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I was born disabled a curse that God has bestowed upon me. A doctor in a public hospital, crowded and dirty, stinking of rotten bodies, blood and death, brought me into the world. I gave out a loud cry I waved my hands in the filthy air but, my legs just wouldn't move. My mother was a poor street woman, who died after giving birth to me. My father fled at the first sign of emotion and the word marriage.

I was brought up by my uncle, a poor shopkeeper in the Mohammadpur Baazar. His wife, my aunt, had always been like a mother to me, even on the days when profit was little and food scarce, she would make sure that I ate. I used to feel guilty all the time for not being able to help, even on the busiest of days, due to my disabled legs.
All my life, I had been cooped up in a small house, which was a tin shed. During the rainy season thaw water would seep into the house and spoil even the little food we could afford. Sleep was impossible on the wet ground, sickness could not be prevented. During winter, we would all huddle up together to generate whatever warmth we could; our torn and tattered cloths were little protection against cold, icy winds that would blow and make our tiny house shake like a leaf. I grew in such miserable and abject poverty that I never had one, single moment of happiness in life, except that one time when my uncle took me to the market. He had managed to get me a wheel chair, by saving and begging for years. I was put on the wheel chair and thus began the most wonderful event of my life.
My eyes glistening with joy, I saw hundreds of people, each engrossed in his own activities saw a little girl, dressed in something utterly divine, standing beside her mother, pulling at her saree and looking bored out of her mind. At that moment I realized that happiness has nothing to do with riches, position or social status but everything to do with content and being able to accept what we are and what God has bestowed upon us. There she was, this young girl, who from my point of view had everything and yet she looked as if she hated being here. She was pulling at her little dupatta of her kameez as though it was choking her, strangling her, as though it was binding her and oppressing her. But here I was. Seated on a wheel chair, at the market for the first time in life, unable to move my legs, yet feeling as though nothing in the world could be more fascinating than the people hustling and bustling, quarrelling and bargaining. I was happy, content and feeling more alive than I had ever been in my entire life. The young girl had the whole world with her but yet seemed like though the world was not enough for her.
That evening though I was tired, I did not want to fall asleep in case I lost that feeling of utter joy, peace and contentment. My uncle set me down on the ground, for we had no bed, and kissed me goodnight, I spent most of the night thinking and staring out of the little window which revealed the stars, twinkling like diamonds in the dark, sacred night. I thought back in the day and thanked God for not making me so affluent as to not be able to enjoy the little joys in life. That girl would never be able to enjoy looking at the sun set or hearing the melodious murmur of the morning birds. Her horizons were so much greater, watching television was a part of everyday life for her. Watching television was once in a life time experience for me. She would have to meet the Walt Disney characters in person to feel a shiver of excitement, I just needed to see a sticker and quiver with ecstasy.I understood then, that with status comes responsibility and with responsibility comes the true loss of freedom. The girl I saw in the market could never enjoy simply being alive. I could enjoy simply by existing.

(Editor's note: Could the writer of this article please contact Rising Stars bye mail or otherwise? We promise not to shoot her.)

By Daddy's Lil Princess

Harry Potter wonders what’s in a name

Imagine you are writing a story and you name the characters this way: you name the good guy (the hero) 'Good Hero' or 'Our Hero,' and name his friends 'Loyal Friend' and the villain is called 'Bad Guy' or 'very very bad guy'. Other characters are similarly named 'Sweet Mom', 'Great Dad' and the assistant of the villain (mini villain) 'Smells Bad'. Only, you use different languages or words that are very rarely used. Guess who would do such a thing?

It's an author whose first story was called 'A Rabbit called Rabbit'. She's probably the most popular author of our time (only books God wrote sells more than hers!) and is the best living English author. She's also considered one of the richest women in the world and now earns $145 every minute she lives (that's nearly 10000 BDT.)

I'm talking about, of course, JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series. The great author has named her characters so ingeniously that anyone who understands a few languages can find out “interesting” facts about the characters only by casting a glance at the books!

Let's begin with the investigations.
Umbridge, Dorles: Our froglike Umbridge auntie couldn't have been sweeter. So what does her name mean? Means "lady of sorrows or pain" (psychological or physical). In Greek, "doleros" means "deceitful." In Spanish, it means "to have pain.” And that's not all… 'Umbridge' sounds like "umbrage," which is "a feeling of anger caused by an offense." In Latin, "umbra" means "shadow, shade, or ghost" and can also be interpreted as "jealous or suspicious of another" or "standing in one's light or way." The phrase "to take umbridge" means to "cause offense and make trouble." Isn't it great?

The 'Malfoy' family: The dark and cool Malfoy family is pretty fascinating. In Latin, "malus" means "bad" and "mal" means "pale." "Mal foi" means "bad faith, an act with bad intentions, or a malicious act" in French. Also means "badly made" or "evil deeds." In Portuguese, (J.K. Rowling taught English in Portugal for a few years), "Mal foi" means "was bad" or "is bad.

Draco: Little villain. His name must mean evil or something even worse and, “Draco” is a dragon which is more like a snake. Not too evil? The word “Darconian” means 'harsh or cruel'; and in Romanian, “drac” means 'devil.' Cool isn't it?

