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By Sifana Sohail

Say you were standing in a very public place and suddenly FIFTY LARGE ORANGE CARROTS came walking up to you and started singing and dancing. Would you a) run away screaming bloody murder; b) carefully edge away from the crazy carrots; c) watch and laugh along or; d) accept your boyfriend's proposal after he took off his carrot mask and showed you the ring? That's exactly what a (deranged?) girlfriend did after her boyfriend thoughtfully dressed up as a carrot along with 49 other people so that he could propose to her in her favourite colour… A bit much?

If you're talking about proposals though, that's not the most elaborate one. Not by far. There are always people making fun of how their or their friends' proposals hit a few bumps. One man hid his ring inside a big balloon surrounded by many other smaller balloons. The clueless bride-to-be's ring flew out as the balloon burst and took refuge under the countless other balloons in the room. Similarly, one man's expensive ring was carried away into the skies in the helium balloon he had purchased to hide the ring in. We're guessing he wasn't a Chem student and didn't realise that it's the lightest gas (other than hydrogen). Another guy thought it would be romantic to have the cashier of McDonald's drive-thru hand his woman a Happy Meal with a ring in it. Unfortunately, he didn't factor in her hatred of McDonalds and she refused to open the bag - he had to get out of the car and fish the ring out of the bag himself.

An enthusiastic boyfriend in Germany even lit 50 paper lanterns in true Tangled “I See the Light” style to set the perfect mood for his proposal. Although the proposal itself went without a hitch, the numerous lanterns set off an U.F.O. alert, causing the police to investigate.

Movie Trailer Proposals you wouldn't expect it but they're pretty common. The trailers themselves happen to be diverse ranging from action film trailers to Muppet and animation trailers. One guy filmed himself asking the girl's father for his permission, before driving/running to propose to his girlfriend in the theatre (stopping to buy and eat some popcorn on the go). Another guy made an extremely accurate video of him and his girlfriend where she dreams that their plane is crashing and she has flashbacks of their life together. By accurate, we mean exact locations and clothing down to the exact same plane and the jumpsuit in the skydiving clip. He posted all the explanations on YouTube as well. One of the guys (obviously an Apple nerd) went to the trouble of making an iPhone commercial which they showed on a big screen featuring the song he had written for his girlfriend.

Among others there's this guy who set up a photo shoot with his girlfriend and popped the question in the middle of the shoot, the perfect way to capture everything on camera without having your friends stalk you. Which is what a Mission Impossible fan did, getting his “plainclothes” friends to video everything while disguised. He even arranged for some of his musician friends to play her favourite song right before he proposed. If we're talking about enthusiastic proposals though (maybe a bit over the top) there was a man in Baltimore who *ahem ahem* got on-duty cops to fake a raid on the boat he was on with his girlfriend so that they could drag out the box with the ring in it. But nothing beats the man who fell off a 4 story building during the proposal. No, he didn't die; it was perfectly staged so that he could propose to his girlfriend in an original way. And yes, they all said yes.

By Anashua

The shops lined in a row hit me with the stench of captive animals as I near Katabon, the city's largest pet market. I take a curious look around at the blue painted cages where all kinds of birds and animals sit chirping, crowing or barking.

Once inside, I start my interview with the pet seller, Mohammed Selim. He asks me if I would like to buy a dog, but I already have a packet of guppies in one hand.

