things we love about
new market


  Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 20, Tuesday November 09, 2004





LS Favourites

IT seemed as if there is a huge party going on inside. The entire place is buzzing with shoppers' movement, gleaming with the lightings on the wall and trees, announcing Eid festivity. Entrance at the New Market is usually greeted with the following words, "Apa safety pin laagbo?" Or may be, apa chiruni lon, matro dosh takai tinda". As you enter more of these words will be conveyed. Everywhere you go a group of safety pin, naphthalene or comb sellers will escort you. These are the ordinary features of Dhaka's oldest and busiest shopping zone New Market, a place deeply associated with the lives of Dhaka dwellers.

When we entered for our brief field visit it is almost iftar time. There is hardly enough space to move ahead. All around the market only thing visible was people, tables and chairs occupying every inch possible. Fasting shoppers are all set with spoons in their hands, with plates full of munchies like halim, chatpati, fuchka and lasschi or a glass full of juice on the table.

As the feast ended, fully recharged shoppers started moving slowly. Within fifteen minutes all the chairs and tables disappeared. Shoppers continued with their extravaganza and they do not intend to stop until they could prove the phrase "shop till drop". What makes this place so special and dear to us all? Lets find out.

First of all it is not confined within a few floors, stairs or escalators. Spacious alleys with hundreds of stores on two sides offer shoppers to browse with comfort. This place offers everything from safety pin to shoelaces, toiletries to towels, from gift items to gorgeous dress materials. New Market is packed with the best buys that money can get.

If you start from gate one, you will see vendors selling fresh fruit, candies, pickles, mango bars and so many other goodies. Turn left there is a row of card stores. Fabulous cards for every occasion are on display. You will have hard time choosing from them. Move on to find out many bookstores and stationary shops always crammed with buyers.

If you turn right and take a few steps your eyes will be dazzled as, all that glitters are shining from outside the windowpane. Dhaka's best jewellery shops have an outlet in New Market.

Lets walk a little further, assortment of gorgeous sarees are displayed in the saree stores. Cosmetic stores here and there will always make you spend some more.

Some people say buying the perfect shoe is one tedious job that they intend to avoid. In New Market it is almost impossible to stop browsing. Shoe stores are packed with trendy foot wares. When you are done with shoes stay a little bit longer. Crockeries stores stuffed with handy items will greet you. Walk in circles you will find tailoring shops. Just beside these tailoring shops there are Guljar, Gulbag, Shuresha, Ruposri offering ready-made blouse and petticoats. These shops will definitely save you from those tiresome visits to the dorji. Get all the latest songs and music at the cassettes and CD shops. Beats are always vibrating the air around that place.

Don't miss the New Super Market, widely known as the Singapore or Dubai market. This place adjacent to the third gate of New Market is a gold mine. Get yourself some cheap Burmese shoes. As you move ahead crockeries will always jam the walkways preventing you from moving with ease. Upstairs you will find another Bangabazar overflowing with low-cost and cosy shirts, t-shirts, jeans, skirts, and many more.

On the pavement, alleys and walkways there are hundreds of hawkers offering jewelleries, plastic items, caps, towels, books, t-shirts and what not. And those pesky safety pin or naphthalene wallahs are always there, bugging you everywhere you go.

In addition, New Market is a fun place for window-shopping. Whether you have money in your purse or not, it is always fun just to hang out and please the eyes or scan through all the knickknacks.

The best feature of this place is the word cheap. One can start purchasing from tk1. Within tk50 it is possible to buy at least ten household items. Then again it also offers all the luxuries worth thousands, which is probably why hundreds of cars wait outside the market everyday. One thing you must have in you if you pay regular visits to the place.

Dhaka city, once known as the city of mosque can now be called the city of shopping malls. In all the major parts of the city lavish shopping malls are mushrooming. Yet no matter how glossy and posh they appear from outside or whatever exclusive things they offer, for the people of this city New Market will always be the favourite place for hanging around, window shopping and most important of all getting the best buys at a very wallet friendly amount.

By Shahnaz Parveen
Photo: Syed Zakir Hossain

soul to sole
YOU'VE probably heard of enough 'exclusive' boutiques that offer the same block prints, screen prints, tie dyes and hand-painted saris and shalwar kameezes to make you mistrust the 'e' word. Well, we're giving you one reason not to write it off altogether, and it's called Soul to Soul.
This tiny little shop is tucked away in a shady by-lane in Gulshan, and offers an eclectic mixture of traditional and fusion wear.
The décor is simple and functional. The boutique is just a little bigger than, and is designed to emulate, a walk-in wardrobe, which puts the whole focus on the clothes on offer there. There's plenty of those, in the form of shalwar-kameez, short kurtis, tops, belts, and those flouncy long skirts made popular by Preity Zinta in the Bollywood block Lakshya. All that, in a kaleidoscope of bright, eye-catching colours.
"I love playing with colours and textures," designer Neeti Singhal informs us. Indeed, with the palette turning brighter as the temperatures start dipping, a look around the store revealed a wide host of tangerines, fuschias, aquas, and limes, as well as the marigold or 'mango' shade of yellow-orange, which Neeti predicts will be the colour this season.
The bulk of the outfits are done in natural fabrics, like cotton, cheesecloth, besides which there are plenty of georgettes, crepes, and a few silks. Neeti likes to combine local textiles like taat with fabrics imported from Delhi, and she also enjoys combining two different fabrics like cotton and crepe to create an interesting effect. Sequins, beads and other embellishments are used very sparingly.
What makes her collection different from what's on offer in the market? No prints. "I don't do blocks, screen prints, or hand painting, and even my embroidery is kept to the bare minimum" the young designer tells us. The focus is on the cut, the fabric, and the fitting. The designs are also quite unlike anything you might find in the city. Prices range from Tk 1500 to Tk 10,000.
So if you're raring to try something different this Eid, stop by at Soul to Soul and check it out.
Soul to Sole is located at House 34, Road 115, Gulshan 2
By Sabrina F Ahmad

Moochie: Just a shoe rack inside the Apex Gallerie Outlet at Gulshan has indeed an array of different types of shoes that are elegant and classic, trendy and casual.

Stone 'N' String a Srilankan franchise has won our hearts when it comes to jewellery.

Nondon: Kid couture means Nondon. This shop at Orchid Plaza and Rangs Anam Plaza has always been the right place to buy clothing for your little girl and this Eid they have some fantastic lines to choose from.

Chondon fashion house: We found out that this boutique has some gorgeous attires on display. There are some ethnic wear with beads, baubles and other eye-catching items, embroidered on Bangladeshi fabrics mostly. Chondon is located at Road 121, Plot 24, Unit C3 Gulshan 1, Dhaka-1213.




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