Being a student of Cadet College, I am not a stranger to love. I am, however, a stranger to most women aside from the usual psychosexual trinity of mother, sister, bua. Today, with a spirit of discovery and the usual joubonjala in my loins, I set out looking to find the secret of this crazy little thing called "love".
My first interviewee was Ferdous Sir, our games teacher and Cadet from the 37th Batch, Shahidullah House. I will present the interview in a question-answer format.
Q: Sir, what is love?
Ferdous Sir: That is a difficult question, the most difficult to answer. Perhaps we must look to the ancient philosopher Aristotle. He would walk about the gardens with his beloved students, much as you and I are doing right now.
Q: So, sir, are you saying that love is taught in the classroom?
Ferdous Sir: Perhaps not, although in love there is often a teacher and a student, much like you and I.
Q: Sir, are you saying that love is not just limited to men and women, but is a wider thing, such as friendship?
Ferdous Sir: My friend, love is definitely something that can happen between a boy and a man!
At this point, I realized that Ferdous Sir was possibly referring to what we Cadets call "Krittodasher Nirban" or the cry of a slave. This refers to a sweet-term who is made to do the bidding of his senior, in every manner possible including mouthal and anusal. Since I am a senior and not a sweet-term anymore, I ran away saying I had incomplete prayers.
I did not know any better what love means.
So I went to see the local poet, Abdul Hitlar Khokon, and find his opinions on love.
Q: Hitlar bhai, I have come to ask you a question.
Hitlar: As the bird's wings fly, so ask questions of the sky.
Q: No actually I want to ask about love.
Hitlar: Love is a feeling quench my desire, but sometimes love is a crow on the wire.
Q: Hitlar bhai, how does one find love?
Hitlar: One finds love not by looking, and love turns into marriage, cleaning and cooking.
Q: What do you think of love and the celebration of Valentine's Day?
Hitlar: Valentine's Day I met the love of my life! She was a tight maal but we were found out by my wife.
Q: Oh no! What did you do?
Hitlar: I gave my wife my child and a packet of mouri, she went back to her parents' and left me the dowry.
Q: Did you end up marrying the love of your life?
Hitlar: Yes, I did, and what a happy year! But the next Valentine's Day came true my worst fear.
Q: What happened?
Hitlar: I tore off a rojoni gondha, I said "Baby I am think of you", but alas her eyes wandered, and she found her true love too.
I learned the most important thing about LOVE. It is different things to different people. To our Ferdous Sir, love is the feeling of a tight boy's legs in the squash court. To Hitlar Khokon the poet, love is adultery.
But what is love to me? Who is the girl who will one day win my heart?
It is none other than Angelica, the mute girl from the famous telefilm OFFBEAT. In the telefilm, the members of Bangladeshi Creed cover band BLACK are lafangas who seek nothing but free Pepsi. (This telefilm is the most famous example of product placement achieving a negative effect in the third world, more so than the case of Marlboro-sponsored school uniforms that we have seen recently). They steal Pepsi, but Tahsan Khan steals the heart of the mute Angelica Alauddin, who is probably simple-minded as she cannot speak, and who also lacks the power to say no (also for the same reason). However, we find out that she cannot have Tahsan or ride his cycle to a place far away from captivity, as she is engaged to her brother Intikhab Dinar. Intikhab Dinar speaks two lines of English in this telefilm, including the immortal "I just love you" and "You have just screwed mewap". The telefilm also features a cameo by a short man in a Superman costume, most likely a hanger-on of the band BLACK.
The magic moment truly comes when Tahsan goes to offer Angelica a Hallmark card of love. She doesn't say yes, she doesn't say no (being mute). But her brother and fiance, Intikhab Dinar, explodes at Tahsan in English. But all is well--Tahsan does not find love but the two men shake hands and say "Happy Valentine's Day". This is the lesson we learn.
The fabulous clip is here:
PICTURED: Ferdous Sir, Abdul Hitlar Khokon, Tahsan