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Dreams are all I have…

Age 2:
“Oh God, why'd you go and give me a little brother? I mean come on, I don't need one. I'm fine and everything and that new kid has taken over my cot… and my mom. Dad seems to pay him all the attention and it's rarely mom even looks at me now? Why did you go and do that? Can't you send the stork and have him delivered somewhere else? I mean I know its cool and everything, a little brother, but do I have to share mom with him? And look, I'm not giving him any of the Lego or the Hotwheels! Now way! There mine!

Age 5:
The little red car on display at the toy shop across the street, please can you make dad buy me it? Please? Maybe mom could buy it for me? Come on, I know you can do it, and I've been a good little kid these past few days! I've even learned the alphabets. I can say all of them out loud! Please can I have the little red car? Please pretty please… I won't ever ask you again! Just this one time… Its just one small red car, it shines!

Age 7:
Dexter is so cool! The lab, the cool white coat! I want to be Dexter when I grow up. Please make me Dexter God! Please make me Dexter! And the lab, can I have a lab too? I could have one in my room just like Dexter does! And I already have a brother so you won't have to give me a sister like Dee Dee. I would have my own lab that would be so cool! And when I have my own lab can I turn the teacher at school into a bat? She keeps making me do math! Please God, what do you say? Deal?

Age 9:
You know what? Transformers are insane! The cars…ah… I think I want to be Optimus! Actually, no, make that Hot Shot…or wait! Megatron. He is insanely cool and he transforms into a tank! I love it when Optimus and Megatron fight! I don't like it though when Megatron loses… I'm sure I could do better. Can I be Megatron when I grow up?

Age 11:
There's this new girl in class. She is kinda cute I guess. And oh yeah, mom wants me to take swimming lessons! Darn it! I'm scared of the water! And there are girls at the place where they teach! I can't go there in my swim shorts! No way! Can you please look over me when I'm there? I want out of this! If only I was Aquaman…

Age 13:
Sigh… there's this new console out on the market, it's infinitely cool and I so want it! Can you help me out? Please? Oh please! And the cute girl, I think she finally noticed me! I finally plucked up the courage to talk to her! And listen, tomorrow help me out woudja? It's her birthday and I want to give her a present, without making a fool of myself. Think she'll like me dressing up as the Joker… I mean the Joker is just so cool…

Age 15:
The O' Levels are in a week! I'm so dead! I mean really dead! I feel like the whole time I was whiling away the time and didn't learn anything at all. The other day while giving the math mock I felt like the numbers where all jumping up and down! And the first exam is math! Oh darn! It's all hopeless. Please help me out of this, please! I won't ask again, I swear! Just the 6 A's to keep mom happy. That's all I ask!

Age 17:
The girl left me. I tried to talk to her today after physics lab. It's so messed up! I tried, I mean I really tried! This is one of those weeks when nothing goes right. I messed up at home too. I shouldn't have fought with mom. Look, can you tide this over. Eh? Just this once?

Age 25:
College finally over! Yeah, life's cool. Although I am somewhat worried. I applied to three law firms. Wonder which one I'll get a chance in. I just hope the job pays well and that I don't have to move. It's a hassle, moving... Mom and Dad have been to marry me off, please, not until I've set a career. Please not now.

Age 35:
The mortgage is up. I don't need this now. I just put up the starting capital for the stocks. I don't know how'll make it up. I don't want to get a loan. And the kid needs to get into a new school; this one seems to be lagging and I have to scratch something up for the admissions charge. Just help through this month please!

Age 50:
I think I'll retire early. I'm tired beyond words. The mundane work life is getting to me. I need some peace. But I can't quit now. I have to put the kid through college, and there's that heart surgery to pay for… Just let me survive till it's all over, please…

Age 65:
Retirement ain't what I thought it would be. Day in, day out I stare out the window, watching the world pass me by. The kid comes every now and then. There's talk of him marrying soon. I hope he settles down quick. I've started watching all the cartoons again, just because everything else on TV seems faked. Dexter is still the same, although the new ones aren't as good. And Megatron… that cool tank… The old dreams… they comfort me now.

By Tareq Adnan

The devious plot to corrupt young minds

Don’t you miss your childhood? The memories of those perfect days still make me feel like salivating, when cramming all night and writing pointless articles under a deadline that we never manage to meet were just fantasies of our future. The days when you could watch TV and play all day without being yelled at about being lazy good-for-nothings, if you chanted a few rhymes at intervals, you were actually considered cute for it!

