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Quaking in his boots

By Ibrahim

The Heat was on. Well, not technically, because the ACs were on full-blast in the classroom. But there were definitely some metaphorical thunderclaps and lightning going on between Reshad and that geek in the first row. It's a pity life isn't more like Hindi serials, Reshad thought wishfully. But he couldn't afford to get side-tracked by glorious fantasies. Justice had to be served.

As soon as the teacher left the classroom, Reshad darted towards the exit, eager to cut-off the kid who had so offended him (for the entirety of the story we shall refer to him as Kid). "You were cracking jokes at Sara back in class, let's see what we can crack outside," Reshad said menacingly.

The Kid seemed to be having trouble grasping the gravity of the situation, so he clarified once again, "I'm going to beat you up. You know, for talking to my friend in an obhodro way." When there was still no response other than a confused gape, Reshad faltered and left the classroom awkwardly, saying, "Yeah, alright. See you outside, dude."

The street was thronged with people, for Reshad had marshalled his troops very shrewdly indeed. It was customary to have around 20 people when taking on a scrawny kid, but Reshad had decided to go the extra mile and brought in 35, just to be on the safe side. The sparkle of the sun on their half-tinted Ray Bans and the immaculately gelled hair made them look very ominous.

Finally, the Kid exited the building and made a beeline for his car. But Reshad and his cronies had him surrounded in an instant. The Kid was beginning to look nervous and was eyeing his car. Reshad looked too and realised there was a big problem. The Kid's driver was 6 feet 2 and roughly outweighed everyone in his entourage 20 to 1. The odds were not in his favour.

It is during times like these that epic tales of heroism rise to the surface. And it was with this in mind that Reshad decided to carry on despite the adversity. He nodded to his Borobhai, who solemnly nodded back. It was time.

Time to make my bones, he thought, sizing up the Kid, who looked to have accepted his fate. Beads of perspiration appeared on Reshad's forehead and his hands were shaking violently. All around him, the patrons of this art were beginning to look doubtful and some even started to move away, uninterested, while others sniggered.

"Remember, Genjamz is not just an event, it is a way of life. Accept it, Reshad." His Borobhai encouraged. But even in the aftermath of such glorious words, his manhood deserted him. He was failing his initiation into this sacred lifestyle. Only divine intervention could save him now.

And that is exactly what happened. The Devil beneath smiled at Reshad as the throng disbanded and rushed to their homes. Some grabbed onto their cellphones like possessed beings. It was a time of great rejoicing as a higher duty beckoned them. The Kid watched bemused as the street emptied in a matter of seconds. He looked on as Reshad hurried off too, mumbling the words 'Facebook' and 'earthquake'. He sighed and got into his car while the brotherhood screamed, "Oh mai gawd! Awsum quakezz!"

By Mastura Tasnim

I hear voices in my head. They don't always choose to speak up, and often I can't get them to shut up. Humming doesn't help, neither does putting my hands over my ears. They have made themselves a nice little niche in my mind and they talk incessantly of good and bad, right and wrong, and more often than not, they question my sanity.

Some of them groan when the morning light hits my eyes, others insist that I get up and going, and then even others choose to sing 'Chop Suey' while I brush my teeth. They follow my daily activities with acute attention and obvious disdain. While one suggests that I get down to work, another tells me to relax and lie down for a bit, while yet another whispers that the new episode of Game of Thrones is out, and maybe I can spare an hour or two.

As I walk down the streets, the voices pierce through the sound of car-horns, of rickshaw-bells and hundreds and thousands of people passing me by. They joke and they ridicule, they laugh and they cry and pass snide remarks on all that I see and I hear. Nothing passes their notice.

When I trip and fall, they mimic my father, who tells me to watch the road, not stare at the clouds. When I see a nice little dress through a shop window, my mother implores me to buy it, and as always I don't listen. I think of skipping a class right before exams and my brother talks me out of it. Yes, all in my head.

You might think that I'm weird, but I cringe at the thought of utter silence. Life would turn boring without the occasional “d'oh” from the Homer in my head every time I do something moronic.

The voices told me to write this article, because frankly, they're tired of being ignored. They've been talking to us all for ages, a little acknowledgment wouldn't hurt. They would also like it if you would start listening to them. Yes, you. Apparently all those movies where they tell you to listen to your heart are wrong. The heart doesn't talk, silly, the mind does, and it's begging to be heard.



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