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When Disney comes to life

You might think that taking autographs of Winnie the Pooh or taking pictures with Mickey Mouse in Disneyland is a very silly thing to do, since it's obvious that it's just a person wearing a costume. But when you go near them, you can't really control your feet. You just HAVE to go and give them a hug. Then there are the rides. Whatever ride you see, even if you don't know what it is, you feel like going and riding on all of them. Well at least that's what I did…though I couldn't take all the rides. I mean, that place is HUGE… Anyway, when I walked into Euro Disney, I felt like I jumped inside a fantasy world. The entrance had “Welcome to Disneyland” written in bold golden letters, and one enters into it with all the excitement and anticipation.

I'll start with the Roller Coaster. First, when I was in the queue, I was very excited. Then when I was about to take my seat, I became seriously scared. Seeing it might be fun, but riding it can be one of the most frightening experience one can ever have. The Roller Coaster is designed in such a way that you'll feel like you'll fall down any second. I had my eyes closed almost for the entire ride! Yes, I was THAT scared. There was Alice in Wonderland's…wonderland. It was a maze made of bushes. There was a Spade card with a funny face. It had a hole in the middle of its face and body, for people to put there face inside it and take photographs!

My favourite part was the Winnie the Pooh musical. It was a story about finding Piglet who got lost in the woods. When Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and the other characters started singing, the audience started singing along as well. They were coming and shaking our hands and let me tell you, they were extremely soft and comfy. Some people started dancing too.

Another ride was a water ride through a cave on a boat. It was a journey through different countries of the world, introducing their different cultures. The interesting thing was that the song, 'It's a Small World,' was being played in each of the countries' languages. There were dancing dolls, each wearing its country's traditional costumes, like the Indian ones were wearing sarees and the Japanese ones were wearing kimonos. And at the end of the journey, there was a signboard with Goodbye written in almost about 20 different languages.

The most spectacular show was the Disney Parade. It was started off with Mickey and Minnie Mouse. There was a large green dragon and smoke was coming out of its nose every five seconds. There was Cinderella in the pumpkin carriage, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel with her long hair, many other princesses. Aladdin, Peter Pan and Tinkerbell and Little Mermaid were also there and it ended with Mary Poppins. The funny thing was that though it was raining, with or without an umbrella, nobody was moving from their places, the parade wasn't cancelled and flashes from cameras were still continuing. Everyone without umbrellas were soaking wet, including us. It only proves how fantasy characters from Disney pages can come into real life and make us forget about everything.

Through these theme parks, Disney has given life to lifeless forms and won millions of hearts- both young and old, coming from far and wide.

By Sanjana Rahman

History's Mysteries:
The Salem witch trials

The History
In 1692, nineteen men and women, convicted of witchcraft, were executed in the village of Salem of Puritan Massachusetts. It has been said that it all started when Reverend Samuel Parris moved to Salem with his wife, six-year old daughter Betty Parris, niece Abigail Williams and a servant Tituba. In the cold winter of 1692, when Betty Parris became ill, she demonstrated the most bizarre symptoms which led the townspeople in believing that witchcraft may be involved with her disease. Talks increased as seven other girls showed similar symptoms of contortion and complaints of pinching and biting sensations. Suspicions were confirmed when one of the so-called victims Ann Putnam admitted to seeing “witches flying through the winter mist”. Hence many of Salem's respected as well as impoverished townspeople were accused of heresy.

Among them was Reverend Parris's servant Tituba who spilled the beans and confessed of being a witch. Had she been silent the investigation would have ended and the accused could have been free with only a mere reprimand. Following Tituba's account, the witch hunt began in full swing in which the Putnams along with Reverend Parris were most active. Thus more and more people were captured and those who denied the allegations were either hanged or sentenced to life-time imprisonment. Giles Corey was pressed to death with stones because he showed contempt as well as refused to accept that he had any hand in the proceedings. Others like John Proctor also fought back the contentions against him made by the girls. He was hanged while his pregnant wife was spared.

The Mystery
This incident was indeed a peculiar and tragic one in American history. Since it involved Puritans of the 16th century, it depicted their strict moral belief to exorcise all satanic influence (even if none existed) to purify the Protestants. One of the biggest acts of sacrilege according to them was witchcraft.

