ARC (NetGalley) Review: Movie Game

“Delay of reaction is the unseen movie of this life”- Katatonia

 

Synopsis: 

It’s been three years since Joe’s father vanished. Now seventeen, he is unaware that government agents are watching him in case his dad makes contact. Joe is too distracted by his secret girlfriend, midnight swims in the pools of strangers, free drinks from his buddies at the movie game and the glamorous college student, Felicity. But his movie-esque existence and addiction to fiction is set to collide with a heavy dose of reality this summer when he discovers everything is not what it seems: His secret girlfriend wants to be the real thing. His college fling may have ulterior motives. And the government agents want co-operation to catch his missing father. All this and the three-year-old death of Joe’s first girlfriend Alice are going to cause him to face some dark truths. It’s no longer a movie game. This is his life, and he wants to win.

Product Details(Amazon):

  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Pen and Picture (15 Sept. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0993061303
  • ISBN-13: 978-0993061301
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm

Review:

Are you the kind of person who appreciates irony? Have you ever wanted to read a book about a cinephile who holds books in low esteem? Not to mention that the boy in question imagines his life as a movie plot and views the world through an IMAX lens whereas in reality he’s a protagonist in a novel with the story being printed on pages in place of being streamed on Netflix! It doesn’t get more meta than that.

Additionally, the theme of escapism is broached early on. Do we watch movies to see ourselves in the characters as they struggle to succeed or to detach ourselves from a harsh reality? Is it procrastination or indulging in some greater meaning or art form that we fail to stay in touch with in our day to day lives…

To put it simply this book is like an eagle sailing in increasingly widening gyres while being buffeted by wind. Just when you think it’s going to fall short, it comes full circle. While it does succeed in resembling the thrilling structure of a movie plot, at the same time it retains the vital touch with reality needed for the audience to glimpse human moments from Joe.

I give this book a four star dragonball.

Things it could have done better: The movie references were actually pretty neat, however, not every reader will be able to appreciate it to the fullest. For the layman, a lot of googling is necessary. Footnotes pointing the reader in the right direction about the references would be helpful.

 

The Ramblings Of A Madman

The Ramblings of a Madman[1]

by Kashfia Nahreen Arittri (Class 12)

 

Once I came across this person who had the heart of gold. She was amazing and everything she did she did it for the people, people who didn’t even know she existed. I asked her, “Why do you work so hard when you don’t even get any appreciation?”

She replied, “You don’t do good deeds for appreciation, you do it because that’s the right thing to do. You do it because you want to be honest to your conscience. I don’t need people’s approval, all I need is to know that what I do affects people in a positive way. As long as I am able to help people I will be happy.”[2]

That was the day I started seeing the world in a new light. The day when I realized true happiness doesn’t depend on material things. True happiness lies on finding a purpose in life, a purpose that will help others, and working hard to pursue it. [3] I don’t even know what the person who changed my world was called, but I know as long as I live I will follow in her footsteps and I will do what I can for the betterment of this world. I will never forget her, she will always be in my heart. She will forever be my inspiration. [4]

“We are the monster that kills the song in a bird.”
[5]
Everywhere I turn I see broken pieces, torn clothing, shattered windows, demolished houses, fallen trees and I know that all if these are the results of human deeds. Misery, sorrow, pain, hopelessness and desolation I see in every corner of the world and the knowledge that all of these too are the work of human beings eats me up. It seems like all we know is how to inflict pain, how to cause violence; that all we are good at is making each other suffer.

Time after time we have proven to our own selves that destruction and wretchedness are what we know. Cruel, greedy, vain, conceited, violent, jealous, sadistic, unsympathetic, indifferent, heartless and cold: all these are our worst qualities. These are the qualities that command us to vanquish all the good, to annihilate all the happiness[6] .[7]

We claim we want to be happy. We also claim we want others to be happy too. And yet when we see someone other than our own selves being happy, we try our best to ruin [8] their merriment. We let jealousy get the best of us. We can’t stand to see someone doing better than us. Yes we do smile and say we are happy for them, but in truth we are far from happy. [9] We pretend to be civil but on the inside we are as discourteous as it gets.

