Feb 27, 2011

Anti-Twilight Speech

By Megan Judd

Q. Select an issue that you are passionate about and write a two-minute speech about it, complete with possible solutions for your chosen issue.

A. Fellow readers of good Literature, over the last few months, I have become deeply troubled by a new phenomenon. There is a disturbing trend emerging from the shadows and is now taking more than just the teen scene by storm. I must say that I am quite fearful of the long term consequences that such a phase will have on both younger and older generations of this country, maybe even this world. This plague on society can only be addressed by one name: The Twilight Saga

How many of us were intrigued by the glamour of danger, romance and sensitive men? But that was before this series became the backbone of pop culture, seemingly over-night. Now, this series has a much higher cost than just cheap thrills. It is a potent allure that draws in nearly every type of female, from the pubescent to the elderly. Edward’s sensitive demeanor and Jacob’s rock-hard abs have inspired a slew of violent thoughts to enter the heads of these readers, causing them to scheme a variety of ways to eliminate the fictional Bella Swan, so as to have the two ‘delicious’ specimens to themselves

Yet the danger of such a revolution is that it is causing all females to suddenly have ludicrously unrealistic expectations of men. Men do not sparkle. It is NOT natural. And the only place a woman is likely to find such a glittering male is at a drag show. Better yet, the majority of women need to accept the fact that the only time they will see their husbands glisten is when he glistens with sweat as he lugs his hairy potbelly up from the couch and to the kitchen for a refill of beer and chips.

A very small minority of men are actually as ‘ripped’ as the poor lads vying for Bella’s attention are. Women are now wasting away the prime of their lives waiting for an alabaster skinned man to whisk them away and inject vampire saliva into their bloodstream in order to love them for the rest of eternity. They figure that all Bella had to do was read classic novels till Prince Charming came knocking at her bedroom window, so why bother?

I’ll tell you why: because every man is riddled with imperfections, just like us women. What scares me though, is what these women will be like in, say, ten years from now. There will be a REVOLT! I fear for the male half of our species. Meyer’s enterprise has unleashed a new, unwanted revolution in women, who may go to desperate measures to in order to seek their one true love.

This insurrection must be thwarted. NOW! Before all of the undesirable men of the planet are massacred for not meeting the ‘Edward Standard’ It is now up to you, dear unperfected male species, to stop this anarchy, before it overtakes just the ‘teen scene’ media!

I have two suggestions:
1) Track down and mercilessly burn all 100 million (and counting) copies that are polluting the planet.
b) Seriously consider in investing in a large case of glitter from the craft store for your own protection.
The brainwashing allure of the Twilight men may already be irreversible. If I were an average male, I would quickly learn to adapt to these sparkling expectations or flee now, before the Twilight Revolution comes chasing after you.
By Alisha Sethi

We all know what we have assembled here for. This demonstration,this upheaval,this cry for justice was inevitable. This is a message to the ARMC from the five thousand goblins standing here in solidarity,finally taking a stand against all that we have been through.

For years now we have remained docile,submissive,simply accepting the terms and conditions put forward to us by the wizarding community. This has caused the two communities to live like oppressor and oppressed, exploiter and exploited or as our friends,the non-magical creatures say ' the ruling class' and the 'subject class'. Yes, such is the relationship between the goblins and the wizards. This reality of our position dawned upon us after we became a community for ourselves. We have finally understood the social reality hidden, craftly and cruelly,beneath the way of life laid down for us.

They the 'mighty' wizards expect us to look abashed when we refuse to give them our wands. When we say " Why should we? ",they are increduled at our audacity to go against the status quo set by preceding generations but I ask you, oh ARMC, that why shouldn't we?

It is us goblins who make a living out of working in rundown banks and shops,just sitting behind the counters waiting pitifully for our 'masters' to utilize our services. If the goblin wasn't there,there would be no one to manage the activities of these mindless fools. If the goblin wasn't there acting as the gofer 'Their Highnesses' would actually have to go through the tiresome process of reciting spells and swishing their wands to get their dirty work done. Despite this the newly instated decree forces the goblin to purchase goods only from the shops carrying used items of wizards. It is us who manufacture the goods they use, it is us who sell it to them. Then why should we have to resort to their hand - me - downs?

