Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 4, Issue 35, Tuesday September 04 , 2007



Hot wardrobe

Classic chic: A casual shirt or kurti with denim. It looks very clean with an option to accessories. You can add a scarf, a belt or large neckpiece and voila you will look chic and stylish. Jazz up for the moment and you will look like a million dollars.

Bohemian chic: Mix and match prints with solids. Flowing kimono or open front shirt style long and flowing tops paired with either trousers or salwars. Solid accessories as in jewellery, bold embellishments on the garment and use large purses.

Street smart: Laid back look. Effortless in style. Use vintage and put them together with contemporary styled pieces. Be experimental; don't follow the fashion pack; instead go with your instinct and what's best suited for you. Try it and you will definitely spell panache.

Eccentric: Be a fashion rebel. Disregard all fashion rules. Mix colours that you normally would not associate. Pink with brown, grey tones with gold and so on. Pick up casual yet chic high street styles and match them with classics that are timeless and close to your heart.

What have you got in your wardrobe?
Are your clothes all over the place? Or is your wardrobe organised- segregated into shoes clothes and accessories. Do you have a walk-in-closet with lots of storage? If you do, then you could possibly put your shoes in drawers, bags in cubicles and have your clothes hanged properly all colour coordinated. Whites, blacks, brights, pastels and neutrals all kept immaculately in place so that you can very easily pick up your out fit of choice. Your jewellery should also be kept in boxes labeled as rings, earrings and so on. But you can get even more particular and exacting by lining your chest of drawers with velvet, customised for your jewellery. Your accessories can thus be put in perfect order.

Most of us, I imagine, would find this kind of wardrobe ideal and therefore will aspire to own one today, if not in the future. But the reality, I am afraid, for many of us is that our clothes tumble out as we open our wardrobes. Too much clothing which continues to multiply in our closet space, you need to be more organised and selective with your clothing. Clear out clothes seasonally or do a summer or winter storage. Buy open shoe wracks but put your shoes in shoe bags to keep them clean. Either hang your purses in draw-string bags or put them away in covered boxes. These storage boxes are simply great as you can shove them under your bed or behind your curtains. The idea is the same as the last one; which is to maximise your wardrobe utility.

Some of you may have a shoe fetish. In that case be generous and give them away from time to time. Shoes are accessories that go out of style with only a few exceptions in classic styles. Anyway you will continue to buy more. I suggest unless you don't want to remind us of Imelda Marcos, you should take action soon. If you are a shopaholic, curtail your urges or the size of your wardrobe to keep it neatly planned and under control. Hot wardrobes do not indicate the quantity of clothes you may be storing but rather how wardrobe wise or savvy you can get to pull of great looks.

Photo: Farzana Shakil

Hot Debate
Desh on a dish

Before I delve into reasons for my rejoinder of this fascinating piece, there are two significant points of commendation that Tahiat Mahboob deserves for her article published last week:

First, for having the courage and strength to write something of the like and air publicly, views which can nearly be called taboo in our society. Bravo to her for that!

And secondly, for providing within the article an answer to her own question “Am I a bad Bangladeshi?” with the only possible logical answer “Yes she is.”

As we all know, admitting your own faults takes a great deal of humility and bravery.

Ms. Mahboob seemingly has that in droves.

So, what leaves me wondering (with a sour taste in my mouth) is where do all those positive traits disappear to the moment she is judging her own country? Where is the admirable strength that allows her to write an article of such impact but leaves her floundering in the face of striving for her country?

Ms. Mahboob pointedly remarks that the 'only' things that she needs reassurances of are welfare, safety and freedom. Give her those three and she will stay in Bangladesh. She demands, in quite aggressive tones, that she be provided with a reason to be patriotic and unless that is made available, no allegations of mal-patriotism against her will be permitted. Interesting how it is the responsibility of the damned-to-hell Bangladeshi dwellers to fix the problems that the country has, make it habitable and then present it to her on a silver platter beckoning her return. While she drinks her coffee and walks her walks, other people are expected to bleed red and green so that those who choose to abandon Bangladesh in its trying times can return to it once it gains her unworthy seal of approval. Point of clarification: patriotism or promoting the betterment of a country is a collective responsibility by birth and it is no one's calling to live in Bangladesh and launch mending programmes for those who will only take it only when it is good and leave it when it is bad.

Since freedom is such an issue, Ms Mahboob is welcome to decide where she wants to migrate to, but if she does choose to exercise that right, then it is unfair to demand that other people live in the 'deplorable' conditions for which the country was abandoned in the first place and not only live here, but clean it up for those who think it beneath and beyond themselves to try on their own. To Tahiat, none of us are indebted nor do we feel it necessary to prove patriotism worthiness.

