Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 36, Tuesday April 18, 2006



Special feature

Summer cool with summer school

Get something new to do, take up courses and lessons you have always wanted to take. Make use of your idle moments. The following lists just a few out of the numerous possibilities.

Wearing the Belt…
Despite popular beliefs, karate is not an aggressive means for attacking your opponents. Rather, it is a mechanism for "self discipline and self-defence." For karate courses, a prominent institution is the Black Belt Academy. Classes are held 3 days a week, with separate lessons for beginners and advanced learners. You could kick up some Tk. 2000 as your monthly fees- a relatively small amount, considering the fact that you never know when trouble may choose to pounce. Address: H-8A, R-2 Gulshan- 2. Phone: 8811065, 9894807, 0187622740.

A New Tongue For Sale...
A life of speaking Bangla and English exclusively may seem horrendously monotonous. Yet we go about living it- wishing we could venture into other linguistic territories (French, Spanish, German… you name it), but never actually taking the initiative. With language centres mushrooming all over the city, the official cultural centres and institutes continue to be the most reliable source.

First off, French. Drop by Alliance Francais- not only have they been in the business for sometime, they have considerable professionalism. Fees are Tk. 4650 and Tk. 8000 for weekly 2 days and 3 days classes respectively. Classes are taken everyday, with different combinations of courses and lessons. For your personal schedule, see contact information. Address: H- 26, R- 3, Dhanmondi R/A. Phone: 9675249, 9675258.

The Russian Cultural Centre- as the name suggests- specializes in teaching Russian. This is especially important for the students who are planning to apply to Russian universities, as the tutor Ms. Mira Mongoz points out. Course durations are 3 months, 6 months and 9 months. The fee is Tk. 2500 for every three months. Address: H- 26, R- 7, Dhanmondi R/A. Phone: 9118531, 9116314.

If German seems appealing to you, try the German Cultural Centre. It runs 4 German courses every year, 3 months each. The courses are of two types- elementary (that teaches everyday communication) and intermediate. Both the courses require a total of 480 hours- 3 days a week, every alternate day. There are three units in each of the two levels. The 1st and the 2nd elementary units cost Tk. 6500, while the fee for Unit 3 is Tk.6200. Advanced Unit 1 costs Tk. 6100, whereas the other two units cost Tk. 6100. Address: H- 10, R- 9 (new), Dhanmondi R/A. Phone: 9126525-6.

Modern Language Institute at the Dhaka University teaches around 10 languages. And its cheaper. They have classes all day long 6 days a week.

With all the trips to theses Centres, some of the languages seem to be wearing off on me. So, just for the practice- Bonne Chance! Udachi! Viel Glueck!...and of course, the same monotonous "Good Luck!"

Floating For Fun…
Swimming is one of those exercises that burn fat the quickest, and help to tone up the body. Moreover, it is a basic survival skill. This I do not have to say- if you do not know how to swim yet, LEARN IT.

Hotel Sheraton is one of the first names that come up in this category. They have different swimming courses with different timings, and often classes run in parallel. Fees: Age 6-16: Tk. 7000, and from 16 up, Tk. 8000. Telephone: 8653636/4115.

You can also try the Dhaka University Swimming Pool. There are separate classes for men and women, and class times are prone to change- so you can find out more if you contact them directly. However, the training sessions last for an hour. For the first month, the fee is Tk. 1000, and each successive renewal in membership costs Tk. 500. The lessons however are amazingly cheap for the Dhaka University students at only Tk. 80. Address: Dhaka University Swimming Pool, Doel Chottor. Phone: 9661920-73, extension- 4179, 4180.

By Shahmuddin Siddiky

Taking your baby's pictures 

Photographs are forever. The clicks of a camera can do wonder. A simple camera has the immense power to freeze the past and capture images of the best moments of your life. And it feels even more wonderful when it comes to saving images of your kid as he/she grows from a newborn to a toddler and eventually to a teenager.

