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Style Files

Hot and Happening

Fashion is hot today. We are obsessed with looking good. Women want to look like Rani Mukherji and men I suppose, like John Abraham. You do realize that they are not Bangladeshi style icons but freedom has taught us to go global! It is not people's fault that we have failed to impress with our local faces. Likewise we have failed them in music, in entertainment, and in providing an enriched culture. We offer them cheap thrills for a quick buck. We look to the West for inspiration and for valid reasons. We are a nation lost, oblivious to our shortcomings. Blind is what we are! Where is our pride, where is our sense of distinctiveness? We are shameless imitators.

While attending a wedding, an official function or a conference, we are definitely looking like a million dollars, in our Armani suits, chantilly lace saris, or in our very own Suneet Verma or Tarun princely attires. No silly! Why can we not take a few tips from the developing nations who have nurtured their sense of fashion with complete awareness of their unique heritage? Yes you can say since our independence we have struggled with the concept of how to go about promoting our fashion. It must look crisp, sharp, and above all elevating. But there are other pressing issues today- like crime, corruption, and conspiracy.

We must do the do and walk the walk. Offer the best to our next generation, who are our future. Educate, train and expose our children to the resources that will help them survive in a competitive world. When push comes to shove only the top bracket excels. In true democracy it is them who are expected to lead, expected to pull the rest of the slow sluggers back up and show them the way to success. We need to start looking beyond our closed walls and make things change positively for our future. As a local fashion designer, my goods are locally developed and manufactured here in Bangladesh. As a fair trade company I can claim that I am an excellent paymaster. A small- scale company also has small profits but without fail I can claim that my workers come first. This is how it should be in any business, big or small. How have I and others like myself survived in Bangladesh? This is because in spite of all the limitations our buyers believe in our product and are ready to pay the higher prices!

I can't come to terms with the current dismal situation of our garment industry. A democratic government should be able to ensure their basic demands and support their cause for better rights. Let the world know that cheap clothes are made at the cost of much hardship and suffering of Bangladeshi labour. The fashion industry has grown many folds over the past few years. It has relatively prospered but we have remained copycats. We could have done much better if only we could attract young enterprise inventive individuals who don't yet see future in the fashion industry. There is a market for good products in Bangladesh. We need to understand its latent potential. Only then super designers would be budding again from the land of rich heritage. We can work individually but without consolidated support and progress of the entire industry designers cannot deliver fabulous products.

The design industry in Bangladesh will not give up. The fashion brigade will deliver in due course. In a true syndicated free economy like ours let the retails be flooded with foreign goods. I say only that can drive us Bangladeshi's to create better lines of products which are hot and happening.

Beauty Dissected

Dear Doctor,
I am a 25 year old female and I am of average size and weight but I feel that my face is too thin, especially the cheeks. Can this be fixed?

Yes, first we have to see you to assess what can be done. Usually with this kind of problem, different kinds of fillers are used to fill up the areas; fat grafting can also be done depending on the amount of area to be worked on. Any experienced Cosmetic Surgeon who is familiar with fillers will be able to help you.

I am 18 years old. All my life I have been teased and tormented about my nose. It is too big for my face, and makes me look witchy. I know that these things can be fixed abroad but I do not have enough funding for that .Can you help? Do I need prolonged hospitalisation for this?

Yes, of course. Now this kind of surgery is done commonly here. You will need a Rhinoplasty to fix your nose. The size can be made to suit your face and features. This usually done as a day case and there is no hospital-stay required. You come in the morning and leave the same day.

Dear Dr. Minu,
I am 21 years old & weigh 53 kgs. I am suffering from severe dandruff problem and a lot of my hair is falling off due to this reason. I can neither keep my hair tied nor can I keep it open. To prevent the dandruff I shampoo my hair twice a week and before that I apply oil & lemon juice on it. Still I'm seeing no effect. I am regularly taking protein & fibre-based food, milk, eggs & calcium tablets to prevent hair fall. But it is not working. I use Sunsilk long and strong shampoo, Dove daily deep conditioner & Livon. Please doctor, give me some advice to improve my hair condition.


