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  #1  
Old February 16, 2008, 03:01 PM
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shaad shaad is offline
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Default পুরোনো দিনের প্রেমের কাহিনী

So we have had several serious dicussions on Forget Cricket recently, but what with this being after Valentine's Day, Tk 2.5 crore's worth of flowers being sold in Dhaka, Zahid still bemoaning his lost love Mona Lisa, Tonoy waxing rapturous over Pakistani girls in Canada, Orphy not getting any action and writing in support of gays, and One World getting chocolates as a gift, I thought it might not be a bad idea to talk about what love and romance was like when my peers and I were young. And as usual, in all my stories (all of them true), names will be changed to protect the identity of my friends.

Learn from your Elders

But first, a preamble about the generation that were our "boro bhais and bons." Apparently, romancing via cell/mobile phones are all the rage in Dhaka now; I mean, djuice largely functions as a successful business operation because of it. But I'd just like to point out that they are all newcomers to the field. This telephone romance was, if anything, advanced and developed by the generation that predated us.

You have to imagine the time. It was a very young Bangladesh. BTTB was trying to expand both the number of exchanges and the lines that the exchanges could hold. Needless to say, BTTB went about it in its usual incompetent manner. The result: for about a couple of years, cross-connections -- half of just about every number one dialed ended up reaching the wrong phone.

It was a much more conservative era. So-called love marriages were rare and viewed almost as taboo. The only romance that most of our "boro bhais" and "bonera" had experienced had been in the pages of fiction, of novels, and short stories. But those inadvertent cross-connections, they changed all that. An innocent phone call to a friend, misdirected, led to hearing a shy and silky sweet voice on the phone. And more often than not, that voice didn't hang up. They were starved for love, both the boys and the girls, and they rarely had had any opportunity to even meet members of the opposite sex of the same age who weren't relatives. They knew they were eventually destined for arranged marriages, to people they didn't really know, people chosen for them by their parents. But, for just a little while, with people they would never ever get to really meet, they had a chance to escape into the flights of fancy, and that they did, with wild abandon.

I don't know about you; but I find the innocent bittersweet telephone romances of that generation oddly touching.

Blowing in the Wind

But that was them. Let's move on to my generation. We were more "advanced", heck, some of us even went to co-ed schools. But, if anything, we were much more shy. Take my friend A, for instance. He had quite a crush on F, the girl in the house opposite his. In the time-honoured Bangladeshi way he became friends with her brothers, and visited them often. But in the presence of F, his eyes would become glassy and he would be tongue-tied, hard put to even say "Hello". Things finally came to a head when we were flying some kites on their roof (for those who don't know, at one time, and still in parts of Old Dhaka, kite-flying and kite-fighting was a favourite pastime, from roofs of houses that rarely had any walls or railings).

At any rate A, I, and one of F's brothers were each flying our own kites. And then F came onto the roof. And I saw A, looking at her, framed as she was by the setting sun. He was smitten, gloriously in love the way only the young and the innocent can be. He couldn't take his eyes off her. And, I think, for the first time, F realized this. But A was still, instinctively, a Bengali boy, a flyer of kites. Those of you who have flown kites know how important it is to maintain the tension in the line. And, instinctively, without thinking about it, A continued doing that. His eyes still riveted on her face, seeing nothing else, he kept on stepping back and back, keeping the line taut. And suddenly, there was no more roof beneath his feet. I yelled out a warning, but it was too late. Almost as if in slow motion, his eyes still focused on F's face, his kite line still taut, A simply fell of the edge.

The roof had been two storeys high. Luckily for A, the injuries weren't too serious: a broken arm, a broken leg, and a cracked pelvis. But something else too had broken in that fall: A's shyness. They talked, F and A, freely for once, while waiting for the ambulance to arrive. A was bedridden for a month and a half. F visited A almost every day. And they talked further. And the romance blossomed.

The Code of Lovers

A and I had both been Boy Scouts. So, one day, after he had fully recovered, he told me that he was teaching F Morse Code.

"Why?" I asked.

"You'll see," he said.

And I saw. At nine in the evening, he went up on the roof of his house and aimed a flashlight into F's second storey room. Slowly, laboriously, he spelled out "I love you" by switching the flashlight on and off. "I told her to look out of her window at nine, you see," A explained, the satisfied smile looming large on his face.

