Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 4, Issue 8 , Tuesday February 27, 2007



Shop Special
Turning over a new leaf

Spring made an official comeback a few days ago amidst a fan fair of music, flowers, and lots of yellow all around. After a particularly harsh Bengal winter, people were only too happy to welcome the new season with open arms.

Spring is a time of new beginnings. It is when nature sheds off its brown and withered skin to make way for vibrant flowers and the greenest of green plants. And it is also a time to turn over a new leaf. Out with the old and in with the new as they say. And what better way to be out with the old, than to do a little Spring cleaning of your own?

The first thing to clean during a Spring cleaning escapade is the house. And that is no easy feat. So don't get overwhelmed and rush into things. Don't read into “cleaning the house” literally. In all honesty, simply put out the things that have been locked away into trunks for ages. Put them out in the sun so that they shed their dust and no longer have a musty smell. Don't forget to set those pickle jars out as well. If that storeroom has been asking for TLC for over half a year, now is the time to turn your attentions towards it. Set out a day when you can give it your full attention and move things around so that you can make the best use of space. And if the car needs polishing or the television needs tuning, this is the time to do it too!

But Spring cleaning isn't just about the cleaning house. It is also about cleaning out those skeletons from your closets. Why linger on the old woes and ancient tussles? If you have a tiff with anyone, now is the time to bury the hatchet. If you haven't seen or spoken to your mother-in-law in over months, now is the time to give a little, swallow a little bit of that pride and make friends, if not for anything else, then simply to see your spouse happy. And if you are having a silent war with your boss, now is the time to finally sit down and have a heart-to-heart talk. After all, don't forget- it is about cleaning out the skeletons!

When you're done with the house and done with the skeletons in the closet, all that remains is to clean yourself up. Of course you should take a shower when you're done cleaning the house! But to clean yourself is to kick out bad old habits. If you are a smoker, try a patch. If you have been nesting an ulcer, get it checked out. Go for a health check up, if you haven't seen the doc in a while. If you are in the whole Spring cleaning regime, add cleaning your soul to the list. Let go of old woes, curb your anger and make it a point not to develop any further bad habits!
So wait no more- simply start cleaning!

By Tahiat-e-Mahboob

Shop talk

Biking gear

The brain is the most sophisticated device in existence but unfortunately it comes in the flimsiest packaging. And that goes for anyone who is known to be thick headed. Thus, the importance of the helmet cannot be stressed enough. A good, safe helmet covers the entire head and ears and is light. It has to be light because in an accident, increased momentum (g-force) acts on the added weight putting extra stress on your neck. A hard hat on the other hand is close to being the same as no helmet because it leaves the sides of your head unprotected. People rarely land on the top of their heads.

A basic helmet that covers the head and has a flip up visor costs about 800 taka. A full- face helmet that also protects the chin costs 1000-2200 taka. Bongshaal is the best bet for a choice of colours and low prices. Anywhere else will cost you several hundred taka more.

Gloves are much needed even in summer. Perfectly fitting gloves will save your knuckles in a scrape and offer superior grip on the handle bar or on someone else's collar. Leather is best though cows tend to disagree. Expect to pay about 300-600 taka for a pair. Best bet would be to have them made at Eastern Plaza or from sporting goods stores.

There is nothing worse then suddenly having to blink through tears while at high speed because something got in your eye. Bikers need wraparound shades to prevent bugs and dust that want to get up close and personal. The closer they fit around the eyes and contour of the face, the better. You can find these for as low as 150 taka a pair sans any UV protection. We suggest at least having proper lenses made that offer a decent UV protection. Prices would fall within a thousand bucks.

The netted thing
Cool bikes do not have any luggage racks. That's simply not right. But you may still need to carry some material every now and then. For that purpose you could use an elastic net that attaches over the top of your seat. Cheap at about 50 taka, these do not last a lot of stretching.

