Feb 28, 2012

Media Violence harms Children.

By Punhal Pirzada

Q. ‘Your school is holding a declamation. The topic is ‘Media Violence Harms Children’. Write two speeches, one speaking for the topic and one speaking against it.’


Respected judges and my fellow students, good afternoon. The topic is very interesting as violence has always been a part of media. Ask anyone, and they will probably tell you that their favourite movies did have a fair share of violence in them. But today, ladies and gentlemen, we are here to debate over whether violence harms children or not.
Before I establish my case for this topic, answer this – if you had children, would you be content with your child viewing adult content? The answer is, no. Pornography has negative effects on an individual’s mentality and can shape that individual for the worse. This is exactly why individuals under eighteen cannot view it. Now apply the same logic to violent content. There is a reason why censorship boards have such strict regulations that disallow individuals under thirteen from watching movies that are full of violence.

Children are at a relatively delicate stage of their lives. You can nurture their minds and help them distinguish between what is right and what is wrong, or they can end up as thugs and criminals when they grow up in life. By exposing them to violent media, we are clearly misguiding them. More often than not, we see these children replicating the violence we see in movies, on television and in video games. In Tokyo, a twelve year old boy by the name of Sam, a huge fan of the ‘Grand Theft Auto’ video game franchise, was found responsible for the deaths of over twelve people when he tried to emulate the killing spree he was used to carrying out within the video game.

Furthermore, studies have suggested that children who are exposed to violence will not only grow up to become aggressive adults, but will also neglect the values and traditions that their parents spent years trying to transfer. If we seek to have a generation that can coexist peacefully, we must acknowledge that media is truly detrimental to children and we must shelter them from violent content. Thank you.


Honourable judges and my esteemed opponents – good afternoon to all of you. Now moving straight to the topic, I personally firmly believe that it is very interesting that most people believe that children should not be exposed to violence in media. I will urge my opponents to try and logically accept my argument with an open mind, as I seek to establish my case.

The first misconception that is important to clarify is that all violence portrayed in media is shown positively, and that the media endorses the very use of violence. This, ladies and gentlemen, is absolutely false. The portrayal of violence is not all about blood, gore, torture, death, suffering and weapons. In fact, media usually talks about how violence is actually bad for society, and how we should seek alternatives! What we see in most Jackie Chan and Chuck Norris movies does not endorse violence as a means of spreading anarchy in society by any means. These movies often show violence used on the protagonists’ part merely in interests of self-defense, or retaliation. What we all must acknowledge is that it is very important to teach children that they do have the right to self-defense, especially in a world like todays.
Furthermore, I personally see nothing wrong with acquainting children with violence as a sad reality of life, because whether we like it or not, violence I everywhere. In our daily lives, we see people exerting disproportionate force against one another, and we have learned to accept it. We can either convince children that life is all about rainbows and butterflies and then wait for reality to hit them like a bullet train once they get older, or we can acquaint them with reality and teach them when it is okay to use violence, and when it is not.
Besides, violence in media is usually what makes media more interesting. Let us take the popular children’s animated show – Pokémon. Yes, it has its’ fair share of violence, but it has also brought millions of children together, kept them entertained and given them a childhood to remember for when they grow up. Personally, as a child, I played the game ‘Street Fighter’. Yet here I am in front of all of you; civilized and full of good memories from my childhood, and I definitely did not degenerate into a street fighter myself.
Therefore, I reiterate that excessive censorship is not required. Violence in media is not bad for children, but it can actually help them in their practical lives. Thank you.

Pros and Cons of Imposing School Uniforms.

By Sania Bilwani

A recent article in The Reader’s Digest states that uniforms are a way of imposing discipline and equality in schools. But to what extent is that true? Indeed, some people argue in favour of uniforms but it is also worth noting that uniforms may strip people of their individuality and confidence.

