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Written in the stars

You have received a message from www.astrologer.com.
Sarah beamed with joy. Every morning the first thing she does is check her horoscope, which she calls her "Guru", even though the predictions were rather mundane. This particular Friday, was different.

"Dear Sarah, today is your lucky day. Watch out, Cinderella, you might just find your happily ever after today"

While she was wondering who would be the step mom and sisters in her Cinderella story, the phone rang.

"Hiiiiii, its me! We're meeting up tonight at the new cafe beside Maria's house ok?" said Roseanne, excitedly.

"Umm okay, but I hope you guys show up 'cause the last time I waited for half an hour and you guys never turned up" said Sarah, with a touch of annoyance.

"No this time I promise we are showing up. Okay? Bye!"
Knowing her friends' reliability, she wasn't a bit excited about the plan but then again it was Friday, so she figured she had little to lose. She arrived there exactly at 8.00 and after waiting there for half an hour she realized her forgetful friends had stood her up again. Feeling rage burning inside her, she did what she usually did when she was angry and burst into tears.

Her emotional moment was interrupted by a compelling voice that just started singing "She will be loved" by Maroon5 from the stage behind her. She turned around to see who it was.

A tall, well-built, fair-complexioned male, more that 22, with big deep eyes to match his voice, he played the guitar in accompaniment to his song. Her jaw dropped. Suddenly their eyes meet, and, unbelievably enough, the singer fumbled, and somehow got his lyrics mixed up in the middle of the song and "She will be loved" became "Will she be loved?"

Sarah laughed, and the spell was broken, but at least she wasn't crying anymore. As soon as he finished the song, he came and sat beside her. His voice was as awesome when he spoke as it was when he sang, a deep, rich tenor.

"Hey princess, I am Imran and you will be?"
"None of your business" said Sarah, startled, and a trifle awkward.
"Cute name. Who kept it, mom or dad?"
"Can't you see I am busy waiting? Just leave me alone!" she yelled, with a touch of annoyance.
"Hey chill! I was just trying to be nice because it's our grand opening today and we see a customer crying"
"Well maybe I am the unlucky customer. I am sorry...umm I should be leaving" Sarah got up and started her way out.
What a day.

Why was I so negative? She wondered. Maybe he was really just trying to be nice. Her inexplicably hostile reaction to the handsome stranger made her feel guilty, and it added to her blues. By the time she reached him, it was almost ten, and, tired of crying, she went to her room. Her gaze alighted on her silent computer.

"Yeah, thanks for the Cinderella story."
She was ready to go to bed when her maid came to her room and said "Apu, this boy wants to talk to you…he is waiting in front of the gate."

Half confused, half-curious, she ran out to see who it was. Ikran, (or was it Imran?) was standing in front of her door.

"How dare you! You followed me?" All thoughts of contrition fled from her mind.
"Hello. I have no intention of following you. Pretty you may be, but you're not Miss World you know, that every guy would follow you." He sounded furious too. "I just came to return the purse you left back at the café
. I found your address in there. So here, rude girl, take it and I hope we never meet again."

He tossed the bag at her and turned to leave. Blushing with shame, Sarah called out to him.

"Wait up! I am sorry…I just had a bad day. Thanks for the purse, and by the way what's your zodiac sign?"

"What?' Imran couldn't help but burst into incredulous laughter "I am a Virgo"
"Virgo...I hate Virgoans! They can be so furious at times…exactly like you are right now" Sarah said with a wink

"Are you trying to make me laugh? That ain't working. Besides why blame everything on my zodiac? You're so superstitious! I figured it out when you said you're an unlucky customer for our cafe!" he said, rolling his eyes.

"You got me. I believe in everything from tarot cards to zodiac to psychic readers and everything linked to superstitions! Life is a fairytale for me where I never know what happens next" said Sarah, beaming with excitement

"Ok! Good for you! Never works for me. Wake up and smell reality, Sleeping Beauty!" he said, smiling to take the edge off his words.

That somehow ticked her off again. "Whatever. Anyway its late…I better be going up now and I don't know you well so I can't call you in, so Allah Hafez and hope we never meet again. Ever."

That night Sarah had trouble sleeping. Imran haunted her thoughts. His voice...he had such an awesome voice and those eyes.... Be careful Sarah! Remember what the palm-reader said. Your dream guy is neither fair and nor a singer.... Remember you hate singers because they sing even in the middle of conversations and that's annoying? He has to be dark, with long hair not spikes…how could you forget that? This guy is way too different from your dream guy, charming and cute though he may be. Forget him. With that resolved, she finally fell into a dreamless sleep.

