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“Now repeat after me”

By Safieh Kabir

Dear student,
Kindly note that you are not required to bring interest, curiosity or any desire for knowledge to class. You are advised to fold these neatly and leave them in the locker of your childhood. We cannot emphasise upon you enough that terms such as 'learning' are only euphemisms for practising for exams. When this word is added to anything positive, such as 'is fun', the statement becomes nonsensical. Kindly refrain from associating with such persons who might voice these opinions. These people are satanic distractions and time spent with them may have the final outcome of knocking marks off of your exam results. This would be the end of the world. We repeat, this WOULD BE the end of the world.

The story of success without good exam results is a myth. Einstein did not actually fail his Mathematics exam and then find the answers to everything. Einstein did not, in fact, exist. The equation 'E = mc^2' comes from a textbook. Textbooks are not written by people, they simply exist. Anything else is, therefore, automatically inferior and should be ignored. You are strongly discouraged from reading and absorbing knowledge outside your textbooks, because this will not be included in your syllabus. There is nothing of even remote importance in your life which is not included in your syllabus. We ask you, for this reason, to download, memorise and stick to it with vengeance.

Some of you may have the idea that education is for the development of the mind; that it was designed to allow the imparting of knowledge from the learned to the young. This is incorrect. The mind is redundant in the process of education; exams are its beginning and its end. Emphatically, we tell you, the purpose of education is to allow you to score well in your exams. Any acquisition of knowledge in the process is incidental and unimportant. If you have knowledge, but do not get high marks, you are uneducated and useless. You will continue to fail at everything in life. If you have high marks, the question of whether you do, in fact, know anything is irrelevant.

In order to do well in these all-important exams, it is not necessary to think. Indeed, we would ideally recommend the surgical removal of grey matter from your skull, but due to the excessive expenditure necessary for this operation, we suggest, instead, that you attend 'The Coaching'. It is entirely necessary that you burn fossil fuel and time to get to these classes specially designed to: firstly, disable your mental faculties, and secondly, give you precisely the resources required to replace your ability to think as this is vital for good results. Any thoughts of saving time and money, and relying on your own brain are preposterous and fatal, and must be eliminated immediately.

The reason why the exam technique is so singularly important is that after school, life continues to revolve around exams. Intelligence is given no value in the real world; the only problems you will ever have to solve will appear in exam question papers, in the exact formats that are imprinted on the inner walls of your head. No other formats for problems or solutions exist.

Essentially, student, we were created for the sole purpose of passing exams, and any attempt to believe or behave otherwise is a violation of natural law.

Yours sincerely, The Authorities.


The story below went for a more literal interpretation of the topic than we would've liked but it was well crafted and still had the essence of spiritual change that we were hoping for. For next week we have 'Voodo' as our topic. Try your hand at horror, or surprise us. All submissions need to be sent in to ds.risingstars@gmail.com by Sunday noon. Word limit: 350-500 words. Good luck.

Change of Seasons

By Shreyosi Endow

April 14, 1971
Dear diary,
Today is Pohela Boishakh, the beginning of the Bengali New Year. Summer has started with baby-steps. You should see the size of the mangoes in our trees. Last year, father took me to the fair in our village, the 'Boishakhi Mela'. This year I don't even know where he is. There is war in every corner of our country. The streets are empty, except for the bodies the enemies leave behind for us. The scorching summer sun causes those bodies to rot. It's a heart-wrenching scene, indescribable. Last year, this day was so colorful, so full of joy. Today, it's just another day of gloom.

July 16, 1971
Dear diary,
It's pouring hard outside. Any other time, the sound of rain falling on our tin roof would seem so harmonious, but now, it does not even have an impression on my mind. The roads are muddy, the pond in front of our house is full to the brim, and there are floods in some areas. We have no news of father yet. Mom has been worried ever since the first rain. It's just that father catches colds really fast and…

September 8, 1971
Dear diary,
Sorry I couldn't finish my last entry. Rashed uncle came in to say that the military was coming towards our village. So we ran, miles after miles, village after village in the rain. Currently we are residing in our distant uncle's house. The sky is clear and blue, marking the arrival of autumn. Our relatives have a huge yard. I sit there all the time, staring at the cotton clouds that floats by. Father's face sometimes appears in those clouds. We haven't heard from him yet but I'm not losing hope. I believe in him.

November 13, 1971
Dear diary
Father's letter came in this morning! He said we are winning! He has assured us that soon the enemies will be driven out and we will be together again. You don't know how relieved we felt. I really badly miss him this month. See, it's late autumn, it's the time we bring our new crops home. Then we invite all our neighbors and mother cooks steamed rice from the new grains, and serves it with sweets, coconuts and so many other items. This festival is called 'Nobanno'. Oh what a celebration we have!

December 16, 1971
Dear diary,
We have won! They have declared our independence. We are free and freedom tastes so good. It's so cold outside but it has not stopped us from celebrating. There is happiness everywhere. Even the mild winter Sun, the dew drops on the grass seem to share our happiness. Mother smiled for the first time after 9 months. My father is coming back home.

February 12, 1972
Dear diary,
A little white Beli has bloomed in the little plant in our front yard; the Krishnachura is red with its blooming flowers. Spring has arrived. Mother broke into tears when she saw the Beli this morning and has been crying ever since. Father had planted it. Months have passed; I have watched the sky change, marking the arrival of every season. But we have no news of my father yet.

I’m with stupid

By Orin

Friends. Can't live with them, can't kill them either. Unless you are Dexter of course; being a serial killer has certain perks. Whoever said to cherish friends since they are like the closest thing to us on the planet clearly hadn't met the lot hanging about with us everyday. While some of them can pass off as just 'different', there are others who even manage to make us look like passably sane. Friends are a crazy lot, and for some reason we choose to stay with them.

There comes a time in everyone's existence, when you look back at the friendships you created over the lifetime: the fun you had, the monies they borrowed never intending to pay back, the pranks you unsuccessfully pulled, the secret crushes you shared and basically the numerous moments spent basking in each other's stupidity. Then in a moment of clarity, you realize that there is one loonier version of yourself who has been with you through everything, and who doesn't need Facebook to remember your birthday, who doesn't need to call ahead to come to your place and who doesn't have to look at you twice to declare you look ludicrous in a pair of yellow crocs.

The thing is, we never really appreciate the fact that there are people like them. They are neither the friends who you try to impress nor those who judge, mostly because they have seen you in as embarrassing a situation as humanely possible. They barge in on your home at night and your parents would just set another dinner plate at the table, even if there's just daal and aloo bhorta for dinner, they taste your cooking fiascos with only a little bit of protest, they lift your hopes up for asking out a girl and mend your heart when she eventually turns you down. “They are the ones who I would take a bullet for, if we were in a gangster movie. They are the ones who would call me up at 4 in the morning to whine. They are the ones whom I'd never say no to”, says Nazia.

Doesn't matter if there's just one friend or many, doesn't matter if you call them besties or not. They are the secret-keepers, the godparents, the siblings and the pets. In life, they are your team. This nutty bunch just knows you, even better than yourself. So go hug them right now, or don't. They know you love them.


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