Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home


Mission: Deem er halwa

There was a party at a friend's place a week after exams had ended. She had asked the rest of us friends to try and bring dessert if possible since she had taken take of all the dinner arrangements. I thought about buying some ice-cream, but then rejected the idea instantly since it was winter. Biscuits, coke?! Coke wasn't dessert I knew, but I couldn't think of anything. Would mom make something for me? That wouldn't be right, putting her through all the trouble. It was my friend's party and I decided if there was someone who had to cook something, it would be me. Me- someone who doesn't enter the kitchen unless Bandit (my dog) is really hungry and wants some food!

So there I was, ready to cook. I racked my brains and remembered the day when I made deem er halwa with my father, which was around three years ago. So deem er halwa it was! The only problem was that I didn't quite remember how to make it. I went up to my father and told him my idea. He smiled and said, “Go mix three cups of powder milk with some warm water”. Sadly, we didn't have more than two and a half cup of milk, but that was ok, according to my father. Later, he argued that the milk was to be boiled and then the eggs would go in. On the other hand, mother said that the milk was to be cooled and mixed with eggs at first and then be heated. Anyways, the whole feud ended soon in laughter. After all, everyone had their own different methods.

So after all that the cooking went on. Next, a relatively large “korai” with around three huge spoonfuls of ghee was put up on the stove. Once the ghee was warm enough, twelve spoonfuls of sugar was mixed in it with two “elachi's”. The mixture was heated and stirred till all the sugar had dissolved. Then came in the milk.

On the other side, eight eggs were whipped together. The eggs were then poured into the heated mixture. Dad and I took turns in mixing it. While at it, we talked. He cracked some really funny jokes that had me almost rolling on the floor. We talked about the weather, the rain and all this time Bandit was standing close to us, wondering what we were up to. After a certain point, she got tired and sat on the floor, ears perked up. “You can't let the halwa stick to the korai, so you have to keep on stirring the whole thing,” Dad instructed. I slowly followed his method and got the hang of it. Tasting a bit of the halwa, I couldn't tell if more sugar was needed. I took some of it to my mother and she said that a little more sugar was needed. So there, around more ten spoonfuls of sugar went in and the mixing and stirring continued.

When the halwa had acquired a light brown color and the texture was in our Bengali style “jhorjhora”, the halwa was finally done. Tasting the halwa, I almost shrieked with joy. It was actually really yummy! Mom said the same and I decided not to take all of it to Sarrat, my friends place! “Dhekte hobe na ke baniyeche,” my father said nodding towards me. “Indeed. I think it's because I put in the elachi's with my own hand. That did the magic,” I said teasingly. “Na na, it was the milk that you mixed yourself,” he returned and we both dissolved into laughter. Dad deserved all the credit, undoubtedly.

He was an awesome chef and all my friends were crazy for his mouth watering food. “Next week amake steak banano shekhaben Dad?” I asked him. “Sure thing!” he replied with enthusiasm. I never had any idea how such a simple thing could do such wonders. I love you Dad.

By Nayeema Reza with the help of Md. Yusuf Reza


She was stressed…for the load of work forced on her. She needed a break…from this monotonous world…and spend some time with herself. She needed to go somewhere…where she belonged.

So she went to this place where she was brought up…a place that did not belong to her anymore, a place where her previous home did not even exist anymore. Still she went…maybe to recollect some memories.

And there she was, standing in front of a luxurious apartment, which, she assumed, was the place where they used to live years ago…no, not in this house. They had their own little home which is not SUPPOSED to be here anymore. Was it that place? No, there was supposed to be a lake in here. Every year the lake beside their house would overflow and their house would be flooded in the rainy seasons and their balcony would be filled with fishes and frogs and what not? She remembered her mother, who was always afraid of frogs, (frogs? She was afraid of any kinda animals, by the way. She never even kept a pet!) would always make this funny attitude whenever she caught sight of one. She shook her head, smiling to herself. Well, she was also scared of frogs and all that, but it's always fun to watch the elders panic, right?

