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By Monty Python

Want to go to Rajshahi? Rumi asked me. Immediately without a thought I asked him how much will it cost. I was pretty broke and the idea of going to Rajshahi to accompany Rumi to meet his girlfriend was nothing but a crazy idea. He told me that Nice (his girlfriend) would manage all accommodations.

“We don't have to stay in a hotel, she's got a brother and he's got friend who's got a friend in a high place who can quietly slip us in the Rajshahi University campus where we can stay without paying a single penny.” All I have to pay for is the bus and food. I calculated that at max it ought to come around a 1000 taka so I was game.

Little did I know that this trip was going to be the most memorable of my life (mostly because I had not taken many trips before and more importantly because I it was an amazing place to go to).

The journey was fun, although we had to use a non-AC bus to save money (my money). At last we reached Rajshahi and headed straight to our room in RU campus.

The city was developed but was still a small city. While Rumi was busy attending to Nice, I got a few site-seeing opportunities. It was good that I had bought a digital camera only weeks before, and this was a good place to test it out (more like ruin it and throw all my monetary efforts in the water).

RU was a beautiful campus and the city was complete with a zoo and a barren desert-esque River Jamuna. Then our two days of site seeing was over and time to go pack.

We packed in the morning, but Nice was not about to let us go so early (she wished one of us stayed there for rest of his life). “You can't leave this place without visitng the Puthia Rajbari, if you missed it, then you haven't seen nothing”, she said.

“Pu… what?”

“Puthia Rajbari, it's a castle in the lake. Trust me on this, you can take a bus from there.”

There isn't much I could say after hearing that “castle in the lake” phrase. I imagined an elvish castle in the middle of a late. Tolkien was still very much in my mind I suppose. Rumi took the offer and so did I.

We went to Puthia, which being a district was more like a village just outside the Rajshahi city. We took the “murir tin” (a local bus where people sit on top of one another, literally), and reached the Puthia market place. There being no rickshaw, we hired a cab, which is basically a three wheeler rickshaw van.

I was still a bit sleepy then, still very skeptic. The van took us to a really old building, built in the style of those jamidar bari's that we know. This was the Puthia Higher Degree College, with a huge playing field in front of it. The atmosphere was great, as there seemed to be some kind of game of cricket going on. “Some kind” I say as most of the field was occupied with cricket players, with a bunch of football players mishmashing with the fielders, taking bits and pieces of fielding areas to form miniature football grounds with shoes acting as goal posts.

We entered the college, it was still a wonder that the structure was standing the way it was. The wooden structures were in ruins. The bricks looked like they were put in there in the early 18th century.

But the architecture reminded us of the grand days that have left us. This house was really a Jamidar bari till the 1950's. Later the Jamidari was confiscated by the government and this was turned into a college. It bore signs of Hindu architecture with domes and woodwork bearing signs of shattered idols of Gods and Goddesses. Behind college was a Hindu temple called Shiv Mandir. The roof contains 5 beautifully patterned spires.

Nice took us back to the van and we went further behind. There was an area with lots of forgotten bygone Hindu structures. These were worshipping places of the Hindi sages. Along the temple was a small lake. A few kids were playing with stones. As we went down the stairs to the lake, a most amazing sight appeared before my eyes. The water of the lake was green, and the sun's rays reflected through it, making it look as if the sun was under the water.

The lake was originally covered miles and miles, but now, people have filled it up in order to make houses. Here and there were date trees. The people here make really great Jaggery from these trees.

Further up, after a little bit more traveling in our van, we finally reached the Rajbari, the famous castle in the lake. Time has shrunk the lake to the size of a mere football field, but it was still large by Dhaka standards. The castle was also not at all like an Elvish Castle, but more like a ruined summer house of the Kings who lived in those parts. There was this thin aisle covered densely with lots of shrubs, this was our only way towards the castle. The path was apparently laden with snakes and other poisonous insects, so we made for the tiny castle in careful dainty footsteps.

The place was two storied. The walls were eroded and the naked bricks tried their best to cover themselves with moss to maintain some dignity. Up on top, the view was amazing. It really felt as if we were kings, kings of a ruined castle, come back after a hundred years to claim what our ancestors left for us. More clicks and shutters.

My mother considers me a lazy mule but back home, my pictures amazed everybody. My family ended up planning a picnic to that place. I strongly opposed feeling the sanity of our lost civilization must be preserved. Visiting the remnants of a long lost history of our country has brought out a side of me that I didn't know before. That was my castle in the lake. We have to save it.

(For more pictures, go to stars-collide.deviantart.com)

Review by Gokhra

Nicolas Cage is one of those rare stars that manage to get through just about every disastrous flick. It's a star quality that makes even a mediocre movie seem good. Take for instance ''National Treasure'' and ''The Wicker Man''. As for ''Ghost Rider'' I am biased toward the character as a whole so the lack of a proper god plot is almost negligible. This time around he come sup with “Next” released about a month ago. Thi time the difference lies in it actually having a very good story. Or not!

This time around he is a character who can see two minutes into the future. Now that would in theory be a very handy power to have as you can prepare for a plethora of outcomes regarding what you do. Heck, you could be trying out all the possible lines to impress someone and pick the one that has the most favorable outcome. Of course, that could result in a perpetually frowning guy who is very busy calculating outcomes. He would have high bills to pay for headache pills.

