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THE enigma of the beautiful sunflower field was unpredictable. Those yellow wobbly heads seemed to entertain me up to no extent. But amidst all this pleasure something inside was bothering me. I loved this place so much. The yellow sunflowers drooping all over me, the mushy earthy grass-it felt so peaceful. The huge ball of red now seemed to descend towards the earth. Wisps of white cloud brushed the fire lighted sky with shades of pink. The place seemed like a haven for me. But yet it bothered me deeply inside. My emotions were barred inside because I did not know what it really was. This nostalgic feeling clouded my thoughts. And as the night fell upon the dew-touched grass, it all came back to me.

I pictured him in my mind again. Not just him-both of us walking on a sunflower field. The same sunflower field that held my presence now. I had this solitary feeling in my heart as the sunflowers wilted and nightfall shed its dark tears on earth. I never knew we would end up like this. We used to live in a world of tranquility. The darkness seemed to close up on me now. A sheer feeling of coldness seemed to grip me with both hands. I hate darkness. Maybe because of that night. That cold, dreary night. It brings tears to my heart as I recall it. But man cannot change what he does in the past. I'm inconsolable now. Tears flooded my eyes. He was never going to come back.

I started walking the dark, cold ground. It was no use crying. But I had to let it out sometimes. There was no sign of the red sun now. Sobs escaped my throat. I wish he would come back. There was so much I had to share with him. It has been years I lost his presence. It seems like just yesterday we were strolling down this very sunflower field, holding hands. I knew there is no way he is going to come back for me. But I still wait for him. The birds and flowers seemed to have gone to rest now. It seemed so quiet. Not a single sound could be heard.

The sadness still orbits my heart as I feel the solitude of being here alone. A sound from the distance broke the trance. But it wasn't him. I turned back sadly as I prepared to leave. He wasn't coming. He doesn't care if I break into a million pieces. With a last sob of desolation I sadly walked back. But I stopped.

“You came back”, I said with a growing feeling of ecstasy. He held my hand and I let him hold it. The warmth of his hand seemed to tell me everything. There was no use for words now. And as we walked away, I looked at the yellow sunflowers. They still seemed to glitter even in the darkness.

By Mayeesha Shafiq

Future (Im)perfect

REMEMBER those countless movies centering on high school? The ones with the typical geniuses, jocks, cheerleaders and the queen bee? Well, they forget one tiny little detail; the detail that doesn't seem so tiny anymore in the last year of high school.

The happier (therefore luckier) of the seniors are more concerned about leaving their school and more worried about how many buckets of tears they're going to cry. The wiser (and therefore, in this case, unluckier) of the seniors are more worried about- you guessed it- their ever-evolving future. To state it mildly, the last year of school is confusing. Alarm bells start going off in your head, warning you that there's no time for procrastination- you have to face the dilemma of deciding your future. As if this wasn't enough, the adults, peers and even equally confused fellow students begin to ask you what you're going to do.

Which subject you would want to major in and what job you hope to end up with is usually the primary cause of concern. Having decided that, it is time to ensure that you have the necessary subjects to go for that major. Then there's always the age-old head vs. heart dilemma- would you rather go for the six-figure salary but zero job satisfaction or the challenging job with the average salary that guarantees 100% job satisfaction?

Would you go for the subject you like or for the subject that others might want you to take up? The conventional nine-to-five job or the unorthodox career?

I wish that was the end of it, but it's not. There's also the other factor: to study in the country or abroad? If abroad, where? You have to check up the requirements of the particular universities you want to apply to. Then the SAT I, SAT IIs and TOEFL come in. You have to decide if and when you'll take these tests, keeping in mind the deadlines of the colleges you are interested to apply to. You have to study for these standardized tests besides studying for A2, which means there's extra pressure; speaking of which, there's a new trend of getting tutors for SAT I. I mean, people, as if your lives weren't already difficult enough in the last year of school, you want to worsen the situation by getting help for English and math, which the books explain pretty thoroughly and comprehensively?

For students who messed up with their grades, there's the whole decision-making thing again in the form of either retaking the units, or sending them for remarking/rechecking, or doing precisely nothing at all.

Then you have to decide which universities you would want to apply to, and (in most cases) spend agonizing hours worrying about whether you would get admitted. The people who previously used to mock the good students for studying suddenly become very interested in the whole process of applying to universities abroad. I mean, out of the blue, they just want to enroll in prestigious universities abroad. What do they want to do there, disco? Beats me.

The future looks like a long scary tunnel in the last year of school, where there is no light yet. Even if there is, it's too faint to distinguish. The scariest part is that if you mess up later, you and only you will be responsible for not planning out your future carefully. Kids, don't be in a hurry to be the seniors of your school.

By Anika Tabassum

Foto Feature

MONSOON happens to be one of the most awaited seasons of the year. This is a photo of children playing in monsoon in Chittagong. Chittagong is one of the most vulnerable regions in the country, where heavy rainfall cause flooding and landslides. This takes away many lives and leave millions homeless. The radical changes in climate have affected the frequency and severity of the storms.

To stabilize the weather patterns for future generations, measures must be taken now to reduce pollution. Increased awareness on consumption and saving should be undertaken and people from all walks of life have a role to play in this. Saving the environment, and in turn, saving the economy is as much a national concern, as it is a personal responsibility.

Jashim Salam

Book review

Quite ugly one morning

GRUESOME murders, conspiracy theories, sizzling romantic tension, witty wordplay, and a fiendishly unorthodox journalist you can't help but love. Which other author could combine so many things into one kicking novel? Who indeed, but Christopher Brookmyre?

If you managed to catch Tareq Adnan's review of Boiling a Frog a few weeks back, you've already met the scrumptious Jack Parlabane. Even if you missed it, don't worry; this book shows us Parlabane before he ended up as a jaded jailbird.

The story begins with a gruesome murder being discovered by the Lothian and Borders (Rebus, anyone?) police one fine morning. Along with a lot of blood and spew all over the place, the cops discover the mutilated corpse of a young doctor, and a large piece of turd on the mantelpiece. Just as they're trying to puzzle this out, they catch a half-naked intruder swinging in through the window. Turns out, the man is a journalist, just returned to Edinburgh from L.A, who happens to live upstairs, and has accidentally locked himself out of the flat without his clothes. It turns out that this guy has a keen eye for detail that speeds up the pathology end of the investigation.

Jack Parlabane, the half-naked intruder in question, also has a nose for news and an incurable curiosity, and even though all but one of the investigating officers dismiss him as a bizzare side-story to the main event of the murder, he smells that this death isn't quite the burglary-gone-wrong case that everyone seems to think it is. And since all but DC Jenny Dalziel are willing to give him the time of the day, he decides to sniff out the story for himself. And when he does, aside from the highly fortunate meeting and consequential collaboration with the deceased's ex-wife Dr Sarah Slaughter, Parlabane manages to uncover some serious dirty laundry that could end up as the scoop of the year. Now just what this scoop is, you have to read and find out.

Brookmyre's forte is in intelligent characters and dialogue so sharp you could almost cut yourself reading it. Added to that is an eventful plot that just doesn't quit delivering page after page of sheer entertainment, whether through character development, burgeoning suspense or twists in the tale. Aside from a few improbable situations where one character or the other manages to brazen him/herself out of a tight situation through sheer sass, the overall story is packed with what The Times has called 'frightening plausibility.' Whether it's action you like, or politics, or even comedy, this book is not to be missed. Words n Pages has quite a few Brookmyre titles on its shelves, so that should be the best place to start looking for this one.

By Sabrina F Ahmad



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