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Kids have a 'heart' too!

The famous story narrated to us by the Dark Lord is not only a common part of teen life- it is also becoming a frequent occurrence in the lives of children. Very soon you'll see an article printed in the RS declaring that they, the kids of this age, have a heart too- a heart, that can love with as much intensity as that of an adult.

Don't believe it? Well hear this tale about the girl who fell in love in class II. She is in Class IV now and her love for her beloved is still as strong and steady as ever- though still unexpressed. Her many efforts to let him know invariably ended in failure, cause she simply can't bring herself to stop fighting with him. To make matters worse, the object of her affection is the heartthrob of all her classmates. So, she also has to go through the painful pangs of jealousy.

A suppressed devotion that's lasted 2 years bearing all the necessary elements of faith and sweet agony- what is it but true love?

Then again there's the tale of the boy in playgroup. Once when his mother came to drop him off at school, they saw a girl crying because she didn't want to go to school. Her mother was unable to pacify her despite her ceaseless attempts but that particular hero of our story solved the problem in a matter of seconds. He simply went, took her hand and walked straight into the school building. The girl stopped crying.

That's called the power of love!
That boy in the last story is in Class I now and a few months back I caught him talking on the phone with his friend about kissing some girl (a different one). Talk about childhood's innocence. Don't worry though- they were 'merely' teasing each other- kind of like this:

Hero's friend: You'll kiss her!
Hero: NO! I won't! YOU'LL kiss her!

Hmm…maybe his playgroup love hasn't died yet…
Anyone with kids in his/her family must be familiar with many such stories. They all sound very sweet and cute and we all simply love telling them to everyone we can get hold of. Most of these 'affections' will probably dry out with time while a few may actually flourish to make history (Devdas-paro, Parineeta, Moner majhe tumi).

But still…at times it just doesn't feel right to see them acting so grown-up at such teeny-weeny ages. It's not only about the lovey-dovey stuff- it's everything about the new age kids from their attitude to the vast knowledge they possess on 'different topics'. The best thing about childhood is its innocence and ignorance. Sometimes it doesn't feel right to see them both diminishing gradually.

Our parents probably feel that way about us. What they felt and did in their university life, we are feeling and doing in our late school life. And what we do in our late school life the children of the next generation will probably do in their early school days. Sometimes I wonder how far it'll go.

May be it's an effect of the master of all evil- T.V. Or maybe it's simply time- generation changes through time. But whatever the reason is, the fact remains that everyone's growing up too fast.

So when you guys become great-great-great-great-great-grandparents (you may have to add or subtract just a few 'greats'), be prepared to see newborn babies sending out tokens of love from their cradles. After all, contrary to the opinions of all the barnacle-headed experts, it's not about the age- it's about the 'heart.' And by that time they'll discover a 'heart' too.

By Tasnia Tahsin
Photo:Niloy DA

Book review
Confessions of a Middle-Aged Woman (Aged 55 ½)

First things first. Apologies for last week's boo-boo, where we featured one book and the illustration was of another book of the same name. Now, since I haven't read the other Scarlett, I can't say anything about it…but please, please read the book by Alexandra Ripley, after you've read Gone with the Wind.

Okay, with that out of the way, let's talk about this week's book. Yep! You guessed it; who else would have a title like that but the stupendous Sue Townsend? This much celebrated author of the Adrian Mole series talks life, travel, writing, and more in Confessions, which is basically a compilation of chosen articles from her monthly column in the Sainsbury Magazine.

If you've read Adrian Mole, you would know that it chronicles the growth of a young boy living in a very dysfunctional family. It is wonderfully naïve and yet bitterly cynical at the same time. Townsend is one of those authors that can make you laugh and cry at the same time.

This book is not very different from that. Through her comically frank anecdotes, she touches upon topics like a writer's insecurity, the pangs of growing old, and her struggle against diabetes-induced myopia, approaching each topic with a witty, self-deprecating tone, yet managing to get the irony across. You can tell that behind the Aga obsession and the diatribes against bad holidays is a woman of substance.

