Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home


Coaching phobia

This entire O' Level stuff has forced me to run from one coaching centre to another; yes, the places which are sprouting like mushrooms anywhere and everywhere. Inevitably the great minds behind these centres are currently enjoying a booming business. However I am not here to discredit their services. With due respect to them, I would like to share a bit of adventure with “coaching-phobia” that I have recently acquired. Or should I? Oh no, it's going to be damn embarrassing…

With sweaty hands, pale face, churning stomach and an almost empty bag loosely hung on my shoulder, I came out of the office after registering myself as a student of the coaching centre. I was just in time to join a group of girls giggling their way towards the classroom.

“Excuse me ma'am! Please wait,” the man at the reception ejaculated. “Please write your name, address and telephone number over here,” he said, handing me a small square piece of white paper. I thought the formalities were over. I quickly scribbled down the letters and barely tock a stap when the man called again to sign my attendance. I stompped back to the reception desk and followed his instructions. “Anything more?” I asked coolly.

“You can go to the class now,” the man replied with a sly grin.
As I approached the classroom door, a storm of worries swept over mewill I find a place to sit, will I make a fool of myself? When I opened the door, sixty eager eyes momentarily stared at me and then looked away with cold demeanour and haughtiness.

Nice greeting, I thought. To my left, not even one seat was empty. I turned to the right. The inner column was occupied with bags only. I went up to a girl who wore dark lipstick, thick eyeliners, silky black hair and sleeveless salwar kameez.

“Could I please get inside?” I politely asked. The girl's expression said that I should not have bothered her in the first place. “Umm… it's actually booked for my friend.”
Wow! Excellent booking system you've got there.

I glanced at the other girls and decided not to distract them from their gossip. Luckily, I spotted a single empty seat and conquered it as the quickly as the congested room allowed me to move.

No sooner had I rested my body, I happened to overhear a conversation (which, I later realized, was meant to reach my ears). The “typical teenage boy” beside me said to his friend, “Buddy, I thought the JMBs were long wiped off by the RAB people.”
His “equally typical” friend replied, “I thought he was from Saudi Arabia.”

The boy beside me then corrected his friend in a seemingly indignant voice, “It's a SHE, not a HE, stupid!”
“Oops!” That was the end. Ha ha, great joke! Did I forget to mention that I wear hijab? I was tempted to punch both the boys hard on their noses, but refrained from the act. As Faber had once said, “Every moment of resistance to temptation is a victory”.

The rest of the class went on quite smoothly, until near the end, when our sir was discussing about terrorism in Pakistan, he suddenly pointed at me and fired, “Are you from Pakistan?” Now thirty-five pairs of eyesamong which I could spot “the girl” and her friend's thickly lined onesjeeringly looked at me. I simply shook my head, muttering under my breath that I would have been pretty glad to be a Pakistani: at least there is something to fear about them!

The class was shortly dismissed, and I heaved a sigh of relief. If there was one person who did not fit into the class, then that was me. On my way out, I could not help but notice the other “boyz and galz” either hanging around in the coaching premises or making their way into the well-known “bookstore-cum-hangout” that was located opposite to our coaching centre. While coaching might mean a break for many typical teenagers, in my case, it only strengthened my “coaching phobia”.

By Humaira

Departing despair

"Remember the time when we used to walk past the field and how the world seemed so innocent?”
I let my eyes roam around the view one more time. It really was something to see. Like the times I used to come with her here, with my old Gibson guitar and a basket filled with snacks and beverages. Stars were so bright as the sunlight dimmed lower and lower and how we sang the whole night away till the break of dawn.

“Through the fallen leaves and the freezing breeze. Baby, the winter will get colder now.
And I wont be next to you to warm you up, but feel the wind go through your body.

That's how I will keep you warm, love is something that cannot be touched but can be felt”
I treasure the words she wrote in this letter that she gave to me. Right next to me, where she used to sleep, I keep this letter even till now. It lets me know that in this lonely world, even though this tragic disappearance of her has made me weak, she's still right next to me, forever and always.

“You used to make me so mad, every night out of the blue you started to play the guitar like a crazy maestro making a Grammy award winning tune! And remember how I used to throw all the pillows on the bed towards you and still that wouldn't stop you? I am so going to miss throwing pillows at you. When I got tired and wrapped myself under the blanket, you did come up to me and placed the pillow back under my head and then like a little boy, you fell asleep by holding me. I'm going to miss moments like this…”

Not only you, I'm missing all this moments too. It was so sweet, the way you squeezed your eyebrows together and stared at me with annoyance. I simply adored your sweet anger that you had towards me. But it never lasted for not longer than 15 minutes. I love her so much; she was everything that I ever had.

