By Tareq Adnan
I woke up abruptly and promptly forgot where I was. It was a common phenomenon really; try waking up to the sound of an overloud generator and it's sometimes hard to remember one's gender. It's not fun. And I'd only just gone to sleep.
Outside I could hear Kawran Bazaar waking up, and with it the stink of cabbages drifted into the office. For some reason, it was always that cabbage smell that I noticed, don't ask me why. And mixed with that was the smell of ink. See, I was splattered in it. I'd spent the whole night at the press, printed 8 pages of myself out.
And now I was tired. And the little room at the DS office where they let me sleep (its board with food, what more could you want in this city) was filled with the latest issue of RS about to be shipped out. At least this week the cover was devoid of any adverts trying to get people to buy soap and what not. Adverts just make it harder for me to work in my already cramped space.
Flicking through the issue, I cringed at that Adnan brat, wondered what exactly Emil meant with the crystal ball thingy and almost wept at the sorry state of page three. Page two was good though. That made me happy.
But what truly made my day (which had yet to start, it was still dark out and this time I could smell the shopkeepers bring the fishes into the bazaar outside) was the date. April 30th, just one week more.
See, in one week, I'd hit that awesome double digit, the number 18. My birthday was coming up, and in a week, I'd b able to vote! Or not, but hey, it's still pretty cool. My glee was kind of sobered up when the cabbage smell drifted back in from the bazaar.
Hey, everyone deserves a break right? I mean come on my birthday was coming up. I'd tried lobbying with The RS Editor, you know, to let her know that I'd be taking the week off. It's only natural.
I had all these plans see, plans of extended debauchery and what not. I'd be 18, man! I'd been reading up on what people all over the world did for their 18th, and I had some ideas. Some of them involved chickens. And ducks. I tried inviting the writers; they told me they'd rather stay away. Cowards! I get one wild night of partying and they don't wanna come. I think it's the leather they're scared of.
I should have been on vacation you know; I should have been planning my radical birthday party (I had this other idea, about costumes with involved a lot of leather, but umm…). Except I was at the office, trying to figure out what to put on page 2. The RS Editor was breathing down my neck, mostly because I'd gone out of my way last night to go watch Notorious with Osama.
And now, it was like a frantic rush to fill the pages up.
There's this song, by the Boomtown Rats, its called I Don't Like Mondays.
I honestly don't like Mondays. Its a day when I have to take all the write-ups, all the pictures and stuff into that cramped 8 page spread. At least I had Shagor Bhai to help me out.
You know, just last week, I'd planned that on Monday this week I'd go crazy. Birthday coming, you know legal age at that, I'd thought I'd make a ball out of it. Instead, I'm stuck here.
After deciding that maybe Musarrat's DIY thing was better on page 6, I decided to put the RS experiences thing on page 7. Hehe… it's funny reading what the writers have to say; it almost made my Monday worth it, almost.
Almost, because I still had page 3 and the centre to figure out.
Once again I woke abruptly, only this time to the sound of chickens. For a while I thought my hedonistic dream for that awesome birthday bash had come true. Only then did I smell cabbages and realize that Kawran Bazaar was just restocking.
I took a look at the RS. I had all these things planned, none of which I got to do, and just so I could bring this baby out. Looking at the end product, a part of me didn't regret it. 18 years yeah, a long time. I frowned. The cover…. Damn that Adnan kid!
From the RS Editor
The story of Rising Stars started some eighteen years ago with a view to giving the youth in the country a little space to express themselves. Years of trial and error, an eight-page, all-colour tabloid format later, this little magazine, your magazine, is finally turning 18. Every year, when we recruit a new team of writers, we ask them why they want to join us. The usual answer is, "Because I love to write".
The craft of writing requires skills painstakingly learned. When your muse deserts you just when you have a deadline hanging over you, and the sense that readers around the country (and even abroad) may be looking forward to their weekly dose of RS weighs heavy on your shoulders, this statement gets tested to its limits. What you, dear readers see, is the product of a lot of tension and drama, which we experience week after week, and this is what has shaped our teen-aged magazine. It's given us a taste of what it means to live on the edge, to chase stories that we believe need to be told, in the hope of informing, and entertaining you. Sometimes we hit, and sometimes we miss.
Our readers have been warm with their praise, and brutal with their criticism, and it is your continued support that keeps us aiming for a little more improvement, a higher level. Working and bringing out RS from its infancy, through its tumultuous teenage years, it's been one awesome ride. I have watched as how every year new young writers with fresh ideas come into the fold and the old brats I have trouble with pout at losing their printing space. I remember names of the some of the more memorable writers, the way they helped me, and the way they made my job harder by throwing their creative tantrums. To name but a few: Shushmita Sen for her sweetness, Sirajul Saleheen Lovell for his wacky sense of humour, Adnan R Amin for his thoughtful insights, Kazi Khaled Arafat for the 6 grader who came to me with his beautiful poetry, Romel and Nameer for being the two most dependable assistants I've ever had, Hamdu Miah who made me laugh and I'm still looking for his replacement, Ehsanur Raza Ronny with whom I've always had a love hate relationship but all I can say about him now is that he is the only person who had such a great sense of humour combined with awesome writing skills. Sabrina F Ahmad, without whom I can't think … my latest brat in training Tareq Adnan.
To all my readers and writers keep reading Rising Stars and keep writing for us, this is your magazine.
Raffat Binte Rashid