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The wind was blowing fast and hard. By the looks of the sky rain will take just a minute or so to come crashing down. These types of wind send a thrilling chill down the spine. As the chill went down, Maruf thought that no matter what he will not be going down to his home. "I really want to get soaked today." Suddenly he heard a loud bang from behind. Though it kind of made him jerk, within a split second he realized that the wind made the steel door of the roof do so. Suddenly he remembered, "Oh! My book, it will get soaked." But he felt like he did not care. He left the book near the water tank when he got up to take a look around. It was a science fiction with a touch of religion and history. He brought the book up here to make it work as a deviation from the pain he just had to endure. But after a while he realized that the pain was too great to be forgotten over just a novel by some damn Brown! The little girl who worked in their home came, "Bhaiya, Khalamma is calling you." "Tell her, I will be staying here for a while." She started to go down without a word. "Oi, take that, and leave that on my table." Silently the girl took it.

The rain by now is crashing down hard from all directions. The drops were big and there were the definite flashes and roars of lightning. It is fabulous he thought. Such huge amounts of electric energy firing all at once, definitely sum up to be a good fireworks display. From his Physics book, he learnt that the roar is not actually of the lightning, but the air around it, which suddenly starts expanding in the tremendous heat. "Tomorrow I have Physics, then two days later Math". He suddenly got a bit depressed thinking of the progress he made so far for the exams. "You need to study, damn it!" he thought. "Quit taking it to the eleventh hour." His dad always said, "If you want to get yourself established you should study hard. Then when you are 25 and having a luxurious Mercedes, you won't have to look for girl friends! They will come looking for you." A faint smile appeared on Maruf's face. His mood always got lifted even from unfathomable depression when his dad was around but he did not know just to merely think of him would do that too. He suddenly wished his dad was there.

The world looks so different from up here. Because this is the highest building around, you can see most of the things going on, beneath. Maruf spotted an ambulance getting in the alley from the main road. It did not have the lights and the whistle running. Then it got blocked from the view by the three storied building in front. After a while he again spotted it and it halted just in front of the entrance to their building. He turned and started for the stairway to go down. While passing the fourth floor, he saw his home abuzz with people but they looked most mournful and he knew why! Upon reaching the ground floor he saw his uncle and some other people hoisting a coffin up and placing it in the garage. Maruf sensed that his mother was behind him but did not bother to look. When the lid got opened, he caught sight of his already dead dad, shrunk, a bit blackened and shriveled but certainly the moisture around is making it look more look able, specially for the families. Maruf knew his father was coming this way. Exactly three hours ago Anan Chacha had called from the hospital. After hearing the awful news and handing the receiver to his mother, he knew he was in a shock, in a kind of shock that no doctor could define. "He was ill but not that ill!" Maruf had exclaimed silently. He suddenly realized how dangerous the world seems without financial support. But that's not all! He loved his dad. Truly…

The images of the past that took place just three hours ago cleared and suddenly he found himself too near to the coffin, clutching the side firmly and staring unfocused at his dad's face. Two droplets of clear liquid as big as the rain drops he witnessed just earlier fell on his hand and disappeared among the raindrops still clinging on. Those would have come from nowhere except his eyes. Then he turned around and started off for his room above, "I have Physics tomorrow."

