Let’s talk about F.R.I.E.N.D.S, the most overrated TV show ever

I am going to attempt to shed some light to one of the all-time favourite classic TV series ever written, Friends. While the series was an absolute delight for my 17-year-old self, the series was pretty overrated. 

The show justifies stereotyping with humour 

Rachel, a dumb yet pretty blonde woman who is only of any use when it comes to the fashion industry. Phoebe, another pretty yet dumb blonde who has no idea about the real world whatsoever. Joey, an Italian American misogynist whose character is garnished with humour to help overlook miles of sexism that hides beneath the layers. Ross, the only character in the show with a PhD. But who cares about that? Guys with PhD. are nerds who need 10 years to end up with any woman that is even mildly beautiful because sexy and smart doesn’t go together.

Helped create a culture of toxic humour 

All throughout the show, apart from misogyny and lack of diversity, we can also see how the show tried to justify body shamming in a subtle way. We get myriads of flashback episode from the time when Monica was obese and how she had to change herself because she had a crush on Chandler.

In another episode, we get Brad Pitt as a guest star where we find out Rachel’s character used to bully him. At no point did the show endorse body types that were anything other than perfect according to conventional societal standards. And they tried to justify such discrimination by hiding behind a curtain of toxic humour.  

Lack of depth for characters

Was “Friends” a funny show? Yes. But is it because the characters were funny? No. If you take any line said by Monica and make Rachel say that line instead, the show would still be funny. If you take one of Joey’s line and make phoebe say it, it would still be equally funny. 

While the show had a lot of good jokes, it didn’t have much depth when it came to its character’s character. 

Read more: That ’70s Show: The criminally underrated sitcom you need to binge.

Not realistic enough 

The show was targeted to the general mass as a representation of the day to day struggles of a group of friends. The only problem was, it ended up being a story about six straight white adults who are privileged enough to not care about their careers and can still end up living in fancy NYC apartments. Tagging this as “Relatable and Realistic” is just another way to justify white privilege through humour. 

Read more: TV shows you shouldn’t have watched but did anyway

Too much love too little friendship

I want you to try and imagine a world where Rachel and Ross were never in love, Monica and Chandler didn’t get married with kids, would the whole plotline still make sense and be as touching? No. And this is the biggest problem with the show. The show claims to be about friendship but it refuses to go in-depth about different dimensions of friendship that exists beyond the world of romantic relationships. 

I will never try to argue that Friends was not a good TV series because it was. It was iconic.

It was a series that will probably live on for generations to come. That is exactly why it is important for us to recognize the flaws in the series as well. Because if we keep idolizing a series that will live on for ages, if you let our love for the series cloud our judgment, the generation to come will end up with the same misconceptions.

While the hype around Friends is something that can’t go away, and it shouldn’t, but it should also be criticized in the same way that we would for any other TV series. Friends is a good Tv series but it does have its flaws. 

Everything you need to know about Indian visa

India, the country we love and support except for when it comes to cricket matches. Visiting India might not seem like a big deal because it’s a country that we visit so often, but for people who are planning to get their visa for visiting India for the first time and can’t find where to look or whom to go to, this article is for them. 

Read more: In Kolkata, the city of joy

Visa types

The first and foremost thing you need to do is find out what type of visa you need.  You could apply for 

  • A tourist visa
  • A business visa 
  • A short-term single-entry visa 
  • A long term multiple entry visa
  • Transit single entry visa
  • Transit double entry visa 
  • Medical visa
  • Student visa 
  • Research visa 

Now, here is the most important thing you need to remember while deciding which visa to get, unlike other countries which might be a bit more lenient, Indian airports or railway stations will reject your entry if you try to enter the country with a type of a visa that does not match your purpose.

Read more: 5 visa-free countries for Bangladeshis

This is the most recent law passed by the Indian government. So, if you are going to a conference, get a conference visa and not a tourist or business visa.  However, in this particular article, we will focus on what you will need to do to get a tourist visa for India being a Bangladeshi citizen. 

Visa validity

A tourist visa is applicable for either 3 months, 6 months or 12 months. you can choose whichever option you prefer along with either single entry or multiple entries.

