Table of Content
My Little Friend...................................................1 Wasif Alam
From the Editors:
The Greeks told of Demeter, aggrieved and bereaved over the kidnapping of her daughter, walking across the Earth, all the leaves and trees and flowers withering in her steps. This was their explanation of the seasons Now we know that the seasons were caused by the axial angle of Earth. However, this does not prevent us from forming associations with these seasons. In this magazine you will see explorations of such connections. In summer, you will see remniscence of a childhood; in fall, stylish clothing and acts of unspeakable horror. The horror and darkness continues in winter, as the snow buries us all. And then we are reincarnated in spring. For better or for worse.
Have a Break, Have a Kit Kat..............................2 Wasif Alam Hipster Hercules and the Hydra..........................4 Weichen Zhou Peek-a-Boo.............................................................6 Weichen Zhou Daisies...................................................................8 Yasmin Mostafa This Town.............................................................9 Yasmin Mostafa Reincarnation......................................................10 Nilu Aj Swing...................................................................11 Nilu Aj Untitled...............................................................12 Nilu Aj
My Little Friend T
he Sun was dazzling; Glittering its rays all over the green horizon. The birds were singing, Chattering loudly on the treetops, like in the Amazon. I was walking down the sidewalk with my headphones on, Listening to my favourite song. I saw kids playing on the field; and as I watched them playing, I felt like playing along. I saw an ice-cream truck parked nearby, Surrounded by little kidsâ€” Trying to decide which flavours to buy. I went up to the truck and bought myself a large cone, When I saw a sad little kid Standing all alone. When I asked him what was wrong, He said his mom left him there and went somewhere; And she hasnâ€™t been back for so long. I felt bad for the little kid, So I bought him an ice-cream treat and told him not to worry, His mom would be here in a bit. He smiled at me And I told him to stay well As I strolled away And bid my new friend farewell. 1
Have a Break, Have a
“ kay, Wasif, you are getting out on this ball,” said Rafi. “Yeah, yeah, we’ll see,” I said with irony. The scorching heat of the Sun was already killing me. I was wearing only a T-shirt and a pair of shorts. My body was almost dehydrated and I could barely stand there any longer. But it was the last ball of the over. I had to hit a six to win the match. Everyone in my team was counting on me at that point. I looked at Rafi. He was the junior cricket team’s captain, who challenged us over a game of cricket. Being on the senior team, we were eager to accept the challenge. We planned on showing them how well we played—so much so that they would never dare to challenge us again. We even let 2
them choose the field for the game, just to make a tough impression about ourselves. But it did not seem that easy when I was standing there on the field. It was a sand field, and when Rafi threw the ball, it bounced off the ground and came towards me at the speed of a rocket. I just closed my eyes and hit it with the bat as hard as I could. As soon as I had hit it, I opened my eyes and saw the ball flying all the way outside the field far across the tall buildings. “Hooray! We won! Bravo, Wasif, that was a nice sixer, bro!” shouted one of my teammates. “Wait a second, guys; Wasif has to go get the ball first since he hit it so far,” said Rafi, twisting his mouth. “Okay, bro, chill, I’ll go get it. Don’t worry,”
I said to Rafi, trying to calm him down. Rafi was only eight years old at that time. Even though he was two years younger than me, he always talked to me as if I was younger than him. Not only to me, but it was in his nature to talk to people in a rude manner. However, I ignored his attitude and walked outside the field to get the ball. I reached the tall building near which the ball had landed. It was a twenty story red building and on the main gate there was a sign that read “Beware of Dog”. Since there were no security guards, they put a dog there to do the job. Ignoring the sign, I went inside the unknown building to look for the ball. I thought if there really were a dog inside, I would just hit it with my bat to scare
