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Life is one long and hard journey, but it is the friends we make along the way that makes it a little easier. Amidst all the chaos of exams, tutors and classes we sometimes forget about the best part of school-life - the friendships we forge, the bonds we make (or sometimes break) and the relationships we form.

It is impossible to truly describe what friendship is all about. As one of my friends very aptly put it "it's something which brightens your life, every day, unconditionally." The best thing about being with friends is that no matter how stupid and childish you act in front of them, they will only laugh and join in. You can make a complete fool of yourself and still laugh about it instead of being embarrassed. My friends have taught me that it is okay to mess up, and it is always okay to ask for help. When I do mess up, even if they cannot pick me up, at least they will think of a way to stop me from falling flat on my face. When your world is falling apart, it is okay to whine and complain to your friends the entire day, and crying in front of your friends is not embarrassing.

Friends come in many different forms. There are the serious ones, who make you feel guilty about not doing your homework or studying for your test, and thereby help you do a little better in school. They are the ones beside whom you die to sit during tests and exams, abandoning all those other friends who wanted to sit beside you instead. Then there are the ones who can make you laugh in any situation, at any time of the day. That can, however, be hazardous to your health, especially if you start laughing in the Principal's office, in the middle of his or her lecture on how to improve yourself. There are also those wisecracks, who will tease you unceasingly but will be the first ones to lend you a helping hand. The parental types are also there; they are the ones ready to give you any form of advice when you are going through a slump in your life. Finally, there are those quiet, inconspicuous ones who make your day brighter just by being in it. I know it sounds like something out of a Hallmark card, but no matter who you are friends with, at the end of the day it is always nice to have someone to share your thoughts with.

When you start feeling bad about losing touch with your old friends, you can be sure that they too are feeling the same way. Letters from friends are very precious and sending or receiving cards makes you feel better. But basically, I just learned that my friends, both old and new, are the most important people in the world and without them I wouldn't be who I am today. I guess I sound poetic, but imagine a life without friends with whom you can share everything, and you will know what I mean. Friends definitely spice up your life, no matter how weird or absurdly they might do it. It is good to have someone crack corny jokes now and then, or to have someone who will strengthen your religious beliefs, or someone who will glare at you every time you nag or nacka-fy too much. Even if you feel like strangling them occasionally, for example when they give away the name of your crush in front of that person (that is, your crush), they do help shape your life! In short, without them, life would not have been life.

I have learned that the greatest thing about school, college and the working world isn't the "A"grades, the promotions or the awards. It is the friendships. Friendships that last from practically the beginning of your life till the end are probably the ones with the most meaning. These friends know about your lives better than you know your own. They know about your day to day whereabouts, they share your moments of joy, and give you a shoulder to cry on during your times of sorrow. At the end, I have to conclude with one of my all time favorite quotes:

"When it hurts to look back
And you are scared to look ahead,
You can always look beside you
And your best friend will be there."

By Marwa and Ayesha Sanchita Mahmud

Kalboishakhi -- its many façades

The advent of Boishakh, the first month of the Bengali year brings with it, not only a new year but also hot spells,
Delicious mangoes and of course the Kalboishakhi storm (though this time it raged a little earlier).

"Kalboishakhi" is a word more or less everyone is familiar with. Truly, though, one's reaction to it differs from the other.

To most of us, a Kalboishakhi storm is just an absolute relief after an exhausting hot spell. It means another day of shutting ourselves at home in order to take shelter from the turbulent storm raging outdoors. It means curling up in bed with a good book or sitting comfortably on a sofa and watching TV, while savouring some mouth-watering "aamer chutney", preferably with "khichuri". Lost in the comfortable, luxurious atmosphere of our homes most of us do not even bother to look outside to see the other faces of the storm -- the cruel face it shows to the less fortunate.

For those who live in the villages and slums, the Kalboishakhi is devastation. It brings about death and destruction among them. It is like a ruthless enemy that renders them homeless and robs them of their belongings. The strong winds blow their small thatched huts away and the heavy torrents flood their land. Sometimes it brings along hailstones with it, which causes damage not only to houses, but also to their fields and crops. The fierce storm also causes the death of many people.

The capsizing of boats is yet another catastrophe brought about by the Kalboishakhi storm. The Kalboishakhi is a great horror to the people who are dependent upon the river transport for travelling, as well for the fishermen. Hundreds of people die because of boats and steamers capsized by the turbulent storm. Their bodies float away with the tides of the river and many are not even found. The most tragic and heart-breaking scene occurs when the relatives come in search of the dead bodies of their near and dear ones. We hope that the concerned Authorities will take appropriate measures to avoid such accidents.

Though the Kalboishakhi brings about such tragedies, no one can forget the fun-filled stormy days when little children run outside dancing and playing in the rain and of course, picking raw mangoes from the ground and relishing them.

By Nusrat

Bangladesh moves on: the highway of faster internet access and data transfer….

Today's world is a world of information technology. This technology depends a lot on data transfer. Speedy data transfer is very essential for this technology. The best invention in this century for data transfer is "submarine cable".

