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A bad hair day

Everyone wakes up on the wrong side of the bed sometimes. Unfortunately for Kader, it was on exam day.

It was the 10th of January, first day of the A'level exams. We were standing outside The Shooting Complex, pumped up and ready to go, scared our of wits yet, valiantly joking around. That's when Kader came in, looking all cool and confident with his neatly back brushed hair. He was alone. He had apparently told his parents he could handle things by himself. So we stood there and talked for a while and someone asked him whether or not he had brought his passport. He stood as if carved from ice for a fraction of a second and then ran across the street and jumped into a running CNG. He kinda looked like Neo minus the black coat. He was so fast we couldn't even stop him, tell him that he could get in without the passport as long as he had his statement of entry [the passport thing is a relatively new rule so the examiners are a bit lenient] and that we'd vouch for him.

He lives in Farmgate. Somewhere along the way he realised he wouldn't make it to Farmgate and back to Gulshan-2 in half an hour, especially as there was some ganjam going on at some garments factory. So he stopped at a roadside mobile shop [you know the one that looks like a paner dokan] and called home. His home phone was engaged. So he called one of his friends and told him to bring the passport. He told his friend his candidate number so his friend could make sure it got to him. Then he rushed back to Shooting Complex and came in 15 minutes late for Biology unit-1 exam, which is a one-hour exam. It was then that he realised he'd forgotten his statement of entry as well.

After being passed to and fro by four examiners, he managed to persuade them to check the list. They noticed that there was a guy with the name and candidate number that Kader kept stubbornly mentioning and what's more, the guy was absent. So they conceded that Kader might indeed be, well, himself, and let him sit for the exam with the condition that his papers will be arriving shortly. He opened his question paper, after losing 20 minutes, and looked at the first question of his first ever A'level exams...and he didn't know the answer [happened to almost 90% of the students, me included].

Halfway through biology unit-2 exam his passport arrives. He proves to the examiner that he is Kader, but can't show any proof of his candidate number. The examiners are kind enough to let him finish the exam. But what happened to his statement of entry? It's then that it dawns on him that he took out his statement of entry at the mobile shop to tell his friend the candidate number. He finishes the biology exam with what he describes as a one-hour long cardiac arrest. He imagines telling his dad how all the rest of his exams are cancelled because he lost his statement of entry. What about the fees?

He again jumps into a running CNG after the biology exam and takes off for the mobile shop. There was a two-hour break between Biology and the Maths exams [seriously, we had a rough deal this session].

But there are so many mobile shops on the road that he can't find the damned shop. When he finally finds the place he notices that the guy at the shop has locked his little bedside cabinet and left. The shopkeeper next door informs him the mobile guy lives in cantonment. In a state of hysteria now, Kader is again about to jump into a CNG when the shopkeeper tells him to wait as the mobile guy probably went to grab a bite. So Kader sits there for 15 minutes when the guy comes back and gives him his notebook. Kader tips him a ten taka note and heads back to the exam venue to sit for his Maths exam. And the incredible thing is, he says his biology exam went ok.
Think you're having a bad day? Think again.

By Kazim Ibn Sadique

A long drive

Zen stepped out of the bar as the clock strvce ten. He had no idea of the time and his eyes kept prickling over and over again. He found his car parked right outside the bar. The stars watched over him, shining brightly as ever, providing little light as he struggled to get in his car.

When he got into the car, with little conscious left, he started driving with whatever portion of the road he could see clearly because everything else was blurry. He could see the track lines as they went on, never ending in a vertical pattern. It was a night of the full moon, the trees seemed to bend over and make arch ways for those who traveled by that road. One could have thought that they were entering a ghost town but for Zen he had no fear in his heart but a storm in his mind. It might have been the end of the day and starting of a new one for others but for him it was the end of time and all his emotions were in a mess, he didn't know what to do or how to go on like this. He made a right on the rose line road and he kept on driving as he picked up speed.

Tears trickled down his cheeks as he recalled the incident that has recently occurred in his life. Nothing could be done but Zen felt responsible for what had happened to his family. Their death was a shock to him when he first heard about the plane crash. He collapsed right on the spot. After spending few days in the hospital he left for his home but couldn't find a reason why he should be there. Everything was over and overcome with depression he drove his car as long as he didn't felt like stopping and spent two hours in a bar drinking and loosing control over himself. That was all there was to it and it couldn't be changed. Zen felt broken from the inside, as if someone ripped his heart out. His wounds would never heal even if they were given his whole lifetime. He was driving his car and was constantly beating friction with his speed because he had never driven his car so fast. At a distance he saw a light which divided into two and before he knew it the truck's horn went on and the two vehicles crashed into each other.