it away. So I sneaked around to the back of the building and tried to look for the ball in the gardens. While I was searching in one of the bushes, all of a sudden I heard a deep growling from behind me. I looked back quickly and I was in a state of horror. A huge black dog, almost the size of a tiger, was staring at me, gnashing its teeth hard. I dropped the bat from my hand and started praying to God that the dog would not eat me alive. As though a sudden switch was flipped, it started coming towards me slowly and steadily as if it were going to attack me. All I could think of was to give away the chocolate that I had in my pocket as bait for the dog. So I quickly took it out, and threw it towards the dog. But instead of taking the bait, it started running towards me very fast. “Oh shit!” I said in shock. I started to run away from there as fast as I could. As soon as I got out of the main gate, I closed it and could still hear the dog barking at me from inside. I almost felt like crying since I had lost the bat and ball, as well as my chocolate. But the pain of losing the chocolate was the most to suffer. It was a Kit Kat chocolate that my uncle had given me on my birthday. At that time, they were very expensive since they just came out in Bangladesh. My uncle had given me a box of those worth Tk. 400 at that time. I was so pleased that I wanted to have the first chocolate from the box after I had won the cricket match. I was pretty sure that my team was going to win the match since our opponents were younger than us and that we played a lot better than they did. Luck, however, does not favour everyone. I did win the match, but the purpose of winning was in vain. I had lost my favourite chocolate and when I came home crying, my parents asked me about what had happened. I told them the story and they started laughing to themselves. I could not figure out what was so funny about it to them. But all is well that ends well, because after hearing my sad and funny story, my parents actually bought me another whole box of those chocolates the next day. Happier than ever, I ate every bit of those chocolates to the last piece! 3
Hipster Hercules and the Hydra W
hat Hercules first noticed on his way to slay the Hydra was the stone statues that littered on his way there. They were mostly of shoppers, which made sense, since he was inside a shopping mall right now. Some of the shoppers that were walking beside him possessed handbags. Some of them possessed screaming balls of fury. And some of them had a facial expression that told Hercules that they had unfortunately urinated just before their petrification. Hercules even saw a statue of a bodybuilder that had a similar physique as him and was flexing. As he stood near the statue to admire the body, he suddenly heard a hiss behind him. “Stop staring at him. Just because he was an ex-boyfriend doesn’t mean that I don’t have any feelings for him.” Hercules turned around and then immediately began to scream. The person now standing in front of him continued. “I just had to get out, you know? He was getting too heavy on 4
me, you know? Every time I wanted to do something adventurous, he just kept on crushing my dreams.” She – it was a female – walked over to the biceps of the bodybuilder. “Well, I guess he’s much heavier now, considering that his body is now composed of stone. What a shame. He was so keen on being fit.” Hercules was still screaming. The other shoppers looked at him briefly, before quickly resuming to their shopping lists and their plastic-filled purses and their screaming balls of fury. The woman who was speaking to him was wearing a pair of extremely tacky sunglasses: the round rimmed ones with the tinted shades. In fact, all her clothes made her look like that she just came back from the seventies. She also had snakes on her head where normal people had hair. Hercules paused his screaming for a little bit to catch his breathe. Just as he was ready to resume his screaming, the woman yelled at him. “Excuse me! These sunglasses belonged
to Prince at the height of his fame. You have no right to laugh at me. Look at what you’re wearing. The Hipster look is hardly any better.” Hercules suddenly became very self-conscious about his cigarette pants and his thickrimmed glasses. He stopped tapping the floor with his Oxfords, and he crossed his arms to hide the V-neck slope of his shirt. He tried to hide his iPhone 5 and pull the earplugs out of his ears. But Medusa was quick to catch him. “And what were you listening to? Arcade Fire? Really now? Their songs are shit.” The snakes on her head hissed in agreement. Hercules nervously looked around him. The shoppers walking around him still paid no attention to him. They also didn’t pay attention to the snake-haired woman. Instead, their minds seemed to be focusing on the stores with their flashy displays and their too impeccably dressed mannequins. Hercules gulped in fear
as a young boy, no older than ten, wagged towards them. He was wearing a pair of baggy jeans that were too big for his age, and he had in his hands an ice cream cone with sprinkles on top. As he walked past Hercules, he looked at his V-neck T-shirt and snickered. The ice cream flew out of the boy`s hands and landed on Medusa’s jewel-embedded platform shoes. Hercules immediately covered his eyes as Medusa removed her sunglasses. When he opened his eyes again, he saw the boy standing there. Only he was a statue. Hercules quickly scrambled for the sword app on his iPhone, but Medusa impatiently waved him down. “Wrong myth – you’re here to kill the Hydra, right? It’s over there at the food court.” She scanned Hercules contemptuously for one last time before turning around. “It’s also naked – showing that it has a better sense of fashion than you. Farewell.” The sound her platform shoes made on the floor echoed in the shopping mall for a few sec-
“She also had snakes on her head where normal people had hair.”
