Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home


Book Review
My hero

I love Ronny. I mean, what's not to love about the corny, zany guy who gives us the peeing dog illustrations all over RS? No, really. Here I was, weekend approaching in all haste, and the panic button inching closer to my apprehensive fingers as I realised a review Khushwant Singh's Delhi, which I finished this week, would not be appropriate for most of the RS readers. (Read, far too much sex and violence…but for those over the PG-18 barrier, go read it; it's brilliant.) So what was a book reviewer to do? Just then, the Dawg Doodler arrives like an answer to my prayers and drops a book onto my lap. My hero!

That, incidentally, also happens to be name of Tom Holt's side-splitting comedy. Terry Pratchett, take a back seat. Douglas Adams, eat your heart out. This book will make you groan, roll your eyes, double up and clutch your stomach while you thump the table, exclaiming, 'Stop! My sides are aching from laughing so hard!”

How's this for a plot? Jane Armitage (who is to sleep what Don Bradman is to cricket) is a third-rate, yet best-selling fantasy author, who is somewhat stuck with writer's block at a crucial point in the final sequel of her trilogy. While she's trying to work out the kinks, Hamlet (yes, the Hamlet) is fed up of stabbing people through curtains and talking to ghosts for Bill Shakespeare, tries to audition for a new role, and ends up playing the lead in a crude remake of Frankenstein. Around the same time, Skinner, a once-popular author of cowboy fiction, has been stuck inside his own novel for having killed his own hero (by shooting him through a mirror; go figure), with a talking trigger-happy gun for company, and is desperate to get back to real life. These guys appeal to Jane to save them by writing them out of the situation they're stuck in, and into reality. Sounds like a job for a hero, doesn't it? So what does Jane do? She yanks her hero Regalian, out of the book she's writing, and sends him into this new story to save the two.

If you're already laughing or rolling your eyes at the insanity of it all, wait till you read the book. Holt is sometimes droll and sardonic, sometimes downright goofy, and through it all, his tongue remains firmly attached to his cheek as he shamelessly borrows characters and plots from other writers and sticks them into his own story, all the while laughing at the heavyweights of popular fiction. And although the overall premises may seem ludicrous at first glance, the book is surprisingly intelligent.

So if you need some serious laugh-till-you-cry reading, My Hero is waiting to sweep you off your feet and have you splitting your sides.

By Sabrina F Ahmad

Samira’s thought in verse

Samira was born to Dr. Zubair Amin and Dr. Sonia Baig on August 28, 2002in Singapore. She started her schooling when she was two and a half years. She learnt English in school and by watching children's TV programs. She cannot write but speaks English well.

Little Samira expresses her feelings of various situations in poetry. I am her maternal grandfather and on a short visit in January this year. She was just three. I chanced to hear Samira say (which I noted down immediately) when she saw a butterfly flying through the drawing room. She found a green piece of material and while swaying it skipped across the floor chanting:

Nice Butterfly
Flying in the sky
Hi butterfly
Flying in the sky
I can fly
Like a butterfly.

I had taken tiny roasted birds (Babui pakhi) from Dhaka. The dish was laid on the dinner table. Bushra (Samira's elder sister) and Samira were very sad to see such small birds killed for food. They refused to touch the meal. Once again Samira's little poetic mind worked:

You cannot cook the bird
You cannot taste the bird
They have to fly
It is nice to cook the dragon.
(Perhaps Samira meant that instead of killing birds, it was better to kill bad people)

On another occasion her mother was cutting a big fish for the noon's meal. Samira had a look of disgust at such a cruel act. Once again she chanted:

You cannot cut the fish
Let them swim
Do not cut the fish
Fish has fin to swim
Big fin to swim big fish
(Perhaps she meant much effort to achieve greatness)

I visited my grandchildren in May. Samira was now 3 years and 8 months. She loves her parents, sister and Nanbhai. (Nanabhai is always clad in white) One evening while we relaxed in the bedroom, Samira told us how much she loved us:

Daddy is my sun
Mummy is my moon
Daddy is my blue sky
Mummy is my green grass
Nanbhai is my honey
Nanbhai is my white cloud
Bushra is the rose
Samira is the pretty butterfly.

By Syed Ahmed

A swift breeze caresses me
A whole new world I see
A spectrum of passion
A scent of emotion.
Are those stars a map of guidance?
Am I free of all hindrance?
More I fail to fathom,
As ecstasy and woe move in tandem.
Sometimes I lay in deep fright,
Will I shatter like the distant meteorite?
Many in my path have crumbled,
May I float on this breeze untroubled?
I rejoice this feeling of serenity,
I grasp unto it with dignity.
Let my love never seize
Let me be the breeze.

By Masroor Hussain

There, the pendulum swings
It's ever so constant, it hypnotizes me
I devour into dreams, soothing dreams
I am flying! Can the birds see me?
I am walking on a thin string
I fear it will break
No it won't, she is with me
I am weightless, there's no gravity.
All intangible seem tangible
Yes, I am touching the ray of love
It's not warm, not cold
It's out of the world.
Oh! The pendulum rings!
All my thoughts still
I am awake! I am alive!
I smile, and I say,
Will I live another day
To see my dear pendulum sway?

By Masroor Hussain

My Shattered Heart
My heart seems as if,
It has been broken into pieces,
Like small pieces of glass spread on,
The turf of a million dreams.
Don't know what to do,
Don't know how to regain my happiness.
But only can think of sadness,
That never ever wants to fade away.
My heart does beat like,
The hearts of others.
But it beats fast from time to time,
Whenever I think of my lost lover.
Glass, once broken cannot be mended,
But I don't want to see my heart,
Being compared to a sheet of glass,
Lying in the open.
I want my heart to change its colour,
And retain the state like the old days.
I don't want to fall in love again,
But want to stay happy for ever and ever.
Till the day I close my eyes,
And never wake up again.

By Saad Billah


home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2006 The Daily Star