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A moving movie experience
Moving pictures first appeared and made people rub their eyes in disbelief. With the advent of sound no one could believe their ears. Going to the movies became a special event where families spent time together without bickering. After all, when you are supposed to watch something quietly keeping your mouth shut it's hard to bicker, in theory.
Movies have an innate charm offering not just entertainment but also a brief respite from the hassles of everyday life. Unfortunately most cinema halls here do not provide a suitable environment. Those that do, may not offer the type of movie that you want to watch. Furthermore, movie channels on cable may offer the convenience of watching at home but your choice is limited to their schedule. All this creates an excellent premise for this article showing how you can create the perfect movie environment in the comforts of your home.
DVDs made our life much simpler. No worries about videotapes affected by fungus. Just pile them at about Tk-90 per disc.
Setting up the basics
A simple setup requires a television and DVD player. Now DVD players are quite inexpensive. You can buy one from just about any brand and prices start from Tk-3000 to Tk-50000 and above. Now here's the surprising clincher. Cheap does not quite necessarily mean bad. Even some of the low-end models offered by brands like TCL and Konka offer 1-year warranties and are surprisingly the preferred choice of most DVD shops. Most importantly pirated discs have no problem running on these machines as with some big branded players.
High-end DVD players usually include amplifiers and speakers. Some brands offer DVD players with recorders. Basically it contains a huge hard drive that allows you to record all your favourite TV programs for later viewing or even copying to DVD.
The sound of music
A movie experience on tiny speakers isn't much to brag about. Crazy explosions and thumping bass lines can only be properly felt on dedicated speakers. Some of the high-end TVs come with speakers that can shake the house. A cost effective way to enhance your television would be to add a subwoofer providing greater depth to the soundtrack. Basic units with two speakers and a subwoofer costs as low as Tk-1300. 5-7 speaker setups cost Tk-4000-7000. Creative makes some of the best units in the market though the volume control on their older models has a tendency to wear out. Still, they provide great value for money with crisp clear sound.
Treat for your eyes
Sure you have the collection of DVDs and the right speaker setup but the thrill of going to the movies is watching on a big screen. Wide screen plasma TVs may be all the rage but a basic 21-inch TV is quite adequate. Of course, if money is no concern a projector unit can recreate the movie-watching event in the comforts of your home. These generally cost about 1 lakh. Last but not least, dim the lights, stock up on snacks and snuggle up with someone special.
At the end of the day creating the perfect movie experience is not necessarily limited by your budget but rather by your imagination.
By Ehsanur Raza Ronny
Quick fixes for chilly days
It's official now. Winter is finally here! Who would have thought, a London fog in Dhaka? Ski masks and all cashmere sweaters layered under jackets? But it is true and it is finally time to bring out all those winter wares that have slowly been growing mould. And the same goes for food. Now one can finally enjoy the meaning of a piping cup of this or a steaming bowl of that. That being said, there is a wide variety of treats to indulge in.
Cadbury Drinking Chocolate
If you are tired of coffee, get jittery on caffeine or simply want to indulge in the richness of chocolate without actually feeling guilty about all that fat, hot coco is probably just what you need. And Cadbury Drinking Chocolate is the perfect coco mix. While it isn't molten chocolate, as seen in Chocolat, it is near enough to the real thing. A rich dense powder mix, two spoons to a hot cup of milk will ease away the sore throat, get rid of that sugar craving, shake off the chills and even make you fall asleep quicker. A 500 gram canister costs Taka 390 and is available at Nandan outlets at Dhanmondi and Kamal Atartuk Road.
Chocolate Butter Cookies
Nothing goes better with warm drinks than cookies. And chocolate cookies are always a good match. While the summer heat prevents one from enjoying rich buttery treats, the cool weather allows one to indulge in such eats. Bite size chocolate butter cookies are good for a morning munch, afternoon snack, or even a midnight treat. And these cookies are even better when they are made at bakeries instead of factories. Such cookies are found at Kings outlets in Dhanmondi and Banani. A 200 gram jar costs Taka 100.