It's undeniable that babies make the most innocent and lovely pictures of the world. Therefore, it's a fantastic idea to keep images of your kid from the day he/she is born. Save all the pictures in albums, marking them with date and time. Each developmental phase of your child is an occasion to cherish. Each album could be a great gift to you're children as they grow up into an adult. Besides, each photograph of your little kid would help you reminisce the day when he/she first walked, grew first tooth, broke your favourite jar or went to school for the first time.

The advent of the digital age has made photographing much easier than before. With a digital camera you can now take hundreds of pictures of your baby. Don't wait for a special incident to bring out your camera. Take images of your child as he/she does everyday work. Simple things like playing with toys or looking out of the window can make wonderful photographs.

You can even upload pictures online for your friends and relatives to view. An entire website can be devoted to storing photographs of your cute toddler. Or if you have a yahoo email account then you can create online albums of your baby for free.

Today we put forward a few tips that might come handy as you take snaps of your baby.

Firstly, avoid bright lights. Babies are especially sensitive to bright lights including bright sunlight and flash photography. If possible, try to take photos during the day when flash photography is not necessary. You can also use lamps to create lighting.

Try to take pictures from different distances. Remember that close up shots are not necessarily the best shots. If you aren't a professional then a close up shot can be out of focus or even blurred. By taking several pictures from different distances, you can keep the ones that are the best.

Always be aware of your baby's mood. Pictures of a cranky baby may not look very pleasant. If your baby is in a bad mood, then wait awhile until he or she is relaxed or calmed. You will get better pictures when your baby is in good spirits.

Use a high quality camera and film. Using high quality cameras and film can make a big difference in the quality of the photo.

One important pointer, get rid of any distractions while taking pictures. Anything that moves or makes noise, like the TV or stereo, should be turned off if possible. Having too many people around can also be distracting for the baby.

Make sure that there are not too many distracting matters in the background. The focus should be on the baby; so plain backgrounds usually work best.

Try taking pictures of the baby with other people as well, including yourself. Interactions between baby and other people, when captured on film, can make great mementos. One more thing, never stop clicking. You never know when a perfect moment will pass by.

Lastly, bear in mind that getting a perfect picture of a baby requires a lot of luck and patience…!

By Wara Karim

On the cover

A baby is a miracle, which inspires love and laughter. Rock-a-bye to the centre and pg 7 for our special story.
Model: Syeda Lana Fouzia Kamal
Photo: Munem Wasif


Pre-summer reads

With the heat waves closing in, summer is once again dropping by for an extended visit- starting early and probably will not be too eager to depart too soon. As we slide into the Season of the Sun, it is high time to brush up on your reading. These can be your starting points…

Stephen King- The Stand:
I was actually considering tagging it under the summer reads, but this book is too good to wait for. I got it a few days back, and finished it even before the heat took over. King should not be an unfamiliar name for the horror readers. This is by far his best work. A violently contagious plague has sprouted, killing off everyone in the world except a few. These people struggle to rebuild human civilization, unaware of the evil forces that will soon rise to claim them. Well over a thousand pages, but Steven King really knows how to sustain the momentum. This will be a journey- a close-up- of what would happen if you wake up one day to find everyone dead… Unbelievable!

The Joy Luck Club- Amy Tan
I read this book long ago, but am reading it again before summer rolls in. The novel illustrates the conflict of views between a group of Chinese immigrant mothers and their Americanised daughters. Each tries to become more open to the other, become more accepting- but the friction between culture and modern life may be a little too high. It is comic and simultaneously profound.

This Much I Know Is True- Wally Lamb
A deeply moving story of a twin on a quest to define his individuality. Life turns upside down for him when his twin brother becomes schizophrenic and paranoid. Hearts and family relationships are broken, love found and realizations are acknowledged. This book is about the courage to face life and most importantly the true self. You can also try another astonishing read by Mr. Lamb called "She's Come Undone".

A Prayer for Owen Meany- John Irving
Owen Meany is one of the most intricately detailed and true-to-life character I have come across. He believes himself to be God's instrument and goes the distance to prove it. A tale of enduring friendship, and seeing through the differences in character and perspective. John Irving knows how to tell a story… you can just sit there listening to him, weaving magic with his words.

Summer is sipping in fast. So grab your reading glasses and take your "reader's muscle" for a jog.

By Saadi



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