Thank you for the letter. Dandruff can be a big problem in winter, as the weather gets very dry. Our skin and scalp also get very dry so we have to make sure to use a lot of moisturiser. For your hair first I will advise you to use any good antidandruff shampoo at least three times every week, then if you still need to shampoo your hair use your regular shampoo. Massage oil at least once a week the night before you shampoo and use lemon juice separately on the scalp. Eat a healthy normal diet avoiding foods containing additives as much as you can. Try all this for a few weeks and lets see what happens. Hope to hear some good news from you.

Dear Dr.Minu,
I am a 20 year old female. I am suffering from oily skin. For this reason I had a lot of pimples on my face. They have left a lot of marks & pores. I have tried to remove them, but failed to do so. Please give me suggestions.

Oily skin can be a big problem usually if it gives you pimples. You need to use a face wash at least two times a day. This will reduce the oiliness of the skin. As for the pimples different kinds of treatment are given in different stages. Phototherapy is the latest treatment that is being offered to reduce appearance of pimples. This is a very successful procedure. Also please do not scratch or prick the pimples as that leaves a scar. If it gets too big get it drained. Again for the scars different kinds of treatment are being given. You need to consult a cosmetic surgeon for advice.

By The Way

Having a bad car day? To remove corrosion from your automibile batteries, shower it (literally!) with TLC (Tender Loving Coca-Cola). Have a squeaky clean drive…

On A Different Note

A flashback from
medieval times

Imagine this, thousands of rickshaws and buses struggling to find their way through the Johnson road in the old part of Dhaka. Rickshaw pullers bumping into each other and cursing, bus drivers honking their horns every few seconds, a likely scenario in this part of town.

Another usual picture down there is that of horse drawn carts trying to squeeze in. Tomtom gari they call them. Confused horses carrying the cart never go straight and they smell bad too. Look into their eyes and they'll give you a bewildered look telling you, “I am designed for galloping. Horses alongside bizarre metal objects and their crazy drivers, what more do you want from me?”

“Once there was enough space to gallop”, says Tauhidun Nabi, Photographer at the Department of Archaeology. Nabi grew up in Narinda. “Back in our day, only the nawabs and wealthy families used tomtoms. For layman like us there were horse carriages with wooden roofs and walls.” Nabi adds.

“Each carriage was designed for six. People in those days used to hire them the way we hire rickshaws now”, Nabi continued. He mentioned that they were also used as school coaches for girls at that time.

The tomtom that we see today is a slightly modified version of the nawab's tomtom. Today there are around 30 of them left in old Dhaka. Mostly young boys drive the vehicles that still ply commercially. Amidst all the modern establishments, it is like a piece of the past left behind.

Nabi narrated some events taking place in the 1960s. Fifteen-year-old Ratan from Nimtoli who drives his father's tomtom gave us the details of the present.

Tomtoms travel from Sadarghat following their usual stops at the English Road, Johnson Road, Nababpur Road and end their trip in Gulistan. Many people still take the chance and hop in. “It takes the same amount of time in one of these tomtoms to get to Gulistan”, says Ratan. “Amidst the almost impossible traffic jams of old Dhaka, every vehicle runs in the same speed”, he adds.

Although designed for six, these vehicles are usually crammed with twelve persons in one ride. A trip from Sadarghat to Gulistan costs Tk.10. One can also hire the entire cart for special occasions. It will cost about Tk.300 per hour.

Ratan also told us that everyday they earn about Tk.1200. Around Tk.400 is spent to feed the horses. It is however clear that the owners are not doing very well in this sector. Most horses are in appalling condition along with the tomtoms themselves.

No matter how appalling their condition might be, it is still an interesting object to witness. To someone who just dropped in for the first time in old Dhaka, it is a flashback straight from the mediaeval period.

By Shahnaz Parveen
Photo: Amirul Rajiv

Pop Ups

Grind six to eight 'tulsi' leaves with two black peppercorns and have it with honey to treat a fever or a cold.

Your old shoes will shine like new, if you apply a tea decoction before the shoe polish.

Bitter almonds make an excellent face pack when mixed with sandalwood powder and 'multani mitti'.

To split, milk, add sour curd for a better result and a softer 'paneer'.

Use a wooden spatula or spoon while cooking on an electric stove to prevent shocks.

Add an orange peel to the tea pot for deliciously flavoured tea.


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