The alley was deserted. Not a soul whispered. Trash cans spilled out onto the street. The stench was enough to make you drop dead. No one came here. Even if they did, they didn't stay long enough to notice the tiny green slits that saw everything, said nothing.
Anik hurried past the alley, a handkerchief firmly pressed against his nose. Two green eyes followed him.
“Mr Ahmed has contributed tremendously to the company's performance in the past year.” Smiles. Enthusiastic nods of affirmation. “His department alone has reported a record-breaking twenty-nine percent profit this quarter.” Anik didn't join everyone in the round of applause that followed. He knew exactly how Tajwar had made his way up the corporate ladder: by being born as the son of a hotshot businessman. His insides burned. Not with rage, it was something else. The green eyes smiled and moved on.
“How about Friday, then? I can pick you up at - Hey! Are you even listening?” Anik followed her gaze. It led him straight to Tajwar. He looked away.
“Sorry, I was a bit distracted. Were you saying something?” Marisa smiled sweetly and smoothed down her hair. Anik looked at her, trying to read her bright green eyes. They reminded him of youth, of vitality.
“So, what I was saying was...” He didn't get a chance to finish.
“Hey, Marisa! Are you doing anything Friday night?” Tajwar. “How about we go someplace nice for dinner?”
Anik seethed silently. He pretended to read a text on his cell. “Guys, I have to go. See you around.”
The eyes follow him as he picked up his bag and hailed a rickshaw.
The park was filled with people this afternoon. Kids, teenagers, even a couple of sneaker-wearing aunties. There were banners, flyers, voices, screaming. The park was to be taken over by a developer. Well, that was what the authority thought, at least. These people here - they didn't think so. The park was where they grew up, where they went for their morning walks, where they fell in love for the first time.
“This is the last bit of green that I can see in this stinking city, and I'm not about to let a bunch of greedy businessmen take this over!” One of the aunties, old enough to be a granny by now, shrieked into a microphone. A mighty cheer went up.
Anik arrived just then, paying the rickshawallah as he jumped off. He smiled. He had organised this protest. He was amazed to see how many people had turned up; just how many people cared about saving a bit of green space. The eyes watched from a distance, curious.
He arrived home tired, dirty, but most of all, happy. The protest was a success. Once the media had gotten wind of the event, there was no way the developer stood a chance. Anik sighed with relief as he rang the doorbell. The little boy who worked at their house opened it with a huge grin on his face.
“What happened?” he asked, curious. “Bhaiya, I caught a bird today. It's really pretty!” His eyes danced with excitement.
Anik went to the veranda to see the bird. It was indeed gorgeous. Green jewel toned plumage made it look like a creature from paradise. He marvelled silently at its beauty. But then he looked closer. The bird didn't seem too happy. In fact, it seemed lonely.
Anik opened its tiny makeshift cage while the boy looked on. It flew out, grateful. “Fly,” said Anik, quietly to himself. “Fly away to where you belong, to the green fields and the deep green sea... and to freedom.”
The green eyes saw everything. They blinked once, and then closed themselves, never to open again.
Power to the X
Girly-girl: Very feminine girl who likes the colour pink, high heels, glitter, makeup, shopping etc.
… and does that include air head?
Oh, please! Women dismiss being girly too easily nowadays, thinking it won't get them taken seriously. They think being girly means we're obsessed with curling our hair, painting our nails and begging daddy for more money to buy that purse that the contents of our closet simply won't work without. They think we're too air-headed to get math, change a tire or learn to cook. They also think we can't handle a bit of sweat and hard work; it's simply not done. They think we just sweet talk and eyelash-bat our way through life. Easy, breezy!
Sigh, if only that were true!
Why does caring about our looks and wanting to dress up have to be viewed as such a negative thing? I'm a WOMAN! We're supposed to be feminine. Why does being feminine equate to being silly? Why is it synonymous with frivolity, high maintenance and superficiality? Just because I wear lip gloss and a skirt doesn't mean I can't kick your ass. In fact, these stilettos that I'm wearing, they are practically lethal weapons; ninjas should be wearing them.
We care about our appearance; we like to look good. Looking good makes us feel good which in turn, gives us confidence and a sense of empowerment. Yes, sometimes we do sweet talk and bat our eyelashes to get our way, but hey if it works, why the heck not? As Marilyn Monroe once said, “Give a girl the right pair of shoes and she can take over the world.”
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a girly girl, but when people say it about you, they mean it in a more accusatory way than as a compliment. They mean you have too much free time to spend it on such 'useless' things as personal grooming.
As much as you know to ignore those fools, it's still annoying that our femininity and smarts - or lack thereof - is measured using manicured nails and glitter nail polish as the measuring stick.
By Musarrat Rahman
In shadow of tears
Testing the bonds
With trembling fear we passed the night
Life seemed cruel with our smiles taken
With grace and mercy they'd take us
By Shyer Amin
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