Puppies yelp from all around me.
“What type of dogs do you usually have?” I ask him.
“Spitz,” he says. “But we have Alsatians too.”
“How much do you sell Alsatians for?”
“The pups go for at least 40,000 each. Grown ones cost less. Would you like to buy a puppy?”
“No, I already have one.” I let him know.
“I see you have quite a few grown Alsatians. Why do most people sell their adult dogs?”
“Oh, they get tired of them or go out of the country,” is his simple reply.
Feeling sorry for these poor dogs, I look around and my eyes catch a pair of extremely ugly turkeys.
“Do turkeys survive in this weather?” I ask.
“They do, though most people don't think so.”
“Why do people buy turkeys, to farm them or keep them as pets?”
“Most people keep them as pets.”
I try to think of a reason as to why people would want to keep birds with about four chins as pets.
“Do sales spike up during December?” I ask, having Christmas in mind.
“Yes, many people buy turkeys and pheasants during December.”
“Which is the most expensive animal that you sell?”
”Macaws. They go for 1.5 lakhs each.” He sports a satisfied smile.
“I don't see many macaws around here. Do you keep them somewhere else or do you have to order them?”
“We keep them at home.”
I spot an eagle perched in a low corner of the shop. Knowing that the trade of wildlife is illegal, I ask him where he got it from, but I don't get an answer.
“Do you have rare animals, like monkeys and squirrels?”
He gets excited at this.
“I can get you a monkey. Do you want one? I have them at home. We sell squirrels for 2000.” He says.
“No, thanks, I have one at home.” I reply, thinking of my little cousin.
At this point, an unusual animal catches my eyes. I bend down and see a monstrous goat with curled horns.
“What is that?”
“A ram.”
“A ram? Why do people buy rams?”
“Oh they hold ram fights,” he tells me.
“How much is a ram?”
“About 10,000. We also sell roosters for fights as well. Baby roosters cost 3,500 each.”
“Where do you import these rams from?” I ask, with India and Pakistan in mind.
“America!” He promptly replies. “Would you like a dog?” he asks me.
“No, it's alright.” I say.

When I bend down to see the ram, I realise what people mean when they say 'smells like a goat'. Once the foul stench is inside your nostrils it is hard to get it out. I start feeling sick, which puts an abrupt end to this interview.

Taking one last look around at the mynahs, stray kitten being passed off as Siamese, white mice and doleful Pomeranians, I thank him for his help and stagger out.

“We can supply any animal you want, just place an order beforehand.” He tells me.

“Surely I will, if I need anything else.”

Lastly, he holds up a boney cross breed pup, and asks me if I would like to buy a dog.

I shake my head and move towards the fish stores, where I hear they sell alligators sometimes.


Sophie's World

By Moyukh

Anyone interested in philosophy can vouch for the difficulty of reading up on the various isms and getting their heads around the tenets of the schools of thought. Jostein Gaader's masterpiece Sophie's World is a must read for such enthusiasts.

Sophie's World (original Norwegian 'Sofies verden') is a philosophical novel. The book, set in the 1990's tells the story of a teenage girl Sophie Amundsen. The book begins with Sophie finding two anonymous messages with 'Hilde Møller Knag, c/o Sophie Amundsen' on it. Through these, and some other mysterious correspondence, she becomes the student of a fifty year old philosopher called Alberto Knox.

Knox takes Sophie through a tour of philosophy starting from before Hellenism to Kant, David Hume to the existential philosophy of Jean Paul Sartre. It even includes chapters on Darwin and natural selection and the advent of the scientific method of reasoning. The plot involves fantastic elements and Socrates, Plato and many other well known characters makes appearances in the novel. Alberto, with supernatural powers, seems to take Sophie to the Acropolis while giving a lesson on Hellenic philosophy and to a French café when talking about Sartre and Beauvoir. The course of the book explores the philosophies throughout the Renaissance, Baroque, Enlightenment and Romantic periods.

Each chapter ends philosophical questions posed to Sophie such as, "Why is Lego the most ingenious toy in the world?” which act as a prelude for the upcoming lesson. The plot though akin to other teenage novels, has meta-fiction elements and surprisingly keeps the reader on a perpetual 'what comes next' state as Sophie continues to receive messages sent to Hilde Knag and the twist which comes regarding this is most unexpected.

While revealing more details about the plot would ruin the surprise, it can be mentioned that while Sophie learns of the schools of philosophy, in a completely different world another girl named Hilde is learning the same through Sophie. The plot is fantastic and alongside with Sophie gives the reader a chance to work out the lines of reasoning on their own as s/he goes with the novel.

While this one is not for everyone out there, for anyone interested in philosophy and its different schools of thought Sophie's World is the place to start.


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