Decree 502 is a disgrace to our honour and to our dignity. It is like a stubborn ink stain on our pride and on the entire system of justice that wont just fade with time. It needs to be eradicated and it needs to be eradicated now. This is why I implore you to see reason oh honourable members of the ARMC. Your association, the Association of Respectable Magical Creatures, was established to protect the interests of all magical communities and not just of a selected few. Removing the decree or declaring it to be invalid is the only solution to this injustice. I hope you will not disappoint me and these other five thousand despaired souls who have only one wish and one wish only. The simple wish of justice. 

Monologue of a Distressed Animal

By Lynette Rodrigues 

They say animals have no souls, do they?!?! HA! Well then, they should really meet the
people of this country!

Just look at them! These little BRATTSS; puny, sly looking things with clothes not having
even half the shine my lovely mane used to have. And yet they think that they are better than
me and can throw stones at ME! They really need to be introduced to our lately discovered
companion, the slender and cutting ...Mrs. Whip, don’t they my son?

Alas it is not their fault completely. Look how their long-legged parents clad in those
hideous clothes they call shalwar qameez nod at their actions approvingly. Some, even helping
their children find stones to plummet us poor creatures with.

Oh my poor son, just look at you! Your ribs are jutting out of your body like claws
painfully waiting to greedily snatch any prey that travels across your unlikely path. Your body
trembles like the sands of the Sahara desert when a light breeze grazes it. And oh my poor boy,
THE WOUND ON YOUR FACE, my poor, poor, son! Does it hurt you when these black buzzing
devils hover and crawl around it? Has no one seen to it?! This useless pot bellied zookeeper
who does nothing but either snore on his muddy blood-red chair of cheap plastic, or torment
us as if we were slaves, with words that sting just as harshly as the pebbles he hurls at our weak

Ah, but it was never like this before I tell you. Do you know my son that before you
were born we used to live in the zoo at Singapore. Those were the days! When we lived
there, we were not packed like some brutal criminals in a crammed, slimy cage that reeked
of perspiration and ten days old rotten garbage. No! We were kept in separate enclosures of
around fifteen by twenty feet land, that symbolized our natural habitat- Our own little world
they called it, the worlds comforts at your claws.

Oh I can almost hear it now, the rustling of the azure water as it used to race down the
elongated lake, overlapping itself in its race to infinity. The sweet perfume of a variety of exotic
trees lingered on one wherever they went, and oh that soft, luscious, velvet grass clothed the
area we were kept in like a beautiful cloak of jewels. It was beautiful unlike this land here, an
over baked spinach pie, burnt on the inside and cracked from above.

Even the zookeeper in Singapore was a polite young lad who unlike this snoring puddle

of a pudding, used to treat us kindly, never ever raising even one fingure at us. And the food!
Oh the food! Abundant chunks of enormous blood-red meat, moist and tough, a feast for no
less than royalty. It was a life of luxury- over flowing amounts of food, water to bathe our rich
coats of brown and a place to stretch our paws and exercise. That was the life.

Yes my son, yes I know how you feel, my loins ache too for the comfort of that rich
carpet and the flavor of the juicy meat as it trickles down ones throat. The burst of magical
flavours that sprint across ones pallet. The taste of wealth and love…

Huh, Oh yes, yes my son, faith seems to have dealt us a harsh hand. I know you do not
want to hear this but my days are numbered. My only wish now is that you are able to leave
this treacherous den and travel to a place of happiness.

Some countries from what I hear are like this where animals are mistreated; killing
them for sport, injuring them with sharp edged objects, mocking them and using them like
slaves to do jobs that the people themselves would never consider doing even if they were paid
fortunes for it. In other countries however animals are treated justly and with respect. A stray
dog running along the road from what I have been told, looks like a well pampered indoor dog-
well groomed, well fed and always being shown affection from even the pedestrians on the
streets. Even cows like the one you can see there in the gritty, sooty fenced petting zone have
such a high status in the eyes of some nations that men driving their fearful coloured beasts on
the road stop their growling beast to allow these cows to pass by. You cannot imagine it, can
you? Well there is such a place known as heaven my dear cub, you just need to find it.