“Baby, I should have told you before about this but I never had the courage. Because I saw how you smiled everyday as the days were passing by and our child was growing time by time. Your dream was coming true and in this time how can I say baby, that my body is slowly dying? How can I say that to you? Only few months left, this wedding ring will be the only thing that will go with me to my grave. I'm sorry honey, but I have to go. Promise me you will love our child with heart and soul. Never make our baby feel the loss of its mothers love. Tell my child that I will be rocking the cradle every day and night when its eyes are going to rest. For I love my child and I love you too. Don't show our baby your tears, remember, it's only my body that is leaving you two but my soul is forever next to you. I love you, from the first day we met and will always love you, till the end of time.”

She got her mothers eyes. So bright with the colour of the sky and purity that flows within her skin. My love, I didn't lose you, through our daughter you still live. The cradle will rock with both of us on each side; we'll watch our daughter grow together. This soul exists as your soul exists within me. Never did we part…just the bodies they rot and through our daughter, we'll live forever…

By Antora Shaon

Making a difference: South Asian students' delegation

This is a first-person article on the youth conference that the sixteen year old writer attended in Sri Lanka.
I was jerked awake in the midst of peaceful slumber as the plane hit the runway at Colombo Airport with a loud thud. I, together with a classmate, Sana Moyeen had been selected by our beloved school, Sunbeams to represent Bangladesh at a regional youth conference. As we walked out of the airport we had not the slightest idea about what +boys, waving their placards at us frantically. We were totally flabbergasted as we came to know they were the coordinators of the project whom we had been corresponding all the while through e-mails, thinking they were adults.

The 1st South Asian Students' Delegation for Regional Cooperation was a massive international understanding project, organized by the Interact Clubs of Lyceum International School and Wesley College in Colombo, aimed at building regional dialogue between students and also creating a sense if brotherhood between the youth of the region. The focal event of this project was a conference titled “Unity Through Understanding” between students from South Asian countries, which was held on the 16th of June at the Holiday Inn Hotel. The themes of the conference were: child conscription, youth and drugs and HIV/AIDS in Asia. Before the conference, on the 14th and 15th of June, delegates from SAARC countries had to discuss amongst themselves and formulate consensus solution statements to these problems, which were deemed by them as the most important challenges that youth face today. These discussions were held at Lyceum Schoolamidst much scalp scratching and heated arguments.

Finding a solution to the problem of child conscription by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was indeed the most daunting part. Some of the solutions were: lobbying with the Tamil diasporas in Europe to negotiate with the LTTE rebels to free the conscripted youths, inculcating patriotism in the hearts of children, projecting harrowing videos of atrocities committed by the LTTE to the rest of the world, cutting down their economic sanctions. Poverty alleviation and social and economic empowerment (SEE) of parents of child labor were the key solutions to eliminating child labor in the rest of the SAARC countries. Crop substitution, replacing narcotic producing crops by safer crops like rice, wheat was a brilliant solution to the drug production problem, which was brought up by the delegates of Bangladesh, which earned them a lot of kudos and applause. The project took place for a week from the 13th to the 19th of June, including the day of arrival, the day of the conference, a tour to Kitthulgalla, a pristine wilderness and the farewell dinner. This was our first trip abroad on our own, accompanied by a teacher. Not only I, but everybody else thought we would be haunted by the sharp, lacerating sting of homesickness. But surprisingly we did not miss home for even a millisecond.

The most unique facet of this entire project was that it was completely organized by students of our age (16 to 18 years) without any adult supervision or intervention except provision of funds, we would like to extend a big vote of thanks to the project chairpersons and masterminds: Aftha Jaldin, Hassan Ismail, Pradeep de Alwis, Hayeshan Perera, Arfath Saleem and the rest of the organizing committee, whose dedication, time, undying enthusiasm, strong sense of responsibility, perseverance and indefatigable efforts made this whole endeavor a success. These people found the courage and the strength to bring this dream of theirs, to life.

So far, fostering unity and building alliances had been the work of national leaders and statesmen. But today we see school children doing it for the SAARC countries as the senior generations of leaders are failing their job abjectly. We made a plethora of new friends with whom we have pledged to keep in touch with regularly. Parting with them was a very painful affair, some broke down and wept. They spoilt their good night's sleep to see us off at the airport at one o' clock at night. We plan to host a similar event in Dhaka next year, for the youth of South Asia.

“Youth of the World Unite!” Try to craft a change in our world and make a difference, even if it is small. Begin right now. You can do it, only if you think you can.

By Farhana R. Khan


home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2006 The Daily Star