Unfortunately, the smile didn't last too long. F had indeed waited by her window, but A, in his love-fuelled excitement, had aimed his flashlight at the wrong window, that of her parents, by mistake. And it certainly didn't help that F's father was a fairly high-ranking retired officer of the Army signal corps.

For the next week or so, A didn't step out of his house. "Uncle", F's father, was seen walking around the gate with a rifle, you see.

---

More true stories later if you guys like them...
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  #2  
Old February 16, 2008, 03:16 PM
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"Uncle" probably knew the code. Signals Corps and all..Happy ending?
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  #3  
Old February 16, 2008, 03:29 PM
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The secret to happiness.

You need a woman who will love you.
You need a woman who will cook and clean for you
You need a woman who will take care of your special need
You need a woman who will listen to you.

And...

You need to make sure the 4 women mentioned above does not know about each other.
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  #4  
Old February 16, 2008, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beamer
"Uncle" probably knew the code. Signals Corps and all..Happy ending?
Oh, "Uncle" definitely knew the code. She jonyo rifle niye ghura-ghuri korchhilen.

It ended the way most first romances end... they broke up, and went their separate ways. Both are happily married now, to their respective spouses.
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  #5  
Old February 16, 2008, 05:48 PM
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A very good article Shaad bhai. There isn't usually good material in this FC section.

I do feel very sad for A. It's as if like in The Count of Monte Cristo.
And thanks for mentioning me

Yes, Old-school Love was decent, pure, loyal and it was Truly Love.

These days, it's so complicated.

So, you see a girl you like.
Does she have a bf? Is the paara's Cadre after her? Is she married? Is she divorced?

You start romancing with her.
Is she two-timing? i.e. having one or more relationships with other guys Will she leave you for your Hunk friend? Will she leave you as you don't shower her with gifts?

Then, there's also the Choritro bepar.

Desperately, you try to be Mr. Perfect and even then, she leaves you.

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  #6  
Old February 16, 2008, 05:55 PM
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poor A, his romance didnt work out. Shaad, cant you tell a story where the first romance actually worked out? This story seems to discourage some of us you know.
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Old February 16, 2008, 08:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonoy
poor A, his romance didnt work out. Shaad, cant you tell a story where the first romance actually worked out? This story seems to discourage some of us you know.
Ah, but there is a simple solution. Jump to and start from the 2nd.
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  #8  
Old February 16, 2008, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zahid
Ah, but there is a simple solution. Jump to and start from the 2nd.
but I want to continue with the first one
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  #9  
Old February 17, 2008, 12:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonoy
poor A, his romance didnt work out.
Hybrid Vigour

Yes, A always did seem a little cursed in the girls and romance department. Even when it finally worked out, late in his college life, it wasn't without certain hiccups. You see, he fell in love with a Korean-American girl. Now, you know how some Bangladeshi parents can be a little racist where their son or daughter is concerned? Well, A didn't expect his parents to be at all racist; I mean, they were that rarest of all exceptions, a couple from our parents' generation who had eloped and had had a love marriage. Surely, A thought, his parents would understand and sympathize with his feelings? No dice, though, A was unceremoniously disowned.

Alright then, A thought, perhaps his prospective in-laws would be more understanding? But it there's any ethnicity that's even more racist and xenophobic than South Asians, it's probably the Koreans. Have their only daughter marry a dark-skinned brownie? No way. M, A's girlfriend, was also instantly disowned.

So I found myself dragged along as one of the three guests at their wedding (civil ceremony at the town hall). None of the parents came. But A and M were happy, deliriously so. And as the years passed, and they had kids, even their parents relented... it's hard to continue holding a grudge against your children; against your grandchildren, it's well nigh impossible.

Quote:
Shaad, cant you tell a story where the first romance actually worked out? This story seems to discourage some of us you know.
Boy Meets Girl, They Fall in Love, They Stay in Love

tonoy, I would, but since these are true stories, cases like those are actually quite rare. And they might not be that particularly interesting for the readers either -- boy meets girl, they fall in love, they stay in love. Other than to the two individuals involved, what excitement is there in that? But since you asked...

On my first day at school, in kindergarten, I found that the class monitor was a particularly bossy girl called S. Other than being a little bossy, she was actually quite nice, to all of us except one boy, J. J simply got on her nerves, to the point where she would chase him with a ruler. Well, you know where this is going... as in any cliched romantic comedy, once they reached their teens, S and J fell madly in love. But far too soon it was time for college, and J and I both came to the States. He had never broken up with S; he expected to go back and marry her after graduating. Me, I was always a cynic. Plenty of girls in the States, I always thought; S and J's romance simply wouldn't last.

