Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 36, Tuesday March 15, 2005






Hanging out


With an abundance of handicraft shops in Dhaka, one could easily forget that Karika was a pioneer when it came to handloom. Established in 1974, it is the oldest crafts shop in the country, and is owned and managed by the artisans themselves. As you enter the Karika showroom (located at 27 Paribagh Super Market, 1st Floor, opposite Sheraton Hotel), you'll be comforted by its old world charm; it is much like an old bookstore, forgotten and heaved into a corner, but its products are just as appealing as ever. Karika's reputation when it comes to expert craftsmanship is certainly enough reason to browse through the old showroom again.

Karika happens to be a non-profit organization, one devoted to promoting beautiful deshi products from all over Bangladesh. You may find a paraphernalia of Nakshikatha products from Jessore such as bed covers, cushion covers, decorative wall mats and all at prices ranging from Tk85-Tk4050. Colourful Tangail sarees and three pieces in Muslin are worth sifting through, and prices will range from Tk300-Tk1150. From Sylhet we have a host of bright Monipuri sarees, shawls, not to mention tribal wear in silk khadi and cotton khadi, and these include trendy sarongs and dupattas. Rajshahi brings us cross-stitch Nakshikatha in the form of bed and cushion covers, 'Shathranji' Jute and woolen rugs/floor mats (Price:Tk200-Tk1200), straw baskets, coasters and a whole lot more. Straw baskets in various sizes will cost between Tk5-Tk150, and smart Jute bags (both the vegetable dye and regular kind) are Tk75-Tk400. Then there are cultured pearls in black, white and pink (Price: Tk300-Tk2250) from Dhaka. Clay pottery from Faridpur and Rayer Bazaar include glazed burnt and Terracotta. These, you may find in the shape of pretty vases, bowls, and 'festival dolls', prices ranging from Tk48-Tk1050. Karika also has some ethnic decorative pieces made of German silver (Price: Tk1400-Tk3500) and Buffalo horn (Tk55-Tk675). Leather handbags, travel bags, wallets, jewellery boxes, coin purses and key rings are all available, including Pati and leather combo file covers priced from Tk300-Tk500.

Karika deserves a trip back, because it not only houses some of the best and most authentic handicraft products in Bangladesh, but it also helps us support our artisans in the process.

By Rubaiyat Khan

Shop talk

The following items are mainly found at Meena Bazaar unless otherwise mentioned.

Skateboards are great fun if you can suffer through the first couple of hours of falling down. Any kid interested in outdoor activities will love this. So far only available at Meena Bazaar these are basic skateboards without hi-fi suspension systems. Hence, the price is low at 575 taka. It's best used on smooth surfaces and avoid roads at all costs. For safety reasons add some knee and elbow pads available at bicycle stores for about 200 taka a set.

Toy tool kit
Children have the wildest imaginations possible and they will turn your everyday object into a gizmo for their make believe games. A sofa becomes a car, a refrigerator becomes a doorway into Antarctica and a chicken wing easily becomes a gun. You can buy them a few toy tool sets to help them on their way. At a price range between 175-220 taka you will find various assortments of plastic tool sets. There's a carpentry set with the required saw, chisel etc as well as a mechanical set with screw driver, wrenches and hammers. Watch them build and destroy their imaginary inventions.

Rubber masks
My tally of scaring the living daylights out of people using a ghoulish rubber mask was in the range of double digits. Its unbelievable fun. You can find masks of goats, cows and pigs for 750 taka which is kinda high for basic rubber. But the masks are well detailed and a little improvisation at home can make them scarier. Other designs are found at different times. These are a good source of entertainment at school plays or parties.

Cool potty
Potty training for small children can start with these cool plastic potties. You can find these in several designs such as a tiny Volkswagen Beetle car where the kid sits on top and literally lets go. Also, there are abstract shapes as well as animals like a cat where you place the child on the cat's back. These look way better than the big toilets that can look as if monster will pop out. Prices range from 200- to 600 taka and are also widely available at New Market.

Building bricks
Lego blocks are brilliant because you can build pretty much anything with them. The ones available in Meena Bazaar are copies of the original but just as good. They come in different sizes, configurations ad packaging. There are sets available in big buckets, packets, or small sacks. Particular sets allow you to build houses, cars or pretty much any weird shape you want. The most common game is to build something as tall as possible and them knock it down. Prices start from 150 taka upwards. Grownups can join in as well.

By Ehsanur Raza Ronny




Percolator perks
The pace of urban life has certainly picked up over the last decade or so. Whether you're a high-schooler pulling an all-nighter before a major exam, a jet-setting social butterfly with a loaded schedule, or even a high-flying executive burning the midnight oil trying to meet the deadline, there are always miles to go before you sleep. And probably even more miles awaiting you as you wake up red-eyed to face another long day. So what's a harried urbanite to do to keep bright-eyed and bushy-tailed throughout the day? For many of us, the answer lies in a good ol' cuppa of joe.

That's right. More people are turning to coffee as a quick and easy picker-upper. Nothing provides a sweet buzz the way caffeine does, and as the magical little bean is gaining in popularity, coffee-shops, cyber-cafes, university canteens and others are cashing in on the craze. The coffee dispenser is fast becoming a standard fixture in many commercial outlets.

The Z factor
While a steaming cup of java is what helps you make it through the day, the best, and healthiest way to energise is still the old-fashioned way; adequate sleep. If you need to guzzle down cups of coffee just to stay on your feet, then what your body is actually begging for, is a few more hours of shut-eye, according to dieticians around the world. And by downing one cup too many, that's what you're denying yourself - lifesaving hours of sleep. So cut down on the coffee consumption to a reasonable amount and take a power nap instead.

Brew backfire
If you're not the nervous type, moderate coffee consumption gives you a natural high and helps you focus on your work. However, the same way the caffeine lifts your mood, it can reinforce a crash, so count your cups. If you're nervous about an exam or presentation, and you've already had a cup, curb the urge to grab a second; studies have shown that excess caffeine acts as a brain irritant and aggravates nervousness, even leading to panic. If you intend on maintaining your cool and keeping your thinking cap on, a hot mug of chocolate milk would probably help you more.

Read the signs
How do you know you're having too much? Well, if you're sleeping poorly, and your heart is pounding even when your boss is in a good mood or the campus cutie is nowhere in sight, you're definitely drinking too much. So chillax and go take a nap. One espresso less won't hurt at all.

By Sabrina F Ahmad

On the cover

Who says apartment dwellers can't stay close to nature? Scatter some grain on a small plank and keep it in your verandah, and you'll have a little bird hotel before you realize it.

Photo: Raffat Binte Rashid




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