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Love is in the air

It's that time of the year again, folks. It's time to tell that constant woman in your life just how much you love her. Confused? Girls dubiously considering the possibility of unforeseen gifts? Guys frantically checking wallet statuses and puzzling whether or not it's still February?

The second Sunday of May is what is internationally known as Mother's Day. Oh yeah, that's right, you completely forgot. You can thank us for reminding you early so you can run to the nearest Hallmark now. Sure, Mother's Day is just a commercialised holiday (like all the rest of them) which adds to the already huge pile of profit of card companies like Archie's and Hallmark. Still, since so few of us take the time to just let our mothers know we appreciate them, sometimes this day is all they get.

Maybe for many of you, this day coincides with the twenty billion exams you still have left. Well, look around at how frazzled your mom is on account of this. Yes, sure, sometimes when she's trying to be superhelpful she annoys you a bit - but then, she's just trying to be helpful, y'know?

Or just those random days when she's in a good mood and she goes out and buys you something. Just randomly, she's strolling the aisles and she sees that thing you were craving but she said you couldn't have and buys it. Just like that. Cause she's nice and awesome.

Now, knowing moms, if you try to go all out for her, she'll just yell at you because you were supposed to be studying or something. In fact, if you try to do anything, she'll just say 'Eishob er toh kono dorkar chilo nah, shudhu bhalo moto porashuna koro aar amar kotha shuno.' Still, doesn't mean you get discouraged. Just look for the smile. You know the one I'm talking about. The small, hiding-her-inner-pleased-ness one. That one makes it all worth it.

For those of you living abroad, or just away from home - depending on distance (and whether or not there's airfare involved) pay her a visit. Or call. It really does the trick. You might not see the smile, but you'll hear it in her voice. Almost as good as seeing it.

So, this Sunday, go slobber her with kisses and squeeze her with your tightest hugs. Most importantly, tell her she matters and you love her.

... Or you could do it right now.

Fair warning though, there is a possibility of waterworks ensuing if she gets too overwhelmed by the whole thing.

By Selima Sara Kabir

Reciting Poetry like a Baus

By Shaer Reaz

OR “abbritti”, as it's known in Bangla. Apparently reciting poetry is kind of an art, and it can only be mastered through years of training and steadfast practice. We are impatient people by nature, and we don't have the time for lengthy training montages spurred on by inspirational music playing in the background. We are here to give you a crash course in poetry recital and public speaking.

Now, the pundits will tell you the reciting style depends on the content to be read out. Screaming and growling out the lines from a soft, romantic poem is not acceptable. Scrap that. Whatever the pundits say, you do the opposite. Scream like a feral cat as you complement a fair maiden and her beautiful raven hair. There is nothing a fair maiden likes more than a buffed up man screaming beautiful poetry at her face, spittle and sweat flung towards her general direction. This ensures your continuing manliness while reciting a bunch of mushy lovey dovey crap.

Flair is an important thing here. Work your hands like an orchestra master. Wave your hands in random motions, gesture to your (nonexistent) audience, turn your arms into the slinkiest of slinky springs. Do jazz hands if you must. A poetry loving audience (they exist) loves an orator who expresses the deepest emotions of the poem (and, of course, in his/her heart) through his/her limbs.

Undoubtedly, though, the most powerful weapon in the orator's arsenal is his voice. Greek orator Demosthenes practiced public speaking by talking with pebbles in his mouth. Of course, back in the days when the Greeks were not begging the European Union for a few pennies, they had cleaner pebbles. Nowadays the heaps of pollution have likely turned all pebbles radioactive. Try with something a little less harmful, like cereal. Resist the urge to bite and chew and swallow and you develop the good ability of dieting. You will end up with the habit of speaking with your mouth full, but no one cares. In a world where the Hot Problems video gets roughly 10 million views in two weeks and Avril Lavigne is the first thing to pop up when you search YouTube for Wish You Were Here, talking with your mouth full of food is an offence that can be overlooked.

Another way to practice your oratory skills is to flush a toilet and finish a four stanza poem before the toilet gurgles your stuff down. Take care that your voice can be heard over the din of the toilet flush, as this ensures maximum speed and a loud enough voice at the same time. Ignore anyone at the bathroom door asking why you're yelling at the top of your lungs while taking a dump. Ignore the obvious reasons why one actually might do that too.

In our present day situation, public speakers, debaters and basically anyone who can talk fast and loud and can get a point across clearly hold a lot of respect. Hitler was a great public speaker who rallied the entire German race with a few good speeches and some eye-popping and finger-raising. Loud people often make good politicians in third world countries. Universities abroad take applicants on the basis of their public speaking and debating skills. At the other end of the spectrum, some become telemarketers. Others are employed in customer service, either face-to-face or over the phone, depending on their looks. Modern society values a loud voice that dares to speak out. So get practicing. Stand up, speak up.



Author: Tim Lott

By Numaya

Children's tales are written by elders to etch manners and socially accepted qualities into young, impressionable minds. “Don't be greedy” was taught by the dog that fell into the river and “always work hard” by the little engine that could. Well, what if there was a children's fable written for adults? In “Fearless” author Tim Lott successfully manages to direct a beautiful, yet dismal tale towards the young and the old equally.

“Fearless” is a dystopian novel, set in a parallel universe similar to the ones depicted in 1984 and A Handmaid's Tale. In the not-too-distant future, the world is safe from terrorists, the streets are clean, and girls labeled "juvies" or "mindcrips" have been hidden away behind the smartly painted exterior of the City Community Faith School (known to inhabitants as the Institute). Here, the girls are imprisoned and represented by letters and numbers, forced to forget their names and stripped of their identity. They are made to work and abide by the strict rules given by their Controller and his high ranked X-girls, in promise of a better future once they leave the Institute.

But Little Fearless wasn't intimidated by those in power. She constantly rebelled against the unfair ways of the Institute, knowing that she would be locked in the Pit as punishment. She told the girls tales of freedom and stories about the day they would reunite with their families. Such conviction and bravery spurred her on a dangerous mission, risking her life in hope of freeing the girls from the wretched Controller's wrath.

Throughout the book we see Fearless contacting several adults to try and convince them of the truth behind the School, yet their faith in the City prevented them from believing her. The betrayal of the young by the old is a major theme of this novel. And it's a distressing story about the stripping away of individuality and identity until the children are fit for nothing except mindless work in the world of adults. The huge twist at the end leaves the reader shocked, and this is a book which influences you for days after you've read it.

Fearless is a book that you either hate or love. I came out on the "love" side. It's definitely the best children's dystopia that I've read, reminding me of "magical" books we used to read as children. At times, it brings the reader to tears due to the despair and hopelessness of it all, and other times a gripping storyline and the passion in each character keeps readers hooked till the very end.

Plot-wise, Fearless isn't perhaps as exciting as other similar books out there. Fans of The Hunger Games and similar dystopias will be disappointed by the lack of action. But the deeper meaning and vivid story-telling brings this tale alive for the reader. Fearless carries a lot of good messages, messages about identity, honesty, bravery and strength (also certain scenes carry satirical references to politics and religion). This novel isn't perfect, but it's one of those rare stories which set themselves a little apart from the crowd. Highly recommended to all of you who enjoy reading, and are looking for a stroll down childhood tales.



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