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Current trends: Riverside reveries

City folk need breathing space both literally and figuratively. It is a stifling situation with the political hustle and the day-to-day hassles. People want to breathe a sigh of relief but relief seems to be hard to find.

When someone mentions taking a trip to take a break it is like a siren call for the distressed. But in this jam-packed city of Dhaka there is scarce supply of open spaces where people can go and spend a day in leisure luxuriating in nature's beauty. It's time to stop limiting your options to the confines of the city and take a step outside to find that refreshing break.

Our beloved Jamuna River was the source of romance for the Mughal emperor Shahjahan. His wife lived near its lush and fertile banks. The raging river that coursed through the country now exists as a caricature of its former self. The riverbed is slowly drying up with sand dunes spouting up all over its face like dirty pimples. Despite that, it still has an inherent beauty that is still unmarred by humans. It is also the site for the 11th longest bridge in the world. As a result vehicular transportation has increased so much that it has gradually developed into a tourist spot. The sloping banks on the two sides of the bridge offer a scenic respite to many visitors each day.

From there, you cross into the village of Sirajganj that is populated mostly by weavers. Families here consist of entire households working in the same profession including children. Many of them follow the classical tradition of treating visitors like respected guests. It is also good for their business as they primarily make very colorful towels, lungis and other hand-made garments.

The 4-5 hour trip requires setting off from Dhaka very early in the morning. Taking along lunch and other snacks is a must although food call be found there at the spot as many restaurants have sprouted due to the inflow of tourists.

It's the return trip that is difficult, as often you might simply not want to leave. Watching the sunset from the riverbank or from the bridge is a mesmerising moment where the creator shows his magic touch by creating a colourful masterpiece on the horizon.

A much closer location to spend the whole day is along the banks of the Meghna River. Take the Dhaka-Comilla road, cross the Meghna Bridge and follow straight onto Daudkandi. Both sides of the bridge are surrounded by a village that looks exceptionally beautiful in this winter season. Mustard fields create of sea of wafting yellow waves as far as the eye can see. That meets in a blue horizon with interspersed flecks of greenery.

It's a colour combination straight out of a book. You can find many places among those narrow paths to have a picnic. Alternatively you could simply visit Comilla town as it is the birthplace of khadi products. It is a great opportunity to revel in the heritage of the weavers.

The Padma is a big and powerful river. The wind blows fiercely while the waves lap the shores with a pleasing sound. The contrasting effect continues to offer breathtaking sights that are beautiful as well as a little unnerving. Waves hit the banks often making them crumble into the water. Each wave breaks away another portion of another village.

There is a ferry at the end of the road to Munshiganj called Maowa Ghaat. It is an old pier and when standing on the edge it is difficult to see little else other than the wide expanse of the river. The watery surface is broken by the occasional ferry and motorboat transporting travelers residing on either side of the river. It is a great place to buy fish as fishermen flock to sell their wares on the shores. But aside that, this place serves as a great spot for those who love to see wide-open nature at its most pristine.





By Sultana Yasmin
Translated by Ehsanur Raza Ronny
Photo: Amirul Rajiv

On the cover

Take a break from the humdrum of city life and revisit the waterscapes that make our country so beautiful.

Photo: Amirul Rajiv


Some TLC for the study

If you've got a study in your house, it is very important to clean it every three or four months. Books are like our teeth. Teeth need to be professionally cleaned at least twice a year. In the same manner a study needs to be cleaned at least twice or thrice annually. Otherwise just like teeth, the books start to crumble from within. But beware, cleaning is no easy feat!

Revving up the clean machine…
It is not wise to simply jump into cleaning your own little study. Depending on the size, give yourself enough time so that you can start and finish the project at a stretch. Cleaning books is something that you definitely do not want to linger over a period of time because it is both strenuous and messy (but necessary!). Make a careful survey of your space and note what types of publications, storage units and gadgets you have. Use cleaning supplies and tools accordingly. And if your shelves are floor to ceiling, be sure to bring in a ladder or stool to give yourself some added height.

Tackling the dirt…
Once you are all ready with your gear, pick one corner and work your way around. But first and foremost unplug the computer gear or the projector. Pick one category to clean at a time.

If it’s books, then work your way wiping and dusting till you have finished each stack on each shelf. Do not forget to use the right cleaning products either. Do not use a wet rag to wipe off wooden shelves. And dust off gadgets such as key boards with dry dusting brushes.

If the keyboard is black from all that grease and dust, use cotton swabs dipped in Windex to get rid of the grime. Leaf through the pages of books that look yellowed from outside. Take extra care while dusting off cobwebs and picking out bug eggs since these might damage the pages.

Once you are done cleaning every nook, cranny, crevice and key, before you restack and plug back everything into place, take some precautionary measures. Slip some bug repellents into the shelves and reline the drawers with fresh sheets of paper. And do not forget to replace rusty shelf screws and give those wooden surfaces a coat of polish.

The study is probably the most interactive room in the house after the kitchen. After all it is one of those places where every object has a real use unlike drawing rooms where all those show pieces serve no purpose except to please the eye. And it is the place that has been used for generations to come and unwind, maybe enjoy some solo time with a cuppa and have closed door conferences. So do remind yourself to set aside some time for your study and give it some good old tender loving care!
Happy cleaning!

By Tahiat-e-Mahboob



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