Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 58, Tuesday August 16, 2005




Shop Special

Edible Art

The fruit basket has many roles to play. It may serve as the centrepiece on a dinner table, a gift item for someone at the hospital, or even the piece de resistance amongst the gaye holud daalas. One thing's for sure, it's an integral part of many of our social rituals. In this day and age, where competition is the name of the game, and one's prestige is linked with how unique and successful one's events are, even the fruit basket finds itself under scrutiny.

Enter the talented two - the sisters Mehruna and Durdana Islam, who have taken the art of making fruit baskets to new lengths. They offer to you the wonderful wizardry of carved food. That's right, the baskets themselves are carved out of fruits. In fact, their creative artistry isn't just limited to fruits; they create sculptures using raw materials like vegetables and cakes and cookies and other dessert items!

This may have started out as something of a family tradition, where food sculptures formed part of various ceremonies, but the enterprising sisters soon discovered the potential for this skill of theirs and now offer their services for anyone who wants to own a piece of edible art. You can order your personalised fruit baskets and carved food, and the price depends on the product itself.

Colourful and flavourful, these sculptures can add a new dimension to your parties and occasions. Do you still need a reason to try them out? The contact address through which you can place your orders is durdana@agni.com

By Sabrina F Ahmad

Letter to the Editor

About customer service

Dear Editor,
I really liked Tahiat-e-Mahboob's perspective in the August 9 issue of Lifestyle. It was both well written and truly conveyed the writer's emotion. I was doubly happy that such an article was printed because I too have been a victim of the furniture store in Gulshan 1 suffered as a reporter and I suffered as a customer.

This store is very bad at delivering in time and cheats people out of furniture fabric. And if a customer calculates the discrepancy and demands an explanation, the salespeople become downright rude. When this happened to me, I wished that I could write about this and inform other potential customers but since I don't work for a newspaper, I couldn't do anything. Having read Ms Mahboob's article I rest my case because it's a big mistake to ill treat a customer but it's a bigger mistake to deal with the press so unprofessionally. It makes me wonder how this store could stay in business for so long and celebrate its tenth anniversary.

I would like to end on this note that thanks to Ms Mahboob's article I will no longer be visiting the department store on Gulshan Avenue either. I just wish that she had mentioned the name of the mall where she went to the watch shop. This city is full of malls and saying 'a watch shop in a mall' is very vague. Had she mentioned the mall-name, I would have boycotted that shop too because I strongly believe that any entity that deals shabbily with the press is bound to treat its customers shabbily too.
Naima H.

Dear Naima H,
Thank you for reading Star Lifestyle and the opinions expressed in your letter are also in tune with our observation. However for some unknown reason we never write about how shop keepers, owners, and salesperson lack the basic sense of customer service. We always say that stores are carrying this and that, print their pictures on the covers, celebrate their anniversary with a bang, write about their new outlets, their launching of new lines. But we never say how rude their front desk people, their store managers or their salespersons are. We never write or say a word, if they completely ignore you and literally shun you, when someone with a hefty wallet is around. We never write about their making you feel low if you are shabbily dressed. We never write about renowned ice cream parlours serving sour tasted mousse or other things.

Basically we always make it look like we are blessed that they are here. In Dhaka specially there's no concept of customer service. Leave the first world out, just go to Kolkata and see what client service is- you will know the answer. They put you on the top and know how to make you feel good, and for their sweet smile and service you feel like paying them more.

I do appreciate my colleague Tahiat-e-Mahboob for having the guts and sense to write about this issue. I hope things will improve. Till then we are stuck with these ill tempered, egoistic … what should we call them… ruffians is maybe the word for them.

Raffat Binte Rashid
Editor Star Lifestyle

Shop Talk

Mini basketball hoop
Overloaded with work? Want to shoot your boss or if you are the boss then you want to shoot your employees? Want to shoot your teacher for too much homework? How about your neighbours dog for peeing on you shoes? It may sound like a good idea but then there is the messy blood and the dumping of the body and everything that simply increases the stress. Better yet opt for shooting a tiny basketball into a tiny hoop. It's a cute little toy for sports fans with the ring measuring roughly 6-7 inches. You can hang it anywhere in the room and practice being a mini Michael Jordan. Price is Tk150 at Meena Bazaar with tiny basketball included.

Car shampoo
Shiny cars seem to attract dirt like Tom Cruise attracts 'oohs' from the fairer sex. Birds have an annoying habit of pooping on shiny paint. The grime often settles in leaving the paint looking dull. Some people love to use kitchen variety detergent on the car paint. It's like washing your face with toilet cleaner. Regular detergent destroys paint. Check out the liquid detergent formulated for cars by an Australian company called Kitten A 750ml bottle cost Tk237 at Agora. You mix it with water and it provides a layer of wax as you wash. It rinses off easily and a bottle is good for about 20 washes although it says 30 on the bottle.

Mini iron
These irons are cute and extremely tiny and to top it off they work. These are good for simple crease removing and straightening of clothes fresh out of a packed suitcase. Yes, these are especially useful for travellers but can also be used at home. Available at Meena Bazaar or New Market for about Tk120-130.

Icky sticky toys
Kids and some grownups have a perverse fascination with gooey, slimy and sticky matters. Icky sticky toys are exactly what the name suggests. These are shaped like cute crabs, bears and other cartoonish characters. They are made of a soft gooey substance it is solid yet feels slightly liquefied. And it sticks on almost any surface. Kids love it although they do not remain sticky forever. There's even some with the immortal 'I love you' written on it. Small ones are Tk55 while the larger ones go up to about Tk150.

Shoes for a rainy day
During the rainy season nothing is worse than having to go through the entire day wearing soggy shoes. Well, maybe except for the time when you come home and take off those damp odourous socks. Leather shoes absorb water when soaked for too long. The remedy is to try out the new artificial leather shoes available at Bata. Classy formal shoes are available for around Tk1200-1600. The soles are made of very light and durable rubber with soft interiors to stop your feet from aching. Of course, these too will stink if you don't air them every day.

By Ehsanur Raza Ronny



You have to be a hermit if you haven't heard about all the recent controversy surrounding food adulteration. It's enough to put people off eating altogether. Since that's not happening until Ramadan at least, the best you can do is to be careful about what you eat.

No place like home
Since even the high-profile restaurants are under suspect, why take chances and dish out half a month's pay for a meal you later find out carried 'special' ingredients you didn't want to eat? If you still want to enjoy the experience of a fancy dinner, bring the restaurant at home. For more pointers on this, check out our centre page story.

Vicious Veggies and faulty fruits
When out shopping for fruits and vegetables, be very careful and inspect your prospective buys. Some 'enterprising' sellers don't want to waste time waiting for their ware to ripen, and inject the fruits and veggies with hormones and enzymes to help them ripen. These enzymes, as you can very well guess, aren't very good for health. Other hazards include dyes injected into the greens to make them look more appealing. If you don't want to eat half of your chemistry set along with your salad, before paying good money for your greens, inspect them for signs of needle marks.

Something fishy
There are many ways to keep a fish fresh. You either keep them alive in a pot of water and cut them up right before you cook them, or you store them on ice. Or, if you want to ensure long-term freshness, soak them in formaldehyde. Do I see a raised eyebrow? Just because you don't prefer using morgue medicine for your fish doesn't mean that your fishmonger doesn't either. So when out shopping for fish, poke the fish a little and smell it. If it appears too stiff, or smells odd, it's best to avoid buying it.

If you want to experience the thrills of risk-taking, go on an adventure trip somewhere. Don't play ball games with your health. Eat safely.

By Sabrina F Ahmad



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