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Do not blame Snow White's step-mother

Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the prettiest of them all?”

As a kid I always used to ponder on the fact that how could some one be desperate enough to ask a mirror how they looked and even worse! To kill some one if that “mirror” said they did not look good enough.

But now I realize……oh! How wrong I was!!!

As it so turns out, I have discovered that snow white's step mother was not the only one who was so “highly” concerned about her looks.

Every one of us( by which I mean the teenagers) feel this boiling urge inside us to steal a glance on the mirror no matter how small it is, every single time we come in front of a mirror. Even me, a person who is the least bothered about looks cannot resist the urge of checking myself up on the mirror (though I usually have to look away quickly…… Cause… Umm… the sight is not very appealing).

One of the best mirror hang outs are in the bath rooms. Believe me, the bath room is a holy temple where everyday tones of people flock to just get a view of their outline in the hazed glass mirror.

In fact, bathroom mirrors are so popular that I even tracked down a website that is completely dedicated to it. Here is a line quoted directly from the divine site, “bathroom mirrors are the most important of all mirrors, if you consider the amount of time spent in front of it”. Added to it were the petty details about the significance of mirrors and how the ancients used to use dark water to see their reflection (the poor souls) and how the African elephant can recognize its own reflection etc. etc.

Now you might ask how I can be so certain about humans' obsession with mirrors. Well, then my friends, my answer is 'observation'. For months I have observed and with vigilant eyes caught people red handed in the act of grooming themselves up in our own dear school washroom. I have seen a never ending queue in the school washroom during the break with people giving the lame excuse of having to wash their hands. I have seen girls trip on the stairs while attempting to catch a glimpse of themselves on the window pane. I have caught numerous boys flipping their hair or spiking it up every time they came in looking distance of a car window. I have felt my own heart burning to see my own reflection and thus after months of observations I hereby concluded that snow white's mother was not the only one to be blamed. In fact if I were ever fortunate enough to get a mirrors opinion then I sure would never have let that chance slip from my hands.

On the whole, mirror is a part of our daily life that we just cannot live without. We can't even imagine a life where we cannot tell if our hair is sticking out or if we have a dripping nose. The thought itself scares the hell out of me!

Therefore, don't hold back, get a good look at yourself and then hit the road to whatever destination you have!

By Mashiat Rabbani

Living the dream…

It was a world which great men had once dreamt up. It was the stuff of which legends were made and fairy tales were written. Yet, there was something missing in this perfect place.

The trees grew ever green, the butterflies flew about, flower's gave off the sweetest fragrance and birds sang in mesmerizing tunes. Yet, as I looked about, I could decipher the will for something much more, in all the smiling faces around me. Men greeted each other with immense respect, women talked without even the slightest whisper of a rumor, children played games devoid of victors and told stories without forked tongues.

It was joy and equality everywhere. The happiness was infectious and I began to re-enforce the smile that I already had. It wasn't because I wanted to smile but rather because smiling was what I had been doing since my birth. It was as common as breathing. In the distant I heard much laughter yet suddenly I yearned to hear a cry. Was something wrong with me? Or was the whole world that had gone crazy?

It was all too perfect, not a tear in the world, not a sinner breathing….was this the end? Everything was free, their values inevitably forgotten. Like a smile, I though to myself. When we smile, we forget its value, but when others do and we can't, we suddenly realize what the movement of those 14 muscles is worth. Now, everything was worthless.

The perfect world is an eerie place. 'What is your purpose of living?' I asked a fellow standing in front of me. He looked at me blankly and had no words to speak. 'What is yours?' He finally managed to ask, after the momentary delay. 'My purpose is to discover what this life is missing. .' Came my reply. No other words where exchanged, as we both began contemplating.

Everything was too easy. People had come to grips with reality, seeing it as the ultimate journey to a power which would love and protect, and to whom we would all go and re-unite. It was about giving birth, living with a smile and then going with everyone left smiling back. Life was much too simple. There were people who would look out for you, people who cared..but what about people who loved? Did they really exist? It was much too hard to tell, because caring and sharing had also become a part of living. It wasn't done because someone wanted to do so, but because everyone else was doing it and it was a part of life. Life was perhaps missing genuine love and care. But what if all of it was in fact genuine? Well, given that case, life would remain incomplete still.