Lucius: Nothing much to say… It means DEVIL!

Narcissa: Why Draco's lovely mother always has a look like she's has something nasty smelling object under nasty smell has been placed under her nose? It's because her name means so! The narcissus flower has a really bad smell, and, for explaining her obsessive love for her dear son, here comes the word Narcissism which means “the excessive love of one self”

Severus Snape: The COOLEST Death-Eater ever! Sever means “to cut off.” Snape appears to have "cut off" his ties with the Dark Lord through the first five books, and then with Dumbledore and the Order in Half-Blood Prince. And, needless to say, “snap” besides meaning “breaking,” also means “to loose control of emotions”. “Severe” means "cruel, strict" - two characteristics that accurately describe the Potions Professor. Sounds very similar to the Latin word "servus," meaning "servant." Isn't he still a servant of Voldemort's?

Lestrange, Bellatrix: Magic world's Condoleezza Rice! The word "Bella" is a make of the word "bellum" meaning "war" and "trix" refers to "a woman in power." Bellatrix is therefore known as the "Female Warrior" and is also the pale yellow star indicating the left shoulder of the constellation Orion, the Great Hunter.

Lupin, Remus: Moony, our favourite werewolf has got a name that is more obvious than any names you have read before… "Lupus" is the Latin derivative for "wolf." “Canis Lupus” is the scientific name for wolf. To be described as "lupine" means to "resemble a wolf.” Everyone knows the story of the twin brothers… Remus and Romulus was nursed by a female wolf.

Gaunt, Merope: Remember Voldie's mom? She chose mortal life and gave birth to the baddest baddie. Her name means “bee-eater” (when she had no money, she could've eaten bees.) And to resemble JK's usual writing style, her name has another meaning, “mortal”. And Gaunt means “to be very skinny especially because of hunger or disease or cold; to have a bony body.” No wonder she was skinny, probably that's why she had eaten bees!

Greyback, Fernir: This werewolf working for Voldemort bit Lupin into being a werewolf. Fenrir or Fenris in Norse mythology is a gigantic and terrible monster in the shape of a wolf. Want her to be more specific?

Fudge Cornelius: “Fudge” has a simple, English meaning- “an attempt to deal with a situation that does not solve its problems completely, or only makes it seem better”

Still wondering? It means “nonsensical talk!”
And, at the end of my pointless chattering, please consider it as a feeble attempt to point out a few faults of our favourite author Joanne Kathleen Rowling (a few of the millions). And keep in mind that all these things are 100% true. Thanks to the people at

Mugglenet.com for all their research on this. You can get all the details on the names of every Harry Potter characters there too, so check it out if you're interested.

By Orin

Mommy, what are these?

3-year-old Aliza asked this question within the span of 30 seconds. The countless rows of 'fishlike green bottles' in front of her were a source of infinite wonder. Standing just a few feet away, Isabel knew all too well that her daughter's curiosity would not stop at getting a satisfactory answer to that question. And right now, answering her question was the last thing on her already disturbed mind. It was not the first time she had come to a base, but she was never quite at ease around these things. The fact that these hundreds of 'bottles' were enough to wipe the last trace of life from an entire city made her shudder whenever she thought of it. 'Not here, at least not now...' she tried to assure herself.

Sensing her mother was not too interested in answering her question Aliza took a step forward, only to stop suddenly at her mother's shouting.
: 'Don't go near them.'
: 'Why not?'
: 'Because they are dangerous'
: 'Why?'
: 'I don't know... ask your dad. Just don't go near them okay?
Creating a temporary dead-end to her daughter's endless queries, Isabel looked up, shielding her eyes from the scorching sun. Just as typical Mediterranean climates, the northern areas are hot and sunny this part of the year. As she squinted towards the distance, Isabel could see a few men walking towards them, and after a moment's confusion she spotted her husband amongst the pack. <>Men and kids, how similar they all look in uniforms<>, she mused to herself. As the men came further up, her husband Shahar suddenly saw her and quickly jogged towards them following a mock salute.

: 'When did you come?'
: '20 minutes'
: 'You look tired already.'
: 'Trying to deal with your daughter's questions'

Aliza was so engrossed with her green bottles that she never noticed when her dad came. When she finally did, she ran up to him and didn't waste a minute in unleashing her full set of questions.
: 'What are these daddy?'
: 'These are bombs'
: 'Bombs!' she gasped in disbelief. 'Why do you have so many bombs?'
: 'Well honey... there are bad guys out there. And we'll blast these bombs so that all the bad guys run away.
: 'Daddy... are they dangerous?'
: 'No sweetheart. They are only dangerous to the bad guys. You're a good girl aren't you?'
Aliza nodded her pair of ponytails in approval, throwing her mom an accusatory glance.
: 'Can I touch them daddy?'
: 'Of course you can touch them. You can write your name on them if you want to.'

At this Aliza seemed to be particularly happy. She had started going to school only that year, and loved any chance of showing off her newly learnt skills. Shahar fetched a marker from one of the standby soldiers and handed it over to his daughter. Then holding her by the hand, he took her near the army of green bottles.

By Tawsif Salim


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