By Hitoishi Chakma

The big fat elephant

"Thump! Thump! Thump!" The whole jungle was shaking.
The monkey wondered what was going on. He got down from the tree and came to the open area from where the noise was coming.
He couldn't believe his eyes. The big fat elephant was jumping up and down.
"Hey, Jumbo! What's wrong?"
"Nothing my friend. I'm just doing some exercise. I don't want to be fat anymore."
"I'm skinny. And I can teach how to be skinny. But you'll have to call me your boss"
"Really! If you can do that I'll call you my boss."
"Ok then. If you want to be skinny like me you'll have to eat lots of bananas, nuts and head lice."
Now the bananas made Jumbo fatter, nuts tickled his trunk, and head lice made him sick.
The monkey came with a new idea. "You'll have to swing in the trees," the monkey said.
"Yes boss," said Jumbo and reached for the nearest branch of a tree.
"CRACK!!!!" The tree fell off, and Jumbo started to run in fear.
He ran and ran. And he nearly stepped on the sleeping python.
The snake woke up. He saw Jumbo running.
"Easy Jumbo! What's the rush?" the python said.
Jumbo stopped and told him the whole story.
"So you want to be skinny?"
"Of course."
"Look I am skinny. And I can teach how to be skinny. But you'll have to call me your boss."
"Yes boss!"
"Good. First you'll have to eat lots of Mice!"
"Mice? Oh no!"
Jumbo started running again. The python didn't know that elephants were scared of rats. Confused, the snake wondered, "Now where did I go wrong?"
Jumbo ran and ran. And he nearly stepped on the earthworm who was digging in the mud.
"Easy Jumbo! What's the rush?" the earthworm said.
Jumbo stopped and told him the whole story.
"So you want to be skinny?"
"Of course."
"Look my friend. I'm skinny and I'm small. But it's not fun to be skinny all the time. Other animals might think you are weak."
"Hmmm! You are right." Jumbo thought for some time.
"I'm Jumbo fat and strong. I am happy the way I am. I don't care what other people think."
He thanked his little friend for the big help.
And started singing, "I'm Jumbo happy to be who I am."

By Shamael Mortuza

God will help me

There was a very religious man named Jim, who lived near a river. One day, the river rose over the banks and flooded the town, and Jim was forced to climb onto his porch roof. While sitting there, a man in a boat came along and told Jim to get in the boat with him.

Jim said, "No, that's okay. God will take care of me."
So, the man in the boat drove off.
The water rose higher, so Jim climbed onto his roof. At that time, another boat came along, and the person in that one told Jim to get in.
Jim replied, "No, that's okay. God will take care of me."
The person in the boat then left.
The water rose even more, and Jim climbed onto his chimney. A helicopter came along and lowered a ladder for him. The woman in the helicopter told Jim to climb up the ladder and get in.
Jim said, "That's okay."
The woman said, "Are you sure?"
Jim replied, "Yeah, I'm sure God will take care of me."
Finally, the water rose too high and Jim drowned. Jim got to heaven and was face-to-face with God.
Jim said to God, "You told me that you would take care of me! What happened?"
God replied, "Well, I sent you two boats and a helicopter. What else did you want?"

Book Review

If Tomorrow Comes

If you like heist movies or reads, you're going to like this book. Yes, it's another Sidney Sheldon, so apologies to those who are sick and tired of my Sheldon reviews…I'm too broke to go shopping for new books, so I'm dipping into my own library. Anyway, on with the story.

Young, beautiful, intelligent, on her way to a promotion, and engaged to be married to a handsome rich man who adores her and whose baby she's carrying, Tracy Whitney is on top of the world, and couldn't ask for more. A single phone call changes everything, when she hears of her mother's suicide. Rushing back home to find out what happened, she discovers that the poor woman had been a victim of fraud, perpetrated by a key member in a powerful Mafia family.

Bristling with rage and hurt, she goes to confront the man responsible for her mother's death, and in underestimating the depths to which the man could sink, finds herself arrested and sentenced to twenty years of prison, and then abandoned by her fiancé.

Prison brings the loss of innocence, the loss of her unborn baby, and the kind of education she never dreamed of receiving in the outside world.

A lucky break sees her out of prison, but the Tracy Whitney who went in there in all innocence, is dead. In her place is a new woman, a beautiful, brilliant chameleon of many identities, one hell-bent on the destruction of all those who had tried to destroy her.

What begins as a quest for vengeance leads to the Tracy's rise as a cunning master criminal. Only two people can measure up to her: a handsome con-man every bit as cunning as Tracy, and wildly attracted to her, and a perverted evil genius, “whose salvation” as the blurb says, “lies in Tracy's downfall”.

Peppered with twists and mind-boggling criminal escapades, and the spine-chilling suspense of the cat-and-mouse game between the different parties, this book is definitely an entertainer, and it should be available at Etc. or Words n' Pages for about Tk 3-400, or if you have the patience to go treasure-hunting in Nilkhet, you might come away with a copy for much, much less.

By Sabrina F Ahmad


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