While I was reading her work, I was reminded of the columns by Richa Jha, the author of the Slice of Life columns that used to appear in the Star Weekend Magazine. The style is similar, and if you liked Jha, you'll love Townsend and vice versa.

My copy of the book was lent to me by my good friend Tausif Salim, but I think you'll be able to find it at Etc.
Sabrina F Ahmad

Chader Pahar

There are hundreds of thousands of books written about adventure and there are also many such books in Bengali. But if we want to name a few books which are full of adventure, boosted with the thrill of discovering and enriched in details we can only name a few. And the book “Chader Pahar” by Bivutibhushon Bondhopaddhay is surely one of them.

The story begins with a Bangali young man named Shankar, who, after passing his F.A has came to his village from Kolkata. Even with his mother's constant requests to get a job in the nearest jute mill, he feels how can a boy like him, who is a famous centre-forward footballer, high-jump champion and the best swimmer around can end up being a simple jute mill worker? How can someone whose mind roams around the wildest African forests live a life like that? After some days his dreams comes true. He gets a job in Africa in a rail line making camp.

The readers will get a true taste of wildlife here. Shankar's pleasure in seeing the enchanting beauty of wildlife, the flavours of a new country, new life and the scenic beauty of wild open fields will surely catch the readers' minds. In the heart of the forest in Africa, there Shankar was, doing his job as the only employee in a station. The only time he gets to see a human is in the afternoon when a guard of the train comes to give water for his daily use. On his way to a pond he gets to know a Portuguese man, Diego Alverage, a prospector, who tells him about his breathtaking adventure in the deepest forest in Africa: the immense possibilities of the country and the riches.

Alverage influences Shankar to join him in the quest of gold. Shankar gladly joins and in this long journey he realises the vastness of wild Africa, gets the pure look in the life of the wildest creatures and learns that life is not all about being a silent, tranquil one. It's about discovering and rediscovering…

The writer has never been to Africa, the continent the book revolves around. But when the readers will read this book they'll find it hard to believe that the writer has written these details only by reading magazines like Wide World and National Geographic.

The book really has a real flavour of exploring and realizing. And if anyone ever tells me to describe this book with just a word, I'd definitely say, “AWESOME!”

By Shabhanaz Rashid Diya

Laugh all you can!

The reasons we laugh, including "contagious" laughter, may be products of evolution. Natural laughter is a two-part, spontaneous, response to humor, that has
physiological, psychological, and physical benefits.

Most agree that we laugh when we find something to be humorous, yet different reasons exist for what we find to be humorous. Laughter, a physiological response to humor, can be broken down into two parts. The first is a set of gestures, and the second is the production of sound. From a physiological standpoint, a "sensor" in the brain responds to laughter by triggering other neural circuits in the brain, which, in turn, generate more laughter. Oddly enough, laughter is an orderly response, and almost occurs "spontaneously" during pauses at the end of phrases, earning it the name the punctuation effect. Human beings are the only species capable of laughter, and the average adult does so approximately 17 times per day.

Good health is one of the many benefits of laughter. Laughter reduces our stress levels by reducing the level of stress hormones, and also helps us cope with serious illnesses. Physiologically, laughter promotes healing, by lowering the blood pressure, and by increasing the vascular blood flow and the oxygenation of the blood. Physical fitness stemming from laughter is a benefit known to few. Scientists estimate that laughing 100 times is equivalent to a 10-minute workout on a rowing machine, or to 15 minutes on a stationary exercise bike. Another benefit of laughter is that it improves our over-all mental health. Pent up negative emotions, such as anger, fear, and sadness, can cause biochemical changes in our bodies that can produce a harmful effect.

Laughter provides a harmless outlet for these negative emotions, and provides a coping mechanism for dealing with difficult or stressful situations. So laugh all you can and be happy and healthy! By the way, did you know that Bangladesh is comparatively higher in the happy index?

By Shamma M. Ragi



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