Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home



Aah… Life. What a beautiful thing. Wondrous. But, it's more double-edged, in the most ruthless of kinds, than one might think. However, we're not here to complain. We are here to read a story about a boy. A dreaming boy… A boy who loves to dream. A dreamer… Right…

The boy's days are never the way he wants them to be; the way he dreams them to be. With this knowledge in mind the boy sets out to start just another regular day.

A regular day begins just like any other regular day. There aren't really any special regular days... Regular days can, depending on perspectives, to a certain extent, be called boring. That might be even considered by days to be quite rude. However, one doesn't really go as far as to care about what days are caring about.

The boy had nothing much to do while he was out. And while he was out, he was usually out wondering around blindly. He was doing that even though he knew with certitude, in this world, it'd lead him absolutely nowhere… Nowhere in the nowhere-est sense. Nowhere itself is … Somewhere existing. People can remember that strange things happen in the middle of Nowhere.

However, the nowhere that is reached when travelling blindly in his particular city, is at best, bleak. But, the boy did this anyway. He was somewhat of a foolish boy. He liked to think mystically… He was a dreamer, as has been stated. He wanted to believe travelling blindly might take him somewhere, or perhaps an interesting Nowhere. It's always possible, that's what he thought…

The boy- let's call him Ikiw. He leaned against the uncomfortable seat of the bus, which was quite surprisingly empty. This was strange. He dismissed the strangeness and glanced at the few passengers scattered around him. He peered through the front window to see several buses travel at a lazy rate. He then noted two things. One- they were very full. Two- They were of the same service as the one he was riding.

The day was hot, but, fortunately, it was made up to Ikiw by the fact that it was also windy. He was enjoying the wind striking his face, when he realised he was falling asleep. But, by the time he really realised it, he was fast asleep..

He opened his eyes to find himself in the same bus, on the same city, wearing the same clothes and so on. Reality clicked on him, and he was sure he was in reality. But, something wasn't right. Something's always not right, but something else was not right. Or so Ikiw thought.

“Something's not wrong. Don't worry.”

Ikiw was sitting at the rear end of the bus, and there wasn't anybody directly in front of him nor besides him and no was looking at him from up front. His eyes searching about as a gruffly voice said, “Down here, buddy.”

Ikiw grudgingly looked down, taking all the time in the world, horribly dreading 'down there'. His eyes finally reaching the floor, meeting those of a… bulldog? He raised one of his eye brows. Later on, he forgot which one. He raised the other brow and replied, “I'm sorry?”

The bulldog glared at him, “Haven't you ever seen a talking dog before?” He continued before Ikiw could say anything, “Of course, you haven't. You've been dreaming all your life, dum dum.” And before Ikiw could retort to that strange and odd comment, he wondered while thinking up a retort, could he actually retort, the dog continued, “Of course, it's not your fault. Not many people are awake anyway. You wouldn't be the first to be sleeping. At any rate, let's go.”

Ikiw crossed his arms on his chest and stared at the dog for a few moments and after finally getting the guts to talk again said, “…” In any reality at anytime this is one of the best things to say it's almost universal. Although it is not preferable to say it to some alien-lifeforms; you wouldn't like to know why.

“Listen buddy, I don't have all day, and you don't have all dream, Can you just follow me and ask questions another dream? Thanks!” The dog was wagging his tail out of impatience, Ikiw observed keenly. He simply nodded and followed the dog. They got off the bus and with a glibglab the large vehicle seized to exist and they were standing inside a park with lots of trees, flowers, grass and quite a lot of moons.

Ikiw was too busy looking at the dog to notice his surroundings. When the dog began, “Now, listen carefully. You're time is here very variable, so…” The dog realised Ikiw was too busy looking at the multitudes of moons to hear what the dog was exactly saying. Ikiw looked around for a bit and then plopped down on the soft ground and asked nobody in particular, “This isn't real?”

He was taking it all in… It was taking a bit of time. Dream mind and real mind aren't really the same. Everything is broken down into very numerous pieces; some sort of dreamy feelings are added to them and are finally sent to the processing place where they are thought of dreamily. Dreams are snobbish.

He was still taking it all in, when he realised he was floating. That was all fine and dandy, of course. He always wanted to float. He was beginning to enjoy it all… but, then he realised a woodpecker was zooming at him at a very high speed annoyingly laughing maniacally. Light struck his eye and he found himself in the bus again while a distant gruffly voice echoed in the back of his head, “Told you so…” The sun was in his eyes, and he moved to shade himself. People were scattered in front of him. There was no talking dog, he was not floating and there weren't a single moon in the sky.

He found it miserably disappointing. He was even more disappointed when he realised with bleakness, he was right back where he started from- Very close to his home. He sighed and muttered to himself, “Look where you got yourself. Talking dogs! What next, Wizard of Oz?” For some reason, that made him feel infinitely worse after his real mind processed the fact that he was going home.

