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Cricket Goes On

Cup Blues
The World Cup 2011 should not be counted as a bad one for Bangladesh. Obviously the two scores of 58 and 78 against West Indies and South Africa respectively were terrible hiccups (ones that force out intestines). But the sweetest memory of beating England in a close encounter should be one of the best of our cricketing history. And yet, when people think about the World Cup at home, they will undoubtedly remember the abysmal performances.

Can you blame them though, when the cricketers themselves can remember hardly anything else? The proof is the recently concluded one-day series against the once-World-Champs Australia.

True, a score of 270-odd can't be chased down (by our standard) against a world class opponent. But they should at least try to salvage some pride. Unfortunately, there was no pride in that meek surrender our 'tigers' produced on the first match of the series. Once they lost a few quick wickets, they went from defensive to ultra-defensive. Well, you can say that at least they lost only 5 wickets against a strong bowling attack; but to say that you need to see the glass half-full of water and the rest filled with air particles.

This is international cricket for crying out loud! On another note, it was good to see Clarke's century, Shakib and Tamim getting amongst the runs and Mashrafe coming back. However, that was as good as it got.

Brutality is the only word that comes to my mind when thinking about the second match. As a friend of mine put it, that was a very 'sixy' match. 15 sixes and 15 fours. 185 not out in 96 balls. Can you believe this? Shane Watson just toyed with the bowling attack. Every once in a while he'd get down on one knee and heave over the midwicket region on the on-side. And timed or not, edged or not, the ball would fly over the fence! My word, I haven't seen such solid hitting since ever! Only Gilchrist's 154 against Sri Lanka the previous world cup finals can be compared to this blitzkrieg. Oh yes, the brilliant 81 not out by Mushfiqur Rahim surely got the hopes up. Imrul's 5 of 41 deliveries was… just painful.

Watson and Hussey starred in the last match of the series and helped the Aussies put up a massive total of 358 on the board. It was never possible. But we all hung around in front of the TV set (and the gallery) was for some blazes from some of our own. This time they didn't disappoint us at all.

Tamim started the assault; Imrul and Nafees steered the course. Mahmudullah, finally in his well-deserved position at number 4, provided late fireworks and took Bangladesh to the total of 295, their highest against the men in yellow in ODI.

It was a very good good-bye present for Jamie Siddons, who ended his successful four year stint as the coach. He really brought about a change in the mentality of the Bangladeshi cricketers. We wish him all the best for his next mission.

Blues' Cup:
Just as everyone feared, Indians aren't taking winning the World Cup lightly. TV viewers are suffering the most. But what our prolific neighbours do with their TV channels is no concerns of ours. More pressing matters appear. The Indian Premier League has started with fireworks, skimpy-dressed chubby cheerleaders, Bollywood and money. And a bit of cricket. This time there are ten teams participating and alluring the gentle cricketers with heaps of gold money. But it is very sad that no team could accommodate Tamim in their line-up. Must be because the Wisden Cricketer of the Year is priceless.

But Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Shahrukh Khan did a great job in signing Shakib Al Hasan and cementing their support in Bangladesh. Did Shakib prove his values? Oh yes, he did. Two for 31 in 4 overs may not be the best bowling figure, but he took almost half the wickets that fell that day. And one of them was none other than Shane Watson. Shakib's glee was all too apparent by the cut-throat motion he made after Watson was bowled. And the next match was sweet. The two armers that got him two wickets in a row were beauties. And let's not forget the runout. If you want to read about the other teams, put your hands up. No one? Good. I was pushing the word limit anyway. Here's one for the road: Tendulkar scored yet another hundred and his team lost. *snickers*


By scribblebabble

She had begun to take form by now. The light from the open window played on her soft cheeks. Her hair fell loosely to her shoulders. The patterns on her red aachol were just starting to become clear. Adrita watched herself come to life with a half-conscious kind of bemusement. She wondered who she was and why she was being painted. Was she a portrait of someone? She couldn't bear the thought.

She knew she was pretty. She saw the admiring look in Maher's eyes as he painted her, breathed something of his life into her. She meant a lot to him, she knew. They used to have long conversations in the evenings, when Maher would come home for the day. He could hardly wait to be back these days. Since he had started working on Adrita, he couldn't think of anything else. She was a desire, a fantasy of his. Yet, as he saw his dream slowly turn to reality before his eyes, he couldn't help giving in to her.

“I want flowers to put in my hair,” she pouted one evening.

“All right,” Maher chuckled, and adorned her tresses with the sweetest, reddest roses he could dream of. Afterwards they sat in the fading light of the city sunset, admiring how the roses looked on Adrita's thick, black hair. And at that moment, Maher thought that he had experienced something of love.

She would be angry if he ever came home late. She would sulk and her tears would stain the canvas and make her face look blurry. Maher would say sorry, anguished at hurting her. He would lovingly wipe away her tears and paint her face more beautiful than he had ever remembered it to be.