Supporters of uniform claim that it sets equal standard for every pupil. There are some people who may not be able to afford lavish clothes or accessory to express themselves. In that situation,students who are less fortunate than others may find themselves stand out. In some cases, its is argued, they may also be shunned and even
bullied for they are deemed 'different'. This is a direct blow to student's confidence and self esteem.

Since different schools have different uniforms, it is also thought that each school uniform represents its own school. Pupils of the same school may therefore feel united. This is illustrated in sport's competition. This is where students from a variety of schools support their own school mates and demonstrate their loyalty to the school. Thus, uniforms raises school spirits and ensures that all students unite as one when faced with competition.

Another argument that favours the imposition of uniforms stresses how they may become a source of discipline. The administration of the school is able to exert control over their students. They are expected to dress in a certain way and it trains them for the future. While wearing the school uniform, they are expected to behave well and uphold their school's honour for any misconduct reflects badly on the school. This point may further be highlighted through an example of the military where uniforms and thus discipline is strictly enforced.

On the other hand, opponents of the argument insist on the fact that other institutions like prisons, hospitals, and mental intuitions also have uniforms. Not only does this create feelings of claustrophobia and a sense of feeling 'trapped', but also puts forward an unfavourable impression. From my own personal experience, I can
provide an example of when I was send to a local community centre to spend some time with orphans. Instead of opening up to us, these children were frightened of us and thought us to be from a hospital because of the uniforms we wore.

Furthermore, another argument emphasises how students are unable to express themselves. They may start thinking they are 'just another face in the crowd', for they are forced to dress alike. This may strip them of their own self esteem. While other people argue that uniforms impose equality and strengthen the school spirit it is actually thought that too much control may also start a rebellion. If students are unable to express themselves they may rebel in any other way they can. For example, students bringing fancy hand bags to schools that
clash with the dull colour of the uniforms.

Expensive shoes and numerous accessories are also example of how students may try to express themselves instead. In addition, students may vent their frustrations by trying to ensure that their school's honour is in fact not upheld by smoking outside of school in their uniforms. This may go unnoticed by the school administration but the fact remains that it actually does not impose discipline as was originally thought by the school.

All these arguments highlight the pros and cons of imposing school uniforms on hapless students. While some may think uniforms are a way of enforcing equality and discipline, on the other hand, I personally believe that it may become a source of rebellion and discomfort for the students and should therefore not be enforced.

Feb 13, 2012

Autobiography: Bette Davis

By Jeehan Fayyaz

As the curtain went up in Broadway’s Royale Theatre in the evening of December 28, 1961 I felt ecstatic. I swaggered onstage, heard the eruption of cheers and applause even before I had uttered the first word. I knew that I would respond to it later, work came first, and after the play ended they would love me even more if that were possible. The set complimented me, I was meant to be Maxine Faulk in Tennessee William’s The Night of the Iguana. I had stood up and taken what I deserved.
My mother, Ruthie Favor Davis was my greatest inspiration. She gave me the disciplined, tough upbringing that served as a stabilizer throughout my career. Her aspirations to be an actress made me seize my chanced. It takes a lot of sweat to make your place in this business, and stay in it. I started off doing theatre plays. I was short, and not the prettiest actress in the game, but I was honest. I knew what I wanted. My work gave me pleasure, I enjoyed it, and I think that is truly the best incentive for anyone to do better. I could especially relate to Dark Victory and Now, Voyage when I started doing movies.
I waited for the deafening cheers to end before I began my dialogue. The satisfaction I felt at that moment was overwhelming. However, I knew that I had to maintain my character. I was Maxine, not Bette. I heard a loud, echoing cry, ‘Bette!’ and I slipped out of Maxine. It just happened. I had to respond. I looked at the crowd for the first time and it was pure instinct that made me clasp my hands together and wave them towards the audience.
I have always been very passionate about my fans. I think the thrill of people crowding to take a look at me never gets old and boring. It is what we actors work for, it is our reward. This staggering appreciation made me aim for movies. This moment defined who I was and what I was going to do.
Patrick O’Neal, the actor who was playing Reverend T. Lawrence Shannon, was waiting behind the scene. The director was worried that I would simply walk off stage, but that didn’t matter. I think that the affection I get from my supporters is the most satisfying thing about my career. Directors and producers do not give compliments. A shocking lack of gratitude came from the people I worked for. I deserved to accept it from the people who were watching. Directors usually appreciated my honesty and the fact that I couldn’t stand to be second best. Critics said that made me arrogant and stubborn and I do not deny that. I stood up to all the men to do what I wanted, what I deserved. I was never one to follow advice. I was always my own person and I do not regret it. I know that the critics won’t be remembered as a legend, I will.
“Shannon,” I called out then, effectively ending the applause to welcome the silence as people listened, and watched.

