Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 4, Issue 12 , Tuesday March 27, 2007



Knot on the net

“The sea would part
Moribund shall be Man
And their creation
Will rise, will conquer”

This is the time. This time around, the creator slides into subservience and paves way for the rise of the machines. The drama apart, the super highway of modernism is in high-gear and we are all being swept away by the efflux of the internet technology. This technological revolution has also inevitably seeped into the realm of marriage.

Tradition has dictated a very ritualistic approach to tying the knot. The man happens to get a glimpse of the girl's beauty and talks to his parents about it. The parents go over to talk the matter over with the girl's parents. If all goes well, the deal is closed- and there is a marriage to organise. If not, well, there is always a next time.

Enter the vortex of the vigorous technological drive, and the world of traditions collapse. The Internet becomes a prime locomotive of inducing a nuptial bond. Although the world has yet to witness the mechanical misery depicted by Orwell or Huxley, one thing is for sure- life has strapped itself for the cyber runway. In this era of human civilisation, marriage portals, dating sites, net meetings and chat rooms offer an easy access to “Mr. Right” or “Ms. Femme Fatale”. People are meeting through the Internet.

Surfing, surfing… and hitched!
Lately, the Internet has become a haven for matchmaking. Marriage portals are gaining in popularity, with due credits to the influence of the budding net marriage culture in India. Indian sites such as jeevansathi.com have wheeled in heavy into the scene with flamboyant advertisements and attention-grabbing jingles. And it does not remain to say that the promotional feats have paid off. These sites are also turning more than a few heads in Bangladesh.

Most marriage portals allow free sign-ups, and permit people to draw up their own profiles. A profile would usually contain- apart from the general information- uploaded pictures (all the more to flaunt those features!), descriptions about oneself, a description of the kind of partner you are looking for and so on. Many portals further allow people to rate others' pictures. Some also come with links for amusement- jokes, polls, comics and so on.

Popular Bangladesh-based marriage portals include jibonshongi.com, bangalimatrimony.com, ghotokvai.com, deshilove.com and badhon.com.

Blind date charade
The saying goes, “Love is blind”. While doubt can be cast on the practicalities of the statement, this rings true when people happen to “fall in love” in a room without walls- more commonly known as, the chat room.

Chat rooms and portals are interesting in that they offer anonymity. This encourages all types of people to come in, make friends and do whatever they feel like. When people appear to like another in these random chat rooms, they exchange e-mail addresses and MSN IDs. These may roll into daily chats and eventually into late-night phone conversations. It is there, somewhere along that line, that love comes in. And then those “let us spend this lifetime together” dialogues…

Despite the big talks about the intervention of technology and modern ways of life, culture still plays an overbearing role. Once the online relationship becomes more intense, it is the “meet the parents” phase. More often than not, it is the girl who invites the man over to her house for her parents' approval.

From this point onwards, it is more the customs than the sweet talks over the Internet that matter. And of course, if her parents approve, the couple may date for a while before the marriage is arranged.

Nonetheless, it needs mentioning that a particular segment of the society has “gone Western”. That is to say, for these people the dating precedes “meet the parents”. People meet on the net, maybe talk on the phone and decide to date.

However, this may not be the safest route to take, given the anonymity of the people in the chat rooms. The adage “beware of strangers” comes to mind. Firstly, it is rather unlikely that people really are what they hold themselves out to be on the net. As such, bracing for a disappointment may not be such a sorry idea. Secondly, Internet chat rooms are playgrounds for perverts- most are just on a lookout for a one-night stand.

Shout outs
With a surge of Internet marriages, the “been there done that” type of people were not difficult to find. Samia Ehsan, an MBA student, has found success. “I met Ashique on Bdchat,” she says, “It was probably my third or fourth time in a chat portal because I am really not much into chatting. Most random men just say obscene things thinking that would impress a girl. But this guy felt different from the very beginning. He was in Malaysia, and was completing his Masters in Public Health. At the end of the very long first chat session, we decided to meet up on Bdchat again the day after. He asked for my Yahoo ID, but I refused. Soon enough after the second session, we were chatting regularly on Yahoo. He even called me a few times. And now after a year and a half, we are married.”

Slightly less successful is Arman Hossain, who is completing his PhD in UK. “It is high time I get married,” he says, “I am good looking, well qualified and am likely to wind up with a decent job. But the marriage portals have not been of much help to me. There have, sadly, been too few responses, and of these most of the women are not my type.”

On the other hand, the sun is up in the sky for Tauhidur Rahman, who owns a restaurant in the city. “Thanks to deshilove.com, I have met the woman of my dreams,” he says, “We have been dating for the last three years, and we hope to exchange our vows right after she completes her graduation.”

