A self-proclaimed scholar once righteously cleared his throat and declared: ‘To survive in the streets, you need to own the streets.’ If Darwin had been alive, he may have interpreted that you need to be the streets to survive in the streets. However, our reporter, although aware but carefully nonchalant about the collapse of capitalism, has taken a more materialistic stance on the aforementioned declaration. She has decided to buy the streets in order to conquer them! To buy it, she needs to be seen with all the street loots that parade the metropolis we all love. Who would dare to challenge a chic juggling magic balls and trumpeting on little drums? After all, those are what make Dhaka’s streets truly Dhakaite.
Man’s creation, respect. Even a few days back, you would have found these little colourful, gelatinous-appearing spheres on empty MUM water bottles being flaunt on every footpath or intercity signal. What is ‘magical’ about these balls is that they grow. Before you start getting ideas, this reporter again violates all copyright laws and quotes that virtuous scholar, who coughed up a sermon stating: ‘Every growth is not necessarily biological’. Likewise, these magic balls – simply put – just expand in size when placed in water. Nothing more. They are extremely vibrant, fun to observe if you have absolutely nothing better to do in life and an incredible amount of time to kill, and create a spectacular, self induced sense of enigma as you gasp at the spherical growth. On a personal note, our reporter found these little balls so thrilling because they made great photos which got tabbed ‘favourite’ on Flickr by several people and raised her ratings. Personal gains are always more important.
These apparently cute stuffed toys are a hybrid of Hello Kittie dolls and short-legged Candy dolls. Don’t raise an eyebrow and blame the reporter: she has spent negligible time in her childhood fretting over dolls since she is incessantly annoyed by stuffed things (except food). If you’re a girl (or boy) who’s a big fan of dolls, we suggest you avoid reading this section of the article. These dolls are the current queens of the streets and if you stand at a footpath long enough, you might witness a parade of parents or guardians dragging little girls away from the hypnotic cuteness while the children have outstretched arms and are usually screaming unnecessarily. If you’re Google lucky, you might see boyfriends dragging girlfriends away from these dolls (or vice versa). Unfortunately, our reporter is in need of luck and she couldn’t see either melodrama; however, she does insist just getting over it by buying the darn dolls. In any case, if you can bargain enough, you would be the proud owner of a Mini Doll at a price of 20 bucks!
Most people would like to term a plastic head with two ears and a barking noise a dog. Our reporter, however, is very sensitive about differentiating between a real dog and creatures that pretend to be dogs. Pumping ‘dogs’ are goat-like creatures, which enjoy calling themselves ‘dogs’. They have a long hand pump attached to their posterior end, which on pumping results in the dog making an annoying whistle-like barking noise and jump up. If you keep pumping the pump, the dog (sort of) cripples on the ground. Our reporter took the liberty of assuming that these plastic toys are designed to act as awful substitutes to the real things. So kids, if you’ve always wanted a dog to lick your face, follow you around and carry your towel while you inhumanely swim across the pool and completely ignore the dog running from one end of it to the other; but could not keep one because your parents knew better, pumping dogs are your solution. They are small, as cheap as 10 bucks and portable. Plus, the annoying barking noise is great if you want to irritate everyone around you!
For the more imaginative minds who’ve managed to come up to this point in the article and just read the sub heading, stop thinking right now. Butterfly cars have absolutely no resemblance to butterflies. They don’t fly, there’s no fun in catching them and they don’t carry happiness on their wings (mainly because they don’t have real wings). They look like distorted pelicans with a long stick at one end for kids to push them around and do have plastic, colourful wings attached to them. The most interesting feature about them is that they are cheap (10 bucks a piece) and unnaturally fugacious. Our photographer broke two on the spot while trying to make a fancy shot out of them, but thankfully, didn’t get beaten up, chased around, stripped of his ‘pride’ or charged with money since the vendors fixed them instantly. David Copperfield is no magician compared to our street vendors!
Sadib Maliha Dhol
Of all the things our reporter and photographer located across the streets of Dhaka, this is one thing that we really liked. In fact, we loved it! It’s noisy, annoying and a great way to express irritation or anger. These are plastic drums that vendors claim to have imported from China, but our sources have specifically informed us that they are from Chawk Bazar China Market, a place that has got China as its middle name but has nothing to do with Chinese people! The drums have a cartoon character’s face on its centre that you can hit as hard as you want and create a bang at home and anywhere. If you hate someone, you can replace the cartoon face with that of your despised one and hit away your rage with the plastic stick that comes with it. If you’re a blooming drummer of an underground metal band, feel free to practice on these. They are cheaper than your average 9 piece Pearl, but create the same noise you create with your Pearl.
If simple engineering of Dhakaite street products easily charms you like they do to our reporter, you can get all the above items (one piece of each) for a total of 200 bucks only. We were running on a low budget since our reporter spent a hefty sum of buying Igloo lollies, so couldn’t cover more items. However, with these goodies, you can easily annoy people or indulge in naïve havoc. We strictly advise you to not pass any of these as birthday or anniversary gifts for your loved ones as you risk getting smacked on the face by your very presents. If you think children are foolish, try to recollect how intelligent you perceived yourself to be when you were of their age and duck before your 8 year old sibling or niece breaks your toy and throws it at you for mere comic relief. On a more cheerful note, we’re giving our reporter a dhol on her birthday, perhaps with her photo attached on the skin!
Photos By Zabir Hasan
Published in Rising Stars on November 6 2008