Autobiography: Bette Davis

By Naveen Qazi

As a young, naive girl dressed in a frock a size too short, I inquired my mother, Ruthie Favor Davis what is this world for?
“To live it large” She said, smiling fondly at her protégé.
That was when realization seeped into hidden core of my bones and I knew I, Bette Davis is going make it large.
On the evening of 28th December 1961, the curtains parted and revealed the stale stratosphere of Broadway’s Royale Theater, a room that hovered on the brink of chaos.
 I glanced over at Frank, the director for a signal to make my appearance on stage. He nodded once and I pushed away the enormity of the occasion that overwhelmed me and let unabashed role of Maxine to take over.
 I strutted in my stubby legs towards the center of the stage. It was set up as the Mexican Inn perched on a jungle-covered hill top overlooking the sea at Puerto Barrio. The spotlight boy finally found his footing and immersed me in his floodlight.
It didn’t take long for the fans sitting in the side lines to erupt in an uprooting applause. Whistles, hoots, foot stamping and screams of men filled the entire theater. I squinted only to make out that the noise came loudest from the balcony seats.
The warm sensation of sheer gratitude filled in my heart as I took it all in. Emotions spun inside the pit of my stomach, slipping and twisting over each other like a mass if snakes.  Rush of euphoria zapped through me and my brain welled up upon the thought that: They were here, for me. They were cheering, for me. They were happy to see, ME.
“I hope you’re watching this Mamma” I whispered and tilted back my head back. I breathe in air that hovered above me, as if, to take in all the love and ovation that they showered.
For a moment, I forgot my role, ignored the steely glares of Patrick and Tennessee and walked to the end of the stage. The crowd went wild; I raised my hands above my head and gave it a great shook as if I held the world in my closed fists.
I gave everyone my awarding winning, self-satisfied smile. Only for ME, was what I thought as I looked over to Frank’s transfixed and baffled expressions, yet not ready to accept this has happened.  
“SHANNON!” I shouted, slipping back into the character as smoothly as I had slipped out.
 And the show began.


By Naveen Qazi

56/2 Street
My side of the bed
23rd - Jan- 2011
Dear Ahmed,
It’s been three days now. Do you know that up there? I don’t know how God is treating you, but after He took you away from me I hope He’s treating you good.
Words like “I’m sorry” “He was a great fellow” doesn’t make sense to me anymore, Ahmed. They don’t affect me. I watch them with a blank expression and empty eyes. How do they know what you were like? They can never know you like I do and thus, they can never know how numb I feel.
It’s stupid for them to think that they understand the agony I am in. Their pats, hugs and condolences are worthless. They don’t know what it’s like when everyone is around you but you still feel all alone. They don’t know what it’s like to try to sleep in the bed that once belonged to both of us.
Its middle of July and I’m shivering inside the double quilt. Why is it suddenly so cold, Ahmed? Can you see me right now, Ahmed?
I wish I could talk to you. I hope you would read this. I hope you would just come back, Ahmed. I miss you.