On a final note…
Meeting people on the Internet has become somewhat a trend. With hectic schedules and uncanny routines, it is difficult to go around doorstep to doorstep in search for marriage material. Cyber spatial advancements have gone some distance to ease the pain. It is more convenient to find one's mate, given that he or she may be just a click away. In the process, it has also cut back on the time required for “bride hunting”.

In any case, if you are planning to ride the tide of Internet marriages, make a point to visit some of the sites. Whip out your mouse and go surfing…

By Shahmuddin Ahmed Siddiky

Shop Talk

In our final issue of the month that celebrates women, we thought we would end the note with all things bright and beautiful…or in choosing to be less obscure and more relevant, all things elegant and feminine. And in speaking of that, we do not mean the usual emblems that signify beauty like long hair and dark eyes, but something equally feminine and appealing-nails (well kept ones at that).

Bring the parlour home
One foot into any well-known parlour of the city would mislead anyone into thinking that they are collective second homes to every woman Dhaka counts in its census. Mislead nonetheless because in all actualities, a hefty proportion of today's women struggle to find time for regular salon appointments and even if they do, it is for a fifteen minute breeze-by to revamp facial features, what with them being glaringly noticeable. However, if time is the restraining issue, then manicures and pedicures at home are options heaven sent. All that asks to be done is soak your hands in lukewarm water mixed with Johnson's Baby Shampoo, brush the nails, soles and sides clean with a brush and apply a supple coat of moisturising lotion. The products needed to facilitate the process-baby shampoo (so that your skin does not shrivel), nail brushes and moisturising lotion can be found at all departmental stores like Almas and Priyo and even at some grocery stores like Agora, PQS and Nondon.

Au revoir to jagged edges
Once the process of cleansing and moisturising is complete, it is time to pay heed to shape. After all, unevenly cut, ill-shaped nails with jagged edges would defeat the pivotal purpose of being feminine and prove to be more of a repulsion than anything else. To this end, the most advisable measure would employ the use of nail filers that effectively fulfil the purpose of maintaining shape, uniformity and smoothness (edges). These can also be found at the places mentioned above for as low as Taka 80 to Taka 100 .

Two coats of colour
And finally to the topic best preferred. As a concluding step to the entire nail-care process, we turn to the miracle that is nail polish. So widespread are the gains of nail polish that inessential is the need to waste column space on it. Without delving into topics of such deep fancies, we will get right into what to buy and where to buy from. Most stores offer more varieties than can be counted on an abacus but of special interest at current times is nail colour from Lakme. The new Freespirit range has launched a sumptuous palette of colours including toned down yet elegant shades of baby pink, brown, beige and alternatively burning hues such as bright red. The Freespirit collection is priced at Taka 120 while colours from their normal range ask for an amount decreased by Taka 20.

So scrub, rub, file and polish without further ado ladies because that's all it takes for your nails to speak the grace that you are!

By Subhi Shama Reehu

On The Cover

This week, we take a look at girls and their love-hate relationship with relationships. Do I, don't I? Now? Later? Questions they want answered, but are afraid to ask. Check out our centreFold story and Page04 for more insight.

Model: Subhi Shama Reehu
Photo: Amirul Rajiv


Making an impression

The right way
We all tend to judge a book by its cover. As unfair as it might seem at certain times, appearances do count. What we wear, how we talk and in all, how we carry ourselves does make a huge difference on the impression people sum up of us after the very first encounter. Sometimes all it takes for a girl to accept or decline your invitation to dinner is if you snort or not. Often times an interviewer will sum you up in a minute just by looking at the colour of your tie or the print on your shirt. Presentation does matter and the only way to leave a good, lasting impression is by grooming yourself.

Getting the lay of the land
Whether it is a job interview or inviting someone to dinner, it is always best to do some research before making the leap. Expressing Democratic views at a Republican institution isn't going to get you the job. Asking someone who is a vegetarian to try a new sushi bar isn't going to earn you brownie points either. It is always prudent to know a little in advance about the person or organisation you will interact with so that you don't commit a faux pas.

Cleanliness is next to godliness
It doesn't matter where you are presenting yourself, cleanliness is next to godliness. Make sure to keep your nails at a decent length and spot free. Keep your skin well moisturised. If you have a visible pimple, treat it with some anti-pimple cream. For all you gentlemen out there, use a pair of tweezers or electric trimmer to keep your ears and nose clean. And before you head out, make sure there is nothing tainting those pearly whites and treat your mouth to some mints.

Minding those P's and Q's
It is not enough to just look good. What's the point of dressing to kill when, as soon as you open your mouth, all you want to do is swallow your foot? This is where that background research comes in handy. Stick to the pertinent details and don't go off on tangents.

A little effort will take you a long way. So the next time you want to leave an impressive impression, go that extra mile.

By Tahiat-e-Mahboob



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