Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 33, Tuesday March 28, 2006



Style Files

You are your own stylist

Styles for this NaboBarsha
Every Nabobarsha, we in Dhaka, get ready for a glorious celebration. We plan the day and look forward to the festivities. This is the day to look Bangali, not that we don't look Bangali every day but we put on a special touch that exemplifies our Banglaitto. Let's look at some of the ways we can try to change and modify this special shaj.

Short to medium hair: the Bangla Nabobarsho begins with the first light. It is a tradition to be up at dawn to take it all in and welcome the New Year. Keeping this in mind make your hair soft and natural, flick it out, not in ,which will give much volume and character. Sleek straight and pulled back is just out.

Long hair: the mercury does rise considerably on the first day of the Bangla New Year, therefore I would suggest a tie up style. But the idea is to keep your hair high held by a pin or a clip. Twist and turn and let it be.

Natural is the key vocabulary. The only thing that you can work up is your eyes but don't line it with kohl but instead go soft under and above shading your angel eyes. Don't go smoky first thing in the morning; try shades of bronze, copper, or a translucent shimmer.

Light, breezy, cotton weaves signify Nabo barsho in the true sense and you cannot go wrong. But I would suggest you take that starch out the night before. The trick is to pleat and un pleat a few times voila it is soft and much less stiff. I would think it would feel much more comfortable this way.

Colour is very important. White with multi border, black with red border, red with black border, maroon with white border, ivory with gold border, all look superb. Buy only those that are simple, chic and classic whether printed, woven, or embroidered. First thing in the morning you don't want to look like a circus. I would like to add that the value addition of tie dye, block print, screen print, hand paint, embroidery all at the same time looks a little over done and grotesque.

It is a common belief that in a festival you also need to look like a mobile carnival. Please refrain yourself from this if you want to stand out in a crowd. You should look like a morning flower, pretty, refreshing, subtle and sophisticated.

This year your blouse is probably the most important element in your ensemble. Sleeved or sleeveless, halter or off shoulder, spaghettis, or strapless are all shapes fashionistas of Dhaka devour. If you are the adventurous type, try to check these styles for your blouses. Otherwise stick to more conventional styles. Tie dyed, embroidered, or appliqué, back is the most important feature.

Embellish it with creative engineering. If there are sleeves you can also add on an additional interest. Contrast is the color focus. Therefore go with a secondary color that will stand out. On this day good fortune will fall upon you if you wear a new piece of garment.

Some of you may prefer to wear a suit. You may pickup up a bright <dopattas> with a light pastel suit. Or go acid bright all the way keeping with the festive mood. I would not recommend that you discard your sari. Although as much as we don't want to abandon the sari and pick up a different attire especially on this occasion, it does seem a little cumbersome, especially for the working ant but not for you divas out there.

An ensemble is incomplete without complimenting accessories. A tradition to look dashy is the hot look especially over the past few years. Look for nature elements, environment friendly elements. Shells, nature beads, jute, cotton, mother of pearl, bones, terracotta and dry flowers. Pure silver is always a good alternative as you can almost never go wrong. This works well with any kind of cotton sari.

Natural flowers of the season, bailey, kathal chapa, orchids or roses are all good. But if you have access to wild flowers they can equally look exotic and striking. Hair pins, elaborate or simple in metal or wood can be of interest on your hair bun. On short hair clips look great. You can improvise; make your own using a normal bobby pin. Tickly can also look festive on young souls.

You can wear long pieces that hang just below or chest line. These are ideal on a sari. You can go with smaller pieces or even chokers. The material, color and feel are all important factors. Your can go bold with a large pendant or stay with a smaller and more delicate composition. Layer with three or five strands or just get a single strand. Neck pieces are often elaborately designed with jali designs which make it prominent.

This has again taken centre stage as an important accessory in recent years. Large dangling chandeliers, long drooped
jhumkas, hoops, makri, pasha, top, and stud. These are the basic styles- you can go bigger or smaller as you please.

Glass bangles are an all time favourite. In the local market you can find a myriad of designs in all colors, textures, shapes and sizes. An outfit of a Bengali festival in my opinion would be incomplete without glass bangles. Beaded bracelets, wooden or terracotta bangles do look great too. On your arms you can further add an armlet or tie a beaded ornamental piece on strings.

