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Teen Budget 2011-2012

Dear Mom,

Asking for money from either you or dad has always been an unpleasant affair. And that scenario will not change in the next two or three years until I manage to earn something on my own. So I have come up with a mini budget for myself to give you and dad an idea about my expenditures in the upcoming year.

Let me assure you this budget only enlists the needs and not the wants of a teenager like me. It's the bare minimum any teenager of my stature would ask for. And let me remind you how even two years ago, my elder brother siphoned money out of dad's wallet. He was as costly as a gas guzzler and I think it is a blessing in disguise for the family that he has not made any contact with us since he left for the US last year.

I will need money for the following purposes:

Education: I have always felt that dad made the biggest mistake of his life when he sent me to an English medium school. Next year, I am going to sit for my O Level exams and I am not sure at this point in time that I will pass in any of them. Which means each year dad may be required to pay hefty sums of money to the UK boards, a charity organisation, as exam fees. I am not saying I would have passed SSC exams if I studied in a Bangla medium school; but at least dad wouldn't be required to pay exorbitant exam fees every year!

Gadgets: A guy is only as good as his gadgets. Yet on that respect I am always lagging behind my classmates. I am the only student in my class without a laptop and you know how that hampers my education. All my friends have iPhone4s while I am stuck with a phone that has a dialling pad, in this day and age! The phone's built in flashlight is a reminder of the dark ages of mobile phones in the early part of last decade and I think it would fit better in a museum or a trash can than in my pocket.

Pocket money: Gone are the days when one was able to buy a cow with ten takas. Unfortunately dad probably never realised that because my pocket money has not been increased in the past two years. I am always suffering from a cash crunch and last month I even had to break my penny bank to make ends meet. And I find it ironic that in the same country there are people who are unable to spend the billions allotted to their ministries.

My mobile phone often ends up without any credit and as a result I am unable to make the necessary calls to my friends. This also has a harmful effect on my education. I feel it is time dad recognised that 'inflation' actually exists in real life.

Internet: Connectivity is the catchphrase of modern times and what am I doing in this high tech global village with a 64 kbps internet connection? And that too from an ISP which takes seven days to fix their severed connections. To think that we once rejected our neighbour's offer for internet connectivity seems utterly laughable now.

While my friends are playing games online, I consider myself lucky if I am able to send an email within one minute. Now the beneficial effects of the internet can never be overemphasised and ahead of my exams I would require a 1Mbps unlimited package to completely utilise the wealth of online study guides.

Lost materials: We are a country used to losing priceless natural resources like rivers for petty profits. But despite being citizens of this country, you and dad don't understand calculators and books can get lost in the course of a year. And I am not saying I will definitely lose something in the upcoming year but I don't think ignoring the past trends would be a wise move. In the past five years, on an average I have lost about 2 calculators per year and it would be better if you provide an allocation for replacement of lost materials from beforehand.

Miscellaneous: Despite my sincere efforts, I was unable to prepare an exhaustive list of my expenses. Following in the footsteps of our politicians, I am also not prepared to provide the detail of some of my expenses which I am sure you would find rather questionable. So as the year progresses, don't be surprised if I am in need of more money than this budget suggests. I would advise that you provide a generous allocation for these expenses.

All my efforts in penning this budget would go in vain without dad's approval. I am confident you are the best person for the seemingly impossible task of earning 'his' approval. I hope you will present this budget to him only after appropriate adjustments as may be required. Hoping for your success!

Your son, Kuddus

By Nayeem Islam

The Importance of Laughter in Our Lives

Laughter; what is life without it? Just like love is to most, laughter is something that we cannot go on without for a single day. It makes the toughest, most unbearable day manageable in the end. Happiness cannot be achieved until you have laughed wholeheartedly. That is why it is important to laugh. Laughter makes us happy.

Laughing once a day changes the entire mood. It really uplifts your soul. Say, there has been a horrible incident that has made you upset. Find something to laugh about. Soon enough, whatever it was that seemed so horrible, has become bearable to you. Laughter has the magnificent ability of taking one's mind off of things. Troubles may be forgotten over a humorous conversation between friends. They are there for us to make us laugh when we are worried, scared or shocked. They will always know what to say to make you laugh about any predicament you might find yourself in. I know my friends have always cracked me up when I needed a good laugh. As if I needed an excuse to crack up at the simplest of jokes!

During an English class in school, I had food in my mouth and seeing my friends behave like monkeys made me laugh. This caught the attention of my teacher who asked me to stand up and share the joke with the rest of the class. Now this was physically impossible for me as I had a mouthful of biscuits and an uncontrollable urge to laugh out loud. I tried my best to keep my mouth closed as I shook with laughter. My teacher obviously found my behaviour moronic and punished me. As I reflect on that day, I wonder if it was worth it. Thinking back upon the hearty laugh I had that day made me realize that yes, it was indeed worth getting punished for. That is the beauty of laughter.

Charley Chaplin once said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” I cannot help but think how true those words really are. Imagine life without laughter. I simply cannot.

By Wajed Y. Islam, Class IX (Horizon)



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