In Kolkata, the city of joy
Streets of Kolkata

However, it is always better to apply for 6 months if you are aiming for a 3 months visa and to apply for a 12 months visa if you are aiming for a 6 months visa. This is because you sometimes may get a visa that is less than the time frame for which you applied. 

Required documents

  • NID/Birth certificate,
  • Bank statement/Dollar endorsement (Endorsement should not be older than 1 month at the time of submission)/Active international credit card / Travelcard (Issued by Indian Visa Application Centre or IVAC. Read on to find out)
  • Profession proof i.e. Photocopy of trade license if the employer is NOC, student ID card or salary receipt and trading
  • Last passport copies and all old passports. the passport must be signed and have 6 months validity beyond stay in India. It should also have at least two blank passport pages available for Indian visa stamps. 
  • One recent (not less than 3 months old) passport-size colour photograph depicting full face; Applicants would be required to scan and upload their photograph in the designated space provided in the online application form.
  • Photocopy of a utility bill (electricity bill, gas bill, phone bill)

Read more: 10 cities to visit under budget

Applying for a visa

You can go to the website http://www.ivacbd.com/existing/online_visa.php . This is the official website for the Indian visa application centre. You can download the form from this website. The documents you will be required are already mentioned above.

Darjeeling: An experience of a lifetime 36
Magnificent Darjeeling

Now, you can appoint an agent to do this for you if you don’t want to go through the tedious process. However, given the Indian visa form is very extensive, the chances of a mistake being made by the agent are very high. So, it is better to do it by yourself. Once you are done with filling the form, you have to make the payment. 

Visa fees and how to pay them

According to the most recent (5th August 2018) visa processing law in India, the visa processing fees is 800 bdt. You can pay this fee by yourself through Bkash, Rocket, DBBL Nexus, credit card, etc.

The number to which the money is to be transferred can be found on the IVAC website and this payment getaway link. This information will only be available to you after you fill the form.

Once you have made the payment, you will have exactly 3 days to submit the form at a visa application centre. If you do not submit the form within 3 days, the payment will be considered inapplicable for the form. 

Submitting the application

All Indian visa applications from Dhaka are now accepted only at the IVAC centre in Jamuna Future Park. When you submit the form, you will receive a receipt including your Name, Passport Number, Web file number and Date of delivery. You can use the Web file number to track your application status by logging into the IVAC website. 

It usually takes about a week to get an Indian visa. When your visa is done, you will get a text message and you can collect your passport using the receipt. 

As per the new rule, walk-in applications are also accepted at IVAC without prior application.

Read more: A guide to falling in love with Darjeeling

Necessary contact

Indian Visa Application Centre, Dhaka ( JFP )
Floor – G1, South Court, Jamuna Future Park,
Progoti Sharani, Baridhara, Dhaka-1229, Bangladesh Hot Line: 09612 333 666
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: www.ivacbd.com

TV shows you shouldn’t have watched but did anyway

TV series usually helps us to waste our time in a productive manner. However, there are a few TV series that we watched while growing up even though we knew that these were not worth our time and energy. Here is a glimpse at such mistakes –

Grey’s Anatomy

Everyone has been through the Grey’s Anatomy phase during their high school days when watching McDreamy and McSteamy on the screen made them want to join Med school. Weirdly enough, some of us probably even joined med school just for the Grey’s Anatomy experience. But then we grew up, had children, our children went through puberty and are now going through a mid-life crisis but Grey’s Anatomy is still running on tv.

15 seasons of absolute fantasy fiction about the love life of one woman who happens to be a doctor.

We all know that this show wasn’t going anywhere right after the death of most of the major characters. Sadly enough, we are loyal enough fans who have absolutely nothing to do in life than to watch Meredith Grey mess up stories over and over again.

Read more: 6 Bangladeshi Superheroes You Should Know About

Riverdale

Watching Riverdale was proof of how cool and pop culture aware you are. But that was back in 2015 when the first season of the show was released. The first season was excellent. Totally worthy of the “Netflix and Chill”. But then right after the release of the first episode of the second season, 3 min into the first episode and we all realized that this is a colossal waste of our Netflix subscription.  But we refused to let go of the show throughout the black hood tragedy which encouraged the producers to give us a season 3, which was ….. let’s just say the finale of Game of Thrones made more sense than the season 3 of Riverdale

Read more: Bangladeshi graphic novels: 5 essential reads

Supernatural

Watching Sam and Dean kill demons and pay a visit to Purgatory every few seconds was fun until Season 5. Then we decided to give them 9 more seasons just so that they can run out of Villans to fight and come up with extremely complicated mythology that makes the plot a giant spider web.

