Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 46, Tuesday July 04, 2006




Bringing nature home…

As the world spins faster and faster beneath our feet, we see less and less of trees. Thanks to our insatiable thirst for globalisation and industrialisation, we are fending off nature- and doing so quite effectively. With literally zero volume of foliage and greenery on the roads and fields, the next best alternative would be to bring nature into our homes. Enter the scene: The Bonsai. These are artificially dwarfed trees that have become trendy as gift items and hobbies in the past few years.

The word "bonsai" in Japanese literally translates to "tray planting". However, the art is not as simple as planting a tree in a pot and letting it take its course. The essence of bonsai lies in the constant monitoring and the active shaping of the tree. Every branch and twig of a bonsai is shaped or eliminated until the chosen image is achieved. From then on, the image is maintained and improved by a constant regime of pruning and trimming.

As such, it is not a surprise that many are opting to learn and master the craft these days. Nirman Plants has arranged a course on bonsai titled "Bonsai er Shohoj Path" which is to start from July 7, 2006. The course is spread over a duration of two and half months with one class per week, on Friday from 10am to 12pm, adding up to 10 classes in total. The classes will be held at 'Asio Shilpo o Shongskriti Shobha', 62 Science Laboratory Road, Dhanmondi. Forms are available at the above mentioned address for a fee of Tk. 50 and can also be found at the Agargoan 'Brikkho Mela' (stall no. 95).

The course structure is as follows: introduction to bonsai, ideal trees for bonsai, style and grammar, pruning, root, branch, leaf, warring, training tools, soil, pots, pests and disease, watering and daily care. In addition, Nirman Plants will also run small review sessions after 6-12 months, where the trainees may come back with their problems. The total course fee is Tk. 2500.

When asked why she took up such an initiative, the director of training Shanu Mustafiz stated that it evolved mainly out of her own interest in the art as well the substantial magnitude of response from the general public.

"Nowadays, with nature rapidly vanishing, we cannot show our children the trees and plants we saw as youngsters. Take for example the banyan tree. Bonsai acts as a medium where even if we can not go to the trees, we can bring these trees into our homes."

She also rebutted the popular notion that a bonsai is genetically dwarfed and kept small by cruel means. A bonsai website, www.bonsaisite.com, suggests: "In fact, given an adequate supply of water, air, light and nutrients, a properly maintained bonsai should outlive a full size tree of the same species. The techniques of Bonsai are no more cruel than that of any other horticultural endeavour."

The last date for registration is July 5, 2006. It is, fortunately, not a one-time course. Those who find themselves unable to register by the deadline can register for the next session, which starts in August.

Nirman Plants is also involved in other horticultural courses, such as landscaping and ikebana.

By Shahmuddin Siddiky

Hanging Out
Get mooving to Moo's Barn

After the theme restaurant 'Voot' in Dhanmondi, yet another scrumptious one has popped up in Banani. This barn is termed the ultimate fast-food, cyber and entertainment barn in Dhaka. You can munch away on a grilled burger while you browse the net. This unique place offers free 30 minutes Internet if you order a minimum of 80 bucks worth of food. The whole décor is an excellent blend of a sophisticated barn with modern utilities. It is not surprising to hear that the owner of the place who is an architect designed the whole floor himself.

Architect Shaikh Monzu tells us that this unique idea came out of nowhere in particular, “I thought of coming up with such a restaurant for the past three to four years and finally I put my thoughts to work this year.” Moo's Barn started its moo-ing journey from the 11th of March this year and has so far been a hit among students from nearby universities and members of the young generation. Mr. Shaikh says about 80% of the food is imported, “We try to maintain international standards here while keeping the prices affordable,” he says, “ only the bread and chicken are from Bangladesh.” And it is due to bird flu that they are not importing chicken.

The computers on the table do not get in the way of food, but we asked the owner about the drawbacks of dripping mayonnaise on the keyboards. “Well, unfortunately every business has its risks and so do we. To avoid frequent changing of greasy keyboards, we have installed foldable keyboards which are easy to clean, but maybe a bit difficult to type with.” I noticed that sleek black computer monitors are attached to one side of the table and fortunately they do not get in the way, so one can click away while waiting for orders.

