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Book review
Strange pilgrims

Another crunch week, despite the hartals. With the term finals coming up, and assignments due, it's impossible to get a nice lazy hour to spend reading and relaxing, which is why Strange Pilgrims was the perfect book to keep me company.

To begin with, this is a collection of twelve short stories by the Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Just like all of Katherine Mansfield's stories from In a German Pension revolved around the inhabitants of a German pension town, the stories in Strange Pilgrims are pretty much all about Latin Americans in Europe, most of which carry an .

In Bon Voyage, Mr. President, an expatriate ex-president is recognised by an ambulance driver bent on exploitation. In I only came to use the Phone, a woman with car trouble finds herself trapped in a mental institution. Sleeping Beauty and the Airplane recounts a transatlantic flight with a beautiful stranger in the next seat, sound asleep and paying the infatuated narrator no mind

The plots are simple, but the character study and use of language is incisive. Many of the stories in the collection are basically reworked versions of journalistic articles and screenplays.

Now, what can I say about Marquez that hasn't already been said before? Anyone who's read his novels, like Love in the time of Cholera and A Hundred Years of Solitude will be familiar with the strangeness of his stories. This Colombian-born writer has a knack for infusing a touch of magic to the mundane, so that by the time you're halfway through each story, you're thinking 'Where did that come from?” Unlike Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected (another anthology I would strongly recommend), where the twist comes in at the very end, you get a taste of the weirdness of the situation right from the very start, and even given that, the ending will manage to surprise you.

The book should be available at Omni and Etc, and makes the perfect literary antipasto, so if you're hungry for an exotic reading experience, this is the book I'd recommend.

By Sabrina F Ahmad

Teen Diaries

Recap: RS High…the dog-eat-dog world of teen socialization. Prianka, Lamia, Afrida and Sadia…four very different girls thrown together by circumstances. We've seen how the popular clique broke down, and now the new girl and girly girl are head-to-head with the nerd and the queen bee as they compete in the interclass science competition. Last week, Sadia made the shocking discovery that her nemesis Prianka is the new basketball captain. This week, we're having a special blog entry by Prianka's boyfriend Saquib, who talks about his experience with the girls.

Current mood: Amused
Current music: Is it me? Is it you? - Midtown

It's funny how much learning happens outside the classrooms. I bunked Math class today; not being in any kind of mood to listen to Sen Sir's boring Calculus lectures, I decided to go and catch my girlfriend Prianka's first basketball practice session.

The first time she'd told me about joining the team, I'd been very skeptical I mean, Pree is more like a cheerleader than an athlete. When I watched the practice, though, I must say I was impressed. Firstly, she looked sizzling hot in those track pants. Secondly, she's got a wicked jump-shot. That Sadia girl is not bad either; if she could just work on her passes.

One thing I don't get though; we guys have our differences too…like that other day when that stupid Faisal was mouthing off about Pree and I wanted to bash his teeth in. We never take our difference onto the playing fields, though. Sports is sports, and it's serious stuff. These girls, though, they're a different story altogether. There's no secret about the fact that Pree and Sadia don't get along; more so now that they're facing off at the science tournament, but did they have to take it out on each other during practice? It's so pathetic…we'd have a really good team this year, if those girls could just learn something about teamwork. Afrida seemed to share my opinion. I like this new friend of Pree's, unlike that Lamia chick she used to hang out with. You can actually talk to her, you know, not like those ditzy girls and their stupid sari-churri gossip. We sat watching the game, and discussing politics and anime. There's something different about her these days too…something I can't put my finger on, but it's a positive change.

The guys and I went out for a bit too. Russel has installed new woofers on his RX8, and we took it for a spin out to Ashulia. Man, that was great…open highway, The Killers on the stereo… Russel and Faisal were fagging away like crazy, so by the time I got back home, I was smelling like an ashtray, and Mom just threw a fit. She wouldn't believe that I didn't smoke, of course. She never does. I don't even know why I bother.
Women…I'll never get them.

By Sabrina F Ahmad

Lingua chakma

I know many of you guys and gals have been running from the Goethe Institute to the Alliance Francaise to learn another foreign language besides English.

There is no telling when your job description requires you to know German, French or 'lingua Chakma'!