Colour on your hand and feet, be it mehendi or alta are a great form of ornamentation. They are traditional ways of beautifying your body parts and drawing interest. On this nabobarsho you can get advantageous and apply body art. It will create splendid superb impressions. Stick on tattoos do look great on such a carnival like events. Don't shy away from trying them on.

This Nabobarsho, you probably have many options. You can attend early morning musical soirées. Check out the festivals at the Ramna, check out the parties around town or have your own theme party. Invite your friends way in advance so that they can also work on their clothes and accessories ,you shouldn't be the only one working your brains out.

Make your own hand made cards and don't forget to involve your whole family. To days comp savvy families can do wonders. Get the music appropriate for such an evening. Decorate right. Get out and find those terracotta accessories. Candle stands, motkas, charis, dias, haris and so on. Serve your Bangla food on clay pots and plates. The decor and presentation will make your party fun and happening.

The idea is to have fun and relax in style. What are you waiting for-have a great attitude and you are guaranteed a good time on this first of the Bangla new year.

By the way

Glow from inside out. Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day. Munch on crunchy greens, devour the fruits of the season. Once your insides are well nourished, it will soon start to show on your skin.

Under a different sky

By Iffat Nawaz

Lost Words

His words were lost in his dreams, along with recent memories. He woke up fresh, giddy like a child. His wife noticed the smile on his face but didn't ask the reason for it, he was always a man of few words; what she didn't know is from that day on all his swallowed, never spoken words were lost forever.

The doctors came; he was taken to different specialists, and soon sent abroad for more check-ups. It wasn't Alzheimer, they were not sure what it was. After many tests and much contemplation they concluded he is now forever expressionless, a part of his brain that puts together thoughts and states them is now not functioning as it should for an adult. He has fallen into a stage when he no longer can say a whole sentence; he says words, numbers, draws pictures, smiles, shows simple emotions, he remembers some, has forgotten completely about others. A man who once wrote complex engineering text books is now practicing 10th grade mathematics and piecing together cardboard puzzles to keep his brain active, and the books he wrote collects shades of sunlight (they never collect dust, his wife never lets that happen), sunlight that dawns over them during the afternoon they are as unknown to him as his own recent yet forgotten memories.

I remember seeing him as a child. A handsome tall man with a beaming personality, a smile on the corner of his lips, always, few words here and there, so well put together that he to me defined a form of perfection, always, and I was proud to be his niece.

I wonder often what happened to him. Why did he, after living 60 some years, suddenly loose the power to express himself and how? I obviously can not solve that great mystery when the brilliant specialists couldn't. It only makes me ponder the idea of expressions, or rather, the lack of.

For ages men have been blamed for not being as expressive as women. To make it worse for Bengali men, personalities like Tagore and Sarat Chandro wrote pages after pages of beautiful expressions; no ordinary man can come close to these standards, and in fact a common Bengali man chooses to be quite the opposite. Instead of being full of expressions like Tagore or Sarat Chandra they choose to be the tough expressionless main characters of their novels, who don't say much but stand strong and still, letting the chaos, the beauty, the dilemma surround them.

My younger brother and I grew up with similar dosage of affection, in the same environment. We both laughed at the same jokes, cried about similar details, felt happy and melancholy at the same time reacting to the same incidents, but somewhere along the line he became a boy and I a girl, and with his boyhood and then manhood he lost the expressions that he once freely used as a child, and I with age learnt to express them even more deeply, and we both fit into the category of normal male and female, balancing my exaggerated emotions with his unexpressed ones.

When I look at him, the one in his 60s with the lost words, I often wonder if he had expressed more, if he freely showed more emotions, breaking invisible standards that he had adopted from his culture as a Bengali, as a man from the world, if he wasn't a man of few words but many meaningful ones, would his words have stayed with him, would his expressions agree to not abandon him.

He is like walking poetry now, a silent one with genuine manifestations, his words are short, they are uttered one at a time, they are basic, they don't make a lasting impression, but his silence does, like a mockery for the under-expressed others, through his silence he states it all.


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