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My eyes fluttered open! The whole room glowed and was bathed in a silver light. Everything seemed so magical. In front of my eyes on the shelf, my favourite toy, Tinkerbell was gleaming in yellow, her wand raised in the air. The winged horse jumped on the bed startling me. I sat on the bed, awestruck with my mouth open. All of a sudden, with a whoosh, Tinkerbell landed beside my ear on my shoulder and whispered, “Quick, Pavana, we have to save fairyland”.

“The Witch,” said the winged horse, “has arrived”. Before I could say anything Tinkerbell lifted me onto the winged horse and we flew past over our houses outside the village.

The horse slowed down. We had left the dark and shady village. Suddenly sunlight blinded my eyes. I looked beneath to find myself landing on a pink flower. I gazed mesmerized at the surroundings. Everything was a mixture of colourful flowers here and butterflies there. Tinkerbell explained that we had arrived at the fairyland airport. After stepping out of the airport, I was dazed with amazement. Dainty fairies roamed around, there were thousands of fragrant flowers in all shades and tints of pink as far as eyes could see. Everything looked magical, spectacular and so dream like. A splendid rainbow was also visible across the puffy sky.

Tinkerbell led me straight to a superb hotel where elves and pixies in coats of green served us. The hotel was majestic and luxurious, and my bed was covered with crimson roses and hot pink chrysanthemums. A box of shell-shaped milk chocolates and a jar full of candyfloss were on my bedside table.

Finally, late at night I got the opportunity to talk to my toys. The explanation was that the mean, horrid and cruel witch had come to take away the fairy princess to make her marry her only son, an ugly beastly, crooked and hairy man. The secret plan was to kill both the mother and son. Everything was still not finalised and the fairyland citizens needed a human brain to execute the plan. Everyone was very gentle, kind and caring in fairyland. They treated me with extra care and respect and served me with delicacies and rare treats. They also showered me with precious tiny gifts.

The witch was coming the next day and we still hadn't any definite concrete plans. The witch arrived flying on an ebony black broomstick and clad in a raven black cloak. I shuddered at the sight of her. She was extremely ugly. She had a long protruding nose. Her dark face was full of boils and pimples and she was enormously fat and stout. Her son was even more horrendous to look at and had a physique too repulsive to describe in words.

When the two twin horror-figures came into the castle, they immediately headed towards the princess's room, by casting nasty spells on the guards and thereby turning them into slimy frogs. But her power and witchcraft was not strong enough for human beings. So when I stood as a barrier in front of the princess's door she could not beat me. From behind Tinkerbell was ready with a boiling pan of hot water. The witch was fighting with me ferociously. I was in a grave situation and felt very scared. I tried to get a grip on myself and suddenly could feel my courage mounting. I seized the witch's wand and started breaking it into pieces. I could see her strength gradually fading away. She screamed, twisted and turned and whirled and with a thud fell to the ground. As she breathed her last breath, her nostrils flared, and she muttered, ”Curse You!”

As for the son, we decided to push him into the “welcoming” pot of scalding water. 'Yes, yes, yes!” I cried, “We did it!” It was a moment of sheer happiness and joy. We celebrated our victory with great pomp in fairyland.

Everyone praised and thanked me. It was an adventure beyond my wildest dreams. My beloved toys took me back to my residence. I returned with a lot of gifts and toys and one special gift- the wings of a lovely and generous fairy. It was still dark. The clock just struck 4:00. When I returned, I quietly went back to sleep with my fairyland toys and treasures beside me. When my mother asked me about my toys and gifts I just stared hard and winked!

By Pavana Khan

A fishy ghost story

Part One

As Shanto walked through the dark dense forest area, he cursed himself for trying to be extra smart in front of friends. Why on earth had he boasted so much? Now he was walking through the wilderness with some smelly Ilish in his hand, trying to attract the ghosts or ghouls in this forsaken country.

It so happened that after finishing his BA in the summer of 1978, Shanto returned to his the village to meet his parents and his childhood friends. The village was Shyampur, located near the Sundarbans, with a population of a few hundred, most of whom were fishermen. Shyampur is a quite primitive and remote village. There was practically no means of communication with the capital. The village matbor was the only one who owned a television set, and he didn't allow anyone else to watch anything else but the news. In these backwaters, Shanto was that rare person who actually traveled to the city for a higher education.