Forever yours

56/2 Street
My side of the bed
18th -Feb- 2011
Dear Ahmed,
They say I should move on now. Move on? Who are they kidding with? Your mother stopped by yesterday, she wants me to pack all your clothes in labeled boxes. She’ll send the driver tomorrow to take them to Goodwill.
I tried to open your closet and after fifteen minutes of failed, devastating efforts, whem my tears finally ran dry – I opened it. The closet still smells of you, you know that, Ahmed? The last time you walked in before that unfortunate night, wearing Chocolate AXE – the smell still lingers.
Your blue 100% cotton shirt was the first one I touched. The juice stain where you spilled it on our first date is still there. I remember the number of times I told you to be careful with a pomegranate juice. And the endless amount of time we spent, hands soaked in surf, rubbing the stain that wouldn’t go away. The stain still smells of a mixture of pomegranate juice and surf now. 
After folding all of your shirts in a neat pile and inhaling subdued odor of your aftershave, I finally gave up.  I sobbed on the floor hugging the shirts that touched your body. I cannot imagine someone else wearing the shirt I gifted you or the shirt you thought had an itchy collar. I just can’t.
I had kept all your shirts back t where they belong, forever. I don’t have the strength of giving away something that was once yours. Your mother needs to understand that now, Ahmed.

                                                                                                                                               Love, Maha

56/2 Street
My side of the bed
20th- March-2011
It’s been a month now. Why isn’t the pain I feel receding? The numbness is long gone. All I feel is pain. The piercing pain that starts from the pit of my stomach which slowly seeps through my entire body and seizes it. It hurts so much, I scream and call out your name but all I get back is echoes of my own pained voice.
I think the noise is upsetting the neighbors. But they are too scared to object I guess. It’s so empty, the house is so empty without your hovering presence, Ahmed. The last time I checked the fridge even that was empty.
You went to buy the groceries Ahmed, why didn’t you come back? Why the truck did didn’t see the red light and crashed into your Corolla? Is this what even happened, Ahmed?  Because that’s what they told me, just as I lost consciousness too.
I don’t know how to live like this anymore. It’s empty, agonizing and worthless. My life has no worth, any meaning without you. Every time I close my eyes I see your face. How is that even fair? Even if I try to move on, I can’t. But then, I don’t want to, Ahmed.
Can you talk to God and ask him to call me too? Tell him your lonely, desperate wife is begging Him. He takes lives of innocent, unwilling people it won’t be a problem to take life of a willing human now, would it?

Only Yours


By Noorussabah Adamjee

C-202, B.Y.JHZ,
Kabul, Afghanistan,

Dear Gul rukh,
I hope that you are well. It has been a long time since I wrote to you the last time
Well this time I have something immensely exciting to share .Gul, Baba Jaan is taking me along to Pakistan! While were sitting on the dastar khwan waiting for dinner baba received a call from Pakistan. He got a new contract .Baba told us that he will drive his truck to Pakistan. He said that he’d take Jamal along.

Baba seemed pleased with the offer therefore I requested him to take me along .Can you believe that he agreed to take me along? I am so excited that I can hardly sit still!!. Gul, mama is calling me. I’d write back to you after I return from my journey.

I am so excited!
Yours sincerely,

C-202, B.Y.JHZ,
Kabul, Afghanistan,
Dear Gul rukh,
I just entered my home, I am so tired but I decided that according to the promise I made I’d write a letter for you.

Gul rukh, you know what? Karachi is not the capital of Pakistan .I discovered it during my trip. Islamabad is Pakistan’s capital since 1960’s. Our schools seriously need to update their books else, we’ll have to bear the embarrassment of not knowing the present.

So yeah, let me start off with my account, 19 - Jan -12, the day I’d never forget. I wore my best burqa, remember the brown embroidered one? . I sat next to baba Jaan in his colorful truck, my heart almost jumped out with excitement as baba started his truck. It was the best feeling. I thanked Allah from the core of my heart as I was the first, The First Girl who’d travel abroad. I felt the tinge of jealousy in my cousin’s eyes as she waved good bye to me as we drove off.