The next morning Roseanne called again.
"Hiiiiii! I am so sorry sweetie, I just didn't have a car and my cell was lost...get ready in 5 minutes we are going to the cafe now to make it upto you!"

Before Sarah could say "No way", she already hung up.
At the café, Roseanne droned on, complaining about her forgetful boyfriend. Sarah found her eyes searching for Imran. Stop it, she told herself, but her eyes had other ideas.

Roseanne interrupted her. "Sarah would you please order? The owner himself is waiting on us today."

Sarah looked up, and to her surprise it was Imran. Roseanne told Sarah that Imran was an old friend from school, back in America. Sarah felt her cheeks grow warm with embarrassment at the way she behaved with him. Imran smiled in a friendly way, and allowed Roseanne to complete the introductions, pretending as though he was really meeting Sarah for the first time. It was only when Roseanne looked away that he winked and smiled conspiratorially at Sarah. His humour was infectious, and Sarah found herself choking back a giggle as she mouthed the words 'Thank you." That day Imran joined them for lunch and from that day, they were friends.

By Tashmia Zaman

Visit to an enchanting place

As I climbed the steps of the building my curiosity intensified; I couldn't wait to see all the exhibits displayed inside. There were huge tapestries hung from the tall Roman columns already depicting about some of the exhibitions -- one of them showed the skull of a Tyrannosaurus. Yes, you've guessed it right. I am talking about visiting one of the world's renowned museums -- the American Museum of Natural History in New York, USA.

Some of you might say, "So it's another boring old museum stuffed with things that are half-eaten by bacteria and rest by Chronos. Big deal!' Well, to those people I should say that you should look around yourself, learn and gain experience. Photos in books reveal only the partial side of the picture; whole of it is understood by experiencing it. Anyway, after satisfying the regular routine of the ticket counter and the guard, we entered the museum and in the very first hand were struck with amazement by the super-sized fossil of a Barosaurus, an enormous plant-eating dinosaur. It was confronting another fossil of a meat-eating dinosaur Allosaurus and by its side was yet another fossil of its youngster, the baby Goliath. I could have stood there for ages until my sister dragged me from there to the North American Mammals exhibition. Over here, I learned how tall a Grizzly Bear could be when it stands on its hind legs when compared, not to the height of an average human but mine. Here in the same floor I saw an actual canoe of the Northwest coast Native Americans called the Haida, can one; it was carved beautifully from a single piece of wood, the trunk of a large cedar tree. The canoe was truly a masterpiece showing the skills of its builder, the natives of the America. I wanted to show this to my sister and my mother. However, the Rocks and Minerals exhibit, where there were many precious and semi-precious stones and minerals displayed, mesmerized them and my father and my cousins were busy seeing the Moon Rocks and Meteorites exhibit.

On the second and third floors were more interesting things waiting for me. Dioramas of African and Asian mammals and of Oceanic birds were some breathtaking exhibits. I found my friend over there too, the Bengal Tiger, although stuffed. Some exhibits I found quite incomplete like that of the Asian Peoples; there are more things that could have been brought from ethnic Asia other than the Chinese wedding chair and Tibetan demon figurines. Anyway, I found the South American culture exhibit very exciting; all the things I learnt or saw in my history books were alive here! Gold ornaments of the Aztecs and Incas, feather works from Amazon and decapitated shrunken human heads from Venezuela! In the Pacific People exhibit there were small dioramas of aboriginal dances that occupied me for a while.

After experiencing half of the world I finally came to the place, which I longed to see from the beginning, the Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs. Here was the fossil of the 45 feet Tyrannosaurus, the largest carnivorous dinosaurs ever to walk the soil of this planet! I stood in front of it for a while, gaping at its massive jaws wondering how much powerful its jaw muscles would be to make just a small snap. My sister told me that it was not that large compared to the first one she saw at the entrance of the museum. I don't know what she actually expected, a T-rex reaching the height of the CN Tower?

After having glimpses of the fossils of Triceratops, Great Irish Elk, mastodon, raptors ichthyosaurs and all other kinds of bizarre creatures from the past, it was time for us to go. We had a lot of fun together while experiencing some of the most exotic gifts of Mother Nature. Oh yes! I just forgot mentioning about the lifeless life-sized Blue Whale, the tropical Forest exhibit and the museum library and so on, the list seeming endless. I felt sad, as usual, to leave the museum, for I wanted to spend more time.

It was actually more fun than any other fun places I visited. Anyway, thus my remarkable visit to the museum ended and after coming out of the museum I was sure enough that I had acquired much more knowledge than I had before entering this enchanting place.

By Asif Tanveer


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