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Of lies and liars

Throughout my (ahem!) long life, I have learnt that lying is not any mere action but one which requires practice, practice and more practice till at one point one acquires perfection in this skill. In that way, lying is almost a form of art, a mode that is adapted by the most cunning and quick-witted ones among us. I, sadly, am no great liar. In fact, if truth be told, I am a disgrace to the Realm of Liars (ah! I am proud by the similarity of the phrase with 'Reign of Fire'. Am I not oh-so-smart?). I could never even qualify to get a membership card to this exclusive club_ and it's not because I am innocent or a saint. It's because I'm completely transparent.

In sixth grade, our Literature teacher pointed out that children start lying because of fear. Fear of reprehension, of not being allowed to watch Captain Planet or of being banned from anywhere within the five mile radius of the chocolate ice-cream tub. I don't remember the auspicious event of My First Lie but one memory that I do clearly remember is that one day, when I was five or six, I had gone to the roof to play with a brand new toy with our maid. I think it was a golden torch of some sort. So, anyway, at one point of the evening, my enthusiasm overflowed my cup. Craaack! Gone was my beautiful torch and all I had left with me were two pieces, two un-glue-able, severed pieces as memento of the lovely toy I had owned two seconds back. Now I could have thought of the glass being half full instead of half empty and wondered at the physical strength contained in my five-years old body but instead I was confronted with a new dilemma. The 'How to Break the News of the Broken Torch to Mother' dilemma.

So being a dimwit and five-years old and for fearing mother's wrath more than God's at that point (after all, at five, I probably was far more convinced of the unleashing of my mum's fury than God's promised punishment of Hell for liars), I told my mother that the maid had accidentally broken it. And Mum the Lie Detector could instantly see through my lie before I had even finished the whole sentence. My punishment, as it turned out, was not for being a destructive five-year old who is ungrateful and careless enough to break brand new golden torches and who is harboring instincts to become destructive enough to bomb trade centers, but for being a LIAR, a five-years old liar who, if not reprimanded, could be her generation's George W. Bush.

Anyway, so as I became older, my abilities to lie became better. Improved, but yet not good enough. At one point, I just gave up and admitted defeat. I was a bad liar, period. While white lies like, "Yes, mum, I DID study", or "I just switched the TV on five minutes ago" or "I can't go to school tomorrow with this migraine" did pass out of my mouth without getting muted in the middle of my voice-box, big lies were not my cup of tea. Whenever I even attempted to tell a big lie (and you know what type I mean!), my lips would turn chalk white and before I couldn't even say 'I didn't', my Mum would be like, "Why are your lips so white? You're lying, aren't you?"

And I used to think these things happened only in novels where rosy-lipped damsels in distress would become white-lipped when lying to their evil stepmothers about how they are not hiding Prince Charming inside the closet.

It's a shame that I'm such a bad liar, especially when my friend-circle can boast of one of the best liars in town. Now this girl is so amazing that once she convinced this teacher that she was absent because she had gone to Delhi to get treatment for her back pain when she was actually holidaying in Bangkok during some very important test that we were having. She actually went into the details of her back pain, how it hurt when her ribs were outwards, in what position of her body it would hurt the most to what medical center she had gone to in Delhi. All the time, I sat beside her, trying not to explode with laughter, while at the same time marvelling at her power of conviction. The next class, the teacher actually came and told her that he had spoken to his doctor about her back pain and went on to give the class information about how because of the growth of bones in girls in adolescence, back pains could be expected. My friend listened to him most attentively, as if grateful to him for having gone to all the troubles for her.

You'll see bad liars like me always telling everybody else that honesty is the best policy and blah, blah, blah. What they are in fact trying to tell you is, that honesty is the best policy for those who can't lie. For the liars of this world, sometimes one lie can get you what ten truths can't. So with a heart a little green with envy, I bid all you great liars adieu for today.

By Maliha Bassam

Love actually

Love. Love. Love. All around the globe, teenagers make such a huge fuss over this simple word that sometimes I wish I were a rattlesnake. In that case, I at least won't have to listen to all my hormone-dripping buddies braying away for hours about how cute their lovey-doveys looked while drinking tomato-juice or something. Yech!

I have this pal who claims to be in love with a particular femme fatal he met at his chemistry class. He's known this girl for only three days, talked to her for only six minutes in total, and now he is dreaming of a honeymoon with her in Switzerland! That day we were having an adda sort of thing, and suddenly he cried out, "Oh God! If I could only manage a diamond ring I would have gone and asked her to marry me." I left the place before he started biting people.

Some fellows fall in and out of love faster than the speed of light. A certain buddy of mine happens to be one such incorrigible romantic. That day he dropped into my house to have a look at my new Linkin Park poster. As fate may have it, a rather charming cousin of mine happened to be around. Buddy scrutinised her for about three minutes and fifty-nine seconds, heard her giggling at one of my typical high-school jokes, and the exact moment she left the room he exclaimed out, "Dosto! I've fallen head over heels for your sis. Give me her phone number." I posed a rather bereft look and replied, "Tough luck dosto. Sis already has a boyfriend with biceps twice the size of your thighs." Hugh Grants smile soon faded into Severus Snape's cold stare!

