My best friend's wedding
Many years have passed since then . Arpa had transferred to Bengali medium at class nine.Siam went to London after completing his A level. I went to New York to graduate .
We were still friends,you know,childhood friends are somewhat special.Like our sibling,we don't have to do anything to remember them. They are remembered naturally.
I came home last summer when I got a call from Arpa. “Come to my place this Friday. It's my wedding.” I was like, “What? What are you talking about?” “You heard right. Siam is coming too.You are the only two friends I called. It's just a small party. See you,” she hung up.
I went to her home on the day but she wasn't there. Her mom told me that she had gone to the parlour but she would be home soon. I found Siam sitting in a corner. Sitting beside him, I gave a sigh. “I know. When the hell did we become grown ups?” said Siam. “Our Arpi is getting married!” “Hey! It does feel a little like that birthday party, you remember?” I said. We both smiled.
Suddenly Arpa entered the room, looking awesome in her Maroon Sari with the same apologetic smile for keeping us waited she gave years ago. Only this time, my best friend is getting married.
The dingy shed, built to hold no more than 5 cows, now held more than 20 people. They were all alike, prisoners of global heroes, victims of their own race. Their crime didn't call for capital punishment, for their only mistake was daring to believe in a god of their own. 'Kind sir, please provide me with some water. My wife is gravely ill.' A man pleaded with a 'soldier' standing nearby. His wife, pale and almost lifeless, rested her head on his lap while his 14-year older clung on to his arm, as they all cramped on one corner of the room. The soldier was different. His skin color was darker than usual and he certainly didn't look the type who was enjoying this form of war. His partner, a man who was fair and slightly pinkish at the same time, seemed to echo his comrade's sentiments. 'I think we should give the lady some water, quick.' The pinkish man said to his partner. The darker complexioned man nodded his head in agreement and they proceeded to draw out a water bottle. 'There is a price for everything.' a voice interrupted them.
The soldiers turned around and saw that their Captain was standing in front of the shed's door. 'Don't let them get too comfortable, Ray.' The Captained continued. Both the soldiers saluted and Ray, the fairer of the two, turned back at his captives and said, 'You have been commanded to pay for this bottle of water.' The prisoner looked at his ill wife and then said in a low voice, 'I have nothing to offer, save for my prayers and gratitude.' Ray looked at his superior and the Captained motioned him forward. As Ray approached, Charles, the dark complexioned soldier spoke out. 'Sir, we can punish them in due time. I think it is our duty to understand that these people are innocent until proven guilty and we should try to meet their needs.' 'You will only speak when you are spoken too. It seems you have forgotten your roots. Maybe the Disciplinary Committee will help to remind you.' The Captain threatened with a sneer. The General strode it at that very moment and asked what the matter was. The Captained explained in detail, noticing the smile of approval from the General.
Then the Captain proceeded to name the price of the water and ordered Ray to relay it to the yellow-skinned prisoner. Ray heard, a wave of shock and disgust apparent on his face, deepening with each of the General's words. But orders were to be followed and so he cleared his throat. 'The Captain would like the company of your beautiful daughter for an hour. The water shall be handed to you upon acceptance of the Captain's request.' He said, never once looking at the eye of the prisoner. 'I rather die, you rascals.' The sickly old woman said in a broken voice. The rage however burned in her every word and was also evident in her husband's eyes, while the daughter looked terrified. Charles, the soldier, muttered something under his breath. 'Very well then, you have chosen your death and we have chosen your daughter. Charles, summon the guards and bring the young girl to us.' The General interrupted sternly. All the prisoners were now in a silent, resentful uproar, each bemoaning fate and each questioning their God. The prayers were all the same, begging for a savior.
'I shall not do as you say, sir.' Charles replied, looking the General dead in the eye. 'How dare you?' The captain screamed. 'My duty is to serve and protect, not to tarnish.' Charles said, solemnly. At that the Captain withdrew his gun and a shot was immediately fired. However, it was the Captain that fell, bloodied from the waist down. Charles looked on, startled and the General reflected Charles' expression. 'To serve my country and protect the innocent…' Ray mouthed, holding the gun in his hand. The General stood for a moment, trying to understand what had happened. Traitors, he thought to himself but didn't dare to say so. He then cautiously left while his two soldiers busied themselves in freeing the prisoners, amidst expressions of gratitude and rejoice. They would be punished, they would meet the chair but they would go with their heads held up high. For they had not only carried out their duties, but they had united three races, divided by color and religion, for as long as memories would last. In the end it wasn't war that led to triumph that day but rather the desire to end the war.
'A steady rising death toll, weapons, destruction and blood shed isn't the key to peace.’
By Osama Rahman
Children of Men
Recommendations are a tricky thing. Sometimes, my friends will oversell a book or movie and I'll start watching or reading with heightened expectations, only to be sorely disappointed. Sometimes, they'll complain ad nauseum about something, and I'd pick it up just to spite them, and end up falling in love. So when I started getting mixed reviews about PD James' Children of Men, I decided to block out all feedback and read it and make up my own mind.
The story is set in a futuristic England, and has a backdrop not unlike that of V for Vendetta. It is the year 2021, and no child has been born on the planet since 1995, the year that has come to be known as Omega. As a feeling of despair at the imminent extinction of the human race begins to settle down, all chaos breaks loose. Britain manages to retain order through the strict measures taken by the charismatic dictator Xan Lyppiat, the Warden of England. The story starts off with journal entries by Dr Theo Faron, an Oxford scholar who happens to be Lyppiat's cousin. The journal is intended to be a sort of penance for all he has lost: his baby daughter whom he accidentally ran over, and his wife Helena who could never recover from the incident. Faron takes the readers back to Omega, and talks about the advent of the slow disaster, and global politics and national policies, which led to the situation he now resided in. The old are hopeless, the young, cruel. The Omegas (people born in the year of the Omega), in particular, are cold and beautiful creatures, as heartless as
Just as Faron, now a jaded, solitary man of fifty, seems to resign himself to a sad and lonely end, fate brings a turn of tides into his life, in the form of a woman named Julian, who is a deformed Omega. Julian convinces a reluctant Faron to attend a clandestine meeting with her group, the Five Fishes. At the meeting, the Warden's cousin learns about government policies hitherto unknown even to him, although he had once been on his cousin's Council. He learns of Lyppiat's ruthless private army of Omegas, called the Grenadiers, of the Isle of Man, which was formerly thought to be a prison island for dangerous social elements, but is in truth a place where anyone opposing Lyppiat is sent to live in inhuman circumstances. He learns about the Quietus, which is supposed to be stage-managed public suicide for the really elderly, although whether or not the participants voluntarily opt to die or not, is doubtful. Despite himself, Faron is hooked, and thus begins a dangerous quest, one that has implications about the continuity of the human race. To learn what happens next, read the book.
I loved the way the book starts out. PD James artistically draws out a dystopian setting in which she raises questions about human bondage, faith, and immutability. Her descriptions are so vivid, you can almost see the dark-blue hue to everything, you can almost hear the solemn music. The pace is somewhat disrupted when the action takes place, and this leads to a sense of dislocation which remains unmitigated, particularly at the flurry of events at the very end. This is a book you want to read slowly, and carefully, and even then, you'll end on a note of 'What the heck was that?” There's a movie out now, based on the book, starring Clive Owen and Julianne Moore, but I've heard that it is not very true to the book, so even if you've seen the flick, you might consider reading the book.
By Sabrina F Ahmad
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