“bark woof bark.” Said a dog in the distant. He didn't hear it.

By SS Emil

Me, My Girl's Tissue Paper and My Toilet Paper

Tissue paper has been in use as far back as the 14th century. It first appeared in China and that's not a surprise. Chinese food cannot be consumed without tissues, everybody knows that. Thus, it was the beginning of a new era. Tissue paper changed our way of living. People became more conscious of where they were leaving their private objects, such as germs and sweats. They couldn't just throw it about, so they decided to dispose it, disguised as pieces of paper. As the paper unraveled, its real nature was exposed, much to our disgust and Michael Jackson's delight. I say MJ's delight because he is disgusting, so such things would delight him. He does get his sick kicks from being perverted. Now lets move on to tissue paper and its evolution.

Girls Take Over

As time passed, tissue papers became somewhat a girly obsession. This was one more conspiracy by girls to make good things girly, such as nail-polish and jasmines. As usual guys had to come up with something manly and thus toilet paper was invented. It's manlier. Girls beat us once more by coming up with a more innovative and interesting form of tissue paper, the facial tissue. Facial tissue is refreshing and it smells so good, alas we feel less manly when we carry it. We curse and spit openly, to avoid suspicion and not expose our hidden facial tissues. The best place to find a facial tissue is in a women's purse and toilet paper is located beside the commode, thus its insulting for us men.

Handkerchief Is Here To Save The Day

We can never be dwarfed by women, because men generally have over-inflated egos and so we had to beat the females. Therefore, came the handkerchief. Men loved whipping it out and giving it to teary females. It boosted our confidence and made us think even more highly of us (if that's possible). But women aren't angels and so they put their cunning minds to work. Then it happened. With women outnumbering men 3:1, they defeated us again. They started the whole “tissue-dropping” charade. Men, allured by their struts and impenetrable innocence, were forced to pick it up, chase them all over the world and finally return the “hanky” (yes they distorted the manly word). Men would leave feeling heroic and women would snigger at our foolishness and our gullible nature.

Fate Is Male

But, the Fates smiled at us at last. Initials engraved on manly handkerchiefs became hot presents and girls showered us with them. We don't have a cold all the time and though we appreciate your concern and wish to curb the spreading of the common cold, we don't like flowery embroidered handkerchiefs with our initials on them, thank you. But we pretended the same way girls pretend that they like that corny, mushy stuff we give them. We know you don't, we just want you to admit it. It however did give HC's a more manly standard.

The Verdict

After years of trials, tribulations and contests, the verdict has been reached. Facial tissues and tissue paper are girly and toilet paper and handkerchief are for men. HAH! Let's see who suffers more now!

By Osama Rahman

Book review

Thief of always

In this age of violence, more often than not, gore features prominently in the horror genre, be it in movies or books. Take a psychotic killer, toss in a few graphic scenes involving sex or violence or both, add a generous touch of rated language, a few crude jokes, and add a 'chilling' twist somewhere near the end, and you've got yourself the perfect horror story. Ho hum. Eek.

Which is why the only thing that really shakes me up is a story intended for a general, more family-oriented audience, because with that target age group in mind, you have to achieve the chills and thrills sans the carnage and the smut. Some stories do end up being childish. Others truly send a shiver down your spine. Thief of Always is one such novel.

Harvey Swick, a ten year old boy, is miserable in the middle of a boring February. He sits by the window, wishing to be anywhere but where he is, and as if in answer to his prayers, a strange character by the name of Rictus comes flying in through his window. He manages to convince Swick to come away on a wonderful holiday, on one condition: he cannot ask questions.

Rictus takes Swick away to Mr Hood's Holiday House, a marvellous place filled with everything a child could ask for; great weather, scrumptious meals, toys galore, and, best of all, four seasons in each day. Mornings begin with the sweet freshness of Spring, which gives way to languid summer afternoons, cooling to Halloween evenings and Christmas nights. A phone call to his parents tells Harvey that the arrangement is fine by them, so he settles down to some serious fun.

As the days wear on, though, Harvey realises that something isn't quite right. That's when he breaks Rictus' cardinal rule: he asks questions. The answers that come tumbling out lead him to a horrible truth more frightening than anything he could have imagined. Read the book if you want to find out what happens next.

This is Hansel and Gretel, Peter Pan, and Narnia all rolled into a dark fable for all ages, one that will enchant you, creep you out, gladden you and sadden you at the same time. Clive Barker marries JM Barrie's fantasy world with Neil Gaiman's sinister touch to create a story that deviates from his usual style. Two thumbs up!

By Sabrina F Ahmad


home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2007 The Daily Star