16th oct was a drab day at the uni. my friend suddenly walks hurriedly upto me and says, “cholo jai.” i was sitting doing nothing…as usual…kintu ektu bhab dekhae bollam…”emni uthey jabo naki?” he ignores me(!!!) and continues, “dr. yunus er gono shongbordhona hobe bhashani novo theatre ei.” now he has me. i immediately get excused from a class to be held two hours later…and run off to catch the van waiting to take the party of the willing to the event. it was to start at 2…we set off at 12:20…yeah…traffic was bad as usual. luckily…brac uni spent good money on good vans so we were cool and comfy…aar raastae jaa hoise. one faculty member who had gotten on…quite a clown. telling tales of the good ‘ol peace prize winning public. like the time that one bus on the road ‘caught fire’. he was standing and watching…there was no fire…just smoke…and people panicked and jumped right out the windows. then they realised that there was no fire!!! how stupid to have jumped out and left their seats in the bus!!! so everyone does the smart thing and reclaims their seats…by jumping/climbing/crawling back into the bus through the windows they’d just dived out of. like a scene out of charlie chaplin silent feature. aaah yes…there was more to come of course. after reaching there…the one thing that caught my friend’s and my eye was the…police! there was one man in uniform for everyone not in uniform! shit…last peace prize winner to get blown away was yitzhak rabin…and he did politics in the middle eastern hellhole and not dabble in microcredit to help the poor. but there was the heavy security blanket…all trying to look sharp and alert…when actually they must’ve been bored out of their minds standing there doing nothing…those guys must’ve been thinking “i’d so rather go and whack some opposition protestor whelp to pulp…hen ten” btw…the novo theatre is a nice place and all…but maybe rather extravagant in a country where 40%+ live below the poverty line…and more slip under as food inflation continues to eat away the people. 5mins more…and we were inside. the hall was not yet packed…people simply milled about…doing their thing as they waited for the pride of the nation to come and light up the halls within. we got a seat over to the right of the stage…bad place as always. but someone thought it would be a good idea for us to sit together…and that someone then went ahead and picked a far corner where we would be guaranteed invisibility >.< oh well…i moved inwards towards the centre from where i would get a good view of the stage…till someone came and sat down in front of me and i enjoyed unrestricted viewing pleasure of the back of that guy’s head. i check the time…just so that i have something else to look at…1:15pm. i fidget and squirm impatiently and suddenly…there was a loud voice floating into the hall from somewhere. no no…dr. yunus hadnt arrived…it was just some schmuck entertaining the bored masses with some argument about some segment of his personal life. since NO ONE could catch onto the source of the voice…everyone simply sat there and bore it through. slowly i began to doze off…hadnt had enough sleep the previous night you see…a slight buzz made me sit up. i look straight ahead at the projection at front…a feed from a camera showed a mob of people…and one hand waving. everyone was up on their feet already and clapping. i was up too…lest he pass by and i be the only dumass left sitting on my ass but it was a good 5mins before they let walk in. such was the enthusiasm of the people. as he finally took centre stage and the media circled around him snapping away happily…no one would stop clapping. everyone stood there beaming, smiling, feeling so proud for the simple man in the simple dress who just smiled and waved back. i was looking around me…a little more and they all might have been cheering on the national cricket team playing winning against australia…i guess subduing themselves led them all to stand there and continue to clap for a longer time. then the organiser of the event…dr. wahiduddin mahmud, the country’s top economist and a personal friend of dr. yunus appealed for calm and quiet…especially to the press…who were more than a tad bit annoying by now. a short intro…some more words…then dr. yunus finally took the stage. i was wondering what he would be talking about…or more importantly…how he would go about with his speech. not a boring monologue i hoped. and frankly…it was one of those speeches that simply make you forget about checking the watch to see when it will end. yes yes…he is that good as a speaker. his little stories after getting the news of winning the nobel prize (“i was wearing only a banyan and a lungi and a cameraman burst into my house…are are, ki koren? amar gaaye kapor nai. cameraman goes,”kichu hobena sir!!!!!!!!!!””)…his description of his countrymen (“i feel we are 10 feet tall now”)…and the appeal to behave like nobel prize winning public (that was the sad part)…all of it told in a very entertaining 50mins. till dr. yunus had finished speaking…i doubt that very few people had actually kept track of the time. only when he had finished and the crowd was up on their feet cheering loudly and showing their affection…did i realise that it was close to 3. “uh-oh…gonna miss iftar now.” but most of us still waited for 15mins…so we could walk upto him, congratulate him (we = brac uni company :P) and then walk out. and that was the let down for the entire event. the media wouldnt get off the half of the stage they had occupied, continuously snapping pictures from the same spot…ignoring the repeated requests of dr. wahiduddin mahmud and others…even forgetting the words that dr. yunus had just spoken. my friend and i were both disappointed at their actions…and also at some of the people on stage who wouldnt get down after getting up there. ki aar korar? we got out…got on the bus…and headed back to uni. i guess we really are not “10 ft.” yet.