But we do possess the quality to be genuinely happy for someone else; we do have the ability to be kind and compassionate[10] . And there people who are kind and full of goodness. But for many of us, we let our worst qualities take hold because following the wrong is much easier than following the right. Our worse traits have an allure to them that is hard to resist, and often times than not we let ourselves be carried away by their temptation, however evil may it be.
[11]
Causing violence is one of our main traits. Since the beginning of our existence we have instigated so much pain, so much sorrow that at times every good deed we do seem like nothing compared to the bad ones. We have now almost existed for 200,000 years[12] -a very long time-, and yet after all this time we are still as uncivilized as we were back then. Yes, good indeed does exist among us, but we crush it again and again.

We say we live in a civilized world, where people are kind and generous. We say we live in a world where we have freedom but not cruelty, a world where we all get along. We say we live in a world free of injustice, where all is fair. We say we no longer discriminate based on race, age, gender, sexual orientation or religion, where we are all viewed as human beings.  [13]  And yet after claiming all those things we have wars, where people viciously, mercilessly kill each other. We have our freedoms snatched away by the government in a moment’s notice. Yet we constantly keep on infringing upon the rights of others. We have corruption ruling the world. We still discriminate and stereotype against people. We still do the things we insist we don’t do.

Yes we no longer live in caves, we no longer roam around not properly dressed. We now live in houses, we work in clean offices, we use cars, we dress ourselves well, and yet we somehow are more uncivilized than we were back in the olden times.

Back then whatever we did we did to survive, and now whatever we do seems to be for our own personal gain. Whatever we do seems to be done in order to satisfy our insatiable greed. We ruin countries, kill billions of people just because they have something we want.
For years we enslaved people and made them do our bidding. We deprived them of their rights and called ourselves their masters, when we were and are all the same.
[14]
Hitler tried to annihilate people belonging to the Jewish religion, and what did we do? We let him torture and kill them while we pretended to live normal lives. Children and elders were killed in gas chambers, families were separated, people starved, beaten and tortured in Auschwitz and we let it all happen. The only reason we finally helped was not because we wanted to help the Jews but because it was what would benefit us.
[15] [16]
We saw Afghanistan fall apart. From a beautiful country it was turned into a rubble and once again we did nothing. We watched quietly as women were suppressed, -degraded to the status worse than that of animals. When we finally did act it was because it finally affected us. [17]

We saw Syria and Iran and so many other countries struggle and then fall to pieces, and did nothing. We watched as they were torn apart. Once again we acted when we knew it’d benefit us. Even now the Syrian refugees are being turned away by different countries who are unwilling to take in refugees.

Why do we stand by and let it all happen? Why do we not speak up?
If all us stood up together and fought against all the evil and injustice the world would be a much better place. Why does it have to affect our lives for us to act? How can we turn a blind eye and let other people suffer? How can we[18]  live with ourselves?[19]

How long are we going to let all these go on? How long are we going to remain silent as countries crumble down to dust? As people turn into mere skeletons? How long are we going to let unfairness reign freely? We have the power to fight for the good. We have the ability to do what’s right. If we only fight and beat the inner demons within trying to overpower us; if we only put our minds into doing what’s right; if we all stand together and wage war against the corruption, bigotry and inequity around and among us; we can make this world a better place.

I was walking home the other day and I saw this homeless boy by the side of the road and suddenly I started wondering what it would be like to not have a place to call home. That wasn’t the first time I saw a homeless person, the streets of Dhaka are filled with them, it’s just something about this particular boy spoke to me, something about him made me wonder. He didn’t look much older than me and I couldn’t help but think that in another life, if he wasn’t homeless, we might even have been friends.  [20]

Life is unfair, isn’t it? I mean what right do I have to have a home when someone else doesn’t? I look around and I see all this pain and misery, and I wonder what the point of life is. Do we even have a purpose to be alive? Why is it that some people get whatever they want while others don’t even get what they need? [21]

We, human beings, possess both the good and the bad. Despite all our bad traits we do have some good ones. We have a conscience and we have our intelligence. We are capable of doing things other creatures are not. We can use our mind, our brains to make this world a better place, -a better place not only for human beings but for every living being.

