The cool, crazy and the clueless
By Sadia Islam
THE whole pack of normally giggly girls went quiet. They were staring with acute concentration at the one who was now preparing to begin.
The only sound you could hear was the steady dribbling, like drumbeats anticipating the moment of truth. And then off it went, like a powerful missile, towards the other end, waiting to be reciprocated in its turn.
It was exhilarating- the wonderful release of emotions and the rush of adrenaline volleying through our minds and bodies. Whoever named this sport volleyball definitely knew his game (and yes, pun quite intended).
It's so surprising to see what sports can bring out from within you. It's the beast, untamed and hidden at other times but usually uncovered during the games because frankly speaking, everyone gets so heated up in the game that no one really notices every other person behaving rather more fiercely than usual.You can literally feel the surge of power while serving the ball high over the net.
It reminds me of primitive life, when agression was a way of life. We suddenly feel much less lenient and much more competitive, and we must win the game at any cost. Girls who would never otherwise be within ten feet of each other are in a team and you suddenly see them exchanging high-fives when they score a point.It's amazing because when you work together as a team you suddenly forget all sorts of enmity and silly disagreements and just concentrate on the task at hand. Maybe that's how we should handle life, anyway?
The team spirit is subtle but visible.On the other hand, the girls of the other team, despite the fact that they are your friends, don't exactly seem even amiable anymore, because they would adopt any stategy to distract you. Grunts and screams are quite common from people who would otherwise never be caught making 'improper' noises. At a point you don't even care if your hands are going red from all the hitting around. Hitting the ball is definitely a harmless way of venting out your frustration of the day.
The fact is you just hate losing, so the incompetent players in the team really annoy you, because, if what they really want is to just stand there and let the others play, why are they in the team anyway? It is also irritating when the ball is really not coming your way but you are blamed by the other person for not hitting it, because, of course, it was coming her way and she could not hit it back so she must cover up by putting the blame on you. When you score a point, though, it feels so good because there's this feeling that you've cointributed to your team's victory. Volleyball, and any other form of sports for that matter, actually makes you just let go of your own interests for a while and do what is good for the team as a whole, because then you're part of this united faceless group that makes you belong; and the best part is you don't even realize you're doing it selflessly, because surely a selfless act is one where the person in question does not consciously plan on doing it? There's a lot of underplay of emotions in sports, I tell you. It brings out the worst in us and it brings out the best in us, but it definitely brings us out in our primal forms.
And here I thought it was just a harmless game of volleyball?
By Anika Tabassum
Don't know you anymore
I remember your tenth birthday.
It was the first week of November. I came over early in the day so that I could get to spend more time with you. We hadn't been spending much time together, what with your new friends and with my rehearsals for the annual production. So I came over early, and your cook whipped us some fried chicken and let us help ourselves to kulfi from the unfathomable depths of your freezer. And we sat cross-legged on your living room floor and watched television and talked and laughed, while your brother and sister went around hollering at each other and occasionally stopping for a little chat.
It was like any other day in your house. Albeit the day you turned ten.
Your mother drove us to the fancy bakery from where you'd ordered your birthday cake. It was huge, easily the biggest cake I ever saw, and it was shaped like Winnie the Pooh. I was sorely tempted to dig a finger into the icing and taste the sugary goodness. But your mother guarded the cake like it was the Hole Grail. I remember that it took both of us to hold on to the cake on the ride back.
We staked out your living room. Once more we were sprawled on the carpet, munching on chips and cookies and getting up to get our glasses of Pepsi refilled. We watched anything that was on. Of course, neither of us was paying any attention. No. We were too busy talking, catching up. I remember that that was the year you and I were going through a Sweet Valley phase. We read all the Sweet Valley books we could get our hands on and spent hours debating the merits and demerits of Elizabeth and Jessica and their twisted-like-a-pretzel love lives. We talked of movies, Barbie, Polly Pockets, and just about anything under the sun. Hours we spent like that, and even when your mother called us to lunch and the afternoon melted into evening we were talking and laughing like the best friends we were.
Then the guests came, and after the party when I went home I knew that something had changed between us.
Your tenth birthday was the day I realized that somewhere between your new friends and mine we were no longer the best friends we'd always been. And that's how we started to drift apart. I think of it like an iceberg that slowly breaks off and floats away. The movement is imperceptible, but it is there all the same. So you and I parted our ways. Your new life claimed you, and my new life claimed mine. Over the years your absence became less painful, and as new friendships blossomed in the place of old the memories of you and me started to fade away into time.
Seven years later have faded away those memories of you and me. But when I think of those carefree days of being ten years old, laughing about Sweet Valley and gushing about Disney classics and singing boy band songs, I think only of you. You have become the picture of those days. And when I think of those days, I feel a twinge where you used to be in my life. It's gapingly empty now. And the emptiness resounds with every memory, buried but not forgotten, that rises before my eyes and makes me want to reach across the universe so that I can laugh with you one last time.
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