I observed every mountain, every goat, and every passer through the net of my burqa. It was unbelievably exciting. I saw Pakistani army soldiers standing at the check post on the Chaman border. They were graceful, tall, still and youthful .They were wearing a different sort of dress shirt and a trouser of khaki color. Unlike the turbans and stiff shalwar kurtas our people wear. They checked baba’s license and searched the truck. “Welcome to Pakistan!” they said in there throaty voice. Gul I am so drowsy, I will write back to you tomorrow. I Promise.

Yours sincerely,

C-202, B.Y.JHZ,
Kabul, Afghanistan,
Dear Gul rukh,
See I am good at fulfilling the promises.
So yeah, Gul rukh, Pakistan is so unlike Afghanistan. It is so colorful! Let me tell you a sad thing I missed a bit of scenery as I dozed off during the journey.

Pakistan seems like a developed country to me, it has all properly built roads and schools unlike the destroyed and often bombarded structures we have. And yeah the strange thing was that they don’t have troops patrolling around. Baba stopped the truck at the ’FIVE STAR PATHAN DHABBA’ and got us some ‘chappli kebab’ they were so juicy and aromatic. They were surely better than the one mama makes. This was the first time I ate my food through my burqa. I felt like a bride. It annoyed me, but as Baba didn’t allow me to take off my burqa I had to continue taking the food while wearing my burqa.   

I am skipping the descriptions of the scenery as there is something great to come. In a few words it was amazingly beautiful. I praised Allah for his creations throughout the journey.

We reached Karachi and after getting rest in our truck baba took us to the park in Karachi so that we can stretch our feet. The girls there were so shameless they weren’t even wearing there dupattas!.  How can there parents allow them to step outside without their DUPPATTAS. I starred them with disbelieve and while doing so I missed a step and tripped over.
That is it for now, will write back to you soon. I still have loads to share.
Yours sincerely,


The Old School Tie

By Farwa Haider

Fade in


JULIA: (quickly) Well- what a surprise!


GEOFFREY: (surprised) So you aren’t asleep?


JULIA: I was just reading for a bit (pauses) But, Geoffrey-
GEOFFREY: (interrupts) I dropped in at the club, you see, and –
JULIA: But I thought you were in such a hurry to get to Sandwich for a good night’s rest.
GEOFFREY: I know Julia (pauses) but at the club I heard I could just as well go in the morning.


JULIA: But won’t you have to start from here very early?
GEOFFREY: About ten. My match isn’t till after lunch, just heard. (stops)

(alarmed tone) Why, you’re quite white, Julia!
JULIA: (exhaling) Well, you gave me rather a start-
GEOFFREY: (tenderly) I’m sorry darling.
JULIA: (accusing) –thinking you weren’t coming back tonight- and then opening the door like a burglar.
GEOFFREY: (defensive) I was sure you’d be asleep, so I came in as quietly as I could.
JULIA: You aren’t usually so quiet- you must have come in on tiptoe.
GEOFFREY: I can’t make out why it should annoy you.
JULIA: Well, it is rather annoying- your stealing about your own house.
GEOFFREY: Oh nonsense, Julia! What a fuss to make about nothing!
JULIA: I know it is, but all the same, one doesn’t somehow think of a man of six-foot-two            stealing into his own house and up the stairs on tiptoe. Anyone would think-
GEOFFREY: (exasperated; speaking quickly) Really, Julia, you are being ridiculous! Naturally                                    any reasonable man comes home as quietly as he can when he thinks his wife is                                asleep. All I know is, if I had barged in and you had been asleep, you’d have                              been furious.
JULIA:  (no longer mocking) Oh dear, I suppose you’re right.
GEOFFREY: (still annoyed) Of course I am, even though the way you say that puts me in the                                    wrong. I never dreamt you’d be awake, anyhow. Its past midnight, and you said                           at ten you were tired.
JULIA: I was, but I just thought I’d read a little first. You know how it is- one begins reading-          and then it’s past midnight.

