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Ugly Nice Shoes

By Anashua

Teenagers like to be rebellious. We like to think of ourselves as the supreme finger flippers who have youth's certificate to go around doing everything the other way around. We like to wear things that shock, take the basics of our parents' wardrobes and modify them into something largely un-wearable. So the current fashion designers take beautiful saris and paint words on them, and paste large roses on delicate jamdani patterns that your nani would kill for. Boys wear leg hugging skinnies and pink to rebel against their dads' bell bottoms, girls wear chunky boyfriend watches and pixie cut their hair. It's the unending rebellion against time, where we want to break rules. But if you think about it for a moment, we break rules while following some rules. You would go out wearing old fashioned horn rimmed glasses, but wouldn't be caught dead in flared jeans. If we are such rebels, then what is this compulsion to stick to the rules of rule-breaking?

It seems like there is an internet-wide campaign going on against one of fashion's most useful inventions, the glorious crocs that have recently started to hit the stores at Elephant Road. But sadly, no one wants to wear them. They are considered hideous, and the unwritten rules of rule breaking dictate that one must hate on them to comply with current fashion. Have any of the haters, though, ever walked a yard of Dhaka streets wearing crocs? The soft rubber does not give you blisters and make your soles hurt like your leather shoes do, and they have the most thoughtful holes to let in sweet natural air to ventilate your claustrophobic feet. Besides, they are light as cork, and do not weigh your tired bohemian feet down with each step. They serve every possible function at once, covering your feet against the rogue rickshaw wheel, keeping it healthy, and it even has those little bumps on the sole for those who care about pressure points. This is monsoon, and what's monsoon without a few inches of water in front of your doorstep? Wedges and converse are rainwear for abroad, where you don't have to wade to get out of your neighbourhood. These wonderful rubber inventions will let you walk through water and then come out unbelievable dry. So wear crocs if you don't want to spend the whole of your day with soggy, smelly shoes.

Now that the ingenuity of crocs has been established, there's just one slight problem. They're undeniably ugly. But if you can wear sack shaped baggy clothes and leopard print pants, then why not the functional rubber crocs? At least they come in cool neon colours. So go ahead, be a true rebel and walk a day in crocs. Soon enough you won't be wearing much of anything else.


The Magicians
Author: Lev Grossman

By Dr Who

One of the major pains of being a fantasy fan is the long, excruciating wait for a sequel that often does not live up to the hype. While we wait, we often seek a little side-tour without high hopes. Hey, some books are there just to kill time. But then you come across something like The Magicians, and it does a lot more than just kill time.

The Magicians is, on the surface, a mixture of Narnia and Harry Potter, but on a much smaller scale. The story follows Quentin Coldwater, a supersmart teenager living in our world, who fantasises about Fillory, a magical land written about by a writer called Christopher Plover, where several children accidentally travelled, had adventures and became kings and queens. Ring a bell? Only instead of Aslan, Fillory has two Rams as guardians.

So, one day Quentin follows a piece of paper down a garden and ends up in a place where he has apparently been invited to sit for an exam. His mind skips right around the absurdity of it all [which is also a sort of test] and aces the exam. And that's when we learn that he is at a school for magic [called Brakebills] and that he has the option to study it there, should he choose to. That's the Harry Potter association.

Quentin chooses to study at Brakebills [like duh] and eventually majors in Physical Magic, where he is grouped with four other young magicians. They become good friends and eventually, their path leads to a button - a button that takes you to Fillory [overload of Narnia at this point].

So far, it sounds like it's a glorified fan-fiction, and by God, it's hard to defend it from that accusation. But look at it like this: the book takes elements from Harry Potter and Narnia, but it transforms into something else. This is not a book for kids, though HP was dark when it wanted to be. There are more complex emotions that storm around the book. Things are not simple and straightforward and magic is not easy. It takes really brilliant people a lot of work to master simple things. For another, we are not going at it year by year with a neat little problem at the end.

The book is unflinchingly bittersweet. In many ways, it is the next step for the HP generation. You have learned magic, but there's nothing much to do. There's a sense of pointlessness, a frustration that addresses the core of our nature that hungers for fairy tales and fantasies, that looks for escapes in another world.

Being a fantasy fan: that's what the book is really about.

Mission to Mars

By Ashra Ramaisa Khan

The sky over Florida, USA is the same blue as that over Bangladesh. Across a small bay lies the Kennedy Space Center surrounded by a mass of greenery. It's one of the more famous facilities for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, because this is the place where all of the US manned space launches took place. Yes, Armstrong, Aldrin and many other heroes who have boldly gone where no man has gone before walked these very halls.

During the first half of June, 19 students and four teachers of Dhaka DPS STC School took part in a five day program in Florida titled “Mission to Mars”. A number of American students joined at the camp along with the Bangladeshi contingent.

The purpose of the camp was to show students how the NASA functioned and how astronauts dealt with space. There were also discussions regarding manned missions to the Red Planet. We were told it'll take two hundred and sixty days to go Mars so an astronaut might stay in a space shuttle over two years for the Mars expedition. The astronauts of NASA have to possess an enormous eagerness for exploration and they are training hard for the possible Mars mission. They're accomplished up with dehydrate foods. They stay under water for the experiencing with unusual gravitational dynamism at the space.

We talked to astronaut Sam Andres who shared his experience on space expedition with us. The researcher of various project of NASA also took the time to talk to us. We visited the museum and saw the got a chance to step in the Apollo 11 launching pad.

Finally, we got to fly our own rocket, which we named Endeavor. It was miniature one, but even the smallest things can make a difference in this world.

After the five day training, NASA presented us with a document that said we, the 19 students of Bangladesh, are NASA Graduates who completed the Mission to Mars program.

Next up: the actual mission.

Night writer

By Nilima Islam

I write in the night
Because my brain
Cannot refrain
From the mumble
And the jumble
Of the day's
Constant replays
Trying to relax
Brings panic-attacks
Do deep breathing slow
Sleep is still a no
Must try to unwind
My much too enthralled mind
So I take time
To release this bouncy rhyme
In the midnight hour
I find creative power
Turn on bedside light
And begin to write
This playful song
Telling what's wrong
All my busyness
And the daily mess
My packed to do list
Forever will exist
Let go all this trash
So that I might crash
Into the slumber land
Where dreams are unplanned
This poetic ride
Frees my playful side
In this writing ploy
I have found some joy
Eyes begin to close
Perhaps I can doze
Now enough I say
Put my pen away
Shut the book on this
Welcome sleep and bliss


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