The mystery in the incident lies whether justice was rightly delivered since the trial was based on spectral evidence and not on real proof. If you've read Arthur Miller's “The Crucible”, you'd know that Abigail Williams was the main antagonist who started all this to get back to John Proctor with whom she had an affair. It is clearly mentioned in the book that it was Abigail and the girls who practiced witchcraft and not the citizens who were accused of it. The book also cites jealousy of the Putnams against their rival landowners for which they took the account into their advantage and blamed whoever they thought was a menace (scholars established this as the main motive of the outbreak). The reason for Reverend Parris's involvement was thought to save his own skin because if he backed out then the citizens of Salem would point at his own blood and thus his ministry would be lost.

By the time many of the accused were released and the judges who convicted them asked for pardon, judgment of the nineteen were already delivered. The question of whether a fair trial in this case was ever possible will always remain.

Reference: “The Crucible” and www.law.umkc.edu

By Faria Sanjana

Laff lines

The secret
On their 50th wedding anniversary, a couple summed up the reason for their long and happy marriage.
The husband said, "I have tried never to be selfish. After all, there is no "I" in the word 'marriage.'
The wife said, "For my part, I have never corrected my husband's spelling."

From forms
Applicants for jobs at the company where my friend Diana works are asked to fill out a questionnaire. Among the things candidates list is their high school and when they attended. One prospective employee dutifully wrote the name of his high school, followed by the dates attended: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Keep those beasts away
A couple moved to the country when they retired. One mild winter, they had a bit of a problem with rodents in the garage. So they bought one of those little sub-sonic mouse repellants, the kind you plug in and they emit some kind of sound that drives off mice. The husband was showing it to their neighbor and explaining that it was an animal repellant. He told her that it worked on every thing from mice to elephants.

"Really!?" she said, "Mice to elephants, eh." sounding a bit skeptical.
"Yes," he replied, seriously. "We've had it here for a couple of weeks now and we haven't had a single elephant in the garage the whole time!"

Myth Box:

Quetzalcoatl is an Aztec sky and creator god. The name is a combination of quetzal, a brightly colored Mesoamerican bird, and coatl, meaning serpent. So many know him as the feather headed serpent/snake and was connected to the plant Venus. He was also the patron god of the Aztec priesthood, of learning and knowledge. Today Quetzalcoatl is arguably the best known Aztec deity, and is often thought to have been the principal Aztec god. He organized the original cosmos and participated in the creation and destruction of various world periods. Quetzalcoatl ruled the fifth world cycle and created the humans of that cycle. The story goes that he descended to Mictlan, the underworld, and gathered the bones of the human beings of the previous epochs. Upon his return, he sprinkled his own blood upon these bones and fashioned thus the humans of the new era. He is also a god of the wind, as well as a water-god and fertility-god.

He is regarded as a son of the virgin goddess Coatlicue and as the twin brother of Xolotl. As the bringer of culture he introduced agriculture (maize) and the calendar and is the patron of the arts and the crafts.

In one myth the god allowed himself to be seduced by Tezcatlipoca, but threw himself on a funeral pyre out of remorse. After his death his heart became the morning-star, and is as such identified with the god Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli. In dualistic Toltec religion, the opposing deity, Tezcatlipoca ("Smoking Mirror"), a god of the night, had reputedly driven Quetzalcoatl into exile. According to yet another tradition he left on a raft of snakes over the sea. In any case, Quetzalcoatl, described as light-skinned and bearded, would return in a certain year. Thus, when the Spanish conqueror Hernán Cortés appeared in 1519, the Aztec king, Montezuma II, was easily convinced that Cortés was in fact the returning god.

The Aztec later made him a symbol of death and resurrection and a patron of priests. The higher priests were called Quetzalcoatl too.

By Nishita Aurnab
Resources: Great Heroes of Mythology and Enclopedia Mythica.

She is...

One more cigarette
and the clock ticks away,
one more sigh drops
into an ashtray,
and it's another night
to keep her ghosts at bay -
she is such a beautiful girl...
One more candle to blow out
and a key to lock the door,
one more prayer to recite
although she has many more,
and it's another night
to wonder, what is it all for
She is such a beautiful girl...

For Sadia,
By Raziel





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