And as for racism, does Ms Mahboob not herself say that it is a problem that exists in every country-so what makes the American racism better than the Bangladeshi one?

I will be the first to concede that Bangladesh has its problems. There is lack of freedom of speech, justice is rarely, if ever, served and the list can go on and on. But are these problems any different to the problems of other Third World nations? Is not the rising star of India prone to such problems? Is not China? Or does Ms. Mahboob frown down upon them too and embrace with open arms the 'security' that the First World offers?

For there is little else to explain why she flies away to her secure retreat leaving the country in the hands of those not 'fortunate' (or unwilling-not everyone runs away now) to do so. And all she asks them to do is fix the country, assure her and thousands like her of the holy trinity of welfare, security and freedom and then she will come rushing back to the land of her birth.

If people like Ms Mahboob, with fathers who have blood and thunder tales of the war, do not want to stay and help our country achieve the holy trinity then pray tell, who will? Or is abandoning your country the new fad preached by the First World? Imagine what would have happened if Ms Mahboob's own father had adopted her mentality during 1971; or the fathers of so many others who fought the war? The only thing they would have done is say that since there is no security, very little welfare and absolutely no freedom in this country, let us all take flight.

And the result would have been simple-no Bangladesh.

Now that is not a very enticing thought is it?

Tahiat says that she is not great-neither am I. What I am though, unlike her, is patriotic. Patriotism not of the sort that I would defend my country in every debate, or preach virtues when there are none, extol the non-existent rights of speech, or heap praise upon a shabby judicial system. But patriotism of the sort where I would try to do something about them than just run away to 'mellow in the mediocrity” of a 9-5 job, a movie, drinks at the bar and back home to start the next day knowing full well that what I do makes no difference in the world.

I have no illusions of grandeur. Maybe, probably, what I will do will not make any difference in the world, but unlike Ms Mahboob, I will have known that I have tried. So, if her 'safe' walk back from Starbucks at 10pm on a starry night can reassure her from not trying and fetch her a good night's sleep, then so be it.

By Quazi Zulquarnain Islam


Under A Different Sky

By Iffat Nawaz

A quick embrace

The road has feelings, it has ideas, it's quite stubborn too, and when it decides for you, brace yourself, because you will be in for a trip. In a few hours I am giving myself up to the road. Well not just any road, but a road that I have selected. To get there I have to fly for a few good hours, go through airport security twice, take off my sandals a few times, take attitude from airplane attendants, have one of my shoulders sore from carrying over packed luggage, and then find a car. But once I am on it; the road decides, the road that I have picked out.

The idea of a road trip was very foreign to me until recent years. I didn't know what it meant to be on the road for days, to travel in paths surrounded by forests, to sleep in the bottom or top of mountains, to be next to the ocean and wake up to sand and waves. It sounds beautiful and it is, but it took a lot for me to break away from a conventional good vacation-resort, ocean, favourite drinks, pampered services, delicious food on the table, waking up when I wish, how I wish. A road trip doesn't have those luxuries.

But it does have its own luxuries, which I only came to know of when I had first spent 20 days on the road. It was strange at first, but it was a road that ran through British Columbia; there were tall mountains, glacier lakes, hidden grizzly bears. And once the glacier lake's ice melted into a clear crystal blue so did my insides. The road converted me and I no longer searched for the common daily comforts. I showered where I could, ate what was available and felt free; but it wasn't easy, I felt quite apprehensive to feel so free at fist, but the road gave me a certain kind of freedom that all my other companions have failed to give me in all these years.

But I have some inhibitions still, because I forgot, the feeling of the road, the routine or the lack of it. And now when I have committed to the road again I am scared of what it might do to me this time. The city girl inside of me is wondering whether the end of my hairs will be damaged, whether I will have the chance to clean my face every night before going to bed, how I will live without the internet… complaining comforts are all creeping up.

And also the thought of family and friends, and the burning Dhaka city, the flood soaked Bangladesh with fire everywhere of politics, policies and rebels, rebelling in the middle of fire and water. Should I leave it all behind, will my thoughts stop thinking too then? Or will the road decide what happens?

Because I am not an intellectual and can't analyse and predict simple or complex futures of a country I still call home, because I can't understand what's good and bad and what's propaganda and what's rumour, I am just going to stop reading, hearing, listening. I am going to look away and when I look back again, I hope it all makes more sense to me.

And for now, even though it seems selfish and self-centered I am going to leave it all behind and choose the road. A road that won't take me to Bangladesh, to DC or to any place I have seen before, I have lived before, I have known. But maybe the unknown will help me understand why I have changed through the years, how I really feel about you, how I really feel about burning Dhaka, democracy, communism and monarchy, and about my hair turning brown instead of grey. I don't know what will happen, the road decides and I look away…


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