The next day, Buddy was back to being his old self. "Oi Tawsif!" He yelled when we met at school, "I was just joking about your sis, you know. I'm not really in love with her." I smiled rather philanthropically and replied, "Its all right Buddy. I was just joking as well. Sis doesn't have a boyfriend either." High Grant's smile faded into Snape's cold stare yet once again.

I always picture the term 'puppy-love' in the form of two dumb-looking puppies (of opposite sex, of course) goggling at each other and barking incessantly all the while. Although, in real life, the dumb-looking couples seen cuddling around the Dhanmondi lake prefer whispering to each others ears rather than barking like puppies, the things they say make a mere dog-bark seem erudite.

Monju looks deep, deep Laili's eyes and murmurs, "Babes! If you want, I can bring you all the stars from the sky." Laili cooes, "Ow jaan! I love you so much. I'll do anything to make you happy." He leans down to kiss her, and a heavy slap lands on his amorous face. As it turns out 'anything' doesn't include kissing in the public. How ironic!

The term 'love at the first sight' perturbs havoc in the hearts of many puff-eyed teenagers. Romeo and Juliet meet at a party. Their eyes collide. Their hearts perform summersaults in an unison. The next second, they are in love. Poor Shakespeare! In his time science had made so little progress that he didn't even know what Romeo felt for Juliet was nothing more than a rush of nasty hormones through his already mutilated brain-cells. When Romeo looked at Juliet, his head got saturated with phenylethylamine (or PEA). The love hormone cracked fireworks in his head and he started seeing stars!

With ill-fated brats like Romeo, PEA doesn't usually last for more than a few months. So… Instead of lurking around the grave yards in the middle of the night and killing respectful citizens, Romeo could have simply waited some four or five months. By that time, he would have fallen in love with someone else, and Juliet would have married Paris and had cute, cute children with him. That way, a lot of lives would have been preserved (not to mention produced).

So… next time when the high-school sweetheart smiles at you, refrain your heart from getting all volatile. After all, its just the hormones. The same thing that gives you a moustache, and Michael Jackson a girlish look!

By Tawsif

Feel the heat

In countries all around the world, they have seasons like autumn, winter, spring, summer etc. Come to Bangladesh, and the scene is reasonably different. Here, notwithstanding what you might have learnt in your school books, the annum can be split into 4 seasons as thus- the year starts off with winter (spring in disguise), goes straight on to summer by the third month. It stays there till half way through the year, when one fine day, it starts raining, which in turn takes the shape of a major storm complemented by a momentous flood (though I've never actually seen one). All over with that, it gets back to summer again, and stays so till November. Goes November, and comes December with a 'standard' summer, followed by a short spring in disguise of winter…and then its summer before you know it!

Nevertheless, compare it to, say 'Ontario standards'…and it's all summer! Thankfully though, we Deshis have come to use a device that has changed all that. An apparatus so miraculous, that it presents to us the means to recreate that awfully short winter that we have here, and in fact stretch it out all round the year 24/7/365. It is what we have come to recognise as "The AC." (Music: think big-time magician unveiling his final stunt…tataaaaaaa tattaataaaaaa)

Every household today seems to boast one or more of this marvellous piece of equipment. In fact, the majority of the people that I know have one in every room, for they have realised that you can outlast the fittest if you just avoid what might threaten your survival (thus we smash, crash and trash Darwin)…the heat!

I too, had been avoiding the heat all this time; be it in my air-conditioned room, my air-conditioned car, or the air-conditioned coaching centres…you get the idea.

That was until of course, my very room became Satan's personal fry pan…
until my oh-so-beloved-by-all AC coughed its last breath of cold flow and gave in to the oh-so-mighty-lord-of-heat (if I knew who the guy was, he would have been dead by now!).

It all started one day, when all of a sudden, my AC. started to make this odd noise. I tried to ignore it, but I couldn't. Soon enough, I lost my temper, went to the thing and gave it a good many blows. Strangely enough, though, it did stop the noise. Later that day, when I came back from Thunderbolt, there was that noise again, and soon accompanying it, some strange smoke or vapour, or something of the sort. Now, I'm not the sort of person that would flee with a high-pitched shriek after witnessing the AC develop into a fire breathing demon. So I thought the same old remedy would turn the trick, and started to head to face the dragon. Before I could reach there, however, 'my oh-so-beloved-by-all AC coughed its last breaths of cold flow and gave in…' (music: think some sombre violin piece, preferably in A-minor)

It has been a week since, and every day when I return to my air-conditioned residence, in my air-conditioned sedan, from my air-conditioned coaching centres, there it is… the torrid chamber of fieriness, the febrile cell of tormenting heat…
no not hell…my room…the 'coolest' place in my crib!

So what did I learn from this experience? "Don't throw stones if you live in a glass house and if you got a glass jaw, you should…" Wait, no, I learnt that from 50. Guess I didn't exactly get one of those invaluable life lessons here. Oh well, at least I got to feel the heat (literally...don't exactly see how that's a good thing though).

By ReZwan



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