Fade out


By Nayab Tufail

Fade In


GEOFFREY: (startled) Is there anyone in that bathroom?
JULIA: Good night.
GEOFFREY: (through gritted teeth) Julia, is-there-anyone-in-the-bathroom?
JULIA: (moving off) G' Night
GEOFFREY: answer me, woman!
GEOFFREY: You- with a lover!
JULIA: What a beastly mind you've got, Geoffrey.


GEOFFREY: Julia, you must be heartless! I don't so much mind your being unfaithful to me but haven't you a thought for our children?
JULIA: Silly ass!

GEOFFREY: (yelling) Woman, did you call me a silly ass?
JULIA: Those were my exact words-silly ass.
GEOFFREY: We'll see who's the silly ass! by the time i've done with your lover he'll have to spend the rest of his life in a bathroom. Come out of there, you swine!


JULIA: You will only hurt your shoulder. Here's the key. A key is awfully useful for opening a door with.
GEOFFREY: (with unconcealable annoyance) You've had the key all the time!
JULIA: yes,dear.
GEOFFREY: Give me that key.
JULIA: Catch!

          Oh, butter-fingers!

GEOFFREY: Now then!.. Good God! Your maid!
JULIA: (with superfluous affection) Come here Maisie! Poor Maisie! Were you frightened?
MAISIE: Oh, madam, ever so!
JULIA: Look, Geoffrey, how you have frightened poor Maisie! You had better go to bed now, Maisie.
MAISIE: Yes madam. Goodnight, madam. Goodnight, sir.
JULIA: Goodnight Maisie. Now Geoffrey what have you to say for yourself?
JULIA: Poor Geoffrey! (bursts out in a fit of laughter) A cruel joke wasn't it?
GEOFFREY: Julia, will you ever- God, i feel a fool! Will you ever forgive me for suspecting you?
JULIA: (still laughing) But i wanted you to suspect me. I heard you opening the front door, and at once plotted the whole thing. Complacent husband returning unexpected by wife catches lover in wife's bedroom.
GEOFFREY: (deeply,slowly) Do you know, Julia, I've never loved you so-so madly as when i thought I'd lost you. Julia,            don't laugh at me!
JULIA: I'm not laughing. Kiss me.

 Fade Out

The Sahara Desert.

By Najia Navaid

This travel article is written to enlighten its readers about the comforts as well as the difficulties that the Sahara Desert has to offer. It is also an attempt to remove preconceptions in the readers' minds about the Sahara Desert. The readers are mostly those who want to travel to the the Sahara Desert or are interested in travelling and foreign places. The tone of the passage is awed and appreciative in some places and concerned in others. The writer makes use of powerful words and contrast to intrigue the reader's mind.

The writer starts off by immediately saying that to travel to the Sahara Desert, one needs to change their way of thinking. The desert is one wide expanse of sand and dust which creates mirages. The traveler should not be hoodwinked by by its appearance for there is much else lying in wait to ensnare one who is unsuspecting. The writer personifies sunlight and says that it 'tricks' the traveler into seeing things; like a con man, it is luring travelers into a trap. The writer also poses a warning: 'one mistake and you could vanish forever'. The desert is a dangerous place.

The writer goes on to tell the reader about his own experience. The 'dusty backwater' gives the impression of scarcely maintained Sahara services. The writer's eagerness to make the trip 'entirely by camel' shows how enthusiastic he was to fully sink into the lifestyle of the people of the desert. Words like 'incredible' and 'golden sand dunes' create an impression of majesty and the reader feels awed.