There are so many among us who devote their entire life making the lives of others better. Mother Teresa dedicated her whole life into serving others. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr spent his life fighting for justice and equality for African American people. Begum Rokeya fought so that girls could go to school. She fought for the basic human rights that girls were deprived of.
[22]
We do have kindness in our hearts, we do possess compassion. We just need to focus on our good qualities.

People say we would never know what good is without knowing what bad is. But how much more “bad” can we take? Isn’t this high time we stop and learn to live in peace and harmony?
[23] We are all human beings and we need to learn to live with each other without tearing one another up. It is time we take a step and stand together and fight for what is right.
[24] We need to stop the violence against each other. We need to embrace our good and vanquish the bad.
We are intelligent beings with so much to offer. We have so many talents and so much to give back to the world. We can all use all we have to make the earth a better a place to live in.

We need to respect one another and do what is right. We need to stop hurting others and help each other. We need to be kind and compassionate. We need stop trying to dominate and suppress others. All these tiny efforts will make the world a better place. Life would be so much more wonderful if only we try and do what is right[25] . [26]

Poem
I await a day;
[27] A day when the sun will shine brighter than ever,
A day when the light will glisten in every corner of every hallway.

I await a day;
A day when human beings will rise above violence and cruelty,
A day when happiness will take all the pain away.

I await a day;
A day when laughter and gaiety will fill every street,
A day when for the new tomorrows we will make way.

I await a day;
A day when war will be a thing of history,
[28] A day when lives will not waste away.

I await a day;
A day when humanity will stand together and be brave,
A day when corruption and deceit will be shooed away[29] .

I await a day;
A day when rape and sexual assault will come to cease,
A day when we will keep crimes and violence at bay.
[30]
A day like that I await,
A peaceful world I dream of;
Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow,
Maybe a hundred years from now,
I just know that someday
Will come that long awaited day. [31] [32]

Continue reading “The Ramblings Of A Madman”

Bed of Rose Thorns

Written by the person who wrote it. Class? In a class of his own.

The writer Orchit Rahman has given me the go ahead for mentioning his name.

Life is not fair to anyone thus comes the statement, “Life is not a bed of roses.” Everybody is equal in this world, but life does not treat everyone equally. We have to struggle to survive in this vast and competitive world. Some are born with a golden spoon in their mouth, as for others it is not the same case. With hard work comes success, and to accomplish that success we have to work hard.

Life is a cardiogram line: it is full of ups and downs. When we have ups we have to be confident about it, and when we are down we should be hopeful.

My life has hit rock bottom. No one has ever accepted me for who I am. I have suffered all my life. The fountain of youth is not a monument I had the luxury to visit. My parents were never there as my mother and father worked two jobs to support our family and my education. Still I could not get the promised quality education due to our financial crisis. I also did not have a great time at school because the teachers did not treat me appropriately. I had no close friends; I was in a world of my own. The weaker people in my society have been treated much more badly than me, so whenever I expressed my sorrows people were quick to point that out to me. However, relative happiness does not in any possible way assuage one’s unhappiness.

I knew that life is not a bed of roses. I had to find a way to make people accept me as it was the only way I would be treated as a normal person in this world. I had to struggle a lot to make my friends accept me. I used to take money from my mother every day and saved it so that I could present fancy treats to my lavishly rich friends. After giving them treats, they started to make me feel welcome and made me a part of their clique. My mother was becoming suspicious about what I did with the money she gave me. I told her that I was using it to eat lunch. Now that I was feeling accepted by my friends, they started to talk to me, and for once in my life I felt happy like I was somewhere I belong.

We have to be happy and content with whatever we have. We have to work hard all our lives in order to live a life like Richie Rich. We work hard so that we can survive in this world as life is not a bed of roses. Even though I did so many things in order to gain acceptance from my friends, they slowly began to ignore me, yet again. They did not talk to me properly. Also, they looked down on me in a condescending manner because they saw me for what I was(‘nt), a ‘low-class’ boy. Life brought me back to the same state I was in previously: Not square one, no that would be far too kind, I became stuck at square nothing.

