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Point of view

Follow the stream, or create a wave

Flowing along the stream that's what I call our lives today. We, the students of this country, sons and daughters of this very soil, are also the most detached from our roots. We live our lives in our bedrooms, doors locked, or at best come out and into the living room for some "entertainment", of a kind fed to us from an electronic box. Some of us stay busy all day, running from school to university to coaching centre, only to come home at night, thinking, "God! What a hectic day!" Days go by, unnoticed, monotonous. The beauty of a sunrise is lost to us, and we have forgotten how to greet a new day with anticipation. I ask myself, "Where are we heading?"

Bangladesh, with its long history of student revolutions, was not supposed to give birth to individuals like us. We should have been much more jubilant, united and ready to challenge all the hurdles that lay ahead. What molded us into this shell of self-centricity? I would say, "Frustration". None of these youths has been lucky enough to witness our victory in the independence war. No one among us has ever heard, face-to-face, an epic oration by a great leader. All that we have seen is violence, social and religious oppression, political and economic instability, naming only a few of the many grim realities. We have not seen a Bangladeshi athlete win an Olympic gold medal; rather, we have seen them get disqualified in the heat. We have not had a Bangladeshi Nobel Laureate winning the praise and admiration of the entire world. We have not had leaders who would show us the path to the future.

We are frustrated; utterly skeptical of what the future has in store for us. That is why we encage ourselves in Discmans, shallow gossip and even shallower love lives. That is why we do not have a zeal for knowledge, a thirst to excel, a dream to achieve. We live our lives to sustain the mere hope of earning our own bread, not to provide bread for the millions. We want to study not because we want to spread the light of knowledge, but because it is the only way we can have a nine-to-five job at some private bank.

I do ask myself at times why I think so much out of my shoes! Isn't it better to just relax and move with the flow? Life could be so much simpler without any set targets to achieve, without any apprehension, without a fear of losing.

Then some part of me answers, "No, if everybody follows the stream, who will create the wave?"

At this very moment, very coincidentally, I'm listening to a very famous song by John Lennon. And I'm singing with him, feeling my heart beat with his as One:

"You may say I'm a dreamer,
But I'm not the only one,
I hope some day you'll join us,
And the world will live as one."

There are thousands who live their lives thinking only of themselves and their families, not beyond. There are millions who get frustrated with what is going on, and lie on their backs doing nothing.

There are billions who do not see any light in their future and live without a goal. But there are very few who can do all those...and yet fewer who can DREAM! Let all of us dreamers come together, join hands, and try to make our little dreams, kept aside at an untouched corner of our heart, come to reality…

By Rubayat Khan

Hobbit remains found in Australia

Scientists in Australia have found a new species of hobbit-sized humans who lived about 18,000 years ago on an Indonesian island in a discovery that adds another piece to the complex puzzle of human evolution.

The partial skeleton of Homo floresiensis, found in a cave on the island of Flores, is of an adult female that was a metre (3 feet) tall, had a chimpanzee-sized brain and was substantially different from modern humans.

It shared the isolated island to the east of Java with miniature elephants and Komodo dragons. The creature walked upright, probably evolved into its dwarf size because of environmental conditions and coexisted with modern humans in the region for thousands of years.

"It is an extraordinarily important find," Professor Chris Stringer, of the Natural History Museum in London, told a news conference on Wednesday. "It challenges the whole idea of what it is that makes us human."

Peter Brown of the University of New England in Armidale, Australia, and his colleagues made the discovery of the skull and other bones, and miniature tools in September 2003 while looking for records of modern human migration to Asia. They reported the finding in the science journal Nature.

"Finding these hominins on an isolated island in Asia, and with elements of modern human behaviour in tool making and hunting, is truly remarkable and could not have been predicted by previous discoveries," Brown said in a statement.

Local legends tell of hobbit-like creatures existing on islands long ago but there has been no evidence of them.

The hominin family tree, which includes humans and pre-humans, diverged from the chimpanzee line about 7 million years ago. Early African hominins walked upright, were small and had tiny brains.

The new species, dubbed "Flores man", is thought to be a descendent of Homo erectus, which had a large brain, was full-sized and spread out from Africa to Asia about 2 million years ago.

The new species became isolated on Flores and evolved into its dwarf form to conform with conditions, such as food shortages. Flores, which was probably never connected to the mainland, was home to a variety of exotic creatures including a dwarf form of the primitive elephant Stegodon.

Modern humans had reached Australia about 45,000 years ago but they may not have passed through Flores. The scientists suspect the new species became extinct after a massive volcanic eruption on the island about 12,000 years ago.