Submarine cable provides a high-speed, low-priced Internet and telecommunications gateway to the users. It also creates more scope for launching IT-enabled value added services e.g. call centre, Tele-medicine, and distance education at overseas universities etc.

Bangladesh is finally logging on to submarine cable. Our entry into the 13-member consortium SEA-ME-WE-4 will slash Internet and long-distance telephone calls costs and greatly boost browsing speed.

The consortium…South East Asia, Middle East, West Europe-4 seeks to begin the cable connection from Singapore running through Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, a number of Middle Eastern countries and will end in France.

The country will have a 10-gigabyte data transfer capacity a second, 68 times more than the current capacity. The capacity is considered adequate for the next 10 years and the submarine cable has a life of 15 years.

It will cost Bangladesh TK.657 crore to implement the project and the government will arrange the fund. Dhaka has sought $60 million credit from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) for the purpose sources said.

The tasks under the project includes construction of cable landing station a 22,000 km trunk route, 1,200-1,400-km submarine cable branch route, installation of optical fibre link between Chittagong and Cox's Bazaar along the highway upgrading of the existing Chittagong-Dhaka optical fibre link, installation of optical link between Chittagong and Cox's Bazaar over electronic gridline and other installations.

So now we'll get faster Internet access. Even though this decision was late in coming, we're taking submarine cable at last. We must capitalise these opportunities. Then it'll be good for our IT sector.

By Mushruqul Huq Sadat

Urban Talkies

In today's world, adolescents have somewhat revolutionised their way of speaking, to an extent that it is not even comprehensible. It's a battle to have a decent conversation with all these 'ghetto' people and this inevitably leads to defeat. So, as they say, ' if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!" And thus, I've provided a list below to help you understand what these 'peeps' are actually saying:

1)Fo shizzle ma' nizzle- This phrase is a derivative of ' fo' sheezy mah neezy', which also means ' fo' sure mah nigger'. In good ol' english, this means, 'I concur with you whole-heartedly, my African-American brother!'. It is not in racial context, so please, readers, don't take it otherwise. This phrase comes from a branch of urban slang, which adds 'izz' or varients of izzle/izzo to words to create a more rhyme-like melody to sentences. Some say it is actually an archaic phrase used by African-American slaves since the 17th century. A corruption of 'For shine his hall, my knees ill', it was used as a greeting, who had to polish the floors of colonial mansions. It later became an unrelated greeting.

2)Bling bling- I'm sure many people are familiar with this word. It has basically two meanings. It's a synonym for expensive, flashy jewellery usually chains and rings, sported by those pretending to be gangsters, in an attempt to be the largest and flashiest looking. To 'bling bling', is the act of sporting jewellery of a highly extravagant, guady nature.

3)Word- This word (!) is used to express an agreement or affirmation. "You going to the concert tonight?"

"Word!" It can also be used as a greeting. "Word." 'Word' has no single meaning, but it is used to convey a casual sense of agreement, affrimation, acknowledgement, or to indicate something has impressed one favourably. It can also be used as a question, meaning 'really?' "Word?”

4)Re-up- this means to get more of or to stock up on. " I just finished me last bag of chips. I have to re-up!" A new meaning has recently crept into the mainstream. 'Re-up' could also mean anything extended or renegotiated, like a contract. "Shaquille O' Neal just re-upped his contract with the Lakers."

5) Fo' reol- No, I didn't spell it wrong. This is a derivative of 'for real', meaning 'really?' and as an affirmation. "Yes, fo' reol!"

6) Aii- This is a derivative of 'aiite', which is a derivative of 'alright'.

7) Homie- this means 'friend' or 'brother'. It is normally used by hip-hop artists (preferably African-American), Caucasian adolescents and clueless, suburban whites.

8) Hood- this actually means 'neighbourhood', but the meaning has recently been changes to 'brethren'.

So, there you have it people. A (incomplete) list of the urbanised (more like slaughtered) vocabulary of todays adolescents. You probably will still need help trying to decode the ghettoness, but a word of advice: it's best NOT to try! 'Coz, even with this, you won't understand!

By slayer

The world we live in

Aconfusing world the Homo Sapiens live in. There are other species which lives hand in hand in the god's world.

But the most dangerous species of all are the human beings.
We have fought many wars. Some wars on earth and others on space. In some we succeeded and in some we failed miserably.

The world was not as always as dangerous as it is in the present time. Time has changed the future we live in.

This doesn't mean we should abandon living here and start thinking to colonise in Mars. Heck, people will turn the red planet into a corrupted money sucking Godzilla like Earth within a few millenniums.

The thing we, the proud citizens, of the world should do is not just to think of our own gains and losses but should rather feel for the whole humanity. To some, it may sound illogical, but dear Earthlings, this is the truth. I know that truth bites, but we must face our demons one way or the other.

We fought wars practically to gain dominance. My question is, for how long can the crown of power be withheld? By destroying each other we are in fact, crippling the Mother Nature and infuriating GOD. When God's angry, hell will break loose.

My request to all is don't destroy each other. Adapt peace, and prosperity is bound to knock at our doorsteps. These are but humble views of thyself trying to make a difference among the masses of the planet.

By Em Zi (formerly known as Syed Muntazir Zaidi)







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