The Pilot Testing The Pilot Project

Written by:

Banin Abrar, Class XI, Orange.

The horizon lit up with an unfamiliar glow, but not very unlike the prospect of a rising sun. In a matter of seconds, the untamed glow had lit up the entire vicinity with a vile revelation, bestowed by ingenious men of their generation.

High atop the landscape, the pilot perceived of what was once a tiny box, giving off a dense, over-sized cloud, that was now forming the familiar shape of a mushroom, but indeed very horrific to look upon.  The glowing ripple was extending its base at a staggering rate, and the cloud right at the center of it climbed higher, curling inwards, punching through atmospheric layers, and forming rings which seemed like the halo of an angel.

The pilot had come to know the bitter truth; he was only a pawn in a game of chess played by others. And now, no matter how hard he pushed on the throttle, the catastrophe would engulf him and his aircraft indiscriminately.

“A positron with a Y boson down quark, disintegrates into two daughter quarks and emits a gamma ray of 511 kilo-electron volts.”

And with that complex theory the professor put an end to his intricate lecture which had managed to baffle even the brightest mind present at the advanced research facility.

Gently professor Bourden slide into his battered old brown overcoat, and with a flick of his skilful fingers adjusted his thick-framed spectacles to a comfortable angle.  Checking his wristwatch rather tentatively, he retired onto his desk, and withdrawing from his cupboard a folder with extreme caution, and after checking his immediate vicinity within an interval of every few seconds, he finally proceeded to put the folder down on his hand polished plywood desk. Beads of perspiration hung loosely on to the wrinkles of his forehead as he ran his fingers through the confidential files. His eyes were all over the paper. And he was at a loss for words.

Suppressed excitement followed along with a tinge of  anxiety, like a thief all alone in a museum surrounded by priceless antiques. At once his eyes rolled over to the corner of the page, reading out the names of Albert Einstein, Nicholas Flamel, and many others. The headline read, ‘Project Manhattan’.

“It is a hit and run. You drop it and try cover a distance of at least a 2 kilometer radius. For confidential reasons, I cannot elaborate on the purpose of this mission and the package which is to be dropped. All I can say is this: It will end the war. Good luck sergeant Dashner, God be with you.”

The flight commander ended his ended his long speech in his own fashion, and in a few long strides he entered the control room. For sergeant Dasher it seemed that his job was simple, or so he thought.

“Drop in drop out.” he kept reassuring himself. Soon enough he would be flying over the hostile Japanese territory of Hiroshima. It was necessary for him to make full use of his aircraft maneuvers in order to avoid being shot down. If successful he would drop a lead box, the contents of which he knew nothing about.

Quite unfortunately, he did not even begin to suspect that he would have to find out the ultimate truth in such a dismal manner during the last few seconds of his tormented existence.

Reyner reluctantly turned over the pages of his Eighth grade history book; Quite clearly he had a knack for science rather than the arts and Literature, nevertheless, something from the contents of the book had hit him. Upon reaching the chapter ‘World War II’ he began piecing together his scattered attention. The casualty list read over 1 million; it also read how a patriot pilot named James Dashner sacrificed his own life to win the war.

Upon flipping the page there was a little name, ‘Project Manhattan’, and farther down below it were the names of various scientists who were recruited by the project directors. (Somewhere down in the list lay a name- Dan Bourden.  Further ahead in the last few pages a quote from British President Winston Churchill went on to defend the decision of the nuclear strike)

“We all agreed it was too late to do anything about it. It was inevitable for a peaceful world”

Damsel In Distress

Written by:

Eshadi Sharif, Class XI, Section Orange.

Damsel in Distress

ACT ONE

The flashing lights reflect off my perfect golden skin. With each flood of light, a new memory is imprinted within these photographers’ cameras. They love me, they want to talk to me, they want to know me. I’m an icon of the little innocence and honesty left in this world. Anything I say with crooked lips brings them to tears and every time I flip my dark and silky hair, men drop to their knees. I carry both fame and fortune in my back pockets.