Bojack Horseman

Bojack Horseman, a show about a horse that talks and walks and somedays he feels like he is in love with an owl, somedays he feels like he is in love with a cat and on other days he likes humans and underaged deers. And we have watched this series for 5 whole seasons because somehow we all feel like this horse is a reflection of who we are.

Honorary mention: SplitsVilla

Watching Roadies for an infinite number of seasons can make sense if we imagine ourselves as masochists but even then I can’t make sense as to why we secretly watched 12 seasons of Splitsville.

Caged Realities: Zoos in Bangladesh and their mistreatment of animals

Photo Courtesy: Dhaka Tribune

We treat the animals in our zoos the same way we treat the students in our schools. Both institutions were established for the purpose of education. But none of them actually accomplished that goal but rather make the lives of their inhabitants miserable.

We lock our students and zoo animals up in a cage without their consent. We make them participate in socially acceptable tasks because it will appease society. In the process, we forget how their cruel treatment altogether.

The space problem

The Dhaka national zoo resides over 186 acres of land. Which is not a small space.  But no space will ever be big enough if you exceed the carrying capacity of that place. We find 26 alligators caged in a reservoir that was meant for 8. You’ll notice the same tragedy if you look inside the deer cage. Or the cage in which the elephants are. It’s the same everywhere.

Caged Realities: Zoos in Bangladesh and their mistreatment of animals

Thanks to the lack of proper funding and attention, most of the zoos in our country, including the biggest zoo that is situated in Mirpur, Dhaka, has not seen a renovation in years.

Even though the designs of the zoos were made decades ago and remains unchanged, the number of animals in the zoos keep increasing.

This unplanned increase in the inhabitants of the zoos has resulted in going over the maximum capacity of the zoos and has made the living conditions of the animals unbearable.  

Read more: Bengal Tigers may not survive the upcoming climate change

Unhygienic conditions

Due to lack of adequate space for the animals to sustain, the overall conditions inside the zoos of our country has become very unhygienic. There aren’t enough people employed to look after the animals and the ones that are employed don’t have adequate training to take care of them.

Caged Realities: Zoos in Bangladesh and their mistreatment of animals

That’s not all. There is also no littering policy in place that is strictly maintained. So, when visitors come, they end up throwing things here and there and even end up throwing things at the animals.

Read more: Dhaka: A city on the edge

Safety of animals

Most animals within the zoos are not taken care of properly. But, sadly, not being taken care of isn’t the worst thing that happens to them.

Caged Realities: Zoos in Bangladesh and their mistreatment of animals

The animals face cruel treatment from the zookeepers. Due to having inexperienced people in charge of taking care of the animals, most of the times they don’t understand the gestures made by animals or are able to identify the reason for their discomfort. Result? they end up ignoring the helpless cries of the animals and display cruelty out of ignorance.

Lack of awareness from the people

Despite all these, neither the zoos nor the government is the biggest culprit for this failure. This is because, despite the way in which the authorities treat the animals, zoos in our country get thousands of visitors every day.

Caged Realities: Zoos in Bangladesh and their mistreatment of animals

According to an article by The Daily Star, the Mirpur Zoo still gets over 30lakh visitors a year. This is a clear indication of our ignorance as humans and our failure as a nation to stand up against the mistreatment of animals who spend all their lives in captivity.

Its time that we as a nation start acting as we care instead of just sharing a cute dog photo of “bideshi” dogs and start showing through our actions that we care about our animals in captivity, like Raj, The  Royal Bengal Tiger and proud father of a white tiger cub. That is probably the only way to make our Government care about these animals too.

