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Crooked Little Homes…

“In a crooked little town they were lost and never found
Fallen leaves fallen leaves fallen leaves on the ground…” --(Billy Talent)

“I hitched a ride until the coast to leave behind all of my ghosts
Searching for something I couldn't find at home…” --(Billy Talent)

He class was over, not by the teacher's standards who was blissfully teaching but in the sense that no one was really studying…except the ones in the front row. The ones in the back were openly paying a covert game of cards. In the middle seats the love birds ploughed their version of love that seemingly was quite temporarily. The relationships flourishing there never really flourished…they weren't meant too. The teacher carried on teaching; he was one of those who never turned back a student...ones that paid…as long they paid…

He watched quietly…occasionally he would write something down, when the eternal reverie he lived offered some respite. He looked almost wistfully at those who carried on around him…even the wannabe druggies in the back row. At least they had a purpose they followed…even the ones without one religiously made sure they never did come across any.

The class was over. Almost unwillingly he dragged himself up. The chair had been comfortable…the corrupted classroom environs had offered respite. Now thought, as he walked out into the storm the little demons came back…living nightmares. He should have gone home…but home was far away and he didn't want to go back. Inside his mind he watched the walls fall.., little devils slowly chipped away at his sanity while outside the relentless rain blew into his path droplets trying to hold him back. Home was far away and he didn't want to go back. The streets empty for once gave him the feeling that he was on a pathway to hell…or maybe heaven. Looking up, the drops falling onto his eyes he whispered a silent prayer…but if only God listened.

The pool hall was filled with the hazy smoke. Aimlessly he played with people he barely knew other than facially. Hours had passed and still home felt far away and he didn't want to go home. Finally, smelling like an ashtray he exited. A bleak sun failed to cheer up the overcast earth and another prayer escaped his lips. It was evening bordering on night, and the rickshaws were heading home but his felt far away. His cell phone crawled inside his pants.

“Hello?”
“Where are you? Do you know what time it is?”
“No, do you?”
“I won't take that kind of talk! Get home and get home quick!”
But home was far away…and he didn't want to go back…not yet. His cell crawled again.
“Yeah?”
“Rizvi's got some booze. Want to come, my roof in ten minutes if you can make it?”

He clapped the clamshell shut. The sky seemed cold and the breeze brought with it the smell of rain and dirt. He started walking.

The roof was empty…except for one corner. The teens all had the look of coming from well of homes…ones where they only cared as long as you slept in your bed. He was the outsider. His phone crawled again. He ignored it. Gin had given his rain drenched pale face an almost pinkish glow. The moon had risen early and the tipsy teenage troupe stared bleakly at it. They all had homes to go to…families waiting…but homes had a weird habit of being far away. They didn't want to go home, because home didn't have enough walls to hold it all in.

He tried to piece it together. The ride home on the rickshaw been uneventful, so had the little walk to his doorstep. But something had stopped him ringing his bell. He didn't know why. The roof for some reason seemed more soothing. He looked up at the moon…now finally at its peak. It tried in vain to shine among the modern world's billboards and street lamps. Thankfully it still accepted a prayer and offered solace. The roof gate creaked open behind him.

The girl lived on the second floor. He didn't know her name but knew her in the sense that the haunted look in her eyes was the same as his. She hesitated. He was sitting on one of the two-seater benches. Quietly and seemingly nonchalantly he removed the bag beside him.

And so they sat…the moon offering some respite and
home seemed closer now.

By Tareq Adnan


In search of a leader

So, how does this work again? Political feuds that should not kill politicians, student riots that will not involve students, looting of taxpayers' income to provide for the luxury of tax evacuators, news channels censored of news, sky-shooting prices for market-control and so on. From whatever little economics and politics I understand, a country does not work this way. A nation that survives on such morals can never stabilize its economy.

I'm not an analyst or economist. I'm not a politician or a diplomat. I'm a regular person who lives a regular life, whose parents need to be honest to get paid and who has to work her way up to college. Like every other regular person of my age who has learnt to think of a bigger picture and who has some genuine emotions for their country, I look out for leaders. I look up to the people sitting under government labels for a direction, for a more promising future. Every day, like all those regular people, I open the newspaper or switch on to the local channels only to be more disappointed.

Since the Liberation War in 1971, the one thing that Bangladesh has truly lacked is capable and honest leadership. Leadership that is dedicated to the greater good of the country; leadership that is not swayed by government policies made for another country 24-hour of flight time away from ours. A leader (or group of leaders) who is not frightened to tell the truth, who can be trusted and is democratically voted by its people.