But, to gain this, I had to pay a price. I made a deal with the devil years ago and Satan was having his fun, playing with whatever was left of my life. My fabricated smile had made faithful men melt and hurt many women’s pride. They call me the symbol of natural beauty and feminism. It amuses me sometimes, to watch the entire world living with this lie: little girls starving themselves because they want to look like me.

“Fame,” said my manager “is what everybody tries to achieve in life. Everybody wants to leave a mark, but the walls are only so big.”

“Money,” Papa said, “is all you need in this world.”

“Pride,” said my brother, “you will gain it quicker than anyone else. You will earn their respect.”

“Love,” said Mama, “you will be loved for all the wrong reasons.”

“What,” I said, “could possibly go wrong?”

It turned out that Mama was right. I am loved far more than anyone could ever even imagine, but it is only materialistic. How could you blame me? I was fed with lies of this life until my stomach was bloated with excitement and curiosity. They constantly told me of the beauty of this life and that I’d get whatever I want. Only then, little did I know, it was the struggle a man overcomes which makes life so blissful. I, on the other hand, can put my feet up on the coffee table with designer clothes on in an air-conditioned room for weeks and I still wouldn’t have to worry about the bills.

As my feet make their way through the red carpet, the marbled floor, the endless stairs, I finally make it to my destination: My dressing room, the only place I can call home. Home. Home would usually mean a place where someone lives but for me, it’s the place where I can shut the door on the entire world and pretend for a while that nothing has changed. Today I pretend as if everyone is proud of me because of who I am, not because of what I’ve become or how many notes are in my pockets. But this anticipated bliss had only been temporary.

“You’re on in five, sweety.” Called out my manager.

I take a napkin to wipe the bit of smudged mascara running down my cheek and right then an orange bottle catches my eye.

“This will do the trick,” I tell myself.

Tonight, I shall perform a show which will never be forgotten. I will reach the peak of my career, the climax of the story of my life. I grab a pen and paper, write a couple thought sentences and place it on the dressing table.

ACT TWO

For the first time in my life, I’m not worried before a show.

“I’ve got twenty minutes for the introduction, four for the plot to build and six more to reach the climax.” I think to myself.

Tonight I’m wearing my favorite white dress which lets my long and smooth legs show. My hair is tied up in a tight bun and my eyes are decorated with glitter and innocence. The name of the play is ‘Love and War.’ I play the victim: loved by two best friends who were once soldiers and are now retired. Thus, tortured by the choice of love and sacrifice. My role ends in Act three and I sure do hope the director and audience will appreciate the extra effort and special effects I’ve prepared for tonight.

Act one: I can feel every single eye watching me with awe. The two officers are to fall in love with me whilst they see me dancing with another man at an exquisite ball.

Act two:  I am showered with compliments and shocked by two confessions of love. I am torn between two men who I feel nothing for as I’m still recovering from the wounds of a dead husband and I can’t even refuse both proposals as I’m much too young to give up on love. I cannot marry any other man since the rest of the suitors seem to be after my money

Act three: I’ve fallen in love with both of them and I feel horrible about it. Both ex-soldiers promise me happiness for now, tomorrow and forever. I am a mess with eyeliner running down my cheeks. I look to my side and see the director smiling about the fact I could manage real tears.

I wonder how large his grin will be after my grand finale.

The first episode has begun. I’m supposed to swallow chewable tablets and pretend to die, but every actress has an unavoidable habit of making their last scene a bit too dramatic. I let the fake poison go down my throat and start to feel the real one react. I start to choke on my tears. Slowly and painfully the oxygen starts to leave my body. The coughing gets more wild and I can hear the audience holding their breath. The neck of my dress is soaked in saliva and splattered with red. The stage was now dripping in blood. Before I could notice, three men were trying to help me up but I knew it was no use now. How could you rescue someone who wanted to drown? How could you say that you’ve saved someone when their oasis isn’t in the real world? What could you honestly do if death was her only way of coming back to life? What would you tell her while she lay on her hospital bed crying because you killed her, just by letting her breath? Is the act of breathing the definition of living? If that is so, then her life was not one worth living.

I moved the man’s hand and told him,

“There is nothing an audience loves more than the perfect tragedy.”