April 29, 2008

Bangladesh Zeitgeist Watch: The Rise of the Aloo

Lying there, half-immersed in curry sauce, ignored by those looking for meat, the aloo has been a much-neglected vegetable indeed. Until now that is. The Knight of the Order of the Aloo rode in on horseback, his armour - polished by the spittle of a thousand supporters - shining in the deltaic sun! All to save the aloo from the ignominy of being made bhorta. The aloo is indeed redeemed, for chefs at five-star hotels now covet it. The Knight is vindicated, and we admire his courage for mixing himself up with such a funny vegetable.

Without further ado (aloo), below I list some things I expect to witness in the coming months, and fondly contemplate how the aloo mania is affecting my favourite advisor ever. Just remember: aloo must be consumed ALONGSIDE rice, not INSTEAD of it, as any number of recent op-eds in the Pravda can attest.

Mohammad Ashraful (speaking English WHEN HE COULD BE SPEAKING HIS OWN MOTHER TONGUE!): We eat rice and lose all the time. From now, we eat aloo and win!

Robi Thakoor (back from the grave, beard longer than ever): I made a spelling mistake in one of my songs. It should have been “Aloo amar, aloo ogo, alooy bhubon bhora, aloo jokhon bhorta, tokhon alooy petta bhora.”

Naimul Islam Khan (writing yet another egotistical editorial): Aaj thekey Amader Shomoyer naam bodliye amra holam Aloor Shomoy, eengrejite ja daray the Age of the Aloo. Ami jani pathokra ei cheyechilo. Ami jani.

Matiur Rahman (not to be outdone): Aloor Shomoy kono potrika holo? Oita to puro goyendader hathey. Tar thekey apnara aaj thekey Prothom Aloo porun. Amra shecchay aloo khai.

The Tagore-Protection Committee (open letter to various newspapers): We, patriotic aloo-eaters that we are, strongly protest recent attempts made on certain blogs to parody Tagore’s lyrics. We condemn this dhakashohor chhokra in the strongest terms and hope he does not get his aloo tonight.

Mainul Hosein (unemployed, breakfast: aloor dom): Conspiracy! Conspiracy! Conspiracy! Conspiracy!

Hasan Mashud Chowdhury: The potato’s meteoric rise is very suspicious. I think amader uchit hobey ekti case thookey dawa, jaatey remandey niye alooke ektu bhorta kora jay.

Daily Star’s Crown Jewel’s filed report: The Potato’s meteoric rise has come under the scrutiny of the ACC. The Potato’s activities are known in every corner of the country. The Potato is rumoured to have established a shady presence in a few flats, a few cars, a few companies, a few restaurants and a few television channels, all in an illegal manner as far as I know. And I didn’t try looking too hard, just used my access to government officials without trying to get independent confirmation of the aloor bhaji they fed me.

Wait – Breaking News: Potato found to be none other than our very own “aloo”, favoured by Knights on Horseback. Case dismissed! No suspicion on the aloo ever. No, we don’t apologise.

Mainul Hosein (unhinged, lunch: aloo bhaji): Conspiracy! Conspiracy! Conspiracy! Conspiracy!

Delwar Hossain Saidee: Aloo is halal. Not just halal, but the most Islamic of foods. From Saladin to Jinnah, they have all endorsed the aloo as “Islamic”. That is all that matters to Believers like me. It is also easily proven that the Ihudi-Nasra-Hindu-Nasteek Buddhijibi-Indian Thread Makers-Venusian Sith Lords Chokro have never spoken well of the aloo.

Shahriar Kabir: Aloo khetey ami raaji, but we must ask, is this Secular aloo? If the farmer prays for a good harvest, then surely that aloo cannot be Secular. Also, I heard Delwar Hossain Saidee praising the aloo, so surely…

Saidee (the next day): Aloo is haram from today. Nasteek buddhijibira aloo khetey raaji!

Dan Quayle (hand-written statement): I wish Banglanians Banglastanis Bangladeshies the best in their ongoing adventure to harness the awesome power of potatos.

Mainul Hosein (approaching senility, dinner: aloo bhorta) : Conspiracy! Conspiracy! Conspiracy! Conspiracy!

Forhad Mazhar: Porashoktir ekta slang term ache, “couch potato”, maaney sharadin sofay boshey boshey, aloor chips kheye kheye jara aloor moto dekhtey hoye jay. Jemon hoyechey dhakashohor namok ak bhojonbilashi, olosh-prokritir shamrajyobadi-blogger! Chee chee. Aantorjatik o aancholik porashokti ei chay: tader bohujaatik company gulo diye amader aloo khaiye khaiye couch potato banatey. Shabdhan!

Pinak Ranjan Chakrovorty: Bangladesh could learn a lot from India on how to make your aloos secular and your aloor dum more tasty.

Mahmudur Rahman (writing in Naya Diganta): This sort of comment on our aloo and our aloor dum is nothing short of a Breach of our Sharbobhoumotyo! Amader aloo ar aloor dom ke opomaan korechey bharoter rashtrodoot. Er pichoney nishchoi amader sushilder haath achey, tara aloo na kheye polao korma kheto eto din. This is the Greatest National Crisis Ever (GNCE) to hit us since India tried to make us a “captive market”, and look how well my Jatiyotabadi government dealt with THAT! Ei sorkar eishob meney nay ki korey?

Patricia “Beauty Apa” Butenis: We will welcome your aloos in Iraq. We will make freedom fries out of them.

Abul Barakat (yet another roundtable): Hawa Bhaban stole 64 billion MT worth of aloos. In one night. Just from my dinner table alone. God knows how much more aloo they stole from the entire country and deposited in Switzerland! I know for a fact that the Swiss have been switching from cheese to aloo fondue not just because it is cheaper, but obviously more fun to do. (groan away!)

Syed Badrul Ahsan (weekly column in DS): April is the cruelest month, breeding aloos from the dead land. Yes, indeed the land is dead, for its people have failed to acknowledge that it was Bangabandhu and NO ONE ELSE who came up with this grand plan to eat aloos!

Mainul Hosein (sleeping, pillow: aloor bosta): Conspiracy! Conspiracy! Conspiracy! Conspiracy!

Hossain Zillur Rahman, (PhD): Sorkar ekti notun udyog niyechey. SMS korun amar phoney, ebong ami apnader ek bosta aloo pathiye debo. Rice via OMS chilo political solution, riddled with corruption. Amader solution hochchey aloo via SMS. Wider coverage (I use GP, you should too)*wink* and no chances of corruption.

Forhad Mazhar: PhD ajkal money hochchey Potato-holder’s Degree hoye gechey. Etao porashoktir arek shorojontro. Aloo khawa cherey din. Shabdhan!

Shishir Bhattacharya: I honestly cannot think of any funny cartoons or joke about aloo and our current national obsession with it. And no, I don’t check out blogs for ideas for my cartoons.

Shahriar Kabir (angrily, on some talk show): Ei dhakashohor naam diye ek neo-Jamaati, shamprodayik bojjat cheley blog korey. Aloo niye likhtey giye tar shamprodayikota exposed hoye giyeche. Shey Robindronath Thakoorke bangyo korechey! Amakeo! Er porey aloo khawa jay ki korey, apni bolun?

Delwar Hossain Saidee (Friday afternoon on television): Aloo is halal again! Reading that bekhtameez larka dhakashohor’s idiocies is still haraam!

Mainul Hosein (lost in a field of aloo): Conspiracy! Conspiracy! Conspi – (gets hit on head with aloo)


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