Never satisfied with his attention, Adrita would ask for more. At her request, the soft winter through the window became spring, celebrating her youthfulness and beauty. He framed her eyes with kajol and drew thick gold bangles which gleamed on her slender wrists. But still, after all his love, she would find imperfections in herself, and in him, who had created her.

Maher was patient. She had to be perfect. She was going to be his, after all. He had to make her happy. Then one day, when he was finally done with her, he painted her a mirror so that she could see how amazing she really was.

Adrita was awed by her own beauty. Maher smiled at her happiness, but his eyes looked tired and sad, somehow. Adrita would never love him again.

He was right.

She became obsessed with herself, asking Maher every night if he ever saw anyone prettier than her. Maher would always answer no, and she would be happy for a while. Then it would start again, with Adrita asking him if her lips were indeed that exact shade of red he had meant them to be.

And so it went on, Maher coming home each night to a vainer, prouder and more stunning Adrita. “There is nobody in the world more beautiful than you,” he would whisper to her. Adrita turned away from him and looked into the mirror.

“What if you paint someone prettier?” she asked. There was genuine fear in the painting's lovely eyes.

“I would never do that.” Maher was startled. “I have you, don't I?”

“Promise me,” she begged, tears threatening to ruin her once again.

“I promise,” sighed Maher.

But she wasn't happy with his word. She wanted his life too; so that he could never paint anything to rival her beauty. He was heartbroken at her latest demand. He couldn't bear to be separated from her. But at the same time, he wasn't surprised by it. He knew it was the only way he could make her happy.

He did it in front of her, and Adrita watched, never shedding a tear. But Maher's eyes glistened as he said farewell to her. He thrust the knife into the heart that had felt so much love for the beauty he had created. And then it was over. Adrita would be happy now. She looked away from the body at her feet and into the mirror where she became mesmerised by her own perfect features. For the first time after so many months, Adrita's lips curved into a smile.

The police found Maher's body a few days later on the floor of his little art studio. They classified it as suicide, though no valid reason could yet be found. As they dragged the body out, a policeman stopped to admire the painting. He ran a finger down her cheek, almost feeling the velvet softness.

Adrita discreetly pulled her anchal over the dagger in her lap and became motionless, frozen forever in her own beauty.

We had Birds as the topic last week and the write-up below, while slightly predictable managed to impress with its prose. For next week we have the topic Disgrace. Write-ups must be written within 500 words and sent in before noon Sunday to ds.risingstars@gmail.com


By The Dark Passenger

The cool darkness greeted him as Harrison entered that all too familiar place. Only small pockets of light shone through from the half-opened screens above. An eerie calm surrounded the vicinity as its dwellers continued their slumber. His arrival seemed to have gone down unnoticed, only a few ruffled feathers and some unperturbed glances at his direction. This didn't bother Harrison at all; in fact he seemed pleased. After all, this was his sanctuary too.

For years now, Harrison had been a regular visitor at the aviary uptown. It remained mostly deserted, save the occasional eccentric bird-lover dropping in. Guards working the shifts knew him well; and for them he was just another guy with 'a thing for birds'.

But for Harrison it was so much more. The birds didn't fascinate him for what they had; he was intrigued to see how they survived after what they had lost. Everyone's birthright: freedom. He thought he was the only to see through their frustration and appreciate their courage. That was of course until she showed up.

One evening Megan had sauntered through the aviary doors. She was the epitome of grace and beauty in Harrison's eyes. And she had that earthy freedom about her that he so craved. In a flash they connected. “I can't imagine being locked up like that, can you?” she would ask, with that unerringly delicate voice. And Harrison would just shake his head, knowing all too well the feeling of being suppressed.

After only three visits, Harrison was sure he had found his soul mate. He felt that they connected on a transcendental plane, far beyond the reaches of physical experience. Yesterday, he had choked through a confession about his love for her. His declaration was met with two protuberant eyes. She had promised that she would make her decision today.

It seemed fitting indeed that he would learn about his fate here of all places, the one place that was so sacred to him. He was lost in thought, when he heard raised voices from the next section. Frowning, he went to see what the matter was.

As he entered, he could see that someone had destroyed the bird cages and they had apparently escaped. The irate keeper was talking to a police officer, telling them to 'keep the loonies away'. He proceeded a little further to see Megan handcuffed and led away.

He wheeled away in surprise. Surely that's too much, he thought. Harrison went over to inquire about this to a person nearby. “She's crazy,” the man said, shaking his head, “escaped from that mental asylum a week ago. They'd been searching for her all this time and here she was wreaking havoc. Well, can't blame them
now can we?”

Harrison backed away for a second, unsure of himself. He glanced over at Megan. She seemed at peace, as if she had accomplished something worthwhile. Her face reminded him of an eagle he had once seen in the sky: free.


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