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Making the best out of old calendars

By Padya Paramita

With the arrival of the New Year, the 2011 calendars have to be removed from your desks and your walls to make room for the flashy new one depicting the days of 2012. Sure, you will mark the exam days and apocalypses on the new calendars, but what exactly is going to happen to the ones you've just removed? Instead of leaving them to rot, here are some interesting methods of recycling those.

Wrap Time!

It's wedding season, isn't it? So next time your mother is running around looking for those old gift-wraps why don't you offer her the pretty piece of art in the form January 2011 page? This saves a lot of hassle - money, time and you get appreciated for your creativity as a bonus. If the gift is large and doesn't fit, it's time to use those arts & crafts skills to good use, and cut and paste different pages together.

For the sake of education

How many times have you had to buy copies of the same text book because the cover fell off or the pages got torn? Prevent all sorts of damages to those books by cover them up with the calendar pages. Seriously, it doesn't matter whether the covering is bland or has a lovely painting on it, your book is safe, so is your money. Also, looking at the calendar, it helps you reminisce what you did on those 2011 days.

Order up

You may have noticed that 'jhalmuri-walahs' in the streets make pretty good use of recycled paper. So next time you decide to tear a calendar apart, consider donating it to someone who might need it, namely the street vendors. They can actually use these to serve food and satisfy hungry customers.

Endless gifts

Here's your chance to give your relatives, especially children, the handmade presents they've always wanted. Use the cardboard at the back of the calendars as base for DIY projects such as photo frames or even pen-holders. You can easily cut the pages out and paint the cardboard. AIKA works best with these and it is advisable to use desk calendars for such projects as wall calendars are way too big. Another great way to save money and endless thoughts on what to give as presents for birthdays, Eid, graduation and all those festivals that never seem to cease.

Your very own Mona Lisa

Sometimes the paintings all the calendars are really picturesque. They can make you go 'wow.' So, in case you've always wanted to take up drawing but never really had the time to go to classes, try and replicate the trees or boats on the calendar pages. You never know, this can be a source to the beginning of an epic journey.

IQ gaining time!

Some calendars contain wonderful quotes, information, and facts on famous figures, architectures, technology and basically any topic, depending on what type of company the sponsors of the calendars are. You can save these or jot down some of these to further your knowledge. Sometimes they have stuff on Bangladesh that we could never ever learn from the hours staring at Facebook so this is a great way to catch up with both history and current events.

So why not give some of those a try? You can recycle the calendar and stop the eco-nazis from guilt-tripping you. And you are also saving a lot of money it seems. So the next time you want to throw out a calendar, think of the world of possibilities it could lead you to. And then give us credit when you're famous.



Author Neil Gaiman
Illustrator Charles Vess

We try to act like fairy tales are for kids; we have grown out of them to move onto more serious things. Knights in armour, damsels in distress, witches hunting for hearts and woodland creatures who help you along the way are such childish concepts. But in the same way we start rooting for the Swat Kats when we watch old cartoons, some fairytales can take us back to the time when we bit our nails and sat in anticipation for the prince to kill the witches and the happily ever after that we knew was destined.

Trust Neil Gaiman to incorporate all the themes of classic fairy tales into a plot for a more mature audience. Stardust, with its brilliant accompanying illustrations, is a book to take you back to your childhood. Starting from the third person narration that is a trademark of fairy tales to the colour and shade of the art works - Stardust is amazing.

The story revolves around two worlds, the Faerie and the real world, which are separated by a wall. Only every nine years the guards at the wall are relaxed, and a market at the human town called The Wall, where both worlds unite and trade. And it is here that a human, Dunstan Thorn, falls in love with a Faerie girl. Fast forward a few months and Dunstan receives a basket with baby Tristan in it.

The story follows the young, naïve, 'soon to be a hero' Tristan Thorn as he sets forth into the realms of the Faerie in search of the fallen star. Why? Because his "true love" Victoria asked him to, in order to prove his love.

Like all classic fairy tales, we have Tristan boldly going through the world of Faerie, helped by magical creatures along the way, meeting Unicorns and witches. He finds the fallen Star, which turns out to be a lady called Yvaine and the falling in love of the two as Tristan captures her and tries to bring her back to Victoria, sets the main plot of the book. As side plots we have the Lilim - three witch sisters out for the heart of the star for eternal youth and the princes of Stormhold killing each other in order to become the new King of Stormhold. Gaiman weaves all these subplots into a more intricate plot where it turns out that all of them are related somehow or the other.

Throughout the book there are references to nursery rhymes and popular tales. Gaiman, as he says in the book, wrote the plot as narrated by his cat - and with stuff such as airborn ships and candle stubs that can help you travel great distances, we wonder at the imagination of the cat. The story has a happy ending, but not a conventional one. The novel is a must read for anyone who likes fairy tales, Gaiman or just wants to catch a glimpse of the childhood left behind.

This is, however, not a children's book due to some mature content. The only flipside is that, being a fairy tale, the story is, at places, predictable, but that's to be expected. With the brilliant artwork and the magical, lyrical plot, the book is a very good read. Even if one has seen the decent movie made of the novel, the story should still be read for two reasons: one, the plot was changed quite a lot for the film and, two, reading the fairy tales feel so much better.

By Moyukh

Mourning the Morning

They fought for glory, they fought for life
No one could avoid the
unknown drive
We beg for mercy, we beg for grace Still we find ourselves hard to trace

As for roses, thorns embrace
The life we know, slowly greys
Hiding all the glory in our pain
Actions do echo, nothing is vain
Let them all shine like the morning star
We will bear their pain in the dark For the ones who were and will be in light
In loving memory of those who left the scar.

By Shyer Amin
Grade XII, Pennsylvania, USA

The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.



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