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Glimpses on a window

SHANIA had woken up hours ago. Since then she had freshened up, washed her clothes, cleaned her room, made breakfast, eaten it and had left some for her other family members.

Now she had to pack her bags, finish her homework and then leave for school. She checked her little purse to see how much money she had left from last month's sale she had done at the Baishakhi Mela at her school. It was just enough to provide her with the rickshaw fare for the rest of the week. As she sat down at her small, scratched but tidy study table, she looked out the window in front of her. Outside she could see the number of private cars increasing on the road, which would obviously result in a massive jam soon and raise the fares of the rickshaw
rides as well.

If she wanted to save any money by the end of the week, she would have to get moving soon. As she started to turn away from the window to finish her math assignment, she caught a glance of her reflection in the small window. Her big brown eyes were accompanied by perfectly arched eyebrows. Her wavy slightly reddish brown hair covered her head like clouds covering the sky in the sea on a stormy night. Her complexion was fair and her cheeks were rosy pink which get slightly dimpled as she smiles. She was the envy of every other teen aged girl in her neighbourhood, but unlike them, she had little time to tend to her beauty needs. Actually, she had no time at all to care for herself. All she was working for was a scholarship which would let her get a good education and a job, which would in turn help her support her family. This had been her plan ever since she had understood how much work her parents had to do to provide her with food and education. They were not only giving her shelter but also making her study in an English medium school so that she could later study medicine abroad. All these facts seem to strengthen her desire to exceed and work harder. She willingly gave up her own wishes and hopes to give her full effort in becoming a doctor and making her parent happy.

Shania watched the traffic on the roads quickly becoming heavier. She closed her exercise books and carefully put them into her bag; she got out of her family's small apartment and called out to a passing rickshaw-puller.

By Raiya Kishwar Ashraf

A lesson to be learnt

IT was a sunny day, with wisps of gray clouds lurking behind the horizon. Two of my friends, our coordinator and I approached towards a small tin-shed house surrounded by weeds.

I noticed the trail of smoke snaking through a gap in the tin walls. With the apprehension of revolt and hostility, we peeked inside to find a middle-aged woman clad in a discoloured saree, kindling the fire in the mud stove to cook her lunch. Sounding as confident as possible, our coordinator started talking to her, and before long, we were comfortably seated on the wooden floor, chatting away with that lady and a few of her neighbours.

This was one of the houses in the Mohakhali slum. In the following days, we visited a few more houses in the slum of Korail, a nearby area. The result was the same everywhere. Instead of being annoyed at our presence, the slum dwellers were surprisingly very open, warm and hospitable to us. They not only let us enter their houses, but listened intently to the pieces of advice that we offered, took care that we were comfortable and shared their experiences with us.

The families that we visited in Korail even went to the extent of treating us with biscuits and soft-drinks. I was so touched by their geniality that I had to gulp down the tears that were filling my eyes to the brim. In both the slums, I noticed that people from different regions of the country were living in peace and harmony - helping each other with their daily chores, sharing the few belongings they had, cracking jokes now and then- without stopping to think for once whether they were actual relatives or not.

In stark contrast to this, very recently, I attended a family gathering of ours. Instead of apprehension, I had anticipation in my heart of all the cordial responses that I would be getting from my aunts, uncles and cousins- people whom I have known for years. However the family gathering turned out to be a surprise, just in a negative sense. Instead of the warm welcome, what I received was disparaging glances and fake smiles that did not have the authenticity to reach up to the eyes.

As I slumped into my house with a disheartened spirit, I pondered whether I had expected too much from my relatives. At that moment, I remembered the slum dwellers I had visited. We had no business to interfere in their lives and they had every right to turn their backs on us. But they did not do that. On the contrary, they treated us as if we were a part of their family. I remember one woman telling that despite the bereavement of the death of her father, her brother and four of her children, she carried on her life with her neighbours even though they were not her family. In her words, I realized the significance of the bond of humanity.

Nowadays, we are so busy with our own lives that we cannot afford to say a cordial “hello” to someone we know-until we have something to gain from that specific someone. Our mechanical lives have spared us no time to rediscover the bond of humanity. When the newspaper headlines glare at our conscience with reports of murder, rape and abuse of innocent people, we dismiss it with the wave of our hand unless it affects us in any way. Technology has brought us closer, enabling us to live in a global village. A mere teenager is now capable of having 300 friends from all over the world in her Facebook account, but would she care if one of her friends was suffering from a chronic disease? Technology such as the mobile phone and the internet might have shrunk distances in terms of accessibility, but it has done nothing to shrink the distances between our hearts. In fact in this materialistic world, we are gradually forgetting that something called the bond of humanity actually exists, that brotherhood was the sole reason why all the voices of East Pakistan became one to give birth to Bangladesh.

The slum-dwellers revealed to me this inevitable aspect of life that is on the verge of getting extinct from our vocabularies. Therefore it is a lesson that we should learn from them that would certainly make this world a friendlier place to live in.

By Humaira Taz

Ah, friends

NO one can make you laugh quite the way your friends can, and there's nothing like sharing a few funny friendship quotes with those closest to you to make your day shine a bit brighter.

1. "A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked." ~ Bernard Meltzer

2. "There are three faithful friends, an old wife, an old dog, and ready money." ~ Benjamin Franklin

3. "Money can't buy friends, but you can get a better class of enemy." ~ Spike Milligan

4. "A true friend stabs you in the front." ~ Oscar Wilde

5. "Marriage is a sort of friendship recognized by the police." ~ Anonymous

6. "An old friend will help you move. A good friend will help you move a dead body." ~ Jim Hayes

7. "Give me one friend, just one, who meets the needs of all my varying moods." ~ Esther M. Clark

8. "Love is blind. Friendship tries not to notice." ~ Anonymous

9. "I have lost friends, some by dath, others through sheer inability to cross the street." ~ Virginia Woolf

10. "Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate." ~ Thomas Jones

11. "I got a lotta best friends. Some o' them I don't even hardly know!" ~ Archie Bunker

12. "It takes a long time to grow an old friend." ~ John Leonard

13. "We must hang together, or surely we shall hang separately." ~ Benjamin Franklin

14. "Friends are God's ways of apologizing for our families." ~ Anonymous

15. "Tis the privilege of friendship to talk nonsense, and have her nonsense respected." ~ Charles Lamb

16. "You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes." ~ Winnie the Pooh

17 "Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life." ~ Mark Twain

18. "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one." ~ C.S. Lewis

As you can see, funny friendship quotes are a great way to remember what makes our friendships so special and our friends so dear. Share a few of these funny friendship quotes with the friends who make your life a brighter and your days a delight.

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Drops of Hope

Nitu watched silently as the car drove by. Rickshaws, “bekar” people, fruit sellers, vegetable sellers…..it's a busy day. She gripped the window rods even tighter. Her palms were sweating now.

He didn't come.
She needed to talk to him so badly today. For her, days pass even more badly without his presence. His deep voice somehow calms her down from the horrific toils of her study life. Nitu took a quick glance at her bedroom clock. It's almost evening now and……well….

He still didn't come.
Nitu let out a small sigh. Even the skies were by her side this time around. Drops of tears started rolling off Nitu's cheeks. Please…..she said to herself…..let me see him once….

Nitu was crying now, she's small, afraid, and desperate.

Nitu! Are you done studying? Her mother's voice trailed off from a couple of rooms away.

Almost done mother.

Nitu looked towards the window again. Her hands were holding the rods even tighter this time.

“I'm waiting” she whispered to herself.



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