By Alisha Sethi

Its funny how what we do in our childhood stays with us forever,or atleast till a realy long time. During my school years I remember reading about a psychologist called S. Freud who said that 'The boy is father to the man'. This rule applies to girls as well. My childooh was quite ordinary; all the events I have skimmed over so far prove that point, but the 11th of June 2007 was a day like any other. Part of what happened that day still remains with me and that is why I am devoting an entire chapter to it. 
In the summer of 2007 my family and I had gone to Dallas for my cousin,Shahyan's,wedding. The wedding and all its subsequent dinner parties were over within a week and to let go of some of that stress that had been overburdening all of us,we decided to go on a cruise from Miami to the Bahamas. The entire family had united for the big celebration. I remember how difficult it was to find a flight from Dallas to Miami that would take all twenty seven of us. My sister and I along with our three cousins were always to be found together,be it on the plane or on the cruise ship. Numa,Alizeh,Saman,Ali and I. What a good time we would have at the expense of each other. Now I know that when I say it like that it does give the impression that we werent careful with each others feelings,but we were. The only day we perhaps let it go too far was when we visited the famous beach of Nassau,on the 11th
of June.
All the uncles and aunts ( in short all the elders ) had set up chairs and beach mats so that everyone could sit and have lunch before heading off to the water sports area. The five of us clearly knew the instructions but on a perfectly sunny day in the Bahamas would anyone feel inclined to listen to their elders? We told them we would be right back after washing our hands but ofcourse,we werent.
The restrooms were situated on a far corner of the beach and thankfully far away from all the adults. There were just two restrooms so we took turns occupying them to change into our bathing suits. I had decided that since I was the eldest I would get to go first but Saman had very conveniently decided to trot all over my authority and made a beeline for the bathroom before any of us could stop her. She banged the door and started singing at the top of her voice a song she knew I particulrly detested. I was irritated. It was the first time any of them had gone against my decision. Determined to teach Saman a lesson, I pulled Ali,Numa and Alizeh closer and told them exactly what was brewing in my head.
It took about ten minutes for all of us to get changed and as soon as we were done we took off our slippers and went rushing towards the water. I beckoned my trusted partners in crime to take Saman forward,deeper. The wtaer was so cold I had to fight to move my legs. Soon we had reach a depth where my feet were barely touching the ground,even though I was the tallest. The four of them were holding on to inflatable tubes since neither of them knew how to swim. I signalled Ali who was standing nearest to Saman and as soon as he saw me he put his hands casually on her tube. The first phase of my plan was complete and now it was time to move on. I suddenly yelled,
"Hey Saman! Lets go underwater!"
Without waiting for a response from her, I put my hands on her head and thrust her into the water with all the force I could muster. Ali upon hearing my call pulled the inflatable tube from infront of her so that till we felt she had suffered enough punishment she couldnt come up. I put my feet on her shoulder to push her further down but at the same time I was holding on to a few strands of her hair to make sure I still had a grip on her. It was all going according to plan, I could see her frantically splashing and trying to resurface but my grip was firm. Then all of a sudden just as I was about to release her pain,like a needle injected, shot through my left thigh and it became uncharacteristically stiff. Unmistakable symptoms of a cramp. A surge of panic rushed through me as I realized I couldnt move a muscle. I was slowly going deeper into the water and Saman was going down with me. I was like a statue sinking,Saman's weight adding to my weight. Someone was shouting above us. With alarm I noticed that Saman's eyes were closed and she wasnt struggling anymore. That was the last thing I remembered.
When I finally woke up I was spluttering,coughing like a person choking on bitter medicine. We were on shore. Saman was sitting next to me,shivering despite the blanket that draped her. My aunt was hugging her, stroking her forehead while muttering reassuring words. Then all of a sudden, I was wrapped in a hug too by her. Imagine being hugged by a woman whose daughter you had almost killed.
We never ended up telling them what had happened that day. The lifeguards thankfully werent able to figure it out either . That day taught me when to draw the line. It subdued my behaviour to a large extent and coming to think of it,my ego as well.

