YES, it's the food of the gods. Yes, it tastes heavenly almost always. So what do you do when your favourite comfort food betrays you? Here's the scoop on chocolates that bite back nasty-
Are they nuts? No, coconuts!
The good, the bad, and the strawberry
There's something fishy about this...
Another writer here at RS says that she had once eaten something which was supposed to be chocolate, but tasted instead like “oily mud, or muddy oil”. Maybe it's a new flavour? She still can't decide.
Cowboys are my Weakness
COWBOYS. Think of callused hands grasping the reins of rearing, half wild horses; of tornadoes and grassy plains; of cowboy hats on wheat-hued heads, pulled over eyes flashing firestorms in passion, clouding over in doubt. Think of these images tempered with Weakness, the underlying fragility of tough exteriors, always struggling to achieve an unattainable stability. It's the beautiful paradox of dynamic relationships and this paradox, you'll find, is what Pam Houston's collection of short stories is all about.
Her 12 little stories take you on a spirited journey though the complexities of human relationships against the backdrop of the American Midwest. “In My Next Life” weaves Native American spirituality into a touching description of the relationship between two women, searching for someone, or something, to look after them. The churning, dangerous waters of “Selway” symbolise the stormy relationship of the young couple braving it, each desiring the other for the very wildness they try to tame. And the theme of self-discovery touched on in each story is highlighted in “ Cowboys are my Weakness” as she gradually realises that her weakness isn't cowboys but the painting she's always had in her head of the perfect man. Full of well-crafted descriptions and far too many delicious quotes to commit to memory in one read, you'll wonder how in the world Houston manages to immerse you so completely in the varying moods of her rugged country without overdoing it.
From the raging rapids to tundra hunting grounds to rolling prairie ranches, the setting of each tale is almost a character in its own right; and a state of mind as much as a state of place. The power of blizzard winds; the vulnerability of a sheep within a hunter's range and a garden on a frosty night the predictable unpredictability of nature and human nature are entwined. The spirit of this wilderness, whether lucidly described as in ' A Blizzard under Blue Sky' or just the subtle background of 'How to Talk to a Hunter,' is ever-present, channelled through the sensibility of the women and their men.
If you're looking for a happily ever after, though, you won't find it here. What you will find is wry, funny, touching realism with “endings” that keep you wondering what will happen tomorrow; that keep these women alive. At best there is the tentative hope the characters allow themselves that, even with the Coyote woman lurking around, their hunter is here, for now. Or the eventual understanding that even the man who dismisses his lady's Thanksgiving plans, over researching deer in mating season, can't really be blamed. People are just like that, with different ideals, illusions, and choices to make. And whether that's something you want to live with or move on from is up to you as well.
“This is not my happy ending. This is not my story.”
By Risana Nahreen Malik
YOU'VE probably never seen him, but if you're a regular around Dhanmondi Lake, you've heard him. Come rain or sun, night and day, he walks around the lake and plays his flute. Not the most interesting of people, but one with an intriguing story, and he smiled as he told it.
You see, he's a romantic. Never knew how to do anything save play whatever came to his mind. His parents couldn't afford to give him a teacher, so he saved up, doing an odd job here and an even one there to buy his own flute. Why the flute, you wonder? The reason isn't very complicated. It was the cheapest of all the musical instruments. It was later that he fell in love with the music the hollow stick produced. What does he do for a living? Nothing, really. Takes what people give him when he walks by with his wooden stick. He has two sons who run a small shop, and a daughter married. The average guy who doesn't want to burden his kids, so visits a couple of times a year and never tells them where he lives. He's doing fine on his own, he claims, and maybe he is, despite the faded shirt and sunken eyes.
He mentions his children easily, but not his wife. You see, she's the reason he does nothing anymore, and she's the reason his music is painful to hear even on festive days like Eid or Noboborsho. She walked out on him nearly four years ago. Apparently all he did all day was play his flute and his wife was sick of it, so sick she couldn't stand to hear it anymore. He says he loved her, so he tried to hate his flute, but of course he couldn't. But his fingers no longer play the melodies they once used to. They're all sad, all his songs, and he wishes they weren't but he never had a teacher so he doesn't know how to play a tune his mind and heart won't give him.
The most interesting thing about him isn't his life, nor is it what he told me. It's what the couples on their regular rendezvous around the lake claim. You see, his tunes may be tragic, but they bring great joy to people in that when a couple hears the music of his flute, they will be successful in love. There's a catch, obviously. It isn't enough to just hear. They must listen, and believe. Upon inquiry, he didn't deny it, nor did he say it was true but his proud yet forlorn smile said enough. A young couple says they've been dating for two years now, and every time they had a spat they came to hear his flute. The guy apparently always ended up apologising. A married couple says they hired him for their wedding, and he played the most beautiful music they'd ever heard. A married woman tells of how the embarrassed husband sitting next to her proposed in the middle of his song.
His name? Can't tell. His dream? To die in peace and without pain. His identity? A simple baashiwala.
By Professor Spork
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