Their tyres screeched and made the most unbearable sound ever. The car's hood came off and both of their headlights were completely destroyed. And in a moment's notice Zen no longer could feel anything, his consciousness was lost forever. Paramedics arrived and they saw little hope of him surviving the accident. Perhaps he should have fought his depression and try to think through how he could go on with his life. He should have thought it through. Its surprising how a person's mind can convince them to turn against themselves. But that's not the point. The point is can we really let the things that happen around us take control of our lives?

By Puppet Master

The lost love

I fell in love, I finally fell in love, and I fell hard, so hard that I was confident enough that this will last forever. Nothing interests me for long time, for some reason, I have this tendency of changing my mind every minute. But this time, I was sure, so sure to challenge myself. Everyone around me also felt that this time something is different, something that they have never seen within me before. I shared my feeling with my friends only to find out that they are sympathizing with me. I was over the moon. I enjoyed every moment I spent with my newly found love. The feeling kept me smiling and happy when I am in front of TV, when I am sitting in the car, while talking with friends, in the middle of a science class, while reading the news paper, while reading a favorite book or when simply going through a magazine. It seemed like everything had my love in it. I kept myself updated of everything that is happening in my love's life. I was well aware of all the facts regarding my love and never declined giving time. Infact gave more time than deserved. Those days were days incomparable, days filled with enthusiasm of being a part of something I love. That was the first time when I actually considered something to be a part of my life, an indispensable part.

But then slowly everything started to change. The change was not a sudden one but a gradual one, it happened in a way that I could not even realize that I was being slowly diverted away from what I once considered to be my life. But I had to finally part away. Surprisingly, I was not hurt, my eyes were not filled with tears, I did not blame myself for being such an impatient person, I was not grieved or was not distressed for being defeated in the challenge I threw to myself. Moreover, I took it naturally and that is how my love for the game of cricket came to a dead end.

By Ahona

Book Review

Red Water

Recently I became hooked on to reading pulp fiction. You could even go as far as to say that I had become a romance/ thriller fiction abuser. A true addict. Such was my addiction, that if the story line wasn't about some Scottish princess being carried off or some secret agent saving the world, I wouldn't go past reading the front flap.

But a couple of weeks ago I decided to take a break from the Ludlums and the McNaughts. Oh I still think McNaught is the best (although Sabrina, my friend would argue that Devereaux is better), but it was time to lay her to rest (well at least for a bit). So without any preconceived notions or prefixed requirements, I picked up Judith Freeman's Red Water.

Red Water is a somewhat narrative biographical of John D. Lee, a Mormon. On September 11, 1857, a hundred and twenty immigrants on their way to California were murdered by Mormon settlers and their Indian allies. Only seventeen children under the age of seven were kept alive. This splotch in history became known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre. And twenty years later, when it came to trial, John D. Lee was held responsible and executed by a firing squad. And henceforth he became one of the most controversial figures of American history.

Red Waters tells the story of John D. Lee through the voices of three of his nineteen wives: Emma, Ann and Rachel. Emma was an English convert, whom Lee married shortly after the Massacre. Ann was the last thirteen year old he married. And Rachel, who became his most devoted, was actually the sister of one of his first wives.

These three women paint three different parts of the same canvas with their words. Yet each has her own way of describing her life with John D. Lee. Emma, whose description is probably the longest, gives readers a glimpse into Lee's life long before he was tried. It talks about not only, how Lee led his life, but also about Mormon society in general. Ann on the other gives a glimpse into her life, after she left Lee. In fact her version is not even a narrative. And Rachel communicates through letters in which she talks of her days spent with Lee in jail and of her hardships after he was executed. For the era it describes, Freeman writes in words that are simple and flow easily. The book not only gives readers a better understanding of John D. Lee but also describes the faith of Mormons in great details. It is not a thriller, a mystery or a romance. But then again in some little ways, it is all three.

If you are looking for a “can't-put-down-till-the-end” novel, Red Water is not the right novel for you. But if you are in the mood for something mellow, to read while you swing on a hammock and sip iced tea, Red Water is definitely a must read.

By Tahiat-e-Mahboob


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