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Identity Crisis AND HOW TO GET OUT OF IT

By Osama Rahman

As an Asian, we must accept that we are the most bullied amongst all people. Last year, an AAPI Nexus report showed how Asian Americans are 20% more likely to be bullied than other ethnic groups, with 54% of those surveyed admitting to having been bullied and 64% claiming to have been bullied online at least twice a month. There is a reasoning behind this; we, Asians, aren't all that tall, aren't born all that muscular and have kind of been dominated for too many centuries to let go of the habit. So, what do we do to fight back? The same thing that 50 Cent and Vanilla Ice did - fake it.

Most of you aren't blessed like most of us with an impressive personality, excellent wit and overall confidence in our own skin. Therefore, you need to pretend you have all of that plus more. The best self defence is to go on the offence and every one knows that, bar the players in Stoke City. A fake personality can give you the edge, but don't go overboard. Tone it down and keep it real. Force out your confidence but keep the obnoxiousness out with a touch of self-deprecating humour.

Think of it more as self-improvement than lying to yourself. Morals are a little boring these days, so let's not spoil the party. Too many people have gotten to the point where they are where they are because of the image they display, not solely because of the image they imagine themselves to naturally posses. No one has a natural image; we all mould according to circumstances. Hence, Asians are bullied because our forefathers were and so on and so forth.

Think of The Undertaker, Johnny Depp, Al Pacino, Pablo Escobar, Al Capone and Hulk Hogan; these people have gone down in history not because they were nice people with good hearts but because they had an image which they made and wore around proudly like a badge. That's the difference between them and you. You are just an individual like everyone else and just because you read a few fancy books, know a few fancy car names and say some big words, doesn't make you the least bit special. In a line up, you will look exactly the same as everyone else, so if you commit a crime, no one will be able to pick you out. I see the perks of that now, but come on, is it worth losing your identity over? An identity which you can create?

Every day is a fresh start. Every day is a chance to come up looking brand new. Don't be tough, act tough. Don't be smart, act smart. Don't be an idiot, act like one. Now, think of the image you want and for God's sakes don't pick the one everyone else would pick. Tailor styles according to your needs; customisation is the key to pulling it off. And always ensure that they know it's a masquerade; it only adds to the intrigue and leaves them guessing. Make an impression; literally, make it.

The types of friends Everyone needs

By Rannia Shehrish
Art: Fahim Anzoom

Nothing is accomplished alone, and this is where our generous friends come in. Friends are more than someone with whom you share all your secrets; they are more than just partners in our daily crimes. They are definitely an inseparable part of our lives. Therefore, it is always wise to choose the members of your circle carefully. The following are those which every circle needs.

The do-good guy
This certain friend is a perfect sketch of the looks-can-be-deceiving adage; good at studies and very innocent looking. However, under that façade lies the true mischievous self.

Advantage: Can handle parents easily, giver of last minute tutorials and notes, and is great company.

Disadvantage: Smart people can always outfox you.

The ganjaam dude
Don't tell us you didn't expect this, not with all the maramari everywhere these days. This friend is a must. Got stuck in a tight situation somewhere or someone accidentally stepped on your foot? Call him up and in no time back up will appear, possibly with hockey sticks and cricket bats.

Advantage: You will never lose a fight, no matter how pointless it is. Also, people everywhere will respect you and cater to your every need, possibly out of fear of your friend.

Disadvantage: There's always another person with a larger backup.

Police-dad fellow
You can't expect to not get into trouble once in a while. After all, clean records are for nerds, right? And since you are going to get into trouble, it should definitely be big. Otherwise why do it anyway? So there you are being confronted by a police officer who is threatening to lock you away. Just mention your friend's dad's name and they'll apologise and leave at once.

Advantage: You'll slip through The Law's tight grip every time, almost.

Disadvantage: Serious monkey business leads to serious itching. The dad can't always save you.

Life in Dhaka is getting more expensive everyday. If it wasn't for this friend, you would be out on the streets by now. Most of the time, he will pay for fancy restaurant meals and crazy rooftop parties.

Advantage: Free food! What more do you need?

Disadvantage: Too much free food can lead to obesity.

Father-with-garments-factory friend
Appearance is what strangers first judge you on and hence you need to dress nicely. All you need for that is this friend who can get you free clothes from his/her father's factory. After all you are the father's child's dear friend.

Advantage: Trendy clothes.

Disadvantage: Too small wardrobe space.


Chronicles of a Death Foretold
Author: Gabriel García Márquez

By Moyukh

It'ss amazing how Márquez never fails to deliver. As a friend newly introduced to Márquez said, and I have heard the same sentiment repeated by many, “I wish I had written that story.” From his more well-known novels to his short stories, Márquez is always unique, yet every story has that unusual hook to it. Chronicles of a Death Foretold, a lesser known novella of his, is characteristic Márquez.

The short book covers mainly the events of one day, sometimes taking detours to back stories of the characters. It is told as a recollection of an anonymous narrator, and involves the events relating to the murder of Santiago Nasar. The book starts with Nasar waking up to an omen of what was to come and from the first line, it's gripping. The storyline is non-linear; so separate - and sometimes unrelated events - follow each other. The story is set on the day after the marriage of Angela Vicario and Bayardo San Roman. After a night of huge and ostentatious celebration, the groom rides off with the bride. Hours later, she is sent back to her parents' house with an accusation of infidelity. Amidst tears Nasar is named, and the Vicario twins, brothers of the bride, take it upon themselves to kill Nasar and restore honour.

The characters are as usual very unique. Each character plays the part, and the story follows is the course that leads up to the killing - which we know has taken place already from the very first line. The title echoes the omens and the warnings of the death that is to come; although everyone knows of the twins' intentions because of their open declaration, Márquez ties up the circumstances very well without any loose ends, leaving Nasar in the dark until almost the end.

The book is at times Kafkaesque, even at the end the reader is not sure if Nasar was actually guilty. The brothers' boasts and over-zealous attitude makes the narrator wonder whether they actually hoped someone would stop them.

Márquez is brilliant with this book, as usual. The plot has fantastic outcomes like Angelo writing unanswered letters to the husband who sent her back, for seventeen years, after which he suddenly appears at her doorstep.

The best part of the book is how well the author manages to avoid loopholes, the news of the death at hand is so widespread, yet the victim learns just a little too late. It is a short, engaging story but lacks a little in the trademark 'magic realism' elements. It's a worthy investment to buy this and anyone who has read Márquez before - and liked him - should go for it. It can be found around Neelkhet, the original copies are available at Friends Book Store over Midnight Sun.


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