|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 27, Tuesday February 14, 2006|
Heading into the cold
Winter here is really short. All you have to do is blink and it is gone. But for the couple of unblinking seconds that it is here it can be quite chilly. It is worse when you ride a bike or travel out of Dhaka where the cold stays longer and bites harder. The head, and especially, the ears need protection. In the city most bike riders do not use helmets and even when they do, the front is open and allows cold air to rush in. A simple solution is to buy light caps better known elsewhere as ski caps. You can roll them down to cover the ears and even cover the eyes when you need to catch up on some sleep in a room with too much light. Of course turning off the light might be easier. The caps are quite inexpensive at 35-45 taka and can be found in New Market, Chadni Chawk and almost all the roadside stands that sell headgear.
One of the worst offenders during winter are the people who come in out of the cold and without warning press their cold mitts against your warm face. The ones who ride bikes end up having numb icy fingers. If you have relatives, spouse, friends etc like that a good gift item would be simple pair of gloves. Synthetic or woolen ones can be had for around 50 taka and you will find them at New Market and other similar places where they sell socks, caps etc. Leather items can cost between 60-200 taka at sports stores. These come in both full gloves as well as gangsta style fingerless ones. Then there are the high tech breathing sports gloves that cost about 300-350 taka.
What's a better gift item for a superhero crazed kid (or adult) than a set of comics? There is a new version out that is smaller than the superhero comic books previously available. Roughly 8x5 inches these are specially made for the Indian market. You get the different titles of Spiderman, Superman, Batman and a few other 'Man'. Bangladeshi retail prices on the cover state each costing 18 taka but the vendors won't take any less than 40-45. Certain double issue will cost 60-75 taka. So far I found them only at the book stall near the gates of New Market. Big books stores do not carry these comics.
Parties, especially kiddie parties, require small treats of candies. Nothing beats the soft chocolate covered caramel or peanuts. Go to any of the big stores like Agora, Nandan, Almas etc and pick up a packet of Mars or Snickers mini. The packets contain a lot of the delicious goodies in small bite size chunks. It's great for handing out to guests or storing in your desk drawer for a quick treat to yourself. Prices are around 300-320 per packet.
These holders are not made out of paper but are for holding the actual paper. You might have a lot of important documents lying around the house. A lot of people purchase land and have large sheets of maps and documentation that cannot be lost under any circumstances. These plastic paper carriers provide a handy solution. Cylindrical and usually black with a carrying strap these can be elongated to carry larger sheets of paper. The hard plastic construction means your papers will not get crumpled plus it will keep mice away. These are the preferred cases for architects as well as designers who work with big sheets of paper. Priced at about 250 taka, these plastic paper holders are available at art supply stores in New Market.
By Ehsanur Raza Ronny
Pottery and terra cotta
Bangladesh has come a long way since the time that it was simply an agriculture based country. Our import items are now more diverse, and our resources are now being applied to various industries. One such booming industry happens to be that of pottery and terra cotta - an obvious attraction for tourists, these items being made in places like Shahbag, Potua Khali, and even by the students at Charukola.
Even with the high demands, locating these items can be very stressful! With no proper shop selling pottery and terra cotta, it is little wonder that this industry has not yet become one of the more important ones. LS has taken up the challenge to keep their readers well informed about where to locate these ornaments. With more and more people opting for the traditional and ethnic looks for their households, terra cotta curios could provide the perfect choice!
The largest collection of pottery and terra cotta can be found near the High Court, in front of Curzon Hall, where a group of street hawkers set up make-shift stalls in a chain, displaying their goods to students, tourists, and passersby alike, with a smile on their faces, though with a shaky sales pitch. Among the pottery, one can find jewelry sets made of clay, priced at Tk.40 each, while the ones supporting a bit of woodwork as well as clay are priced at Tk.160. The miniatures are all reasonably priced at Tk.10, while replications of brides and grooms are priced at Tk.20. Animal figurines are priced at Tk.30, of which the most striking are the ducks, the largest of which is only Tk.350, while the monkeys are not far behind, though less costly at Tk.70.
Most of the products go to these sellers in their primitive form, and much of the painting and beautification is done by the shop keepers themselves. For the magnificent vases, the price range varies according to either design or size, though the smallest starts off at Tk.150. Bangladeshi ceramic can also be found here in the form of wall pots at Tk.40 and marvelous candle stands at Tk.90. Terra cotta is somewhat hard to come by here, though one may order them. However, that becomes very costly, since a 4ft by 6ft piece would cost around Tk.20,000-Tk.30,000.
Another pottery haven is the roadside on Mirpur Road next to Road Six, Dhanmondi. Though not exactly a store, rather just a lot of magnificent handicrafts carefully displayed to passersby, this area is also worth checking out. Sitting side by side with products made of straw, the enormous vases here range from Tk.180-250. However, the price again varies according to the design, instead of size. A notable piece of pottery, which instantly catches the eye are the multicoloured horses. The small ones are worth Tk.250, while the biggest one is Tk.500. The highlight of shopping here is that none of the products exceed the Tk.500 price range, unless the product is a specially ordered one or one painted specially on demand.
Idea Crafts, a tiny shop located at 2/7 Sir Syed Road, Mohammadpur, was a brilliant find on the part of this correspondent. Barely noticeable, this shop turned out to be a gold mine! Specializing in clay jewelry, clay masks, wooden jewelry, wooden and clay show pieces, pottery, terra cotta, and clay lamp shades, this store is definitely one of a kind. What is most noticeable about them is the fact that they have coloured terra cotta, as well as the traditional non-coloured ones, all within a price range of Tk.50-950. The spectacular lamp shades, which are a must buy, are priced at Tk.250-550, while the clay masks of unusual design and colours are ranged from Tk.40-700. The necklaces are priced at Tk.80-250, depending on the quality and amount of work done, while the bangles are Tk.30-40 and earrings are Tk.30-50. Other than the usual pottery, they also have some eye-catching ones, like clay mugs and beautifully crafted bells, which are Tk.90 each. Again, standing out among the animal figurines are the horses, priced at Tk.200-400.
With pottery and terra cotta, one must always be prepared to spend. With a miserly budget, these items are not for you. Even though most of the goods are not worth more than Tk.1000 or so, once you start checking out the stores, the enticing articles make you keep on spending. So if you are on the hunt for some pottery or some terra cotta for your house, or even to give as a gift, make sure you either have a will of steel, or else a very large bank account! Till you are broke, keep reading LS for more shop specials!
By Rohini Alamgir
| Issues | The Daily Star Home|
© 2006 The Daily Star