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Fact or fiction

THERE were only a few weeks left before the deadline. Writer's block had never struck the author before, and he was wondering why it had to hit him now. The 37 page of outline at this point was only a 10 page novel. There were dozens of e-mails from his editors, friends, and parents ranging from why he hadn't met any of his deadlines to why he hadn't left his house in two weeks. Stale cups of coffee surrounded the computer, and there were clothes strewn all over the apartment floor.

“Oh well,” he thought to himself. “I might as well get some sleep.” With that, he stumbled into his bead, and immediately dozed off.

A sudden nudge woke the man up. He stared at his clock, and it read 4:00 am. As he looked around the room, he was surprised to see that everything was cleaned up. The desk looked spotless, the floor looked shiny, and there was even a fresh wintergreen scent.

“I thought you might need some help,” a deep and scruffy voice uttered from somewhere behind him. Quickly turning around, the writer saw a middle aged, middle height man dressed in a black suit. The writer squinted, rubbed his eyes, and even hit himself across the face.

“No time to look silly,” the intruder said. “We have a lot of work to do.” With that, the intruder explained the man how and where his novel was going right and going wrong. The writer started taking copious notes, and after that, he asked the intruder why he was helping. There was no reply.

“Surely there is some way I can repay you,” the writer said. The intruder looked directly in his eyes, and he said he would like a hot latte. Puzzled, the writer got up to make the latte. Just when it was about finished, he spilled hot water on himself

The writer jumped up from his bed, practically covered in sweat. He looked around, and saw the clock read 4:00 am. He fell back in his bed, and wondered how and why such a peculiar dream presented itself to the writer. Eventually he stopped questioning what had happened, and was grateful that he could remember bits and pieces of what the man said.

As he got up to make himself a cup of coffee, he saw a hot latte on the kitchen table.

By Ihsan B. Kabir

Book Review

Five Point Someone

RECENTLY Five Point Someone a novel by Chetan Bhagat is in the limelight once again. The reason is obvious; Bollywood's recent runaway hit 3 Idiots. This light reading material is lucid and can be read at a stretch because the story is about you, the average Joe, whose priorities in life are certainly not studies first, but friends.

With the pace of an autobiographical account, the characters are simple people with whom one can identify with almost instantaneously. It's the story of three friends from the moment they join IIT (Indian Institute of Technology),till they come out. It's about how they become under-performers and then how they land into trouble after troubles. However Chetan has put some insights into the high level of pressure in professional colleges and how it affects the students.

In brief it is about a guy named Hari, and his two friends, who consider themselves the underdogs because they have five-point something GPAs (Grade Point Averages), and their (mis)adventures in the four years they spend at IIT. It is about their constant struggle to beat a system which judges everyone by their GPA, and which, they feel, suppresses the creativity of a person. So they set out to make the most of extra-curricular college life, by devising schemes which will help them maintain their five-point something averages with just two or three hours of study a day. The resulting free time is spent in boyish adventures, be it playing squash, roaming the city or trying to woo the professor's daughter.

However in spite of their lack of interest in studies, they always felt the urge to at least maintain their poor GPA and land themselves a good job to meet their family's expectations. To achieve this they even dared to break in the most dreaded professor's office to steal a question paper and face dire consequences to attempting suicides. At the end they somehow managed to graduate and also win the heart of their professor, who on their graduation day realized the most important aspect of life thus giving the story the much-needed balance. Quoting from the professor's speech, “Perfect 10 GPA professor standing in front of you had gone wrong'. GPAs make a good student but not a good person. We judge people here by their GPA. If you are a nine you are the best. If you are a five, you are useless. Message to all you students as you find your future. Believe in yourself, and don't let a GPA performance review or promotion in a job define you, there is more to life than these things- your family, your friends, your internal desires and goals. And the grades you get in dealing with each of these areas will define you as a person.”

3 Idiots is different from the book but at the same time it does borrow many things from the book. The core theme and message of the film is borrowed from the book itself. And that's why the makers have officially credited the film as 'Based on a novel by Chetan Bagat' This is just a simple story! Enjoy it. Forget it.

By Raffat Binte Rashid

Poetry Workshop at the American Club

ON Tuesday, January 12, The American Club organized a Poetry workshop at their premises. It was moderated by Courtney Sato, a student of Wellesley College, who is also a 2009-10 Watson Fellow.

The mission of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Program is to offer college graduates of unusual promise a year of independent, purposeful exploration and travel outside of the United States in order to enhance their capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, openness, and leadership and to foster their humane and effective participation in the world community.

In simple words, she gets to travel all over the world in eight countries of her choice, studying any topic of her choice. Lucky her.

Courtney chose poetry, and she also happened to be studying Rabindranath Tagore, and thus Bangladesh was a stop on her checklist. And she was also eager to meet other young, aspiring poets from the country, thus with the help of the U.S. Embassy the workshop was organized.

Twenty or so young poets gathered that evening, which opened at 4 p.m. with the Director of the American Centre, Lauren Lovelace, who greeted the participants and invited them to a poetry recital program the following week at the American Center premises.

The workshop opened with an interesting ice-breaking exercise where Courtney passed around a tennis ball and invited the participants to introduce themselves and each other, and talk about their work. Once the attendants became a little more comfortable with one another, they were split into two groups, each of which discussed the requisite qualities of a good poem. The poems under discussion included “One Art” by American poet Elizabeth Bishop and “Digging” by Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney.

With Martin Luther King Day coming up ahead, the discussion moved to the famous “I have a dream” speech. Having completed this bit, Courtney played a podcast of 80-year-old Nancy Yucius' essay, which basically highlighted the importance of her family in her life. The participants were then instructed to write about their personal beliefs in poetry form. The workshop ended with a snack break, followed by a photograph session.

By Padya Paramita

Curse the Verse!

I'm not a poet, and I know it
I'm no friend of the fair lady Poesy
The meter and the rhyme
Elude me every time
This thing called scansion is a mystery.
Not for me the art of verse
And so it was with many a curse
That I undertook this challenge they passed my way.
To string these words like
beads on a thread
To create this bit of drivel you've read,
As my contribution to Rising Stars' Opposites Day

By Sabrina F Ahmad



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