived failures. It’s a never-ending nag! Had this voice belonged to someone else, you would have probably resented their negativity and pulled away from their social circle. But since this is the voice in our head, most of us, go through life oblivious to it.

This is exactly why I love meditating. It puts me in touch with me. The me, who already has everything that she needs. The me, who is happy and blessed. The me, who knows what is right for her, in her gut, in her mind, intuitively. This is the inner me, the fat happy cat that purrs near my feet, light as a feather, happy as can be.

So given the recent onslaught of questions on finding resources on meditation, I have found quite a few sites which I love.

These Buddhist monks who have started a Peace Revolution are amazing, head over here: https://peacerevolution.net/. They have a free 42 day program to guide you through your journey :)

If you want something more scientific, try this site: http://marc.ucla.edu/ The UCLA MARC has an array of information, including free guided meditations.

And if you have an interest in Buddhism (you don’t have to in order to learn how to meditate), head over here: http://www.how-to-meditate.org/ They have an array of videos on lectures and techniques, along with the underlying principles.

So go on ahead… enjoy!

 

p.s. Other posts were I have written about meditation are:

Mind monkeys

How to increase self-confidence

The lazy persons guide to being healthy

Meditation Realizations

Meditation Retreat

 

Getting your priorities right

If you have ever struggled with getting your priorities right…

If you have woken up too many mornings wondering how you will drag yourself through the day…

If you have looked at your life thinking I need to change something but I don’t know where to start…

Then this Ted Talk is for you :)

You can read the full transcript here.

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