Hope? No I've Learnt To Live Without It.

By Ramisha Kaludi


Your forehead is decked with beads of perspiration glittering in the sunlight like polished
diamonds. The sun’s rays blind your eyes, the lack of sleep clouding your vision. Your palms feel sweaty
as your painfully blistered hands desperately try to cling on to the weathered wooden support of your
chisel, its oddly placed twigs prickling you. Warm blood oozes out, slowly trickling out down your skin,
yet you do not moan. Everywhere you cast your eyes, you see naked men ostentatiously attired in just a
pair of boxers, slaving away in a slow monotony, mining and hauling away stones. The heat is sweltering,
the air smells of rotten potatoes and you feel suffocated, yet you do not bother to regain your breath for
fear of being thrashed and whipped by the whites with their long, snakelike whips.

The whistle blows, you hear the labourers heave an audible sigh of relief and you finally put your
tools down. It’s twilight now, and the first twinkling star is already there, glittering against the inky black,
exuding light from it, like a bright lamp in a dark room. The whites throw a handful of peanuts for you to
eat. Their mere sight sickens you to the gut but atleast it keeps you from starving. With envy bubbling,
like the flames of fire licking your insides, you see the affluent ‘Pur-too-geese” (Portuguese) going back
to their luxurious mansion in horse driven carts, while you are left standing there looking for some
heather to sleep on.

Overwhelming nostalgia grips you as you try to sleep, the faces of your wife and children loom
before your very eyes. You remember your wife’s parting words just before the Portuguese had you
shopped from Ethiopia to Minas Gerais:

“Don’t lose hope,” she had said, “we will be right here waiting for you.” How much you long to go back

Morning brings you no relief. The rise of the sun is not the birth of a new beginning for you, but
the growth of a lifeless, immortal you. You wake up at the crack of dawn, and start mining again for
diamonds and gold. Your Portuguese masters strut around you, like peacocks, with a bemused
expression. Sometimes they enter into a jovial banter with each other, almost mocking at you. ‘Nigger,’
they address you as, because they are creamy white and take pride in it, while you are as black as putty.
They laugh at you and scorn you.

Your wife’s words come back to you and keep on playing in your head like a broken record

“Where is the hope?” you bitterly grumble to yourself. Your lips are parched, and your mouth cries
out for water. You have given up on your inner strength. You can feel your eyeballs bulging out of your
sockets and the skin crackling against your ribs. Without warning a warning, you feel a heavy blow on
your back which knocks the wind out of you. The next minute you are lying on all fours, a searing pain
shooting through your body. It feels like you are being struck by an iron rod. A leering white face looks
up at you, while your friends continue to work silently, xenophobic of being treated the same.

The familiar, synchronized sounds of soft thuds, like momentary beats of heart reverberate
throughout the dessert along with your cries of sheer pain. Your masters walk away, leaving you
whimpering in agony. You hear one cry out apathetically, “let the vultures feed on him, he deserved it,
that proud nigger,” before he spits at you.

Your wife’s words come back to haunt you again, only this time you know your beats are
numbered. You feel giddy and unconsciousness threatens to take over you. You curse your fate, you
curse these invading colonial tyrants, and for one fleeting moment you wish, you desperately wish that
you too had been born with a silver spoon. You see your wife’s face before you and mumble bitterly:

“Hope? No, I’ve learnt to live without it.”With these final words you fade into an eternal blackness.
By Ailsa Menezes

"What happened"
"A stone cut my foot, it HURTS!"
"Well see it later. Father's anger will be worse than a thousand cuts if we are late. The  sahib ji will be here soon"
Five-year-old Zahra bravely tried to rein in her tears from the stamped the little droplets of salt water threatened to become. Following her slightly older brother she hobbled towards the formation of rope and cloth resembling a tent which she now called home. Crimson drops trailed behind her staining the sandy floor.


