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Dalgona, Genda Phool, Raba, and Bingo!


Maisha Islam Monamee


Dalgona, Genda Phool, Raba Khan, and Bingos – these are a few things that helped us maintain sanity in these times of crises. Needless to say, surviving a pandemic is mentally straining and there are often times when you do not want to do anything at all. I still remember those eerie nights when I would wake up all of a sudden with a fear of breathlessness. I had spent entire nights staring by my window pane with empty tiring eyes, which had now become sleep-deprived. These thoughts still manage to run a chill down my spine and as a matter of fact, I know that I am not the only person facing these issues. These are things we often do not talk about openly but somewhere down the line, we have all been there before. In my case it could be due to academic tension, the fear of death, my far-stretching ambitions or the social isolation.

Keeping things light and frothy, the Dalgona coffee has taken the social media by storm and for the past few days, every other person is beating coffee cream in their kitchen. Easy to make and aesthetic in view, Dalgona is just the right recipe to make your Instagram profile look good in these days of lockdown. Unfortunately, I am out of coffee powder and am not daring to step outside and go to Meena Bazaar, just a few lanes from my home, otherwise you could definitely see me whipping some coffee cream. Although I am baking a lot of things these days, owing to my sweet tooth but am not quite satisfactory in keeping up with trends. 

Talking about the origin of the coffee, on one hand, Indians have started to claim this drink to be a cooler ‘west’ version of their desi pheti hui coffee just like their iconic cure, haldi doodh had become Turmeric Latte for many people across the world. In reality, this aesthetic drink had gained popularity after it appeared on a Korean TV show called Pyunstorang in January, 2020. In it, the actor Jung Il-Woo traveled to Macau, tried the drink, and gave it the nickname ‘dalgona’ for its resemblance with the traditional Korean sponge candy of the same name. Ever since then, it has caught the eye of TikTok as users all over the world are posting their attempts of whipping the drink in their kitchens. Quite naturally, any trend can hit the netizens right now because all of us are literally locked at homes with no forms of interaction except our phone screens.

Next up is Bollywood rapper Badshah’s remix of the Bangla song, Boroloker Beti. Although many of my readers know where I am heading to but to keep everyone at the same pace, I’ll share some details. First things first, there is a folk song in Bangla that says,

Boroloker beti lo, lomba lomba chul.

Emon mathay bedhey dibo, laal genda phool.

This was composed by a veteran Bengali folk artist, Ratan Kahar and bad boy Badshah did not even bother to give him the deserved credits for composing the original song. Plagiarism is not all that’s wrong about this song. In fact, there are so many wrong things that you cannot end up mentioning all of them at once. Be it objectifying a woman or challenging the perception of bold and beautiful, the music video is a total disaster. What came to be more disastrous is Bangali girls draped in red sarees grooving to lyrics like,

Body teri makhkhan jaisi.

Kamar pe teri butterfly.

Clearly, this was a major hit on social media. Be it feminist critics throwing questions on the music company or Badshah fans making Tik-Tok videos of his latest release, this is making quite a buzz during our days of social isolation.

Around this time, the popular magazine Forbes also announced its list of 30 under 30 Asia which basically included influencers and social workers who had left an impact on the society before the age of 30. This year, two Bangladeshi girls made it to the list. Let’s first take this moment to appreciate the female power of my country. But when Raba Khan, a popular comedy artiste made it to the list, social media sunk into despair. Now this is a very controversial and debatable issue and my social media news-feed saw two groups of people fight over Raba’s victory for more than a week. While many of them came forward to appreciate her efforts as a self-built celebrity, others were busy posting memes about how Forbes is a joke because it was launched on April 1 – April Fool’s Day.

I myself hold two viewpoints on this issue. On one hand, I feel like pouring out support to a female artiste who is breaking gender norms by doing the right thing, through a pinch of humour. Also I stand quite impressed by her melodious voice and amazing song covers. On the other hand, I find her content a bit objectified – especially since it’s mostly about women! This may be justified by using Jane Austen’s phenomenal work that explored the dependence of women on marriage, in the pursuit of favourable social standing and financial security. I believe it would be a bit too much to compare her with Austen right now but since I’m close to it, let’s talk about books!

Raba’s bestseller book, Bandhobi, released in 2019, came as a shock to the readers because it was literally written in the way we type texts aka the ‘text language’. This was also defended by many people who believed that this could lead to the evolution of a new language but guys, let’s not get much ahead of time. Evolution does not come in just a few years, so I would let time decide whether or not this was a ‘literary evolution’. Lastly, influencers becoming authors is not a new sight in Bangladesh. Be it Ayman Sadiq, Sakib Bin Rashid or Sulaiman Shukon, anyone with social media popularity easily qualifies as a best-selling author. This includes Salman Muqtadir, whose book I find to be more problematic than Raba’s humour. To end with, Raba definitely gets a 10/10 for satire but there are a few things she could obviously improve in, including the satirical content.

Now to my favourite – Bingos! These have helped us reminiscence through the past, the days when we were not forced to stay in lock-up, the days of freedom and less frustration. Nowadays, everything has a Bingo associated with it and we can find a screenshot of boxes with neon dots in almost everyone’s social media profile. Well, I do hope that we get past these tiring days soon, so I can come up with a Bingo for quarantine!

2 Comments

  1. Hello Maisha, it was good. It suited well as a journal … After 10 years, when all these quarantine stuff will be history- will read this again and remember how intrigued people were about Rayhan bhai too!

    1. Hey! Thanks. It was intended to be a journal actually. I’m working on a book that would capture my quarantine days.

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