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The Break Up

The sudden ringing of his cell-phone forced Oscar to take his mind off dinner. His father looked up at him, inquiringly. Retrieving the mobile, from the inner pockets of his trouser, Oscar looked at the name. “Princess Perfect' is what the caller-id read. Oscar smiled at his father and excused himself, noticing his father's displeasure, in the way he pursed his lips. “Hello” Oscar answered the smile apparent in his voice.

The response from the other side echoed the words, but not the sentiment. “We have to break up” the caller said, without preamble. At a loss for words upon hearing her, he mouthed the words “Why?” and then silence ensued. He then realized that he had been inaudible therefore he queried once more, this time in a louder voice. “It's not going to work out.” The voice replied.

Gripping the bar of the nearest window, Oscar took a deep breath, refusing to be weakened and thus composed himself. In the later part of the 5:57 seconds of conversation, there were assurances of friendship and the usual wishing of luck on future endeavors.

Voices in his head told Oscar to fight for his case, defend their love and ask for a chance, but he shunned the voices. He did not try to reason and nor did he show that he was hurt, opting instead to remain somewhat nonchalant. “I am sorry for wasting your life.” Oscar finally managed to say. Then came the farewell, one which he never expected, because a happy ending was what was supposed to be, yet the joy in the ending remained elusive.

All this, he realized, was because of Oscar's past, which was marred by incidents of sinful pleasures and deceptive luxuries. Now, his world had finally come crashing.

Oscar went back to the table and sat down, the pain very apparent on his face. “Who was it?” His mother asked. “A friend.” Oscar replied with a forced smile. Forcing the meal in his mouth, he tried to clean his plate as fast as possible. Swallowing whatever was left of his dinner with a glass of water; Oscar hurriedly got up and went to his room.

A few minutes later, his thoughts were interrupted by his father's entrance. “Is there a problem, son?” His father queried. Oscar was unable to reply, so he turned met his father’s gaze with a mute stare.

“Sometimes life doesn't go the way planned. It's the uncertainty that makes life exciting. But whatever the case is, it's important to never give up.” With those words, his father gave a smile and left the room. Oscar mulled over his father's words and than went back to reminiscing about the past. It all seemed so perfect. How could this be? He pondered.

The days passed and though he realized that the break-up was not because love had ended, but because problems had emerged, Oscar still dwelled in his anger. He was angry at himself for not assuring a bright future, he was angry at his misgivings and he was angry at the world. Yet his anger was not greater than his pain and in turn his pain was not greater than his guilt. If he hadn't erred so much in life, perhaps the ending would have been different. But then 'perhaps' was just a word wasn't it?

Oscar tried to move on but failed, only because he had misunderstood the meaning of 'moving on.' It was never about getting into another relationship, because past wound aren't healed by covering them up with another wounds. Indulging in past memories and passing time hearing love ballads, reading about tragedies and watching whatever he felt remotely linked to his own fate, Oscar came upon a stark realization.

He realized that all great love stories are marred by tragedies and those are the tragedies that make the love story great. Without pain and tears, no one's tale of love would be complete, just like life, where it is deemed incomplete without pain. Oscar learned to hate and thus he understood love. Oscar went through the pain, thus he could appreciate joy. In time, he understood that the obstacle in his path could be conquered if he believed in his life. With those thoughts in mind, Oscar went to his father and said with a smile. “Dad, I just realized that you were right. Life does go as planned, it just takes a little freedom molding around our plan. I haven't given up…” His father smiled at him, witnessing the evolution of a man from a mere boy. Maybe a heart-break helps us grow, he though to himself. Maybe…

By Osama Rahman

Why bank robbers should use bicycles instead of getaway cars

Unfortunately, our society sends the message that cars are much more useful than bicycles to all members of society, both those involved in lawful activities and those involved in unlawful activities. There are many groups who make the effort to teach those involved in lawful activities that they should be riding bicycles, but no effort is made at all to encourage those who engage in unlawful activities. (NOTE: I am not referring to violating the traffic code, which could get a criminal into unnecessary trouble.) But don't those involved in crime need aerobic exercise as much as does the general public? Couldn't they benefit from the other advantages of a bicycle? Wouldn't it be safer for the public if their crimes were committed using bicycles rather than using cars?

Using a getaway car involves the much greater cost of having a partner waiting in the vehicle outside the door. This means that whatever amount you manage to take will have to be cut in half. It would be nice if your accomplice would get half of your jail term as well, but they don't figure things that way when handing out sentences.

Your partner may also smoke in the car, which is not good for your health, or play the radio too loud, which is not good for your nerves or your ears.