Saima or Sam (as she preferred to be called) stomped around her room in a fury. She simply could not find her new bandanna. It was almost time to leave for the party her 'friend' was throwing and she had to look her very best. Only the bandanna was needed to complete her look. It was one of a kind, designed especially for her and now it was missing.
Growling she yanked open the door of her walk-in closet. A quick scan than different articles of clothing flew through the air resembling the journey they had originally made from the various corners of the globe they were purchased from.


The flurry of activity encompassed within the tent-like structure could have beaten a mini tornado.

Zahra's mother, her chaddar tightly wrapped around her was gathering their few possessions in a tiny bundle, skillfully arranging the pile to appear dwarfed in order to extract greater sympathy from the arriving benefactor. 

A smaller figure similarly clad tried sweeping the straw mat upon the muddy floor with a bushel of twigs gathered from the nearby shrubbery. The dry wind was no help heralding more micro-specs of 'loose' earth back in from the gaps puncturing the walls around.
Her efforts were a feeble attempt to counter the bitterness felt at the rejection offered to her from the hope of impending nuptials. Her dowry a portion of cattle kept aside during the fifteen years of her life swept away. She was still reeling from the beating her father had inflicted upon her a few days ago in an attempt to vent his frustration over the expense of the new clothes and accessories bought for the wedding. All now lost, as debris lying somewhere; worthless.

Sam popped out of her now empty closet striding over piles of vulnerable fabric. A quick examination revealed that (in her efforts) she did indeed break a nail.

Just Outside the family's youngest two-year-old Ahmed claimed Zahra's attention proudly displaying the mud-pi(l)es created during his sojourn, where he was kept insight but out of the way. A quick pained smile rested briefly upon her face in greeting. she limped over to a pile of rags left in a corner and choosing one, bound her foot as best as a five-year-old could.


"Is baji ok?" the maid peered in, on alert, experienced with this sort of explosion. (After all she had been with the family for years). An explosion like this was a common occurrence.
"NO!" Sam blazed," Does it look like I am? I can't find my bandanna it's late and I need it now! It’s the only one that matches my outfit."
"Is that the same one you were....um.....having a problem with last week."
"Yes, that's it." Saima snapped suspiciously. "Do you know where it is?"
"I think," the maid replied unfazed "it was in the room downstairs. I'll go check"
"Yes, you do that!" Sam answered snottily passing a manicured hand through her straightened hair.

She rummaged through her dresser drawer in search of the new 'Fabulous Fake Fusia Nails' packet sent over by her cousin from, well, somewhere in Europe. Time to do some damage control.


Zahra watched wide-eyed at the scene unfolding before her. She stood behind her mother and sister just inside the 'tent' as her father prepared to meet the 'guest'.
With the built of one who consumed at least a buffalo whole, decked in a crisp white shalwar kameez suit and dark gold rimmed sunglasses stepped the sahib ji in front of the humble abode.
Blinded by the flashes the rivaled the sun's glares of those ready to document such instance of charity.
A package was thrust into waiting arms and off wet the entourage to the next needy families.
Zahra stepped outside as her family went to rummage through the treats given to them. She watched quietly the whole scenario repeated in the next couple of tents.
Turning to go in, a movement caught her eye. A piece of cloth had escaped the ravage inside and fluttered over near her feet. It was soft and caressed her skin.


Sam looked up from her newly repaired nails.
"Found it yet? “She inquired seemingly calm yet an aura of danger around.
"Well," the maid faltered, if this was the calm she did not want to see the storm.
" ‘Well’, What? “A plucked eyebrow rose.
"It was kept in the room with the piles of clothes your mother bought"
"And" the brow rose higher.
And the maid swallowed and said out in a rush, "it was sent over with those to the flood victims." And left.
Sam lay still a moment then wailed.
"AHH.....My outfit is so ruined."


Back at the camp, as the sun dipped into the horizon it's failing rays caught onto a splat of bright pink bound securely on a little girl’s foot.