'What do you think we are missing?' I asked the priest. 'My son, we are not missing anything. We are merely regretting the sins of our forefathers. If only they had seen the error of their ways…' He replied. His answer wasn't satisfactory. We were missing something. I could tell. And it just wasn't a purpose of life, because the loving and sharing and caring weren't purposes. At least not for me, I thought. Was I the one at fault here?

My last stop was at Mr. Manson's. He could perhaps enlighten me. Who was he? He was the last thief to be caught and convicted, in the past 50 years. No other cases of theft was reported. I sat near the ancient looking man and his eyes, wised beyond years, looked back. 'You have confusions?' He asked, without greetings. 'What is missing in this life?' I questioned back, ignoring explanations. Mr. Manson lay back on his chair and absorbed the question. It was a dinky little room, lit only by a candle, devoid of windows and any furniture except the three chairs.

I saw the glisten off the knife in Mason's hand and I felt it slit my throat, delicately yet with fatality. I gasped and bled, tears rolling down my eyes and a pain searing through my body, like one I had never felt before. 'What we are missing are true emotions. We have lost all meaning of every emotions and thus we have lost the power to feel.' I heard Mason speak, his tone dying of strength with every passing minute. I gasped louder. 'You will live, I only intended on hurting you and hoping that at this moment, you begin to fear death. Then you will learn to fear and you will feel pain. Grow some emotions.' I began to feel better. Comforting words, a sort I had never heard before, came from Mr. Mason. 'Life is a test and once you remove obstacles from a test, all you have is nothing. No temptations, no thrills, no emotions. No purpose in life, no desire….nothing.' Mason said with a tone of finality. He would say no more, but he did heal my wound.

I gathered the strength and walked away from his house, pondering his answers and assertions. A perfect life wasn't thought through. Great men had dreamt…unfortunately they hadn't lived them. I learned, yet I lacked the dare to preach…another emotion that I hadn't learned.

By Osama Rahman

Book review

Wild Magic

One of the things I really miss about living in an independent house is this embargo on pets. I grew up in a rambling house, with at least one large dog always running around in our big garden. At one time, I had a brood of chickens; at another, a pair of kittens, and I even had a pet turtle for a few months. A pet can sometimes be a better companion than a human being. As my good friend Tareq points out, "There's no politics, no expectations, and no deception about animals."

Sometimes they can be more than mere companions, as is evident in The Immortals, a fantasy series for children by Tamora Pierce.

The story centres around Veralidaine Sarrasrin, Daine for short, the illegitimate daughter of the hedge-witch Sarra, who was killed by bandits. The only survivors of this tragedy, Daine and her pony Cloud, come to the city, where she is recruited by Onua, the royal horse-trainer, working for the king and queen of Tortall.

On their way to the Palace, the pair encounter the half-steel bird, half human monsters called Stormwings, which have been freed from the Divine Realms by an evil king in a neighbouring kingdom. Here, Daine proves her talent with bow and arrow, as well as a keen touch with animals of any kind, and they beat back the Stormwings. They also rescue a black eagle, which is actual the mage Numair Salmalin. It is Numair who discovers that Daine's affinity with animals goes beyond an ordinary horse-whispering; she is actually full of wild magic.

Daine, however, is suspicious of her own talents, and believes she is going mad. Gradually, Numair manages to win her trust and train her to use her powers effectively. Just as Daine begins to settle down to life at the Palace, making new friends Tortall comes under attack from ogres, Stormwings, and a host of other monsters. Will she be able to protect the people, and more importantly, the animals of Tortall? You'll have to read the book to find out.

Geared towards children of ages 10 and above, the language is easy and the characters are not too complicated. Pierce borrows terms from schoolroom science to keep things interesting, and the landscape is interesting enough to keep the adult reader amused as well. If you've got a young sib who's looking for a little magic and fun, this book is perfect! Watch out for the review of the sequel Wolf-Speaker, coming next week!

By Sabrina F Ahmad



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