onds, and then disappeared as she dissolved in the crowd. It took Hercules quite some time before he could find the food court; the signs confused him. When he arrived there however, nobody was there. The lights were all off. The chairs were tumbled over, and there was a trail of oil leading into the McDonald’s kitchen. Hercules took out his iPhone, and pressed play for “Party Rock Anthem.” Roar. The Hydra came running outside the kitchen, with its reptilian body and all its nine heads. But Hercules was ready. He immediately pressed the sword app. A light saber extended out of the tip of the iPhone. He quickly cut off one of the Hydra’s heads. But as soon as it fell, a new head grew out. Hercules smiled. He had known about this since last night, when he went on Wikipedia to research on the Hydra. Yahoo! Answers also showed him what he was about to do next. He dashed inside the McDonald’s kitchen, following his nose. Sure enough, he saw what he needed. There was still an ample amount of oil inside the deep fryer. He quickly grabbed
a coke cup – the supersize one – and filled it with the golden liquid. He rushed outside. The Hydra came running at him. Hercules again sliced one of the heads off. As it was about to regenerate, he poured the oil on it. The Hydra emitted a terrible scream, and its long slender neck remained a stub. All of a sudden, the lights were turned on. A squad of people soon pushed Hercules down and handcuffed him. “Hercules, you are under arrest for poaching an endangered species,” a man dressed in leather said to him. As Hercules looked up, he saw the Hydra being tended to by a group of veterinarians. “We really need to thank that snake-haired woman for calling us here,” he heard the police officer say. “Skinning a poor, innocent animal for fashion? Disgusting.” He glanced at Hercules. “And what the fuck are you wearing?”
It was a bright and devastating day.
I strolled on without a care. Keeping the debtors at my bay, was not easy in this cold and bitter air. I stopped pushing the baby in the carriage in the crisp and clean air. She smiled at me. Gently I stooped low, letting my lush red hair fall to her thin thistle of golden hair. Lovingly, Quietly, with my own pair of scab-filled hands I covered her eyes and then her nose. Mouthing “peak-a-boo,” it took me little strength to push down until she breathed no more. But the rosy complexion of the baby’s cheeks do remain. I thought that she looked like an angel. Nearby a bird squawked within the leaves but no one could hear. Ha no one could hear!
There was white everywhere. Everything
was under a thick layer of snow: the street, the sidewalk, the lights, the buildings. Her fingers were turning blue, but she didn’t notice; she had other things in mind. Her right hand was clenched tight around the money as she pushed through the waist-deep wall of snow. She looked down to shield her face from wind so cold, it burned. Soon, she was at the store’s door. She stood still for a while, looking at the display window. There it was –the handkerchief. It was cotton dyed to be pink and had small daisies sewn onto the borders. She closed her eyes and saw a fragile daisy in her mother’s silky hair as she bent down to pick her up and twirl her about. Excited, she entered the store. A wave of warmth hit her and made her realize just how cold it was outside, but that only distracted her for a moment. She stumbled across the hard wooden floor and laid all her savings on the counter, exactly eight dollars and thirty five pence and not a penny more. The man behind the counter was reluctant to servea dirty street girl. He grabbed the money and glared at her as he counted it. Looking at her hands as she waited, she noticed that her hands had yellow spots all over. She flexed her hands, they were stiff. Pressing them against the counter, she couldn’t feel the rough surface of the wood. Dizzy, she leaned completely onto the counter and tried to regain her balance. The man was still giving her strange looks. Her dark black hair was long and tangled, and
it stuck to her thin, pale face; she seemed sick, and, being a man of little knowledge, he was worried she would infect him with something, but he never turned down paying customers. Done with the counting, he looked at her and said, “Wacha wan’?” “The handkerchief,” she said. Her voice was low and unclear, but he heard her. He gave her the handkerchief and pocketed the money. She held it gently in her hands, as if careful not to harm it. Her eyes shone in delight. “If you ain’t buyin’ nothin’ else, get out,” he said. She put her hands in the pockets of her sweater and stepped outside. Still a little dizzy, she stumbled through the snow, feeling more and more exhausted. She had been working double shifts at a restaurant where she cleaned the kitchen so that she could afford the handkerchief. Arriving at the alley where she’s been sleeping, she lay down on the cardboard bed that she had made for herself. She took out the kerchief and ran her thumb over it, trying to feel it, but she couldn’t sense anything through her blistered fingers. The dizziness increased and nausea suddenly hit her. She closed her eyes and willed it to go away, all the while wondering whether she should have saved up for a coat rather than the handkerchief. She pushed that though aside as she remembered those small daisies sewn into the corners. She slowly felt less and less cold, and a smile spread across her face. as she thought of flowers in her hair.