The way the guide 'expressed his gratitude' shows the reader that the people love the desert in spite of the hardships it offers and would welcome with open arms those who truly care about it. The writer's 'guilt' for traveling in the 4WD tells us that he cares and doesn't want to harm the environment. The 'once-fertile' land that has been 'consumed' tells us that the sand is slowly taking over, like a slow creeper that climbs up a wall and makes it crumble.

The next paragraph is a contrast to the difficult travel. The fruit of the sacrifice. The writer tells us that after a long and tiring journey , he camped at a 'cushy bivouac'. The 'giant fire-pit', the 'grand' tent and the 'comforts' show us that the sand doesn't hold people back. They enjoy the luxuries of life as well. The people come across as resilient and those who make the best out of the situation they are in. The tents assembled in a 'circle to block sandstorms' show that the people are used to the weather and precautions like these are second nature to them. However the writer feels that the people are helping him 'survive'. He finds the desert to be harsh outside the sanctuary of the surrounding tents. This also shows the contrast between the writer and the natives. For the writer, it is a struggle against the might of nature.

The writer once again expresses his concern for the well-being of the desert and asks rhetoric questions. He makes a contrast yet again by saying that the 'powerfully rugged desert' is actually 'delicate' and 'fragile'.

The next paragraph sees advice that the writer gives to potential travelers of the Sahara. He calls simple pleasures like 'beer and wine' luxuries, telling us that either the quality was really good or else he was too tired after traveling and the simplest things seemed heavenly to him.

The writer ends by praising the people and saying that 'still these people manage to sustain themselves' and expresses his astoundment at how they manage to survive. He also hints that he would like to visit again and that next time, h would experience the Sahara's 'greatest luxury' which is silence.

The Clown

By Najia Navaid
Chapter One

Ahmad wanted to murder his boss.

When he had applied for the job, he had specifically mentioned that he was looking for a career in management, not entertainment.

He slammed his hand hard against the steering wheel and then cursed himself as the car swerved towards the pavement. But what else was I expecting anyway? he thought viciously. It's not like someone up there is watching out for me.

He drove recklessly; not a surprise, considering the fact that one could almost see the smoke coming out of his ears. The car screeched to a halt in front of Number Seven, Zamzama Street. Ahmad looked up at the house - or rather, mansion - and the scowl on his face deepened.

Rich people and their snobby brats. He got out of the car and slammed the door shut. He walked around the car to the trunk and pulled out the bag which held his costume. After casting one look at his tiny, beat up car, he turned away and walked up the mosaic pavement lined with hydrangeas to the patio. He looked at the ornate door handle and dread tightened around his chest like iron bands. He could hear screaming and the pattering of feet.

He took a deep breath, counted to ten, and pressed his finger to the buzzer.


"No, Rayyan, you have to wait until everyone is here!" Mrs. Sherdil was in a state of distress. Her son's friends were running all over the place and already one of the priceless vases lay in pieces on the floor.

"But Mama, I want my presents now!" Rayyan screamed as his mother rushed past him, calling out orders to the help. He couldn't believe that his mother had told him off for the broken vase. It was all Sadia's fault; she had pushed him.

Mrs. Sherdil looked helplessly at her son who was now throwing a fit on the antique carpet, and then decided to let him be. Instead, she answered the doorbell.

The man standing on the doorstep took her breath away. He was tall with russet hair that was standing up every which way. His eyes were azure, a shade she had always been fascinated by. But what made the man really attractive as the way his eyebrows were furrowed. Mrs. Sherdil could tell that he was thinking deep thoughts and in spite of herself, she giggled.

"Are you Mrs. Sherdil? I'm the -" the man hesitated for half a second. "- clown."

"Oh!" Mrs. Sherdil's eyes widened to the size of saucers. "Oh, of course. Come in, do!"

The man stepped over the threshold and his eyes appraised his surrounding with an almost bored look. He was holding a large duffel bag which Mrs. Sherdil supposed held all his props and costumes.

