Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 51, Tuesday, June 1, 2004




s u m m e r s i z z l e s

THE heat this summer is worse than what a cow feels, while being roasted over hot coals at noon in the middle of the Sahara desert. Unbearable is the only thought boiling in people's minds. The searing heat creates a shimmering haze that obscures any of the natural beauty related to this season. For a moment people forget all else in their panting desire for a cool respite.

Just like any other season summer also has its share of wonders. It's the season that gives us a wide variety of flowers, fruits and vegetables. Come to think of it, all the seasons have wide varieties of a wide assortment of 'stuff'. Summer does have its specialties though that no amount of perspiration can wipe off.

Cool fruits
Summer here comes with a treasure trove of fruits. We get a variety of indigenous fruits that are not only mouth watering, but also high in nutritive value as well. When you think of summer, you think of kalboishakhee storms and mangoes. The two go hand in hand. Darkening skies, brilliant aerial displays of lightning, fierce winds knocking the ripening fruit off the boughs, the fragrance of the wet earth mingling with that of mango blossoms. That's a typical scenario over here. From the succulent fozlis and the tangy lengras, to the tiny gutlis and the legendary heemsagars, the mango has always been the reigning favorite of the sunny season. Taken in the raw or as pickles, morrobbas or aamshattyas, 'aam'-brosia is the word that comes to mind.

Then there's the jackfruit. With its rich flavor and impressive smell, the sobriquet "Jack, the King of Fruits" seems a fitting one. It is often called the "poor man's food", being abundant in supply, and thus inexpensive, and packed to the brim with nutrients. Some like it ripe, some don't, while others burn the seeds to make bhorta, or cook the unripe version to make ichorer torkari…whatever the preparation, it's a treat and a half.

There's no better way to beat the heat than with juicy fruits. Lychees, watermelons, grapefruits, bel and pineapples…varied as they are in taste and appearance, they make excellent beverages. Other than the sweet fruits, our country also produces a vast collection of citrus. Amlokis, koromchas lotkons, kamranga (star fruit), and jaam, (black currant). Need we say more?

Summer flowers
It isn't uncommon to see bursts of vivid crimson appearing all over the city this season. The krishnochura is a common sight in summer. When you visit Dhanmondi Lake or Crescent Lake you're bound to see the krishnochura, the radhachura, the jaruul, and the swarnalu in abundance, creating a riot of colours - crimson, yellow, pale gold and lilac against a backdrop of green. What artist could have created such a combination?

Jamai Shoshti
The Bangla culture is scattered with different types of festivities revolving around the different seasons. Some get celebrated on a large scale involving everyone for miles round and others happen on a quieter scale in the family.

Such a festivity that is often carried out by the Hindu families during this season is Jamai Shoshti where the family of the bride offers gifts of clothing and fruity condiments to the groom's family. It's a way starting off the season with a sweet touch so to speak. Of course, this sort of culture exists in more or less the same form in all religions. The two households of a married couple send each other gifts of this nature. It is practiced more in villages where many people have their own fruit trees. Such gifts are a way of making the relationship stronger.
Soothe the throat

Perspiration may sound ugly to most people but it's something that catches up to everyone eventually in this weather. Cold liquids in this parched weather are worth the weight in gold. Well, almost. Sure, Coke and Pepsi have the fizz and the million dollar jingles to attract you, but nothing beats the goodness of a glass of fruit juice. It not only quenches the thirst but is actually good for health provided the water is not piped in straight off the Buriganga.

Snack shops and makeshift roadside stands are quick to churn out a glass of juice. Speaking of juices there is the ready to drink coconut that comes out cool no matter what the outside temperature.

Then there are the icy cold curds, yogurts and custards, and let's not forget the ever-popular lassis.

Of course if that is not cool enough for you then nothing else will do except for ice cream. This year is the summer of the sundae, with all the leading ice cream parlours and factories coming up with ingenious combinations of flavours and toppings. In this heat it is a cool replacement for tea when guests come visiting. Then again, who says you cannot add some ice cubes to the tea?

Summer outfits
Fashion trends quickly fade unlike our summer but the designers nevertheless manage to keep up with the heat. Nylon, wool, chiffon, and silk…
all fabrics get chucked into the inner recesses of the closet, as summer is the season for light weaves like cotton and linen. The colour spectrum gets cooler with more earthen tones, more neutrals and cooler solid colours, like purple, blue, green and pink. Sleeves recede to half-length or even disappear altogether, and the length of the kameez starts creeping northwards.

Men go for knit fabric t-shirts and fatuas with jeans. Many prefer short shirts and loose pants. Freedom of movement is what the weather dictates this summer. In terms of colour the past few years has seen the men of our country slowly progressing (at times regressing) into bright colours like orange, red, green and on the other end of the spectrum there is lime green and bile yellow.

For the children there is no specific fashion trend but the material does matter a lot. Here cotton reigns over all else as in the case of the grownups with linen and voile being cool and comfortable.

What with the countries present downhill situation of politics it would be a small wonder if few people think of what has been mentioned so far. Take for instance the price of mangoes what with a lot of these being imported. For most people the high prices make it difficult to make some space in the budget for the bread earner(s) to treat the rest of the family.

Considering the present downhill situation of politics it would be a small wonder if few people think of what has been mentioned so far. Prices of all the goodies are high making it difficult for everyone to enjoy the few good treats offered by summer. The heat outside along with the heat of a burning wallet can make life miserable. Despite all that, once there is a good summer storm and everything has cooled down a bit, all the complaints get washed out, and we have a silver lining to look at.

By Sultana Yasmin
Translated by Ehsan
ur Raza Ronny



home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

© 2003 The Daily Star