References

  1. https://www.thedailystar.net/star-weekend/spotlight/the-zoo-not-119140
  2. https://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2017/05/26/dhaka-national-zoo-cages-too-many-animals-in-too-little-space

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It’s time to talk about teenage pregnancy in our country

We say that we want to be supportive and we want to help the women in our lives overcome obstacles. But at the same time, we want to shut down discussions about topics like teenage pregnancy. There is a reluctance to broach taboo topics and we want to save ourselves from all the backlash that follows. However, this is not an issue that will go away if we put our head in the sand.

It is time we stop being afraid of society; we need start being afraid of the repercussions we will will inevitably face as a society if we continue to ignore sensitive topics.

So, who are are the ones facing teenage pregnancy issues? Teenage pregnancy issues are felt by young women–married or unmarried. They are either sexually active, they plan on being sexually involved in the future or are currently pregnant.

What the problems that sexually active women have to overcome?

Protection is inaccessible

Well for starters, women fear social stigma and fear people finding out about their choice to be sexually active.This fear makes men and women so afraid of society that they feel hesitant to buy protection before engaging in intercourse. Women are afraid of being so they avoid going to the store to buy condoms. Condoms, one of the most accessible methods of protection, becomes inaccessible to women. This leads to men and women engaging in unsafe sex and putting themselves at a risk of STDs,

Lack of knowledge

The problems don’t end there. Most young women in Bangladesh do not know how to prevent unwanted pregnancy. They do not how to get protection and what kinds of protection are available. They are also unaware of the signs that their body displays when they are pregnant. The stigma is so ingrained in their minds that buying a pregnancy test is almost impossible. They end up not even taking the test and going into a sudden panic attack when the baby bump starts to show.

The vicious cycle that is being driven by social stigma goes beyond shaming and creating conditions where misinformation is rampant.

Society ignores sex, but what about happens after? Society also stigmatizes abortion. Most teenage women in Bangladesh are unaware of the steps that could be taken after unprotected intercourse. Steps include things like morning-after pills or going to the doctor during early pregnancy stages and getting an abortion.

Doctors are inaccessible

Teenagers fear society and their perception so much that they refuse to seek help from doctors. They think the doctor will violate confidentiality and tell their parents or hand them over to the police. This forces teenagers to suffer in silence from the traumatizing effects of teenage pregnancies. Young girls have to turn to random YouTube videos about how to conduct abortions on their own. Some young women go through the pregnancy; then they are traumatically forced to give up the child for adoption and spend the rest of their lives in shame. In the worst-case scenario, teenagers end up taking extreme alternatives like self-harm or suicide to avoid facing their parents or neighbors.

What options do teenagers have under such circumstances?


Seek Help

Get help. Teenage pregnancy can result in complications and even lead to death if the mother is not taken care of properly. If you think you might be pregnant, take the test. As much as we would love to say that you should find the courage for going to the stores and buying the test for yourself, we all know that it might not be possible for everyone to all of a sudden face all these stigmas at once. Resorting to online stores might be a good alternative. Many online shops have the option to order pregnancy tests that will be delivered within hours. Chaldal.com, Daraz, and bdfamilymart are a few examples of such websites from where you can buy a pregnancy test.

Go See a Doctor

In terms of contraceptives and morning-after pills, you could buy those too from online shops. But what is even more important than this is seeking help directly from doctors. Most doctors aren’t allowed to disclose the information of the patient to anyone other than the patient.

…Or, Opt for Online Healthcare

However, if you still don’t feel like you can trust them then you can always opt for online health care services like bdhealth services. But none of these solutions will work out if teenagers themselves don’t try to seek out help if teenagers don’t themselves seek out knowledge about maternal health and sex education.

What can we do as a society?

We can start being more inclusive. Changing our minds about sex is probably not going to happen in a day. But this is a change that is necessary for the better of the next generation. Even if we can’t find it in ourselves to be more accepting about sexual activeness of youth, we can at least try and not criticize sexual health for teenagers to a point that they feel like it is something they should be afraid of.

We as a society have to create an atmosphere where children learn about sexual health and teenage pregnancy during their early age.

Children need to be provided with sex ed and not just the generic version that only scratches the surface and does not get into details because of the social stigma. Comprehensive sex ed that includes lessons regarding how to take a pregnancy test or how to take contraceptives is what is required to help teenagers get better equipped about how to handle teenage pregnancy.