Superheroes fit for our City | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 05, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:13 AM, April 05, 2018

Superheroes fit for our City

Dhaka is an eccentric city. So eccentric, sometimes I actually can't believe we're not the subjects of wackadoodle incidents spurring out of fiction. Like you know, the number of times Tokyo's been invaded by giant monsters, or some stupid supervillain holding the city of New York hostage for the millionth time in a week. Frankly, I imagine if we were just as crazy as Gotham – notorious comic book hell, we'd have just as many costumed heroes and villains running around too. In fact, let's imagine what a few Dhaka superheroes would be like.

MEET THE HEROES

Motshokumar is our resident fishy hero who embodies the spirit of “Bhaat-e maach-e Bangali”. Protector of our rivers, seafaring saviour, watery weirdo, he got his powers after falling into a river polluted by horrible radioactive chemicals while on a fishing trip, and since then has sworn to stop river pollution and evildoers from harming aquatic life.

Just one problem, like Aquaman, he's uh, useless outside of a body of water. His power-set includes the classic ability of talking to fish, but in Bangladesh, the fish just curse at you with such a potty mouth you wonder if the river water is just normal toilet water. Motshokumar is also a really good swimmer, but did you ever swim in a dirty body of water? Or you know, accidentally had all kinds of garbage thrown at you from travelling boats while you're trying to be a hero? Hard to get respect when you're the Bengali Aquaman.

You can't talk about heroes without talking about Dhaliwood. And our celebrity hero, Heroman, rules the roost. His secret identity doesn't exist, and he revels in being a celebrity. By day he's starring in action movies, and by night he's living out those action movies. And like Dhaliwood stereotypes go, all his powers are exaggerated physical actions, complete with real life sound effects.

The neighbourhood also complains about the noise pollution he brings with every fight, because he HAS to have a musical number to get into the mood. Maybe his real power is the power of dance, who knows.

Our next hero is the Rickshaw Rider. Coming from a village to Dhaka, he was forced to earn money by racing on the streets of Dhaka on rickshaws, kind of like podracing, but with a lot less sand involved. But then tragedy struck in the form of an accident that left him unable to bike and just when it seemed like he couldn't recover, he was granted magic powers that allowed him to ride rickshaws really fast, a power he decided to use for heroics.

But you know, the thing about being a vigilante on a rickshaw is that people keep trying to hail your rickshaw for a ride. It's all “Ai mama, jaben?” when there's someone in distress going “Ai mama, please bachao”. Let's not even go into the specifics of wondering if it's ethically right to go the wrong way on the road to save someone. Or why there isn't a nice parking spot for a rickshaw to park. Or how bad traffic is for a hero on a rickshaw.

Speaking of heroes on the road, there's Goti Go-Go, the fastest man alive. But the problem with being the fastest man alive in a city with more traffic jams than there are roads available is, no one knows you're the fastest man alive. This is why certain speedsters keep introducing themselves and keep claiming they're the fastest man alive, but none of them have the excuse of being stuck in Dhaka City traffic jams. You're only as fast as the slowest car on the road. Poor guy can't even think about squeezing in between the gaps – he might get hit by a motorbike or a rickshaw. Speaking of rickshaws, he's often stuck next to Rickshaw Rider in traffic. Being super fast sucks in Dhaka, you'll still just be super late no matter how hard you try. Maybe he should've wished for having the power to avoid traffic.

Then there's the Bengal Tiger. Wild and ferocious, he does dress like a giant tiger, although we're not sure what sort of traumatic backstory you need for dressing up like a tiger and beating up people. He's also got lots of money, and rumour has it he's secretly ruling an underground city hidden in a village, similar to another hero who dons a big black cat outfit to fight crime. And also like said hero, he's got great stylish sherwanis that you wish you had. Although his sherwanis are better. Much better. Oh, and he's really into protecting wildlife, so he hates deforestation.

The last hero we talk about is Shoktiman, who definitely isn't related to a different but pretty similarly named guy from a neighbouring country. Or the other one from another country. And just like those two guys, he flies, is fast, shoots beams from his eyes, is super, and is a man, or more of a flying brick anyway. And of course, as soon as people see him they go “It's a bird, no it's a plane, wait no it's a dude in an underwear and towel flying overhead”. Bangladeshis not understanding capes is the real reason for “NO CAPES!” Well that, and the number of times poor Shoktiman nearly got his cape tangled in the low hanging wires all around town. Maybe he's the one who could use some saving instead of us.

Of course our superheroes need a grand crossover event to really bring them together to save the city. Not quite on an Avengers level, but at least better than the mess that was Justice League. But hey, whatever happens, chances are they'll get to eat shawarma in the end. Or fuchka. But we just hope they don't blow up the city in the process of saving it so they can go on a lunch-break.

Maybe it's a good thing Dhaka has no such thing as superheroes in real life.

 

Nuhan B. Abid is someone who actually thinks puns and sarcasm are top class forms of humour. Tell him that 'sar-chasm' is TOTALLY the best thing ever at nuhanbabid@hotmail.com

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