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Bomb Blasts

With drowsy eyes, the little boy heard his mother say, 'Now go to sleep. I'm going to this little meeting. I'll be back before you even wake up from your nap.' When he woke up three hours later, his mother was not back from the meeting, and his father had not returned from his office. The maid gave him company.
After a while, his father was home. 'Where is your mother?'
'She went to a meeting,' said the maid.
'WHAT? MEETING? When? Where? Why? Why don't I know?'
'She tried calling you, but…'
'My phone was off, for Heaven's sake!' He was screaming. His eyes were red. Without saying another word, he stormed out of the house.
'I wanted to go too,' the boy whined. He felt very angry with his parents. Why were they not taking him anywhere? Why were they not telling him anything? Why was his father so furious? He felt furious too for being neglected like this. With a frown on his forehead, he turned on the television and switched to Cartoon Network.
It was 11:30 p.m. but neither of her employers was back. She ran her fingers through his hair. Refusing to eat anything until his parents returned, the child had gone to sleep. She sighed. She wished her employer had been less mysterious when he left the house. They never stayed away this late at night without taking their only child with them. They always told her where they were going. She wondered what was amiss. She did not know what to think. Not being able to keep her eyes open any longer, she knelt beside her little bhaiya and within seconds, started to snore.
She woke up with a start to find the sun up and shining bright. It was 8:00 a.m. Oh God, bhaiya's school would start in fifteen minutes! She rushed to the kitchen to realize that his parents had not returned. She did not know what to do. In a daze, she walked to the front door, trying to think clearly, and picked up the morning newspaper. There, on the front page, was her employer's picture… lying on the ground covered in blood, eyes wide open. She screamed. It seemed as if her lungs would come out of her mouth, but she could not stop herself.

It has been more than a week since the grenade attack left the entire nation shocked and frightened. The anger has finally started to fade a little and people are trying to get back to a daily routine. But who can ever forget those horrific images? How can you ever come to terms with something so heinous?

Like most other people, I was lazing around at home when I first heard of the attack. "Oh, it can't possibly be too bad. People tend to exaggerate," I thought to myself. I could not have been more wrong. The scenes that unfolded on the TV screen were more horrific than any sane person could have ever imagined. It looked like a scene from some R-rated thriller movie. It was difficult for me to convince myself that there are people who can actually do something so vicious. I always used to have this strange notion that no matter how corrupted and dishonest the people in Bangladesh are, they are not malicious. But last Saturday's attacks left me in a state of utter shock and disbelief.

Bomb attacks seem to have become a common occurrence in Bangladesh. In the recent past, there have been many such incidents, including the attack on the British High Commissioner and the cinema hall bombings. So far no one has claimed responsibility for any of these incidents and the law and order situation has been spiraling downwards. Why isn't anything being done about this? How long will it be before the next attack? The latest incident left the nation in a state of panic and uncertainty. The destruction and violence, in the streets, that followed the incident did not help matters. The couple of days, after the blasts, the streets were almost empty, with only a few cars around. Most of us were too scared to venture out of the safety of our homes and there was a sense of gloom in the atmosphere. People no longer feel safe in public places because no one knows what the next target will be.

There are no words strong enough to condemn an inhuman act like this. It is pointless to talk about how we feel and about how shocked we are, when 18 people have died and many more are lying in their hospital beds. It is time for people to wake up and do something to prevent such incidents in the future.

"People killing, people dying
Children hurt and you hear them crying
Can you practice what you preach
And would you turn the other cheek Father, Father, Father help us
Send us some guidance from above
'Cause people got me, got me questioning
Where is the love?

- Black Eyed Peas

By Marwa and Ayesha

Step up
Dance with me

Sarah looked around the hall room trying to find a place to hide herself, cursing herself for coming to the dance party. She shouldn't have listened to her friends, knowing that she can't dance. Suddenly she saw Hussein (her crush) coming towards her. What if he asked her to dance? She tried to look the other way to avoid him but Hussein stopped in front of her with a smile to die for and commented "Sarah, you look absolutely gorgeous!" He paused for a second and then said the dreaded words: "So would you like to dance with me?' Wishing she could DIE, Sarah managed to mumble some unconvincing excuse. She saw Hussein's smile disappearing, and without even saying, "Ok" he left. Sarah cursed herself again thinking about her chances of going out with Hussein would now be just a dream. As she left the party she looked up at the sky and suddenly saw a wishing star. Quickly closing her eyes, she wished 'I wish I knew how to dance!"

Are you scared of dancing? Or don't know how to dance? Well here is good news for all you boys and girls out there. In our search for ways to boost your ECA profile, we found out an institute called Western Int. Educational Cultural Center where you can learn almost all kinds of Western dancing from Party to Salsa to Ballroom dance.

The dance instructor, Tawhid, learned dancing at the Russian Cultural Center under by a foreign instructor Majid Shikhali. Dancing was in Tawhid's family which inspired him a lot. He spoke about the dance lessons they provide at the Centre, which are of four categories:

1.Latin American dances, including Tango, Cha cha cha, Rumba, Mambo, Swing, Timba, Lambada, and Latin rhythm.
2. Ballroom dances like Waltz and Foxtrot
3.Special party dances to make you a better dancer than your friends in any given party or occasion 4.Group dance, which is basically choreography for occasions like weddings.