She led the man to a broom closet.

"Go on," she chirped. The man looked at her as if she were crazy.

"What am I supposed to do in here?"

"Change your clothes of course! You can't entertain the kids wearing that!" She gestured to his scruffy clothes with a gesture of her hand. Her diamond ring glinted. She thought she saw irritation cloud the man's face briefly. Was it something she said?

"Alright. Give me twenty minutes." The man stepped inside the tiny storage room and slammed the door in her face.


Ahmad looked down at his sickeningly bright costume and almost threw up. It was a jumper suit with bright orange and green polka dots against a yellow background. His face looked as white as a newly painted wall.

"If Edward Cullen could see me now," he muttered to himself. He carefully painted triangles over his eyes and fumbled through his bag for the bright red balloon that was his nose. After surveying his face in the small cosmetic mirror, he snapped it shut and stuffed it inside his bag. He did not want to go out there. He just knew that the woman with the platinum blonde hair was timing his appearance - if the way she had been sneaking looks at him was any indication. Probably a dead marriage, he thought bitterly.

He could hear the clatter of dishes through the wall from what he assumed was the kitchen, and the sound of children running around screaming made Ahmad want to escape. He heard a balloon burst and a child started to wail. Obnoxious spoilt brats.

He looked down at himself one last time, put a trick flower into his pocket and took several deep breaths to steady himself.

"Show time," he muttered and then pushed the door open.


By Camilla Bawany

Good evening young ladies and gentlemen! As you all stand here eagerly waiting to graduate from your middle school and enter your high school, let me warn you. It's definitely not as easy as you think it is going to be. No longer will your teachers spoon feed you with syllabus requirements, no longer will you be allowed to come in late if you overslept, no longer will the excuse of 'the dog hate my homework' work. Everything will change. You will be adults now.  But along with these changes , something more important will also change too. Your goal. As you enter the real world, you will realize your one and only goal in life : success.

Success is what all human beings want. Yet we fail to realize it during our childhood because we are too engrossed in useless activities as our innocence hides the requirements of this greedy and selfish world. But as we enter adulthood, we slowly and gradually see that everyone's life revolves around success. Everyone needs success. Everyone works for success. Everyone wants success. Yet, not everyone can get success. So what are the ways of achieving success? Are there any ways through which one can garuntee success?
Well, to achieve success, the very first step is to define what success means to you. Not everyone has the same meaning of success, do they? I am sure while I was talking, all of you had different images of success built up in your minds. For one it might be money, for one getting admission into the best university in the world or for one, it might be just becoming the captain of the cheerleading team. So decide. You need to decide. What you want.
After you are done deciding what success means to you, stop running after it. Yes, you have heard it correctly- stop running after success. No need to run after it, afterall why should you? You know what you need to run after? Run after the task which defines success for you. Go after that task. Do it. But don't expect any success. Do it again. But don't expect any success. You need to keep doing it. But don't expect any success.
Success will eventually itself come to you. That is a promise. When you aim towards hard work and perfection, success automatically comes running after you. No need to go anywhere, no need to ask for it, no need to cry for it. It will just come. And if it doesn't , it means you still aren't doing your job the way it is supposed to be.
I will also warn you about something most people don't . Do not go for success which someone else wants for you. Your parents, your friends, your family. No. Do not listen to what they want you to achieve. Listen to yourself. Think about what you want and then work for it, not what others want for you. For example , ten years from now if you see yourself as a dancer and your parents see you as a doctor, make sure you show them the picture you have about your future. Do not ever replace your picture with theirs'. If you do, trust me success won't even come anywhere near you.

Finally, my friends, I shall end my speech with one last advice. Love your work, love your dreams. If you don't love what you want the you won't ever love the work you have to do achieve it. Hence even if you get success by any chance, it won't lead to the ultimate goal of each and every human being- happiness. So follow life in three simple steps: work, success, happiness. Thank you!