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The absence of noise

YOU don't know what you've got till it's gone. So says the popular saying. The only thing in life that we value at all times is money. Everything else like youth, hair, free time and good teeth fit very well with the aforementioned saying. When they disappear, we feel the absence with panic. And then we try desperately to recover that lost youth, the free time, the thinning hair and the missing teeth with money. Money that disappears and make us panic further.

But who would have thought that noise could also be missed? Think of the barrage of noise that we call city life. During the past Ramadan, it was all about horns honking in traffic jams, stomachs growling in hunger and tempers boiling cause of hunger during traffic jams. All this was accompanied by the background music of the continual wet 'splurtch' of spit hitting hopefully anything but you. And then suddenly, just before Eid, there was peace. In fact, it was not just any peace, it was Peace. With a capital 'P'.

Nights and days were followed by a dead silence. I could actually hear the used diaper swishing through the air as it is surreptitiously dropped from one person's balcony to the neighbour's yard. I, and the neighbour, could hear the plop. And then everybody could hear the neighbour call out something unprintable. And then peace again.

I could hear the slapping of worn sandals against the heel as someone hurried across the street. It was that quiet. I could even hear Eid coming the next day (albeit wearing new sandals). It was accompanied by music, people talking, hugging and more diapers thrown into the neighbour's yard. Yet, something was amiss. Something wasn't there. Could be the 'Eidi' that I don't get anymore. But more importantly, it was too quiet. I missed the noise of crackers going off in succession.
Whatever happened to our 'potkas'?

Big festivals were always big on being loud. Crackers were the order of the day. Everyone knew that a festival was afoot. Popularly (or otherwise) known as 'potka', crackers have been the epitome of celebratory madness. A perfect cracker was like the most imperfect politician. It made a lot of noise without actually doing anything. Take for instance your regular candy sized, shaped and similarly wrapped potka with a short fuse. Light it up and it explodes with nothing more than a loud bang. And it was devilishly fun.

But the fun has stopped. Someone decided to ban loud crackers. Police, especially the dark kind, patrol all around with the inherent threat that anyone blowing things up will be made to feel at one with a cracker. And hence, the peaceful streets.

Kids now generally have to make do with sparklers or 'tarabatti' and other similar fireworks that do not under any circumstances go 'boom'. They don't even pop gently. At best, the kids and young at heart can blow up a plastic bag that go 'bang'. But it's never the same as a loud satisfying eardrum-melting explosion.

And then late at night there was one loud bang in the distance. I almost clapped. Someone was being a rebel. It was just that one solitary blast and probably police caught him and made him eat the rest of his stash. But it felt good to think with more people rebelling, the blasted noise would become commonplace again. Would I miss the peace? I can only hope.

By Sadia Islam

Blessed with an Angel

AS the saying goes, life is like a stage and we are all actors in it, some stay with us till the very end, and while others just complete their parts and leave us forever. Life is a mixture of laughter, tears, blessings, tragedy, and sometimes, life is just as it is. But there are some without whom it won't be just difficult for us, but it would be impossible to live life. To some, it is their special one, to some his friends, and to some, like me, it's the
person we call mother, or just “Ma”!

Just like all the possessions in our lives, this is the person whom we always take for granted. It's my mom's duty to look after me. But we always seem to forget the duties we have for her. Why do we turn our backs when our turn comes? The person who carried me in her womb for 9 months, taught me to speak, how can I abandon her?

Mother is the angel, who takes you in her arms, when you wake up after experiencing a nightmare, and whispers, “It's alright!” She is the person, whose finger you clutched when you tried to walk. She is the person, who lent you her shoulder when you wanted to cry your heart out. The person, who fed you, morsel by morsel, when you were lying in bed, ill! The person who always shared her food with you with a smile, and even went hungry so that you got you fill. The person, who never said no to you, when you cried for a balloon, even though she knew perfectly well, that you will burst it the moment you get your hands on it! The person who looked sadly at you, and understood what you wanted, even when you couldn't speak properly! The person who told you fairy tales, and made you realize that you are a charming prince, or the most beautiful princess in the world!

If only life was a fairy tale, and we could have live happily ever after…….. But once the charming prince grows up, the time he spent with his mother gradually decreases. The mother stays awake for her son, until he arrives home, only to find that he has already eaten. She yearns for his touch, but he is too busy to have a word with him. To busy to realize that maybe she is the same person who stayed awake the whole night, when he was shivering with fever.

Humans are perhaps the most ungrateful creature to roam on Earth. It's his nature to forget…….to realize the significance of things, of people. Of how much his mother means to him. He is too stupid to realize, that he's not her need, but the fact that he's here because of her. Too foolish to recognize the angel, that God sent us, because He couldn't always be there for us .

By The Dark Lord

Laff lines

A couple were dressed and ready to go out to the New Year's Eve Party. They turned on a night light and the answering machine, covered their pet parakeet and put the cat in the backyard. They phoned the local cab company and requested a taxi.

The taxi arrived and, as they opened the front door to leave the house, the cat they had put out in the yard scooted back into the house! They didn't want the cat shut in the house because she always tries to eat the bird so the wife went out to the taxi while the husband went back inside to get the cat. The cat ran upstairs with the man in hot pursuit.

Waiting in the cab, the wife didn't want the driver to know that the house would be empty for the night so she explained that the husband would be out soon, "He's just going upstairs to say goodbye to my mother."

A few minutes later, the hubby got into the cab. "Sorry I took so long," he said, as they drove away. "She was hiding under the bed; had to poke her with a coat hanger to get her to come out! She tried to take off so I grabbed her by the neck. Then I had to wrap her in a blanket to keep her from scratching me! But it worked; I hauled her fat behind downstairs and threw her out into the back yard!"

The cabbie just stared in horror.

"There is only one way to achieve happiness on this terrestrial ball, and that is to have either a clear conscience or none at all." --Ogden Nash

A barber runs out of his shop and down to the nearest corner where a policeman is standing. "Officer," he asks, have you seen a man run by here in the last few minutes?"
* No I haven't. What's the problem?"

* The lousy cheat ran out of my shop without paying me!"

* Does this fellow have any distinguishing features?" the officer asks.

* Well, yes," the barber replies. "He's carrying one of his ears in his left hand."

Seeing stars
A new employee calls the Help Desk to complain that there's something wrong with her password.

* The problem is that whenever I type the password, it just shows stars," she says.

* Those asterisks are to protect you," the Help Desk technician explains, "so if someone were standing behind you, they wouldn't be able to read your password."
* Yeah," she says, "but they show up even when there is no one standing behind me."

Sad confirmation
Eric is sitting at the bar staring morosely into his beer. Tom walks in, sits down and asks him what the problem is.

* Well," said Eric, "I ran afoul of one of those awkward questions women ask. Now I'm in deep trouble at home."

* What kind of question?" asked Tom.

* My wife asked me if I would still love her when she gets old, fat and wrinkly."

* That's easy," said Tom. "You just say 'Of course I will'".

* Yeah," said Eric, "That's what I did, except I said 'Of course I DO...'”


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