Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, May 31, 2007

By Tareq

Our beloved Reporter friend has for the last few days suffered from a severe bout of extra sensory perception. What that means is that he's an inch from schizophrenia. Well anyway, in his mind our reporter has been conversing and interacting with characters hitherto thought to be a figment of a man's imagination. He was just telling me what a great person the Sandman is. Apparently the Sandman prefers white sand to say, the normal sand that settles in your hair after a sand storm. Now enough of the Sandman, what concerns this piece of writing is Cupid. You know, that sick little kid who keeps flashing people with his nude image and who suffers under the delusion that poking an arrow through a man's behind will make him fall in love. Our intrepid Reporter decided to interview this fine being while traversing the fantastical land of his dreams. Here it is:

Reporter: Ah… Hi.
Cupid: Hey. Um...could you move a bit to your right? It's kind of hard trying to aim at that girl over there with you standing in front of me.

R: Oh yeah. Sure. There you go. Now, would answer a few of my question?
C: Yeah sure. Wait; let me hit that guy first. I'm trying to set of a chain reaction.

R: Ah… That must have hurt. Those arrows look vicious Do you just have to use the arrows?
C: Yep.

R: Why?
C: Well I've always been using them. Also, humans tend to be stubborn creatures. They just don't see reason. Take rats for example; I don't even have to poke rats to make them fall in love. All I have to is point. Humans on the other hand don't even recognize the 'special someone'. That's why the use of arrows.

R: Rats? You work with animals too?
C: Obviously. Love exists among all creatures. Although in the case of animals, it's umm…more the making of love that's concerned.

R: Right… I see. So, if you have to inflict love among humans as well as animals then the work must be huge. How do you manage it?
C: There are more of us. I happen to be the president of the Cupids Committee.

R: There's a committee?
C: Yeah. Mostly its job is to supply arrows to cupids all over. Also it designates different cupids to different jobs. Fore example Jimmy is responsible for giraffes, Mike does the ants and since I'm president I manage humans. It's not that easy, spreading love.

R: And all this time I thought love was spontaneous.
C: It ain't mate, believe me.

R: What's with the nudity? How come you guys never wear any clothes?
C: It's this weird rule thing. It's says in the Cupid Book of Rules that a cupid must run around naked. We tried to change it but the book tried to bite when we used an eraser. Also, I believe nakedness is the biggest fashion revolution of all time. It's never in or out, it's somewhere in the middle.

R: The busiest day for a cupid is Valentines right?
C: Yep.

R: How come there's a certain day for love, why can't it be celebrated throughout the year?
C: Well Valentines Day was when the Cupids Committee President Valentine decided to use arrows instead of harpoons. Before that well…see love didn't flourish because no one ever lived.

R: So Valentines Day is actually the non-usage if harpoons and not a commercialization gimmick by Hallmarks?
C: Yeah. It was actually a cupid day of celebration. Then Henry mistakenly told a Hallmarks employee about it and the day became what it is today.

R: Oh…I see. Could you explain to me the whole process of shooting those arrows and how they work?
C: Sure. I just point like so, see? And then I look around to see if the special someone is nearby. When the guy looks at the girl I let it fly. When it connects the dude instantly falls in love with the girl.

R: Umm… How long does the effects of the arrow last?
C: Most arrows come with a best before date of two months. In those two months the victim will wallow in the deepest throes of love. Then everything falls apart.

R: Isn't that a very temporary way of spreading love?
C: There are some permanent arrows. These ones keep the victims in love for an extended period of time, at least until two years of marriage that is.

R: You guys have to be very good archers to make people fall in love with the right person. Has there been any mistake thus far in carrying out your job?
C: Well… Sometimes when the timing ain't correct mess ups do happen.

R: Like what?
C (reluctantly answers): You know, love triangles and quadrangles… Sometimes the mess ups are even more severe…

R (our reporter has finally improved, he's learned to ask questions that sting a bit): Like how?
C: Umm…ah…you know when a guy falls…falls for another…umm…guy…

R: Ah… Let's just end this here eh?
C (with obvious relief): Yeah! Great idea! See ya later.