Sometimes I wonder how it all fits into one picture. How can 15.2 million people be made to puppet-dance to the strings pulled by 2 percent of its population? How can 15 thousand students allow their cause to be manipulated into something completely unnecessary by 100 rowdy troublemakers? How can 50 percent of 64 districts across the country be brainwashed by a total of 10 percent of its ward commissioners? The two ends of the equation are unpredictably mismatched.

We live in an immensely resourceful country that brims with enormous potential, but sadly, most of it goes to waste or in the hands of uninformed people. The strength of human resource with a booming population like ours isn't a fairytale that is incapable of transforming our GDP into two-figures, as exemplified by China. Things can begin from scratch and carved into something solid, as demonstrated by Malaysia. People will follow if the wrongdoers are rightfully punished, as shown by Singapore. An economy can boom without foreign hands and with individual patriotism, as done by India. With neighbours like that, Bangladesh should have been far ahead of where it is now and scratched its name off from the list of LDCs. We don't need to be Pakistan to revolutionize all this.

Maybe sitting at home and writing an article is comparatively easier that wearing the shoes of policymakers. Maybe it's such a big mess out there that it will take 10 years to vacuum all of this. The jails aren't big enough to fit all the criminals, the lawyers aren't well paid enough to be honest, the government employees aren't paid enough to make bribes unnecessary, the police aren't respected enough to be trusted and the army simply scares people. Everybody and everything have proved to be a failure; and only a revolution sketched by a selfless leader can turn the tables around.

What I fear is that by the time I grow up to be strong enough to recognize my responsibilities, there will be very little of Bangladesh left for me to begin with. The movement needs to start now.

I believe everyone who fights for a change is a visionary. If every visionary voiced their united dream of a Bangladesh free of corruption, manipulation, poverty and terrorism; it could just be a new beginning. If everyone chose to rise against the wrong and protest of being captivated by the greed of a small group of people, if only we trusted the truth and our patriotism a little more, we might actually make it happen. The power of a united population that can change the face of a nation is not a new thing for us; we have already shown what it can do 36 years back. Maybe it's time we show it to the world again.

By Sabhanaz Rashid Diya

 

City of the Beasts

Have you ever wanted to escape the daily grind of your mundane existence? Ever dreamt of leaping into an exciting adventure that will bring about unthought-of changes in your life? Well, that is exactly what Isabel Allende talks about in her riveting novel, 'City of the Beasts'.

Young Alexander Cold lives a normal life in California; his high school crush, mountain climbing and playing the flute being the only interests in his life. But his peaceful existence is drastically torn apart when his mother contracts a deadly disease, and he is forced to live with his adventurous and somewhat daunting grandmother Kate. She is about to embark on a journalistic expedition to the depths of the Amazon Rainforest, and instead of changing her plans, decides to take her naive and inexperienced grandson along with her. The mission: to brave the perils of the mysterious forest and its ancient tribes in search of an even more dangerous creature called The Beast.

As Alexander travels deeper into the mysterious rainforest and discovers the culture of the Amazon tribes, he learns not only to face forthcoming dangers and stand on his own; he also embarks on a spiritual journey that teaches him to see with his heart and helps him find his inner strength in the form of his 'totemic animal'. With the support and guidance of his spirited companion Nadia and a tribal witch man with mystifying powers, Alex slowly evolves from a nervous, fussy teenager to a self-assured and confident young man.

Isabel Allende, who was born in Peru and grew up in Chile, weaves together an inspirational and adventurous tale and successfully transports the reader into the heart of the Amazon Rainforest. She also gives us a glimpse into the prehistoric customs of the local tribes and does a great job in telling the world how they are being persecuted and how their untainted and simple lifestyles are being taken advantage of. All in all, this is a breathtaking novel with beautiful imagery; and the captivating accounts of legendary creatures, ancient spirits and El Dorado (the City of Gold) is sure to keep the readers spellbound!

By Shuprova Tasneem


Trivia

Andrew Symonds' favourite pastime is fishing in the sea.

Australia have played the most number of games in the World Cup (58 to date).

Ricky Ponting's favourite cuisine is Japanese.

Australia have also won the most number of matches in the World Cup (40 to date)

Sachin Tendulkar has won the most man of the match awards in the World Cup with 8.

Sourav Ganguly has scored the most number of centuries for a single player in the World Cup with 4. He is tied with Mark Waugh and Sachin Tendulkar.

 
 

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