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By Tashmiah Zaman and Sabrina F Ahmad

Teenage love, fleeting as it is, happens to be the most powerful, passionate love of all. Wise people dismiss it as mere infatuation, but for all its novelty and youthful naivete, the romance that surrounds it, fleeting as it may be, is unmatched. Indeed, a youthful crush is the sweetest taboo.

Teens usually have crushes on classmates, senior students or even on teachers. These crushes usually occur in school, and they might be very short-lived, but when Cupid's arrow strikes, well the world seems different. Life takes on a colour and flavour of its own.

Prior to The Crush, life is all about waking up in the morning, cursing the school for starting so early and dressing up lazily, wishing it was the weekend so that they could have slept for a longer time. They wear their uniforms, boys tucking in their shirts, (ironed or wrinkled, who cares?) so that 'Rozie Miss' doesn't give them detention, and girls clipping their nails to look neat and tidy . School life is all about books and studies, grades and sports, bunking class or playing pranks on teachers. Conversation flows freely about subjects like music and hobbies, and how perfectly frightful Trigonometry is.

Everything changes when The Crush happens. It's like the Celine Dion song:
'Hush now, I see a light in the sky
It's almost blinding me
I can't believe, I've been touched by an angel with love.'

Now the same people who hated the alarm clock for ringing are up at the crack of dawn, preparing for a big day at school. For boys, the shirts mysteriously fall out over their suddenly baggy trousers, refusing to be tucked in, and their hair, in an amazing indifferent to gravitational forces, rises up in spikes. Girls discover the magic of make-up, and instead of the school libraries, the washroom becomes a favourite haunt, as it is the perfect place to secretly experiment with lip-gloss and mascara without being caught by the eagle-eyed teachers. Scrunchies, rubber bands and all other forms of hair fasteners are forgotten as they discover the Hair Straightener.

Conversation that once revolved around things like Science and Geography, cricket and basketball, now is carried on in blushing whispers, and the topics under discussion are mostly the members of the opposite sex who's hot, and who's not. Interestingly enough, if you listen to girls talking about their crushes, you'll find that though every third sentence they speak refers to the ones they like, they display a curious inability to pronounce the loved ones' names, be they close acquaintances. Instead, they find interesting nicknames for the 'Crushable One'. Examples include names as bizarre as 'Mr. Hot', 'Hiroo', "Tehari"

As for the boys, they'll first withdraw into themselves and pretend that they don't have a crush on Amina Miss from History Class (yes, they frequently fall for older women at this stage, but this is a broad generalisation). If someone asks, they'll be very vociferous in their denials. Then gradually, pressure builds up, and they confide in their close mates that 'The chick in my coaching class is very cute.' Sports and studies take a back seat as the number one priority for both sexes becomes to impress those on whom they have a crush.

Now, this whole situation would be rather amusing where it not for the fact that these crushes cause the particularly foolhardy ones to take some dangerously reckless steps. Girls usually do stupid things like going on crash diets to lose weight, with a bit of TV influence which shows 'Thin is in'.

Boys try to impress the girls in a different way. Some will take up habits like smoking to 'look cool'. Others might try to give off an air of being 'macho' by suddenly developing a disrespect for authority. By flouting school rules or being cheeky towards the teachers, they try to show the girls that they are the ones on top. Those that can afford it will show off through their gadgets. Snazzy cell-phones with built-in cameras and polyphonic ring-tones, souped-up cars with fancy (and often unbecoming) lighting, mufflers, howlers and cacophonous sound systems suddenly become mandatory. Friends become rivals as they end up having crushes on the same girl or guy. For some it leads to serious depression as usually these "Puppy love" turns out to be negative.

Before one starts to think about imposing a ban on crushes altogether, rest assured that it is perfectly possible for a crush to have a positive effect on a young person, and it does happen. The smart ones, instead of neglecting important things to waste time on looks and toys, will try to hone their skills and talents to win the limelight. They study harder in order to secure the best grades, or pick up on new interests and hobbies, so that, in addition to admiration from the Crushable One, they also win approval from teachers and parents. Talk about having it all and all it takes is a little guidance.

At the end of the day, after weighing the pros and cons of crushes, there's no denying that life is more interesting because these things come and go. When a crush happens, everything seems so beautiful, sweet and fresh, and when the crush crashes, as they often do, for a while, life doesn't seem worth living. At the end of the day, one should remember that IT'S ALL PART OF GROWING UP!

Who's the Boss?

By Tahiat-e-Mahboob

There was a time when people felt they were doomed because the phone was out of order. I remember my days as a teenager (gosh, I feel old!). The moment that I would pick up the phone, look up at the ceiling and say, "Why God? Why?" my parents would know. "The phone?" my Mom would ask with a knowing smile. And my days, from then till the day it was fixed, would be miserable.

Times have changed. I'm no longer as dependent on the phone as I once was. Now coming to some greater evils. The computer. I must confess, without a computer, at times I feel like what's the point of existing? But there are millions of people who feel the same way (I know at least seven thousand five hundred people who feel that way). It's funny how you watch the Matrix trilogy and say, "Like that's ever going to happen. Computers ruling us. Yeah right!" But then think again. Not that I believe this theory but sometimes I wonder if I'm the boss of my PC or whether the PC is my boss. The fact that I'm extremely dependent on a computer becomes very evident when I trudge through the eighteen inches of snow from building to building in search of a computer to write my term paper on. It was very evident last week when I returned home to find that my PC was in shambles. In the week that followed I felt like a caged bird (I don't know why) whose freedom rested not on opening the cage door but rather on turning on the computer.

Before I get further I should clarify one thing though. Whenever I refer to a computer please keep in mind that I'm referring to a computer equipped with the Internet. It's funny how many people think that in America everything runs like clockwork and the system never goes down. Well wrong again. I remember my first week in college. The Internet system had gone down and the blaster virus was making its rounds on the network. Sometimes the Internet wouldn't work, sometimes it was slow, and sometimes I could hear the guys across or down the hall screaming that one of their PC's had the blasted blaster. But things got better in time (luckily) although there wasn't a single month that went by without ResNet sending an e-mail saying the system was down and was being fixed. In spite of this, in the last ten months my habits have changed. I was always dependent on the PC but never really interested about it. Combine that with the fact that at my college everything was already set up and when the Net did work, it was super fast. Also, whenever there was a problem all we had to do was dial 4567 for ResNet to come to the rescue. All this has now turned my PC knowledge into mulch. I realized this today when I had to set up my PC. I felt like the dimwit that my friends were trying to convince me I already was.

And that sadly brings me to my conclusion. Have we become that dependent on electronics (phones, computers, hair dryers, coffee makers an God knows what else) that when they stop functioning, we stop functioning? Are we to keep on filling the pockets of Bill Gates, AT & T (or in our case TNT) and a million other corporations because we think without their products we'd be crippled. I don't know. But then again I'm a dimwit. So the next time one of your beloved gadgets goes wrong ask yourself the same question and see if you agree with what your brain tells you.



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