The plot
The movie is adapted from a 1954 Philip K. Dick story called ''The Golden Man.'' Needless to say the movie is totally different though good or bad you will have to decide reading the book.

Cage plays Cris Johnson, a Las Vegas magician with a low profile and a deadpan performance. He wears a velvet tux with a ruffled green shirt and does his magic tricks with a stoned face like he takes this art to be a very serious one indeed. It's the effect of the pills I assume.

We cut to Cris finding himself dogged by the FBI with the cool Julianne Moore at the helms. The feds have learned of Cage's gift and want to use it to save Los Angeles from being taken out by a nuclear bomb. But he fears exploitation and takes off to Arizona, setting off a wild chase. Yes, what would an action movie be without a chase sequence. Difference being a lot of boulders, logs and trucks are involved.

Throughout, Chris is hounded by visions of a woman named Liz played by Jessica Biel. Though beside Cage's wildman antics, Biel seems almost muted.

In the flick, Cris seduces Liz, then Callie (the FBI lady) warns Liz that Cris is dangerous and tries to get her to drug Cris. But Liz ends up doing exactly what you'd expect. What follows is Liz being kidnapped by the bad guys (led by Thomas Kretchmann) and strapped with explosives which she does while looking very, very good indeed.

The scenes where shots morph from his precognition (yep, that's what you call seeing into the future) and to real life are fun for the most part but at times can be confusing. There is a pretty coolly choreographed chase scene through casino corridors with Cris knowing precisely when to bend over or turn a corner so the security guys on his trail keep missing him by a nanosecond.

The verdict:
It's a good popcorn movie and fans of Cage won't be disappointed. But the movie does have a lot to desire in terms of narrative logic. At ties, it simply does not have any. But at least, it is still better than Superman where plot holes were big enough to swallow an entire country. The action stuff is excellent actually and for that alone the movie is worth a viewing. Or two even. But do not expect the story to blow you over.

Minimum System RequirementsSystem: Pentium IV 1.8 GHz or equivalent
RAM: 512 MB
Hard Drive Space: 1300 MB
Recommended System RequirementsSystem:
Pentium IV 2.8 GHz or equivalent
RAM: 1024 MB
Gamespot rating 8.3

This wildly different take on Quake, The Sims, and Clue is off the wall and innovative. Cross-genre games typically take a walk on the mild side. But that's not the case with The Ship, a Steam-distributed game for the Source engine formerly available as a free Half-Life mod. Unlike a lot of its hybrid predecessors, this multigenre multiplayer game from Outerlight really is something completely different.

The basic idea behind The Ship is that you play out a murder mystery on a luxury liner that's decked out in the art-deco style of the 1920s. But this isn't an adventure game, despite the Agatha Christie premise. A first-person perspective and maps loaded with narrow corridors and small rooms make the game feel like a shooter, although instead of blasting everyone in sight, you're assigned to kill a specific victim on the sly for cash, and his or her current location is updated at the bottom right of the screen every 30 seconds. Instead of blasting away with shotguns and BFGs, you mainly do your dirty deeds with improvised weapons such as golf clubs, letter openers, barbecue tongs, and croquet mallets (the more clunky the weapon, the more money you get for using it in a murder). Secrecy is paramount, as you're locked in the brig for a minute or two and fined whenever you're spotted wielding a deadly weapon or offing somebody by closed-circuit cameras or guards (your visibility is indicated by an eye that turns green when in the clear and red when being watched).

Murder you wrote
Of course, you're not the only murderer on your ship. An unknown fellow passenger has also been given the job of killing you, which means that while you need to keep one eye out for your victim, you have to keep the other looking around for the stranger trying to smash your face in with a rolling pin, gut you with a knife, impale you with an umbrella, or cave your head in with a wrench.

SIMmed up
And then there are bodily needs. Just like The Sims, The Ship requires you to sleep, grab a drink, eat a meal, converse with other people, hit the bathroom, and entertain yourself with reading or dancing. Fail to do so, and you suffer some horrible fate, such as dropping dead due to starvation, soiling yourself, going nuts because of a lack of human interaction, or turning into a pile of dust due to dehydration.

Modes of play
Five different modes of play offer variations on the above formula, but only three are really worth playing. Both the one-on-one duel and deathmatch modes seem ill suited to the deliberate style of play that The Ship is best at, so you're best off with elimination, a cautious game with players battling to be the last one alive; hunt, a free-for-all where you respawn again and again and are assigned different targets in timed rounds in a quest to accumulate a set amount of cash before the clock expires; and a solo-only arcade variant. Actually, you're just sort of stuck with arcade, a single-player option with moronic bots who prefer taking naps to trying to kill you, as it is crucial to learn the layout of the six relatively complex ship maps (which range from the small steamboat Atalanta and the little cruiser Batavia to huge luxury liners such as the Andrea Doria and the Cyclops) before venturing online against human opposition.

And online is where The Ship really sets sail. Gameplay is extremely addictive once you get over the learning curve and adjust to the more methodical pace but in this country give up!

Looks and sounds
And even though the art-deco visuals are stylish and the ships are gorgeously appointed with period furniture, interiors are often murky. Audio adds a lot of atmosphere thanks to old-time music parodies (listen closely to the lyrics) playing on cabin radios throughout each ship. But the actual murder mayhem often plays out in complete silence. Killings might as well be taking place in the vacuum of space which can be very annoying.

Despite all, the Ship is one of the best and most innovative multiplayer games available right now.

Source: Gamespot


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