So when he came back, all his friends were ecstatic to see him, the prodigal Babu returned fresh from the University of Calcutta with a BA degree. Everybody flocked around him for stories of the city, and he was full of them He thought of enlightening the people with news of development in the sectors of science and biology. He tried to remove some of their superstitions by scientific explanations. Yet he could not remove from their minds was the fear of “Mechho Bhut” in the forest of Shyampur. As a child he too had heard stories of “Mechho Bhut” attacking fishermen who refused to share their catch of Hilsha that day. But after coming to the city, he now knew that the so-called ghosts were nothing but fish bandits. But who would listen to him? The superstition had a deep root amongst the uneducated people of Shyampur. So he took the challenge of disproving their superstitions forever.

And now, here he was, traveling alone in the dense forest, by the river where the fishermen fish every day. On an ordinary day, the forest was hardly scary. But for some reason this day was overcast, drizzling intermittently, and dark with the threat of a storm.

This bothered Shanto a lot. His task was to go to the river, catch a few fish and then bring it (and himself) all back, along with himself unharmed. He came well prepared; he carried a strong bamboo for beating the hell out of those bandits, who had no way of knowing that he had a black belt in martial arts from Calcutta. He also brought a torchlight, rope, umbrella and matches. He was fully prepared, but the drizzle and the thunders rendered the forest an eerie place. It smelled awful. He trudged along slowly, alert for anything around him, determined to catch a bandit today and prove to the villagers that they had been wrong all along.

Shanto finally reached the river and was able to catch three large Hilsha. He hadn't gone fishing in a while, but the rain had swelled up the river and there were plenty of fish. Had fishing been his only aim, he'd have gone home with a windfall.Satisfied with his catch, he turned home.

By the time he entered the dark forest from the riverbank, the storm had broken. He had never seen so much rain in his entire life. The raindrops came from all directions, ricocheting from the canopy of the dark trees overhead, forming a false sky. He held the umbrella under his left armpit, and the bag of fish tied to his forearm. In his other hand, he held the powerful torch light. “I shall see those bandits try to take my fish now; I bet they wouldn't even dream of coming out of their hiding in this storm”, he thought. Shanto felt happy that he would finally teach the superstition happy villagers a lesson.

The raindrops dripped and splashed all around him. Shanto tried to make his way carefully through the narrow pathway through the jungle. The atmosphere was already damp, and now it started to smell as if a heap of rotten fish lay somewhere around him. The air grew heavy with the odor, even as the rain increased.

“Curse this wet weather!”

Chhop! Chhop! Chhop! Came the splashing sounds, as though someone was treading heavily behind him.

“Who is it?”

Never mind, must be some log falling or something.

Shanto pushed ahead. Even in the darkness and heavy rain, the powerful torch showed him the way clearly.

Chhop! Chhop! Chhop!

That noise again. It was very irritating.

“Who is it?”

The air grew fouler still.

Chhop! Chhop! Chhop!

Again! It was closing in.

Shanto stopped. He put his fish down and took the stick tied on his waist. “Who? Who is there? Come before me and get a good beating, you bandits”. Shanto couldn't believe when all he heard were laughter, he was being ridiculed. He hit his bamboo stick on one the trees to make sure they get the message clearly. “If you are brave come in front”, he said. Chhop! Chhop! The sound came nearer.

Part two

“Who is it? Come nearer”

But for his bravado, Shanto's heart began to beat a bit faster. He pointed his torch in all directions to get a glimpse of the unknown follower. He heard a strange voice in nasal tone, “Give us the fish-hhh boy-ee, please, we-ee are hungry-ee”. These must be the bandits.

“Oi, Come out and claim them!”

“Give us you fishes-sss, we are hungry-ee. We no bandits-sss, we hungry-ee. Need fishes-ss”.

Shanto pointed his torch desperately in all directions. There was something about that voice, it was scary. His forehead started to sweat even in the rain; he let his umbrella fall and gripped his stick tighter. The rain falling around him was warm. The smell of rotten fish grew fouler.

“Come closer and claim your fish”, Shanto shouted back, but he didn't feel very confident about. What if they really are… ?