But it did. In the second semester of his junior year, he got a letter from S. Her parents were looking for a prospective groom for her, she had written. J left for Dhaka the following day. He talked with his parents, convinced them that if he couldn't marry S, he would never get married at all. S's parents were approached, suitable arrangements were made, and J found himself getting his Bachelor's degree a year later than expected (his college would not forgive his missed semester), but losing his bachelor status a year earlier.
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Old February 17, 2008, 12:29 AM
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THAT's the way to be
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokai
The secret to happiness.

You need a woman who will love you.
You need a woman who will cook and clean for you
You need a woman who will take care of your special need
You need a woman who will listen to you.

And...

You need to make sure the 4 women mentioned above does not know about each other.
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  #11  
Old February 17, 2008, 12:32 AM
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Nice stories.. good writing style...

But what I wanna know is Shaad's love story...I am sure he is saving the best for last.
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  #12  
Old February 17, 2008, 12:42 AM
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East Asian women are the best.

Random comment?
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  #13  
Old February 17, 2008, 12:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AsifTheManRahman
East Asian women are the best.

Random comment?
Ask Orphy. I gather he's still sampling all ethnicities to decide which one to marry.
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  #14  
Old February 17, 2008, 01:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaad
Ask Orphy. I gather he's still sampling all ethnicities to decide which one to marry.
heh I wish. I can't even get a single girl let alone sample...

But I have the answer to Asif nonetheless. The women we never been with are the best. No east no west, girls who won't date me are best.

But Asif's case might be different. The boy may have actually FOUND the best
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Old February 17, 2008, 01:45 AM
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Awesome stories Shaad. I have always enjoyed reading your stories. Anyway, J's story is quite nice and shows that long distance relationship can work. However, I enjoyed A's part 2 of love life even more. I just cant figure out why parents won't allow such racial integration.
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Old February 17, 2008, 02:05 AM
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This thread is in need of some women's touch. Where is Al-Furqan?


//random al-furqan bashing. This random bashing will continue until he posts in this thread about his "falling in love with best friend" story. He never shared that.
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  #17  
Old February 17, 2008, 05:07 PM
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If his best friend's a man, shouldn't that be going to the homosexuality thread?
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Old February 17, 2008, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
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But I have the answer to Asif nonetheless.
I wasn't asking a question. I was stating a fact.
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Old February 17, 2008, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AsifTheManRahman
If his best friend's a man, shouldn't that be going to the homosexuality thread?
khaiche random bashing continues... Al-Furqan, you better share your story here fast before you get syphillis from that gay thread...
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Old February 17, 2008, 10:00 PM
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I think a common thread underlying most of these stories is the sheer degree of shyness exhibited by us in those days. This often led to interesting ramifications. For instance, when we were in Class VII, all the boys of my class developed a crush on Z, a girl in Class X. But since she was senior to us, and primarily because we were far too shy, there was little we could do but worship this angel, this "Noorie" as we called her, from afar. That is, until the Science Fair. Our Chemistry teacher must have been a little puzzled, but he went along with us. And I suppose the other teachers and parents must have been scratching their heads (today they would have been looking at BC's homosexuality thread), when all the boys of Class VII revealed their science projects -- functional lipsticks, perfumes, vanishing and cold creams, shampoos, and mascara, all under the rubric of "Noorie Cosmetic Products."


Huntress/Prey

On a more serious note though, this shyness did have consequences. It's not that our batch didn't have girls, bright and pretty ones; we did. But except in the case of J and S, these were girls that we had known since kindergarten; we viewed them as sexless pseudo-siblings almost, where even the stray thought of a romantic fling would have been summarily dismissed as incestuous. No, thoughts of love had to wait until we had a new influx of beauties from different schools, sometime around Class VIII and IX.

One such girl was L, who promptly invited us all to her birthday.

Now, I am sure you are all aware of this, but when you have a group of people who have been friends and have hung together for a very long time, some of them invariably end up taking up certain roles by default, e.g. the transporter (the girl with the largest microbus), the latest bootlegged music supplier, the discoverer of new restaurants, etc. My friend H's role was to serve food. This was in no way demeaning; he was just a very good host, and we had found by trial and error that when we were at a restaurant, having H serve out the food ensured that all items were distributed fairly and equitably.