If the weather is too cold and you want a quick fix to enjoy from the warmth of your favourite quilt, Continental Cup-a-Soups will save you a lot of time and work. These soups are very healthy with no added MSGs, artificial colours or flavours. They come in an array of flavours. And they are 98 percent fat-free. And the best thing is that they cook almost instantly with a measured amount of hot water. A 60 gram pack of soup mix serves two, costs Taka 145 and is available at Agora outlets in Dhanmondi and Gulshan.
If you want a quick but warm afternoon fix, Express Cup-a-Noodles (as the name suggests) is the perfect thing for you. These single portion noodles come in a variety of flavours and are very self sufficient considering that all you need to do is pour hot water directly into the plastic cup it comes in and stir for two to three minutes. You can decide how soupy you want it by the amount of water you add. When ready, simply sip-n-slurp! For a meagre Taka 35, these cup-a-noodles are available at Mayuri Departmental Store next to Dhanmondi Road 6.
1001 Flowers Tea
If you're tired of the same old camomile or jasmine and want to indulge in a fruitier cup of tea, Droga, a Slovenian brand has just the perfect tea for you. Named 1001 flowers, this range of tea comes in various flavours such as strawberry-n-vanilla, rosehip or mountain herb. These teas are both fragrant and a welcome relief for winter bugs. And if you want a soothing nightcap, they are perfect because they are caffeine-free. Available at Meena Bazaar at Dhanmondi Satmasjid Road, this tea comes in a pack of twenty tea bags.
On the cover
We're going to the movies this week, and you're getting the best seats! Check out our story on the rise, fall, and rebirth of cinema culture in Bangladesh on our centrefold
Photo: Bangladesher Cholochitrer Itihaash by Anupon Hayat
Walking in a winter wonderland
If the recent weather is any indication, global warming is definitely in full swing. Or else why would you be able to wear flip flops in the middle of December in New York City but be unable to step out of your house without a wool cap in Dhaka? The weather in Dhaka has certainly been having mood swings these past few days. One day it is bright and sunny and the next day the city is covered in a blanket of smog with a twist of real fog. Whatever the weather's mood, winter always calls for extra attention and these recent cold spells command us to go that extra mile. So why be careless and suffer the consequences?
Shield away the winter bite…
The weather is a cool respite from the usual broil of the Bengali sun. But our bodies will beg to differ. After all it is the season for runny noses, sore throats, chapped lips, peeling skin and brittle hair. So why wait for a cold spell to nourish your body? Make sure to stay dry and warm and leave the water splashing and ice lollies for summer. Moisturise your skin twice a day, once after a shower and then before bed. And once in a while give your scalp a warm oil massage before you shampoo to replenish it.
Better safe than sorry…
Just because the sun is bright and shining at eight in the morning doesn't mean that it won't betray you at noon. So don't just step out of the house without reinforcement. Even if you don't need a shawl at daybreak, chances are that you might get the chills during lunch. So always make sure you have a shawl or sweater rolled into your bag or in your car before you leave the house. The same goes for little nuances such as scarves, hats, socks, lip gel and creams. These days it is very easy to find things in miniature containers and always carrying a chapstick and a small jar of moisturiser in your purse or pocket will rescue you when your skin begs for some replenishment during the middle of the day. As for scarves, hats and socks, if you already aren't wearing them, do keep them in your bag or tucked away in your office desk. Who knows when you might need them?
Warding of the winter woes…
If the weather is having mood swings, chances are you will have them too. After all, how could a grey and foggy sky bring any joy to anyone? So if you're feeling blue or simply want to brighten up the day, take some time off to read that bestseller paperback you've been meaning to read for months. Curl up in your favourite chair with a piping hot cup of spice-spiked herbal tea; bundle up in that worn out blanket and watch some good old classics. And if you're really in the mood to celebrate the winter, rustle up some friends and have a barbeque on your rooftop or a bonfire in your backyard. Whatever you do, take over the bland weather, don't let it blanket you.
As is the nature of Bangladeshi weather, it is not often that we get to enjoy true winter. So why shun it when you can revel in it? Grab that old knitted sweater, call those friends up for a winter date and enjoy!