The voice came back, stronger, echoing more now, “Give me my fish-hh, We snatch our fishes-sss”. In the darkness a hand approached, it was a dark, hairy hand that did not look human.

Gasping in fear, Shanto was momentarily spellbound, but snapped out of it quickly enough and struck the groping hand.

“Oww! “You hit our hand, now we are enraged, we want our fishes-sss”

Suddenly, someone smacked his right hand and the torched skittered away, plunging him in absolute darkness relieved only by sudden flashes of lightning.

This time Shanto was really scared. He was convinced that he was dealing with a ghost, or was it a bunch of them? He swung his stick wildly, hoping to connect with his assailant.

“Fishes-ss! Our Fishes-ss!”

In front of his very eyes the fishes he had caught were lifted from the bag and began to float in darkness. Suddenly they split open and for the first time the face of the 'ghost' appeared to Shanto. The creature had scary eyes and sharp tiny teeth. The very appearance of the beast was an abomination to him. “Bhuut! Bhuut!” Shanto cried out, sure they were going to devour him. He began to cry for his life.


Everything became dark.

The villagers found Shanto, barely alive, the next day in the centre of the forest, where the fishermen fear to tread the most. They took him to the village doctor. After several days of medication and rest, he recovered, but he wouldn't say a single word about his experience to anybody. His friends were severely reprimanded for throwing such a challenge to Shanto, since the previous year, another person from the city had been found dead in almost the same spot. It was sheer luck that Shanto was still alive and breathing.

Right after he recovered, Shanto returned to the city. He vowed never to go back to Shyampur, and never to disbelieve in the stories of ghosts, for they are real and he had seen them with his very own eyes.

By Monty Python

Childhood myths EXPOSED

Emember the times when you were a kid and were told several things so that “the others” could have it their way? Now that so many years have passed and we are all so grown up, it is time to reveal the most shocking lies that we have been told. Luckily, I found a team of brave and courageous pioneers who agreed to go through the experiments, even though there was no guarantee if they would be able to endure it until the end, unscathed.

The Monstrous Tummy Tree

Ever heard of tales of how plants grow out from your stomach if you swallow seeds? Well Arafat, age 9, volunteered to test this one. While he took five orange seeds in his palm, ready to swallow them, seven of us were there as back up with hedge clippers and shears. All of us watched as he gulped down the fatal looking seeds. Seconds passed, all of us held our breath. No one moved. After one whole minute, Arafat proved the myth wrong with a loud burp. Hurray!

Tied Up 'Stines

Chewing gum had been a favorite thing for many of us when we were kids…until we heard the gruesome story of how the gum gets tied up with your intestines and what not. What used to be pleasure turned into horror. Anika, age 8, dared to try this out. She chewed, chomped, and finally ingested the gum. For this experiment, we had the best surgeons in town- some A Level Biology students. But believe this, even after she swallowed the gum, absolutely nothing happened to her. Think about all those years of living in a delusion.

Evil Food Witch

Does some sort of a "petni" really come and make mince meat out of you when you dont finish up your food? Well, thats what we were lead to believe during our childhood. To unveil the truth, we instructed Reema, age 11, to leave her dinner unfinished and then wash her hands. Two people were stationed near the window, and one of us had a video camera ready incase The Witch makes her appearance. We waited all night long, but she never appeared. What do you have to say to that?

Treacherous Pillow

This particular myth was tested by my little cousin, Sadman. He was asked to sit on a pillow and remain in that position for a while. As the time dragged by, the whole team waited anxiously for the outcome. Finally when the painful ten minutes were over, I reached for his shorts and pulled it down. All of us gasped in surprise. Not a single rash, not a single spot.

The Height Curse

Oh how we all fell for this one big time! Remember being told that if you walk over someone's legs, you'll never ever grow tall? Well just to find out how much truth there was to this curse, we found a lab rat, Raisa, age 7. The poor kid had a look of complete horror as she crossed over one of the other team member's legs. Trembling, she somehow made it. Well, friends, I guess we can't really prove anything with this. I'm afraid we'll have to wait for poor Raisa to grow up and see what happens. Will she ever reach great heights(!) or will she be doomed with shortness?

The mystery lives on.

Nayeema Reza


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