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How to grow a beard

Occasionally, I've been known to be somewhat opinionated. Oops. My wife just caught that typo. I am told I have been known to be VERY opinionated. I have at least two opinions on just about every topic. I am sure there are times when people have felt like rearranging my face. Unfortunately (for them!) there is no legal method for them to do that.

Being a kind and generous individual, I have been searching for ways to help these unfortunate victims of my over-active 'opinionation'. Finally, I have found a way to rearrange my face.

To help them out, I have grown a beard. It was so easy, you can do it, too.

Here is how to grow a beard. (Ladies, please don't try this at home.) On Day 1, I did nothing. On Day 2, I did nothing again. On Day 3, I did nothing twice. On Day 4, I verified that nothing was still being done. Then I simply repeated the cycle.

It's been about five or six weeks, and my face is definitely rearranged. Is my growing beard the inevitable result of declining budgets at the Witness Protection Program? To tell the truth, the decision to grow my beard was not just to atone for my hyper-opinionation. In fact, what I really wanted to do was to see how I looked in a beard. Curiosity is the real reason I have been growing a beard.

Oops, there goes my ever-efficient wife, catching a typo again. I am told that line should have read: "Laziness is the real reason I have been growing a beard."

Truth be told, I did the four-day nothing cycle more by accident. When you work out of home and have nobody to impress but a skunk, a stray cat, the cherry tree and a handful of sparrows, the days can just kind of get away from you. Before I knew it, I had the foundation of a growing beard.

That's when I got curious. And lazy. Some have suggested that I am growing my beard to make up for my receding hairline. I've heard it all.

"Once upon a time, your hair was on top of your head. Now, your head is on top of your hair."

"Your hair must have slipped off your head, and now it's hanging on for dear life."
"That solar panel you had installed up there is really fueling a growth below."
"The 'Hanging Gardens of Babble-on'"
Ha, ha, very funny.

I think my curiosity is settled. I am still lazy, but I am ready to shave off my beard. Unfortunately, my wife's grandmother has not yet seen it, so I am keeping it on by special request until she can see it. Due to a heavy schedule, that visit might be a while.

Oops. Silly me. My wife the proofreader has saved me from inaccuracy once more. I am told that it is due to being too lazy to shave my beard, that visit might be a while.

But sooner or later, the beard will have to go. I don't want to be mistaken for Charles Manson. Nor Fidel Castro. Nor Josephia Quade, whomever she is.

And summer is not the best season for growing a beard. It would make more sense in winter, when I need protection against the bitter arctic winds. In summer, it will only make my face sweat.

But what will finally end my curiosity and my laziness! is food. When something sufficiently ooey and gooey gets stuck in the beard something that I just cannot identify that will probably scare me into shaving it off.

Besides, all this beard-growing is probably of little comfort to those people wanting most to rearrange my face because of my vocal opinions.

Knowing how to grow a beard won't solve their problem.
A stapler might.

By David Leonhardt

Monologue of a dejected teenager

The alarm rang. I opened my eyes and tried to remember if I have school today, while I buried deeper under the blanket. Shoot! I have school today and I have not read Biology! I'm so busted! I leaped up and kicked off the covers.

Welcome to another monotonous day in my life.
Brushing my teeth in front of the window, I got lost thinking about my life. I'm 14 years old and my life is not a normal one; at least I think so.

My mother and brothers live abroad, while my father and I were compelled to stay back in Bangladesh because of a weird reason. Nobody will believe in this modern world that my family had such a ridiculous reason for keeping me miles away from them. Can you guess? If yes, then lets shake hands. You might even be under the same trap I am in. If not, then listen to the reason: I am getting older…at my adolescence … so it's not good for me to live in England as I might get involved with boys. I may become too 'smart' and thus intractable by my parents and relatives and may commit baneful acts to abase my family's prestige. I may even start taking drugs…
Who knows?

Well, my family figured I would probably do these things so they discarded me to the perfect place … Bangladesh, where I could never dare to do anything detrimental. And at the age of 14 I have to wear veil. Sheesh!

I am neither eye-catching nor alluring, and so I couldn't discover what is the point of camouflaging my thin and unappealing body. My parents may have their own reasons, but I fail to fathom the logic in such a decision.