Brown and his colleagues have found the remains of seven other dwarf individuals at the same site since the first find.

"The other individuals all show similar characteristics, and over a time range that now extends from as long ago as 95,000 years to as recently as 13,000 years ago -- a population of hobbits that seemed to disappear at about the same time as the pygmy elephants that they hunted," said Bert Roberts, one of the authors of the Nature study.

Source - LONDON (Reuters)

Book Review

The most common response when asked if one knows Anne Rice is "Doesn't she write about witches and vampires and that kind of stuff?" Yes, she does, but to stereotype her books as books about the supernatural alone would be unfair. There is history, and geography and drama and literature and science and technology -whole other worlds of ideas tucked between the pages of her books that refuse to belong under any earthly label as one.

Rice started writing the chronicles in the 1980s, giving life to her legendary lead character of the Vampire Lestat and one by one the others who surround him in her intricate tales of mystery and magic, of human emotions and situations behind supernatural creatures. All her vampires have time periods and places and histories behind them and as they meet and intermingle, so are their times and places linked, woven like an intricate tapestry. Lestat is a French prince from before the revolution, transformed over the centuries, weathered and evolved into the modern day rockstar. Louis is from New Orleans Louisiana of the time of British colonies in the new world, born as a vampire to fill Lestat's loneliness. Pandora and Marius are from Ancient Rome, Armand, an icon painter from Kiev in Russia given into immortality during the Renaissance and the list goes on.

The Mayfair Witches series followed the chronicles in quick suit, revealing the secrets and ambitions of a clannish family of witches, eccentric and mysterious, with a legacy more valuable to them than money or gold. A legacy of deep dark secrets and their resident spirit Lasher whose whims and desires shape their lives, entwining them in lust, madness and murder.

Rice has come a long way from Interview with the Vampire. In fact, since the death of her husband, painter and poet, Stan Rice, she has decided to finally put an end to the chronicles. Her latest book Blackwood Farm is a prequel to a grand finale and one of those books where the vampires and witches come together. Quin Blackwood, owner of Blackwood farm and heir to its legacy of blood stained secrets and family ghosts has just turned vampire and seeks the guidance and help of Lestat in dealing with a companion spirit, 'goblin' who gets ever stronger and harmful to those around him. Lestat's powers paired with those of the Mayfair witches maybe Quin's only chance to save himself from his ghosts and demons and his doomed beloved from her own mortality. Beyond its deceptively innocent title, the story is entangled in a web of blood, deceit, destruction and fate pieced together by the author's lush storytelling, like a whispering voice from our childhood by candlelight that we strain to hear until the last word. A voice that holds us spellbound. Only the story has changed, transformed into something of a different time, a different place...into Anne Rice's Savage Garden.

By Diya


Fools game
Played, I was played.
Like the strings of a 'puppeteer' that they use
For fools play that they use.
I was used.
For a meaningless issue,
For useless fun.
I was used.
I fell for it.
Even though I knew about this game.
I fell for it.
Such a game it was
Such a lie I was told.
Warned by so many
But still I played a fool's game.
So lost and so hurt
I am now and forever will be.
Someone played with my heart
And I forever will regret it.
So easily I was tricked.
Told everything about myself.
How selfish was I
Never thought about the outcome.
All thought I would be weak.
But little do they know
I am much stronger than before.
Faced the chapter of life
That had a lesson.
Others would have blamed the 'puppeteer'
Cursed all their life for what has been done.
I am not like others.
I am not weak.
I am no one's game now.
I thank that 'puppeteer' for hurting me.
For making me cry thousands of tears.
Still I thank that 'puppeteer'.
Made me learn something I will never forget.
Never forget your name.
Never forget the game you played.
I am now no one's game.
Making me stronger.
That's all I wanted in this life.
Now I am living again.
With fresh new dreams and all new hopes.
I can walk among all.
Can do what I want.
But never will I say the words of this broken heart.
Because now I know,
I am not like others.
I am not weak.
I am no ones game now.
All I can say is that
I was played
In a fools game.
I dedicate this to someone who played this game with a person I know very well...

By Antora Shaon

Dedicated to you
Sitting over here all day long,
I constantly keep thinking where was I wrong.
For I only think of your goodness and virtue,
All I wanted to say was I love you.
Your beauty is the only thing that roams in my mind,
Truly, this makes sense you're one of a kind.
For you, I'm ready to give my heart away,
Because losing you means I'll go astray.
Although I know that the moment is lost;
Like winter changes to spring and the chilly frost.
Is there anyway that I can bring it back?
Because without you my vision is black.

By Salman Rashid





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