So where IS the lake, anyways? She wondered around for a while and finding no trace of any watery place, decided to ask someone about it. She asked one of the guards of an apartment, “Can you please tell me where the lake is?” The guard, looking confused, replied, “Lake? What are you talking about? There is no lake in this place.” She said, “But there was one 15 years back.” The guard replied, laughing, “Oh! That one? That lake has been filled up for building this apartment long ago.”

Ok. That was smooth. It was not that she was not expecting this. In fact, she guessed it. This could be the only reason for a lake being totally vanished.

Sooo…THIS was the place where her little sister used to sit and cry every time she was scolded for breaking her new doll's head. This was the place where her father used to do fishing while her little brother assisted him to collect the fishes (he always let them slip out of his little hands, though). Here, somewhere near this place, was their sweet little bungalow with a small lawn which his father had built all by himself but had to sell it off due to huge amount of bank loan. He remembered her mother's sad face while setting off for the small rented house, leaving the home that she had decorated all by herself. Everything seemed to be shattered to pieces that day. But slowly…yeah…very slowly…things were settled up. She finished her studies, did well, got a good job and then it was all picture-perfect again. In fact, it was more perfect than before…but only financially. Her parents still missed that house which could never be owned again. “Why?” she whispered to herself looking at the concrete world in front of her, built upon the wreckage of that dream-house. “Why??”

“That is something only humans can tell” the mother nature whispered back.

By Fahmina Nahid

Book review

The Emperor Mage

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “To get rid of an enemy, one must love him.” What he probably was talking about was empathy. If you can learn to see an enemy's good qualities (because, let's face it, even the most obnoxious person has at least one lovable trait) and look at things from his/her perspective, you're less apt to see the person as an enemy.

It is in this spirit that the third book in Tamora Pierce's Immortals series begins. A brief skinny for the uninitiated: The Immortals series revolves around Veralidaine “Daine” Sarrasrin, a girl gifted with the ability to communicate with animals. In the first book, Wild Magic Daine meets with Onua, who trains horses for the King and Queen of Tortall, and takes the young orphan on as a protégé. Daine discovers a thing or two about her wild magic, and makes friends with the powerful mage Numair Salmalin, as together, they face attacks from the neighbouring kingdom of Carthak. In the second book, Wolf Speaker , Daine answers a call for help from her furry friends of the Long Lake Wolf Pack, and uncovers a conspiracy between a lesser noble and the emperor of Carthak to overthrow the king of Tortall. While trying to thwart their plans, Daine discovers that she can transform into any animal she wishes to.

The Emperor Mage opens with a diplomatic mission from Tortall to Carthak, in the hopes of ending the long-standing feud between the two kingdoms. The Carthaki Emperor's pet birds are ill, and Daine has been sent with the envoy to cure them as a gesture of goodwill. Even as she undertakes this mission, her otherworldly mentors express their displeasure at her going into those unsafe shores.

Upon arriving there, she gets to witness first hand the court intrigues that are almost absent back in Tortall. Emperor Ozorne of Carthak is a very enigmatic character: vain, yet charming ; obviously sadistic, yet all concern when it comes to his pets. His heir, however, takes to Daine, although her own people warn her not to trust him. To add to the confusion, the gods send a series of omens, foretelling Carthak's downfall, not least of which is a frightening new addition to Daine's powers.

Will the predicted end of the kingdom come to pass? Can Tortall trust in Carthak's olive branch? The answers will thrill you when you read the book.

While the earlier books were suitable for ten year olds, this one aims for a slightly older audience. The language is a little more complicated, and the nature of the relationship between some of the characters is probably not appropriate for a child reader. As is the trend with this series, Pierce blends elements of science into her fantasy. This time around, she takes up the topic of dinosaurs and fossils, making the story at once interesting and informative. Watch out for the review of the final book in this series: The Realms of the Gods.

By Sabrina F Ahmad



home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2008 The Daily Star