“I Didn't Break It! I Swear!”
You know when you're really tired and it is boiling hot outside and your mouth is all dry and you decide to take a shower to freshen up? What a bunch of apparently rojdar people do during this is that they take “freshening up” a step further by looking up at the shower and opening their mouths. Enter H2O. God knows who gets cheated here.
We know this guy who informed us that when he was younger, he used to go swimming in the lake during Ramadan whenever he visited his grandfather's place. And a lot of hydrating and drinking of water used to happen under water during the swimming. We stared at the guy with raised eye-brows, but he got defensive, “what I was just a kid!”
One of the most common roja-breaking activites that happens all the time is brushing teeth in the morning long after sehri with toothpaste. We know toothpaste kills the germs in your mouth, but you're supposed to do this brushing part during sehri, not after. Or else the roja breaks. And yes, it is considered as food, especially when you swallow it during brushing. This way you're brushing thrice a day (once during sehri, once after iftar and once before going to sleep) instead of the recommended twice. So don't think brushing teeth a mere two hours earlier makes it all disgusting. I will admit I used to make this mistake when I was a kid, but then I learned.
Moving on, innocent fast breaking activities happening all the time are worth mentioning too. Like when you mistakenly end up eating a delicious mouth watering melting chocolate mere minutes before iftar. What a heart-breaker this is. But it happens.
All our parents deceived us when we were tiny buds filled with enthusiasm and fired up to keep “fasting” (with occasional breaks of tasting something or the other) all day everyday during Ramadan. Getting sick didn't bother us, but it did our parents. When they told us that tasting food in between wasn't really valid and that we might as well not starve ourselves, it didn't work. We kept fasting. So they came up with ideas; and ingenuous ones too: If you eat three proper meals a day during Ramadan, you end up keeping 3 rojas. If you blow in your hand and keep this blown air in a closed tub, your roja stays safe, so that you can eat your food, and take it back again later. If you skip breakfast, you get ½ a roja. And the list goes on…(If you're a grown up now, don't try these now though. Unless you're an egghead and you really want to, but don't blame RS later).
Then there are the few handfuls of oddballs. These people like to eat a very elaborately prepared meal during sehri everyday in Ramadan, but end up never fasting. Some go and get themselves messed up in fights and break stuff, and drink their own blood, thus breaking more rojas. And then there are the very few non-muslims who fast during Ramadan just to get into the mood and sympathise with rojdar friends.
Ramadan is a cool(value-wise) month. We hope all our sins have been forgiven despite the sins we did during Ramadan. For those who are still fasting, good for you, it's healthy. For those who are done with it, good for you too. Now that it's officially over, now let's move on and get back to regular life.
By Nuzhat Binte Arif
THE first thing I was asked when I took this picture is, is it real? The idea of a blue rose seemed to confuse everyone. That got me thinking about life: no one understands it, no one has ever seen its beauty and everyone thinks it's unreal.
I enjoy life to the fullest yet it's unseen, in the shadows of one's imagination, and believed not to be true when seen. My advice to you, enjoy life to the fullest in every way possible for life, like this rose, is very beautiful. You just need to believe it to be true.
By Fuad Hussain
TRULY, the house was shaking with delight. My four nieces were yelling and running throughout the corridor and balcony bringing chocolates and fries out of the fridge. One of them came to thank me for the special kind of ice-cream I bought for them. And in the meantime, trial out for new dresses was going on. I have stopped counting the number long ago.
And I was there in a room with my sisters talking hilariously. So many things were there to share, to inform and to reveal. It was a get together with such beloved persons whose normal presence would have omitted the lonesomeness of my every day life.
There was the ongoing tradition of showing and seeing new
Surely, if all my siblings were there for me throughout the year I wouldn't have missed the usual sharing, trivial fun and bickering that come to my perception when I listen to my friends' talking about their sisters and brothers. But again, may be I would have taken them as granted if they were available for me. Probably for this reason eid has brought a very special tone of happiness this year and its flavor is togetherness.
The Subtle Knife
“GO then. There are other worlds than these."
Roland knew the truth of these words even as he sacrificed his little friend Jake in Stephen King's novel, The Gunslinger (part of the wildly popular Dark Tower series). King wasn't the first to experiment with the theme of parallel universes, and clearly he isn't the last.
The second novel in Philip Pullman's controversial Dark Materials trilogy starts off with a boy called Will Parry, living alone with his mother in Oxford, which may or may not be the Oxford that we know, but is certainly similar. Will's mother is a mental patient, and Will is extremely protective about her. When the story opens, the Parry's are being harassed by suspicious-looking men who want to know about Will's father, a famous explorer who mysteriously disappeared when Will was just a baby. When the men break in to their home, looking for documents, they spot Will and try to take him hostage, and in trying to escape, he inadvertently kills one of them. At once, the race to avoid being caught begins.
Will first stows his mother in a safe place, then sets off trying to find a suitable situation for the both of them. During this search, he steps through a 'window' of air, and finds himself in another world. While trying to get his bearings, a strange girl and her pet come crashing through another of those windows, and tumbling into his life. This is Lyra Belaqua and her daemon Pantalaimon, protagonists of Northern Lights, the first book in the series.
After a rough start, the two find themselves helping each other out in their strange adventures. Lyra's alethiometer (truth-telling device) leads her towards a physicist Dr Mary Malone, who is studying something called Shadows (sentient antimatter). There are others who are interested in the former nun's studies, and Lyra is taken hostage by Dr Charles Latrom, who is Sir Boreal in Lyra's world, an influential man in league with the evil Mrs Coultier, who has been hunting for Lyra all this while. In trying to rescue his new friend, Will obtains the Subtle Knife, a weapon that can cut anything, even the barriers between worlds. At that point, it becomes evident to Will and Lyra that their separate problems are somehow connected, and the stage is set for the battle to end all battles.
Parts of the story have a very Stephen King feel to them, but Pullman has his own distinct voice. The characterization is superb, and despite everything that these people do, and all they are portrayed to be, you can't help but worry for their welfare when they get into thick spots. There are shocks galore, and he attacks the church enough times that if you feel very strongly about religion, this is probably not the best book to read for enjoyment. If you can treat it as just another work of fiction, however, it's sheer entertainment.
Watch out for the review of the final book 'The Amber Spyglass' coming your way next week.
By Sabrina F Ahmad
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