They will never be forgiven. She was sitting quietly in front of the fire. She could hear the storm whistle outside and was glad it couldn’t reach her. She leaned back on her chair and closed her eyes. She dozed off. I get very grumpy when my sleep is interrupted. A loud knock immediately banished sleep from her eyes. She looked around, shocked and dazed at first, only to realize it was the door. She got up, already angry, and opened it. A strong gust of freezing wind hit her. She nearly closed the door right away, but a small yet determined voice stopped her. “Please, ma’am. I need your help. I’m cold.” Looking down, she found a little boy in rags with skin that had a frightening bluishness to it. She was sure he had some sickness, and was disgusted by the It’s not my fault that he had nowhere to go. I am not a children person; I didn’t want him around me. She looked at him in disgust, and then shut the door. Walking back to her chair, she muttered angrily about something that had to do with what society was coming to. But before she reached her comfortable position, there was knocking on the door again. Who did this boy think he was? He didn’t need to say anything. All he did was look at her, and his eyes said it all. His pride was clearly wounded, but warmth was more vital for his survival. She could see now that his lips were dry and chipped. I was actually doing him a favour by not letting him in. “Come again,” she said, “and I will call the authorities. How would you like to spend the night locked up? You deserve no more.” She slammed the door this time. She sat back in her chair then went straight to sleep.
Shouts woke her up. She got up quickly, worried about having been robbed. She wrapped a robe about her and hurried outside. As she stepped out the door, she saw it right away. A boy half buried in the snow. A crowd was beginning to form around him, and several people were eyeing her. After all, this was her front yard. All I wanted was a night in my own home with no strangers around me. Was that too much? Was it a crime to want to be alone? Yet, here were people accusing me of being all kinds of awful things, when all I did was mind my own business. Soon, everyone knew the story of the little boy. Everyone knew what she had done. Horrified, they decided that she was a cruel woman that deserved punishment, and they had no trouble coming up with a punishment. I haven’t done anything wrong. I didn’t deserve punishment. Everyone around me disagreed. Blood calmly oozed out her cut tongue and into her mouth. It moved to the back of her throat and was pushed down. It was getting to be too much. Her stomach started to reject it, making her gag, but there was too much blood. It kept a steady flow down, down until she couldn’t control it anymore. Her eyes widened as the blood went down the wrong tube. She suddenly couldn’t breathe, and fell to her knees with her hands clawing at her tongue, trying to clear the blood that blocked her airflow unsuccessfully. And so she lay on the ground, choking on her own blood. I’m not sure how long I lay there until I died. I do know that this town will never live in peace. I will not be forgotten. 9
10 I was surrounded by beautiful colors. This place looked familiar. “Where am I?” I wondered aloud. My body felt stiff, as if I hadn’t moved a muscle for hours. I heard ocean waves in the distance. I didn’t know how far it was away from me. I wanted to see it. I loved the ocean and its salty wind smell. I was thirsty, but my body was too stiff, and I couldn’t move at all. What is this? What happened to my arms? I didn’t understand. Why did I have so many of them? Why were my nails green? They were in the shapes of leaves. In fact, they were leaves! My arms were branches? My abdomen was made of barks? What happened to me? I was a tree! What? How? I can recall now; this was the park where my fiancée and I took a walk every week. We first met here. It was also the very place where he proposed to me. I wonder about where he is right now. Is he looking for me? I just don’t understand what is happening. Am I dreaming? Ouch! That hurts! What is that pain in my arm? It is as if someone were poking me with a sharp object. The pain feels real. There is a bird’s nest in one of my arms. I can feel the mother bird’s beak poking me. This is not a dream. This is real.
Swing Andrea was the third of six kids. All of her siblings were healthy except for her. She was autistic. She was always bullied at school and her older brother and sister would never step in to defend her. They were too embarrassed to admit that she was their sister, so they just avoided her at school all the time. Even at home they barely talked to her. They only yelled at her for just being born in the same family as they were. Andrea! She didn't understand some things very well, so she would ask her younger brother Alex who was her best friend. Alex loved her so much. He would always take the blame for Andrea when she did something wrong, and he was the only one who wasn't ashamed of being related to her. They would go to the park beside their house when Andrea was feeling down and it usually cheered her up. She loved the swing so much, and she made it a habit to visit the park every day after school. She would just sit on the swing and reminisce about her day or things that happened in the past. Sometimes she cried her heart out. Oh Andrea.. It was in one of those days, while she was rocking gently on the swing alone, when she caught sight of somebody in between her tears. He was standing not too far away from her, and he was smiling and looking right into her eyes. She got scared and tried to run away but tripped and fell down on the way. When she looked behind her to see if he was chasing her, nobody was there. The swing was gently swinging as if it were calling her to come back to it. Andrea? 11
In the middle of nowhere, There is an oasis. Anything you can ask for, Everything you could dream of Is there. Nobody is the owner, So you should not even worry. Who to share your treasure with, Who to tell your glory. Stretching into horizon, the sky seems never ending, blue with whipped cream. You can't reach it. Day goes by with no climax, Oasis is like hell. No smile to share, No voice to yell. Treasures don't matter, If you are just alone. Life is just Colorless.