On the other hand, the bike can be parked right next to the bank, so there's no need of anyone to stay with it. It's true that in high-crime areas, it might be better to lock the bike with a chain, but no smart bank robber picks a bank in a high-crime district because those banks are going to have armed guards; thus, it shouldn't be necessary to lock the bike.

Then if you do use a getaway car, you are much more likely to be caught in traffic. There's nothing worse than having the police right on your tail and to run into a jammed intersection. Sitting in stalled traffic is not good for your health either, as all those vehicles have their engines running, and the pollution is terrific. But on a bicycle, traffic congestion is no trouble. You can easily slip between stalled cars and be on your way.

If you escape in a getaway car, your vehicle is very likely to be spotted. This is very bad. Once they know that you're in a 1996 blue Toyota Corolla, every police officer is watching for that vehicle. On the other hand, if you are spotted leaving on a bicycle, that information is much less helpful. Even if they convey the message that you are riding on a blue Trek 520, not many officers will be able to identify the vehicle. They will have to depend on a description of you instead, and it's very easy to wear a mask, wig, and trench coat or even a lungi during your robbery, which you can discard shortly after leaving the bank. Better to have something under the lungi.

Although never mentioned in the police reports, bank robbers have health problems caused by the high stress of the crime. When you go into the bank for the purpose of robbing it, your blood pressure shoots way up. While you've got your gun trained on the bank teller, your heart is racing at high speeds. Then, after you run out and jump in the car, there is no way for your body to relieve that stress. You might try to get rid of it by speeding (see below), but that behaviour is very likely to get you caught. Instead, you have to force yourself to act cool and calm when your body desperately needs to get rid of that stress. However, if instead of using a getaway car, you jump on a bicycle, you can relieve your stress through brisk riding. Your stress will actually be helpful, as it will give you the extra energy that you need for your escape. And no one is going to be upset by your speeding on your bicycle, so you are not likely to attract the police.

Escaping in a getaway car might involve high-speed chases. These are very bad. One possibility is that you might end up killing some pedestrian or motorist in a driving accident while making your escape. You would think that the prosecutor would be sympathetic, since your real purpose was escaping, and harming someone was an accident, but they never think that way. Instead, they count anyone accidentally killed as a deliberate homicide and add that to your sentence. It's an unfair world.

Finally, you may end up getting killed yourself, either because they riddled your car with bullets or because you lost control at 120 mph.

On the other hand, high-speed chases are impossible when travelling by bicycle.

Conclusion (for the general public):
Therefore, all factors considered, it makes much better sense for bank robbers to use bicycles for getaways than motor vehicles. The robbers, the public, and even the police will benefit, although in different ways. The robbers will benefit due to reduced expense, and everyone will benefit from the reduced risk.


My first reaction was a loud, hearty 'No'.

Sam was trying hard to reason with me. 'Look…she'll probably stare at the mirror all day. It's like, you won't even know that she's there.'

Well, I had my reasons for putting up with a Malibu Barbie (also known as Suhana). But, for Sam's sake, I agreed.

'But only if she locks herself up in the bathroom,' I warned. And Sam and I both laughed.

I realized it was no laughing matter when, ten minutes later, the door to the rickety cottage opened and a skeletal bag of bones tottered in and cast a long look at my burger.

'Ewe, camp food!' she whined. 'Just the look of it makes me feel fat!'

'Why don't you try eating for a change?' I asked, staring at the plastic bag in her hand. 'And what is that?'

'It's salad,' she replied, shaking the scanty bits of cabbage at me. 'I want to be a model, and I can't let something like food in my way. See? I've lost ten pounds already!' And she twirled on her six-inch heels to show me her exposed spine.

There was nothing more to be said.

It came as no surprise to me when Suhana didn't eat at all. Most of the time, she either locked herself up in the bathroom (vomiting out her meals, what else?), or stared at glossy fashion magazines.

One day I noticed her poring over 10 Ways to Get Slim Quick. 'You know, Suhana, you don't need to lose anymore weight,' I told her. For the first time, I was actually concerned.

'You don't know the first thing about fashion, do you?' she retorted. 'I need to be thin. I need to be a size two. I need to be'

'What you need to do is stop obsessing about losing weight,' I snapped.

'I'm fine,' she said. 'You're just jealous of me.' And she dozed off over the magazine.

It was after sometime that I began to notice how sick Suhana was getting. She wouldn't get out of bed, she wouldn't eat (no, not even her cabbage salad). She didn't even have the energy to throw up her meals. And she looked more skeletal, if that was even possible. The camp doctor was worried, too. She checked Sahana out, and apparently Sahana was suffering from anorexia nervosa. And the girl needed professional help.

The next day, Suhana was shipped off to rehab. I saw her leave. And I said (to no one in general), 'I'm glad it didn't happen to me.

By Shababa


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