For that my friends, the 'Incredible Hunk' is here to provide you with the latest Chakma language tit bits, exclusively on the 'Rising Stars'. You want/need to know 'lingua Chakma' because, what if you find me on your employer's seat someday.

Then you will know what to do to impress me. Or what if you badly want to tell someone something without letting them know what you said.

Then read on and bless your tongue. Or what if someday, someway you find yourself visiting the south-eastern parts of Bangladesh.

Then, you will need to communicate, god damn it!
The sentences below are for your eyes only and please do not ask for the grammar. For the pronunciation, the 'T', 'D' and 'G' should be pronounced like the Bengali 'T' in ' tel', 'D' in ' daal' and 'G' in 'paagol' respectively.

I love you: Mui to-re hoch phaang.
I hate you: Mui to-re degi nau phaa-rong.
You look pretty/handsome: To-re dole laager.
I want Greek food for dinner: Bailler hana haba-ttei mui Greek tone saang.

I want you to buy me those new a3 gigaride shoes: Tui mo-re sei no a3 gigaride zudo aani hini di-be.
Yesterday I saw a Mercedes SLR Mclaren: Hai-lley mui ek-kaan Mercedes SLR Mclaren Deik-kong.
I want to buy an i-pod: Mui ekkan i-pod hini-ba-ttei saang.

Your cell phone sucks: Tor cell phone aan faaltoo.
Your pair of pants looks good: Tor phando-long aan dole aage.
Rising Stars Rocks: Uh… um… I don't think lingua Chakma has got a word for 'rocks'. Too bad!

By Hitoshi Chakma

My beloved boro chachi had passed away on the 20th of May, 2006, Saturday at 3:15 am. Before she died, her only son was holding her right hand, and she was resting on her eldest daughter's shoulders; her last words were, “I am sleepy, I want to sleep,” as she had passed to eternity. This poem is for her. May her sleep be peaceful; may Allah bless her with all that she was and have left behind, and more...

To Necropolis,
the city of graves

Only three and a half hands in length
How powerful can you be?
Why do you call me with such content?
Why will you not let my soul simply be?
I cannot hear your calls
But you are my little master whom I tread on.
I do not care about you, neither fear
I care about my Lord, He is whom I fear
Hence, keep on calling and I will not hear
But only when my Lord asks me to embrace you
I will come.
If heavens are the utopia of souls
I will pray,
That every one of you
Become the greatest utopia of all,
But not for you, for the soul you bear;
And that you, my grave, is not
The only piece of land that you are
But the entire Earth,
So that those alive may pray
Where ever they are.

By Adnan M. S. Fakir


Your unguarded purity resembles an unprotected rose,
Whose allure will be stolen by some fortunate beast,
That will consume the honey- like ever-thirsty bees,
From the core I do pity your untold woes.
Dewy and exposed, like green English pastures,
Unfolding white petals- like fresh budding daisies,
You're unaware of the savage world- that so slyly gazes
You're unable to perceive the time's lewd gestures.
Redefine tenderness, with an untouchable passion,
Accompanied as you are by destiny's melting sighs,
The imposing virginity invites the insanity of illusion,
The melancholic beauty adorns thousands ensuing plights.
Those Doleful eyes depict an inexplicable sign of desolation,
My compassion will escort you to a tranquil port of salvation.

By Asef kabir

The grand rain

I dwell in dire dark
I'm dying in dreadful drought
Such a stingy noxious state it is,
I've never thought.
So I scream to God,
Oh my lord,
Let her come
To soothe my heart.
I'm so numb
I'm so tired
It's only she
Who can make me glad.
Oh, sweet rain
Finally you came
To pacify my thirsty heart....
Now give life to me
And make me worth.
You came in torrents,
You perished the drought
The grand glorious rain
I've always desired.

By Shoaib M. Siddiqui


A swift breeze caresses me
A whole new world I see
A spectrum of passion
A scent of emotion.
Are those stars a map of guidance?
Am I free of all hindrance?
More I fail to fathom,
As ecstasy and woe move in tandem.
Sometimes I lay in deep fright,
Will I shatter like the distant meteorite?
Many in my path have crumbled,
May I float on this breeze untroubled?s
I rejoice this feeling of serenity,
I grasp unto it with dignity.
Let my love never seize
Let me be the breeze.

By Masroor Hussains


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