Speaking of nursery rhymes, they were definitely an integral part of our lives once. Even though most of us grew up to be evil, twisted or downright dishonest, we were all once a host of angelic cuddly children, laughing and chanting these random verses in the playground. But are these rhymes actually as meaningless as we think? The time has come to unveil the life-changing secret (drum roll), almost all the nursery rhymes have some sort of underlying meaning which is totally negative, evil or cruel and now we have another great reason to sue our schools for corrupting our young minds!

Let's start with the all time favourite. Remember how we all loved to chant Ring-a-Ring o'Rosies in a circle and then collapse while saying 'we all fall down'? This rhyme is actually thought to be about the Great Plague of London in 1665, where the deadly disease led to a 'rosy red' rash and people had 'pockets full of posies' since they believed the sickness was transmitted by bad smells. And the last two lines refer to the cremation of those who 'fell down' and died after being infected. We started off school by dancing about the deaths of thousands of people; can we really be blamed if we grow up to be slightly murderous?

Then there is the Ding Dong Bell rhyme about the kid who threw a cat down the well, where the animal was actually left there to drown in the original version. And most people I know walk around the street and randomly throw stones at street dogs. Do you see an incredibly remote, barely there connection? If you need to see more animal rights abuse, go and visit the starved, half dead animals of Dhaka Zoo, maybe then you will be convinced that someone once taught the caretaker nursery rhymes when he was a kid!

And it's not just that, nursery rhymes teach us how to be religious bigots as well. Remember the Goosey Goosey Gander rhyme, where 'I met an old man who wouldn't say his prayers, I took him by the left leg and threw him down the stairs'! And let's not forget about little Jack Horner who put his thumb in a pie, pulled out a plum and called himself a good boy. This is actually considered to be a Steward to some Bishop in the 15th century, who stole the deeds to his boss's property, which were hidden inside a pie, then betrayed him and got the old man to be hung and chopped to pieces, after which he took over his property and lived there happily ever after like a 'good boy'! Compared to this, we are much more respectful to our boss; we just backbite about him and occasionally steal from his wallet. And true, though some of the richest people in our country are famous for stealing property, they just threaten and beat up the previous owner, murders are committed so infrequently, they hardly count.

And then there was Georgie Peorgie, who 'kissed all the girls' and was apparently a Duke who had affairs with many married women as well. Now you guys finally have someone to blame the next time you get frowned upon for indecent behaviour! But this is still better than the really bloody rhymes. Jack and Jill who went up the hill are actually King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette who were beheaded during the French Revolution. Listening to a class full of fresh-faced, smiling children singing this rhyme is definitely going to give you the creeps now, isn't it? And by the way, Humpty Dumpty stands for a huge cannon that was used to kill people, but it fell off the wall and broke and got its owners killed, and the three blind mice are actually Protestant noblemen who got burned at the stake by a Catholic Queen. At least RAB uses less painful methods to 'crossfire' people!

So there you have it, nursery rhymes set bad examples. So do fairy tales when you think about it, the wolf species become endangered in Red Riding Hood, and Hansel and Gretel burn a nice old lady in an oven just because she wears a weird hat and eats children. So if you really want what's best for your kids, make them listen to Marilyn Manson and 50 cent, and stay away from Mother Goose!

By Shuprova Tasneem

Laff lines

Rough work
My wife and I are teachers, and our jobs often spill over into our family life. One morning as our eight-year-old Maggie was getting ready for school, I peeked into her room to be sure she had tidied it up. "You call THAT a made bed?" I asked.
No Dad," Maggie replied. "It's just a rough draft."

Work for self
There was this man who, many years ago, worked for a large business. That was his lifetime employment, but he wasn't happy there. He wanted to go in business for himself. He saved his money and finally had enough that he could quit and start his own business.

About two years later, I was on vacation and was going through the town where his business was located. I stopped by for a visit. "Hey John, I heard that the first year is the hardest for a new business."

"Yeah, the first year was pretty rough, but we are doing pretty good now. In fact, I'm getting to where I only have to work half a day."

"Wow, that's pretty nice. Maybe I should think about going into business for myself."

"Yeah, and the nicest part of it is that it doesn't matter which twelve hours you work."

In the red corner...
A recent widow was crying to a grief counselor. "We were married twenty-five years before he died," she said, dabbing away a tear. "Never had an argument in all those years."

"Amazing," said the councelor. "How did you do it?"

"I outweighed him by forty pounds and he was a coward."


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