If you are tired of browsing and want some other entertainment, this place offers you a personal TV on each table. With 88 channels, you can switch to your favourite show anytime (that is if it is on)! For those of you who are gamers, you can play the latest games with PlayStation2 and XBOX. There are 50 to 60 latest games available at the barn. If there is a new game on the release, just tell the manager about it and you may find the game in the barn the next day. The place also offers short courses on MAYA, 3D Max, Photoshop and Digital Photography. The courses are in the range of Tk. 3000 to Tk. 7000 maximum. Also if you want to hire the whole floor for a family occasion, you can do so. “After its opening this year, the floor was often rented for birthdays, AISEC meeting and other official conferences,” says the owner. The location and view are also quite good for enjoying a nice meal.

So why did he keep the name Moo's Barn? Are we all cows!? “Well, it's a fun name and quite catchy and uncommon,” says Mr. Monzu laughing, “don't we call ourselves 'gorus' at times?” Well…do we? Whatever it may be, Moo's Barn is in a few words-a mouth watering infotainment fast food barn! So if you haven't gone there yet, I suggest you visit the place at Banani Road 11, House 2, Block F, and 3rd floor above Jimbo's.

By Shamma M. Raghib

News Flash
Omni music opens in Dhanmondi

Omni Music, a reputed name in the music industry opened its second outlet at Genetic Plaza, Dhanmondi Road Number 27 this June.

Omni Music started its journey in the year 2001. They have so far established two outlets, one in Gulshan, Dhaka, and the other in Lal Khan Bazaar, Chittagong.

Within this year, Omni Music is planning to open a few more new outlets in Dhaka and Sylhet.

Besides Yamaha, Omni Music also distributes various sound equipment like world renowned 'Genelac' studio monitors from Finland and 'Sennheiser' microphones and digital conference systems from Germany, which are used exclusively for on stage and live performances.

A musical program was held at the end of the opening ceremony of their new branch and musicians Shafin Ahmed, Naqib Khan, Sasa, Selim Haider, Piaru Khan and Jubayer dazzled everyone with their enchanting musical extravaganza.

LS Desk

For The Love Of Food

By Kaniska Chakraborty

Summer Time

Sweat. Itch. Humidity. Dehydration. Power failure. Juicy mangoes. Luscious kalo jaam. Fleshy litchis. Crunchy jaamrul. Fragrant jackfruit.

Not bad, eh? A veritable cornucopia, the fruit market these days are.

And snack time has never been better. Not a lot beats the tingling sensation of biting into a white, big, juicy, crunchy jaamrul in the afternoon. Or even, kalo jaam, shaken not stirred, with salt and chilies. Mouth watering!

And think of the possibilities of after dinner desserts. Chilled mango with a generous dollop of ice cream. Or even better, a very thick mango shake which you would eat, not drink. Or just skinned litchis which have been sitting in the fridge for some time. A few pieces of jackfruit. Endless possibilities.

But to me, the piece de resistance of summer fruits is jaamrul. I frankly do not know the English term for this lovely creation of nature. You know, the greenish-whitish sweetish crunchy fruit that are so abundant at any self respecting fruit stand. Some call it the love apple, owing to the fact that they are kind of heart shaped. For sheer soothe value and subtlety, they get my top marks.

Our Thailand visit, which is part of folklore by now, brought us even closer to this favourite fruit of ours. That country has this wonderful tradition of selling absolutely fresh fruits from carts, nicely peeled and sliced to your liking. That is where we came face to face with what we call Thai jaamrul (I'm sure they don't call it that). It was red in colour and about three times the size of an average jaamrul found in our local bazaar. We immediately bought a few, which were duly cut up for us. Popped them in the mouth and relished its intense watery sweet taste. We were hooked. So much so that we brought home a few kilos of it (hope no one from the customs department is reading this). Our evening snacks were bliss for a couple of weeks after that.

But all good things must come to an end. We eventually, much to our chagrin, ran out of red jaamruls. But no one can stop us from gorging on the local variety. Tradition continues.

As is wont, we had called a very dear friend for dinner (not the Dr. Lechter kind of dinner, for god's sake!). And he happens to be a card carrying vegetarian. In the course of menu planning, a quick survey of the larder was done by wife dearest and amongst other things, she proudly pronounced that we have a lot of jaamruls and we must use them. Ok, fine. My mind shifted gear. What can one do with it? And the answer was in the otherwise innocuous course called salad.

Simple affair. Diced tomatoes, diced jaamrul, tossed them with salt and chopped cilantro. It was a riot of colours. The red, white and green, offset by the clear glass serving bowl that my wife whipped out was extremely delicious, at least to the eyes. It clearly overshadowed the peasant pasta dish and the stir fried mushrooms which were also present at the table, definitely relegated to supporting act.

And by the expressions on my well traveled, well heeled friend, we had certainly stumbled upon something good.


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