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Veggle Lovers special

Birthing Grounds
I remember the dark days, under the ground, the worms moving around me, the dirt and the squish of more slush. Winter. The season we would rise.

The eyes connected me to the roots, or maybe the roots to my eyes. I could feel the other tubers, growing, almost hearing them. Almost feeling their need coupled with mine. The Sun was out there somewhere, its heat permeating through the mud to our skin. But it was still dark. And cold. The touch of water was brittle and bitter, freezing under here. But we would need the water, soaking it up, lest we dry out when we rise. I had never seen the Sun. I want to see the Sun. Even if I dry out.

Hanging Gardens
The bitter wind would blow every night, swaying us, moving in rhythm. The leaves would occasionally fall, and sometimes, one of us would be taken down.

The ripeness could be smelt and even though I couldn't see myself, I could see my greenish red skin growing taut. Everyday brought me closer and the smell of citrus was nigh permanent. The farmer was an advocate of experimentation. Some of us, he chose to cut in half, drying us out as we grew. The sisters told me that it was how they did in lands I could only dream of; they said it was done to preserve. I realized we were nothing commodities, our identities non-existent. I hoped I wouldn't be dried out. I dreamed of growing hole. I don't want to dry out.

The Rise
I felt the changes before they even got to me, as the earth around me shifted and as I heard one after another of my brothers being ripped away from the mother root. It was frightening, but I couldn't help feel a latent excitement rise in me. The day had come and though it was still bitter cold and I could tell by the way the maggots slithered under the dirt that the sun had yet to rise, I knew, deep within that the darkness would finally recede. In my excitement, I thought I could see different shades of gray, but my time had yet to come. I could wait a few minutes more, to see the light.

On The Road
They jostled us along, on that bumpy ride to the kitchen market, the Dhaka air laced with diesel and smoke. The whole while the vendor perched precariously on the baskets of fresh kill and hollered instructions to the driver, instructions that were unceremoniously ignored. I had heard of this ride, and through my tart skin I took in as much of the winter sun as I could. I could taste the blood in the morning breeze, that heady sickly sweet aroma that wafted our way from the butchers down the road. I watched with growing alarm the skinless heads and the pink flanks displayed on the sidewalk, the flies that buzzed everywhere, heard the yammering and haggling going on in full swing. It alarmed me. Distraught, I dug myself deeper into the blood red pile. Too late.

Fate Be Decided
They pulled us out, one after the other. Probing fingers poked my brown jacket. Faces held me up to inspect me in the light. I was tossed and rattled, jostled and shaken, the quiet air of the winter farm a distant memory by now. It was then that I saw her. Perched glumly atop a mound of gleaming red tomatoes, there she was. Staring at the wispy trails of cloud, her bright green tendrils wafting gently in the breeze. It was then that the commotion settled down, no more than white noise, no lingering flustering me. And when a hand came swooping down and rammed us down the same sheer pink shopping bag, I knew that life had not been so unfair.

Into the Flame
Bright countertops. The fluorescent bulb glinted off the silver surfaces of the kitchen knives, arrayed by size on the counter. We were dumped onto tablemats orange enough to hurt the eyes before the lady of the house started pulling out all manners of utensils. I saw the look he gave me, the concern etched into his ruddy face, and my heart went out to him. We were in this together, him and me, and when the knife came down on me and sheared off my lovely green head, and when the peeler descended upon him and flayed his earth-brown skin we were at least united in pain.

By Tareq Adnan and Shehtaz Huq


T20 World Cup: Shocks

Who said T20 is a ball-bashing tournament? Who said cricket is becoming a batter's game? Answer for the two questions- we all did. T20 world cup seems to have taken the skills of the bowlers to a new level. The neglected stepchildren of cricket, the bowlers, have hit back. The batters may have improvised a lot, but the skills of the bowlers are beyond imagination. We have seen in the last few matches that teams are successfully defending runs less than 160, a mere challenge even a few months ago. The outstanding growth of the bowlers, through which they have adapted to this fast paced game, is really shocking. Now the cricket-experts can surely say this game may become a real test for the cricketers other than being 'just' fun cricket.

The super eight teams of this tournament were divided into two groups. South Africa, West Indies, England and India made the most competitive group. The group of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, New Zealand and Ireland looked set to have some upsets. South Africa in their group and in the whole tournament in fact, looked the strongest unit. Fittingly they remained unbeaten till the semi final. The super-eight stage matches were expected to be high scoring but our hopes were dented. England-South Africa, Sri Lanka-Pakistan, India-West Indies, New Zealand-Pakistan, Sri Lanka-Ireland, England-India, Pakistan-Ireland, Sri Lanka-New Zealand, South Africa-India (phew!) all low scoring affairs. No team could manage more than 160 runs and the number of sixes hit decreased drastically. But we certainly saw the bowlers' and the fielders' rising as the main force in the Twenty-20 matches. Especially Umar Guls' success charmed all and gave rise to a few suspicions. He is the most successful bowler in the history of Twenty-20 cricket and he showed why, with the wonderful Yorkers, bouncers, slow bouncers, reverse swings and amazing wicket taking and run-stopping accuracy.

With no surprise South Africa got into the last four from their group. But what shocked all was the departure of world-champs India from the tournament after beating only Bangladesh and Ireland. West Indies, the team that was supposed to be eliminated in the first round, played the semi-final in their stead. From the other group Sri Lanka rode into the semis on Dilshan and the extraordinary 3 M's (Murali, Mendis, Malinga). Pakistan was the other team to qualify.

The line up for the semi-finals was South Africa vs. Pakistan and Sri Lanka vs. West Indies. The chokers choked all right, strangled by the unpredictable Pakistan. In the next match Sri Lanka once again proved their strength by beating West Indies.

So in the end, the trophy is staying in the subcontinent. The atmosphere at Lord's for the final match was electrifying. But this game was another low-scoring one. The brilliant fight back of Sri Lanka on the bats of Sangakkara and Mathews was a treat to watch. The way they piled up 137 after they were reduced to 70 for 6 in 12 overs is a great way for the Bangladeshi boys to see how a middle order can save face. But all efforts went in vain after a innings from Shahed Afridi. This man grabbed the second highest wickets and scored fifties in the semifinal and final matches. This world cup marks the rise of 'boom-boom' Afridi again from the ashes. Pakistan won the T20 world cup trophy after becoming runners-up in the previous installment.

This world cup has certainly been entertaining. The cricket lovers got plenty of entertainment seeing the beautiful and accurate bowling of Gul, Parnell and Malinga, the improvisations from the batsmen especially Dilshan and Pietersen, the outstanding rise of the Irish and above all by the unpredictability of this great game.

ICC Women's T20 World Cup: The ladies fought as well alongside men, albeit in different battlefields, in this world cup for the first time. The English and the Kiwi ladies fought it out for the trophy after beating Pakistan and India respectively in the semi finals. I can't say much about the matches because I didn't watch them. England women's cricket team came out on top beating New Zealand by six wickets.

Consolations for those who are still suffering from Bangladesh's early exit from the world cup: their real intentions were really pure. They want to win in test matches. So by losing to Ireland for the second time they have ensured that the Irish attain support for attaining the test status. Then Bangladesh can improve their records in the real cricket. This makes sense, right?

By Jawad


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