Our Reporter watches the Head Cupid fly away with those utterly preposterous wings that don't look like they could support a mosquito. Since he is in a state of dreaminess his mind seems to work in a more accurate way. That's when he remembers that he hasn't asked one question yet.

R: Hey! Wait up!
C: Look you can't really blame us for those mess ups! We try our hardest to get it right. But see sometimes these baby hands get a little mixed up and slow down our reactions.

R: No it isn't about that. See I wanted to ask another question. So here goes. How come I haven't been hit with an arrow yet?
C: Ah…that question. Well see you haven't really given love s thought through out your life. Girls to you are akin to light posts. Things which are useful but are mostly ignored. Once you do start giving love serious consideration you'll feel the poke of that arrow.

R: Oh right… I don't get it but I'll take your word for It. Bye then.

After that our Reporter woke up. Since he was sleeping he got that disorienting feeling that the world had somehow changed and everything was new. However the Cupid and the interview remained clear in his mind. He wrote it to show it to his boss (in obvious hopes of a raise). On the way though he couldn't really figure out why his eyes took to staring at light posts. Weird really…

By, Shuprova Tasneem

I love the place I live in. With the phuchka stalls, book stores, sari shops and theatre at walking distance, this whole area is always filled with an air of festivity and hospitability. I love the little lane I live in, with the pond right beside it and bougainvillea and hibiscus flowers growing on the fence; and most of all I love the two krishnachura and radhachura trees growing on either side of the pond.

When I was a tiny, little kid (now I'm a more grown up kid), this area had more open spaces and more green vegetation, and looked especially beautiful in the summer and monsoon seasons. Back then, nothing delighted me more than the atmosphere in these two seasons. When the sky was clear and sunny, we kids rushed out to play tag or 'borof pani' outside, or my brother and I had sword fights with wickets, while I pretended I was Luke Skywalker or the Prince of Persia! If a storm was brewing right before sunset, the sky always turned a brilliant shade of crimson, which I would stare at in awe for as long as it lasted; and when the gales finally came, I would solemnly watch the trees bowing down to its ferocious power. When there was a pleasant breeze, I always ran under the radhachura to collect its flaming yellow flowers. I would be filled with delight every time I put those blossoms in my hair, and whenever my skirt swished and swayed in the wind; it made me feel like a princess of a bygone era.

It was that radhachura, and the krishnachura on the opposite side, that cast a special enchantment on me. There was this mysterious sort of romance about the two trees separated by the pond, like the legendary lovers Radha and Krishna, longing for each other. Each time the strong wind blew, the trees seemed to reach out in vain and blow their exquisite flowers to each other, like soft kisses in the wind. I never tired of watching those two trees while I anticipated dancing under them when the rain came down.

Things are different now. The coconut trees don't bend under the weight of the stormy winds anymore, because the owner chopped them down and constructed a building on their carcasses. The pond is smaller, and though the wind still creates ripples on it, it doesn't make little waves dance on the water now. The surrounding has altered, but in reality, more changes have occurred within me. Teenage life came, bringing with it nonsensical notions about 'growing up'; making me 'too old' to find pleasure in simple things. O level and A level came, making me 'too busy' to look at flowers and trees and ripples on the water. Time for coachings and concerts, for get-togethers and flirtations; time to leave behind silly games and childish dreams.

But then days like this come, when summer flowers burst into brilliant colours in full bloom, when the uplifting breeze strokes your hair, when you feel the rain coming and stop whatever you were doing to watch nature celebrate. When you can't stop yourself from experiencing those ambivalent emotions - joy, nostalgia, regret, the feeling that you are missing out on something very significant; all getting mixed up like colours in a painter's palette. When faint traces of memories surface at the back of your mind; billowing skirts, dancing in the rain, the heady scent of damp earth and castles in the air. On days like this, when I look up from the books and out through the bars of my window, when I watch the winding, brick path vanish into the trees, covered with burning flowers and watched over by the krishnachura and radhachura, I can't help wishing like Rabindranath Tagore once did, - “Mon chay, oi bolokar poth khani nite chine.”



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