They also have Aerobic dance for people who are health-conscious and want to reduce weight by dancing. It bears mentioning here that fitness experts across the globe recommend dancing as a form of exercise because it helps burn fat, improves muscle coordination, and increases flexibility. Tawhid added to that by talking about how dancing movements help us teenagers in posture development, rhythmical movement, and the development of better sense of hearing music, because you become more conscious about beats and rhythms.

The dance room in this institute is quite a sizeable room, with lighting designed to bring you into the mood of dancing.

The response to these classes has been pretty good according to Tawhid. Till now he has almost 30 students, mostly foreigners like Indians, Sri Lankans, Malaysians, and Koreans with only 15% Bangladeshis. However, he expects more deshi students to come and join these dance classes.

The courses are usually six months long, three months for each part. Certificates will be given after the completion of a six months course. The fees for the dance course are TK 1500 per person, or TK 2500 per couple. Class timings are Friday, Tuesday and Sunday from 6pm-8pm. If you're busy at these times, you can fix up a timing to suit your schedule.

The Centre is dedicated to the education and development of dancers and teachers on the method of contemporary dance training as developed by Tawhid. It also provides student counseling for students who want to study in Australia and New Zealand and they also have teachers for singing, guitar, piano and art.

So why wait? If you want a little fun in your ECA profile you can attend these dancing classes and make your life groove to the beat of music.

Western Int. Educational Cultural Center is located at House No-2, Road No-55, Gulshan Avenue-2.

By Tashmia Zaman

RS Study Buddies

SAT Preps: Part 1 Choosing your Plan

Last week, I mentioned that the registration fees for the SAT exams are $29. What I forgot to mention is that this will be effective from January 2005. As of now, you still have to dole out $49 for them. Now, the next SAT exams will be held on October 9, and the last date for applications is September 7, so if you have a credit card on you, and you plan to catch that exam, you better apply fast. For further information about exam dates, fees and applications, drop by at the USIS at Rd 27, Banani, or check out www.collegeboard.com.

Now let's get down to business, and look at some quick pointers for preparing for the SAT's. As mentioned in the last issue, the SAT's test you on your logical and analytical skills, as well as your vocabulary. There's a verbal section, what we call the 'English' part, and a Math section. When you start discussing SAT's, you're bound to hear about how tricky the questions are, and how you need to memorise a lot of words. That's not true. If you have a concrete idea of basic high-school math (algebra, geometry, trigonometry and arithmetic), and have done a fair amount of reading, there's no reason why you can't ace the SAT's. So why don't you hear of many people with double 800's? Because the SAT's involves the kind of strategic thinking that you weren't taught in school.

So what now? Well, if you have the money, the time and the patience, you could enroll in a coaching centre. There are many, like Nexgen, Gateway, and Pundits, to name a few, that offer SAT coaching.

Pros: Proper study schedules adapted to your needs. Regular mocks to help you assess your progress. Teachers are there to guide you through problem areas.

Cons: Expenses. These coaching programs cost a bundle and then some.

Another option is to get a SAT guide book and study by yourself. Bookstores around the country are flooded with SAT guidebooks. The Princeton Review, Barrons, 10 Real SAT's, and Kaplan SAT Guide are some good examples. I personally think 10 Real SAT's and Kaplan are the most user-friendly. If you can get your hands on the Kaplan Higher Score on SAT & ACT package, even better. This comes with an interactive CD and a test booklet, to help you learn through interactive testing and fun games. These books come with their own diagnostic tests and explanations, which aren't really too hard to understand.

Pros: Cost effective…all you need are the books. Flexible study-times. Also, by figuring everything out for yourself, you gain in self-confidence.

Cons: If you lack self-discipline, this plan is NOT for you, as it requires you to be your own teacher, examiner, and timekeeper. Also, you miss out on the exam experience. The simulated tests on the CD's don't give you the full atmosphere.

Finally, one option you can choose is to work in a study group. Get some SAT books, and give the tests, compare and contrast scores, and help each other improve. This is also great because you can use those vocabulary flashcards to build up your word list.

Pros: Relatively cost effective. Competition within the group will keep you motivated, and also, if you run into any problems with the explanations, you can help each other figure it out.

Cons: If your group starts addafying instead of studying…there go the preps.

So choose the prep plan that works best for you, and get cracking. I'll be back next week with some more tips on how to ace the exams.

By Sabrina F Ahmad

Do it yourself

Bookshelf basics

Has your bookshelf suddenly reformed and deformed itself to look like furniture from the home of the Flintstones on Cartoon Network? So why not just send it out to the woodwork shops to get it repainted? Well then again, why not get yourself a new house in the process? Seriously think about it, if you do it yourself, it will be cheaper, perhaps faster (you wont have to hear things like Apa ittu deri hobe), you could choose your own colour and even enrich it with a different pattern! This is how to go about it.

First, get some sand paper and scrub all over the furniture until it feels even from all sides, so that there's no friction. Apply the colour of your taste, using a thick medium sized paintbrush. You can let your imagination run wild and use as many different colours as you want making sure that you've made a good outline of the pattern with a pencil first. Leave it to dry for about 24hours. When it looks dried up, take another paintbrush of the same size and varnish the woodwork. For both the paint and the varnish, try to apply it only once onto the object and try to stroke the paint/varnish in one direction only. Wait until it dries up and pat yourself in the back for getting a paint job well done. (All the materials will be available at any hardware shop).

By Shayera Moula




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