At any rate, L had invited us all to her birthday party, so off to her house we went. And realized immediately that said party was closer to a mini-wedding in scope, with decorated gates and flashing lights. The food was being served buffet-style, so H fell into his default role of ensuring that all of us were served. Along the way he served L too; nothing too surprising about it.

But see, we were used to being served by H, L wasn't. She had always been served food by servants. But here, here was this handsome young boy, who (to her mind) seemed to be going out of his way to serve her. She was quite taken with this. So, the following day, she sent him a little thank-you note with a handkerchief. Now, H was a well brought up young lad, so he reciprocated with a letter and a bottle of perfume. A flurry of letters and gifts back and forth followed, succeeded eventually by their meeting.

Now, you will recall that I had begun this story by talking about how shy and innocent we were. Few of us, at that time, had come close to even being involved with a girl; H certainly had not. So when this particularly pretty girl, L, smiled up at him, and seemed to hang on his every word, he had absolutely no defence whatsoever. And I'll say this about L; when other girls flirt with you, they direct, at most, 60% of their attention on you; when L focused on you it was with 100% of her undivided 100-megawatt attention. You felt the way a mouse does in the path of a hungry cobra; you were frozen, hypnotized, petrified and excited all at the same time. Poor innocent, virginal H had no chance whatsoever. He fell for L like a sack of potatoes.

Which would have been fine if L's mother didn't have any issues with H. But for whatever reason, "auntie" simply didn't care for H. And like all Bengali women, "auntie" was hyperintelligent. She knew perfectly well that if she forbade L from seeing H, it would simply make L rebel and spend even more time with him. So instead, she told L how much she liked H, and what a wonderful son-in-law he would make. "In fact," she said, handing L a ring, "why don't the two of you get informally engaged?"

L, caught up in the throes of love, didn't see through her mother's stratagem. Cheerful as ever, she skipped up to H at their next meeting, showed him the ring, and told him that she thought they should get engaged. Now, when you're young, and in love, you tend to live in the moment. You are on Cloud 9, a semi-conscious euphoric daze; thoughts about the future don't enter into it.

But when L mentioned getting engaged, that all came crashing down for H. He knew what he was, a young boy who hadn't yet sat for his O-Levels. How could he even think about getting engaged, married and starting a family, when he hadn't even finished his schooling? Reality bit H, hard. He knew the relationship had no future. And, being a well brought up lad, and a gentleman, he knew there was only one thing to do.

Sitting L down, gently, sweetly, he ended the relationship. I am afraid she didn't take it very well.

---
The saga of L doesn't end here; but that's a story for another day.
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  #21  
Old February 17, 2008, 10:29 PM
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Shaad bhai is going to run out of alphabets pretty soon at the rate he is going. Keep it coming though. Bangla alphabets coming soon?
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Old February 17, 2008, 11:08 PM
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Sorry, Beamer, I can only use the Bangla alphabet from my Mac at home. No Bangla fonts on the work machine.
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Last edited by shaad; February 18, 2008 at 12:17 AM..
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Old February 18, 2008, 01:06 PM
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shaad bhai seems to be best story yeller in BC
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Old February 18, 2008, 07:27 PM
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Quote:
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shaad bhai seems to be best story yeller in BC
Yeller? Not a teller?
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Old February 19, 2008, 11:58 PM
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Good stuff Shaad. Let me procrastinate from this damn process narrative and tell my own tale of amour. যদু was the quintessential class clown. All goof and quips. Having been fortunate to have been born half a generation after Shaad's, his generation was the transition between the bashful past and the uber-amorous present. Needless to say, most of যদুs co-ed class mates had had a fling or two by the time A-levels had rolled around. (Mind you fling at this point probably consisted of the hand-holding and the occasional stolen peck). Anyway, despite all his vim and valour যদু just seemed impervious to cupid. Despite hints from the fairer sex that his advances would NOT be unwelcome, যদু was the consummate momma's boy who proudly talked about arranged marriages "working". Also it didn't help that is was mostly the 2nd tier gals who were into যদু. The 1st tier had school cricket team superstars to fawn over. Like many teenagers .যদু had an overly optimistic opinion of self.

TBC.
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