Well, here I am, trapped in a house in Bangladesh, living with my father who is always busy. The only recreation I am allowed to get is watching TV which is another boring element. Same type of movies, serials and songs.

I finished washing my face and my maid servant just called, its time to take breakfast. Bread and tea. I briskly finished it and got ready for school. I will have to face that Dracula ( the Biology teacher) and those noisome students. How can my parents chastise me just because I am at a 'dangerous' age? Don't they ever realize that if a girl really wants to involve herself in something bad then she'll find a way anyway? Do they know how many times I decided to commit suicide or revolt? And I have really good reasons behind this, I believe.

I am not going to rebellion by fighting with them; rather my malicious plan is to take drugs. I know two girls from our class, they have access to this stuff and cater to other girls. I can take some from them and get addicted easily. How's that for vengeance? This will really be sweet revenge against parents like mine. With this plan in my head and also the fear of the Biology teacher I move towards school.

I will ask the girls today to bring some for me tomorrow. Money is never a matter; you can't even guess how wealthy I am. Well, I am feeling so tranquil now….

That prejudicial plan really worked for me. I am feeling much better than ever before, I no longer am afraid of that Biology M'am now. I will manage her somehow. It is such a relief that I have declared the war against them. Oh! What a soothing feeling!

I wish my parents could know about it. What would they think then?? Would they still keep me away from them without the love I am craving for so long? Would they be that cruel then thinking about the aftermath of my decision? Oh! Tears trickle down my face. But it's too late to go back now.

By Lipna Chowdhury
This article is a work of fiction. The Rising Stars does not in anyway endorse in, or support the use of drugs.

Book review

My family and other animals

My family and other animals' was made for sunny afternoons, although if Durell were alive he probably would have begged to differ. Enter the sunny world of a young Gerald Durell and his lively family and friends (who are animals by the way, I meant the friends not the family although the title may imply otherwise). Meet the Durells, be amused at their doings, laugh at the antics of their pets and bask in the Corfu sunshine.

Gerald Durell captures the beauty he saw in his childhood beautifully and vividly. This book has some of the best descriptions of nature I have ever read and Durell not only describes backyards, gardens or beaches, he makes you see what he saw.

The author led the kind of childhood I would like to have led. He met interesting people, had the opportunity to make acquaintance with charming animals and lived in a beautiful place. The Durells and their friends and neighbours make up a wonderful cast. Durell takes a humorous and sometimes satirical look on the people around him. For example, he depicts older brother, Larry, as someone who is self-absorbed but he makes us see the humour in the situations which are caused by this particular trait of his. He manages to portray the people around him as realistic and funny at the same time. Even his animals have interesting personalities. This book truly is soaked in sunshine.

'My family and other animals' is a delightful book but it can annoy you if you let it. Durell left out some essential information about his family and this unfortunately leaves some unanswered questions like why the Durells stayed in Corfu for 5 years. Surely, it couldn't have only been for the sake of health.

Two of my primary gripes about the book was its language and some of its content. I have no idea what Durell was thinking of achieving when he put at least 4 difficult words in each page. Frankly, sometimes I felt like hitting the author over the head with the 2004 New Edition of my Oxford Advanced Learner's dictionary while I was reading the book because I was so tired of opening the dictionary every time I came across a hard word which was often.

Durell may have been an animal lover ever since he was 2 years old but it does not excuse him for being inappropriately weird. In one of the chapters, Durell talks about how he once witnessed a pair of turtles on their 'honeymoon night'. In another chapter he describes a fight between a gecko and his pet mantis. It's bad enough that we have to know just how foul a mantis can be, we have to read about a stomach-turning and violent fight it had with an equally ugly lizard. Maybe the mentions of these incidents weren't really necessary, or were they? You read and decide.

Although you won't find this book in the recommendations section of 'The essential teenagers' guide to swearing and obscenity', this book has some adult humour and situations. I would rate it 12+.

So drop your Sidney Sheldon for once, grab this book and a dictionary ( and plop down on your bed. Oh, and every time you come across difficult words, remember, just look up the meaning of the words you think you really need to know. Or you could just do what I did and ignore those words and keep on reading. It's so much more easier that way, isn't it?

By Saqiba Aziz


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