I have seen bikers riding while cradling a cell phone between shoulder and ear. It is doubtful whether even Bill Gates is so busy that he cannot stop to take a call. Hands-free units are available for all cell phones on the market today. These are inexpensive at under 500 taka. Go one step further if your phone is equipped with Bluetooth to use a wireless earpiece that gives you extra street cred. Prices range from 150 taka upwards. But in either case, do stop to take a call.

Ah rain! It's one of the many enemies of a biker. Just imagine putting on your fake Versace shirt over your fake Levi’s jeans. And then the heavens open. A good raincoat offers protection against water and is very thin at the same time. This helps in rolling it up tightly into a small bundle. You could go for a single top with a hood or the whole package with matching plastic pants.

Drastic plastic pants are necessary because while riding in rain, water tends to flow over the fuel tank toward the seat and regions of the human anatomy best left dry. Prices range from 200-500 taka and are easily available at New Market and Elephant Road.

For serious bikers, boots rank pretty high despite being fitted at the low end of the torso. Many fellow bikers have had their ankles scraped because of wearing sandals. A high topped boot protects against that. Most importantly a boot for bikers must have a flat sole. Dragging the feet on the ground for balance is a common biking move. Here, jagged ridged soles can suddenly catch on uneven road surfaces and seriously hurt the ankle. Expect to pay about Tk1200 and upwards.

Winter's over but a slight chill remains. Light jeans jackets can be had for as low as 400 taka from Bongobazaar or opposite Dhaka College. Branded items are Tk1500 upward. Expect to pay 4000 taka upward for a good leather product. It acts as a safety device in case of a fall by protecting your skin. Synthetic plastic-type jackets are a waste of money.

By Ehsanur Raza Ronny
Photo: Amirul Rajiv

On The Cover

Motorbikes have an iconic status amongst the youth in South Asia. From KL to Kolkata, if you're young and on the go, a motorbike is the answer, and the trend is finally beginning to catch up here in Bangladesh. Revv up your motorbikes and coast to the centre for the story

Photos: Amirul Rajiv


It's all about safety
Why didn't the chicken get hit while crossing the road? Because it looked left and then right before crossing the road. After all it's all about safety. Whether it's in the house, outside or while driving, it is essential to keep one's eyes and ears open.

Fortifying the house
The house is a beehive of accident prone situations: fires in the kitchen, slamming doors, wet bathrooms and all. It is impossible to fortify oneself against all possible household accidents, but you can definitely take care of the obvious. Get a fire extinguisher to keep on standby. Use door stoppers to prevent the doors from slamming on you. Buy electrical socket outlets with safety clips- when the plug isn't in the outlet, the safety clips snap into place so that if (by mistake) you put your fingers in the socket, you won't get electrocuted. Keep a squeegee in the bathroom to squeeze off the water from the bathroom floor. And last but not the least, keep a first aid box in the house with all the necessary aids such as band aids, gauze, disinfectants, burn creams and so on for those unforseeable situations.

Harnessing the outdoors
If you are an outdoors person and love gardening and mowing, be careful while using your tools and machinery. Wear gardening gloves while hoeing and potting. Be very careful while using heavy garden machinery such as the lawn mowers. And if you are the true woodsman and do your own sawing and chopping, wear safety goggles and gloves while cutting down tree branches and such. At the end of the day, make sure to stow away your tools in an out-of-the-way locked up area so that they don't fall on novice hands and help create further accidents.

Fasten your seatbelts
For all those drivers out there, beware and take care. Our roads are probably some of the worst in the world, and our drivers some of the most reckless. It goes without saying, fasten your seatbelts and wear your helmets. But also take care of your cars and bikes so that they don't leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere. Make it a weekend habit to check the tyres, oil and water in your vehicle. And if you own a car, be sure to keep a tool box and spare tyre in the boot.

Being cautious is essential in whatever you do. So here's to being prepared and staying safe!

By Tahiat-e-Mahboob



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