Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 3, Tuesday January 15, 2008



Chronicles Of Sam Q

Dearest Diary,
Has the world gone mad, or am I just seeing too much into things? Things that I "think" I should overlook, because the rest of the world sure is. I know, I know, people who are heavily into nitpickings might agree with me, some might even say I have got way too much time on my hands, and some might even be flummoxed enough to blurt out and say, "these observations actually matter?" But to me, it does. In my analytical, Virgo mindset, stupid things matter. So diary, today you are going to get a sneak peek in my overzealous, maze of a mind.

My first pet peeve is, why do well-known business groups, while advertising their products, display white people (read: Caucasian) in their advert promoting their wares? What?? A Bangali, local, deshi face will not sell their stuff?? Hello!! Do they not realise that the people they have targeted as potential customers are mostly, Bangalis? This truly is a land of the 'Fair and Lovely'. This national obsession of pale skin being beautiful is here to stay. And no.... it does not end here. After all this I come across another advert.... a coaching centre, advocating how good they are, with good teachers... blah... blah and more blah, and what is their final selling point?? A sea of smiling white students, in their blue gowns and caps.... um… graduating. Couldn't they at least have a mixture of faces, like the United Colours of Benetton?? Aren't there any pictures of Bangali students graduating? God, Diary! If only exasperation could be spelled into a sound.

Secondly, now that we are living in this highly volatile world already, do we really need more encouragement for violence? I could not believe my eyes when I saw that the toy industry has also turned mercenary. They have introduced an AR-15 Rifle for girls. How I know it is for girls, is by its Barbie pink colour. It was bad enough that we bought toy guns for our boys when they were growing up, and now to have our girls playing with guns is surely a bad sign for society. Then to my utter horror, I flick on the TV the other day & what do I see.... an award show on some Indian channel, having a fashion show, where the model was wearing a T-shirt which said, "down with teachers" and to give the message more oomph, he was parading a fake machine gun look-a-like with much practised grace. What's wrong with everybody? Don't they read the papers or watch CNN or BBC? Haven't they heard about the Virginia-Tech incident??

On a lighter note Diary, I think people should not lack those certain “have-to-have” qualities if they decide to work in the media world. In one of our local cooking shows, this “apparently” knowledgeable cook was showing a recipe called the "Grilled Chicken”, only… she was frying it. And there was another lady cooking something in the microwave oven, only to be setting it at gas mark number 5. Whoa! A microwave oven runs on Titash Gas? In my opinion, the ladies were up to their childhood tricks…. not doing their homework right. And one more question I have is, in the whole production unit, didn't anybody see these gaffes? There sure seemed to be a hell lot of people in the credits after the show was over.

Anyway Diary, the above-mentioned issues, at least I feel are thought worthy. But some are the ones I am just plain critical of. Like the one diamond ad where the bride is sitting under a beautiful gossamer canopy with family members and the groom is seen putting the red, powdery 'sindoor' on her head to proclaim to the world that they are married. And now what does the “supposed” coy bride do? She leans over to her new husband with such come-hither looks and husks… “You may now kiss the bride”. WHY??? Please if the makers of the ad could explain to me why would the bride having a sombre, traditional wedding, say something like that? Even in jest, it is not funny. But you know what was funny?? The look on the groom's face. It was scaredy-cat kinda funny. Anyway Diary, I could go on and on, but what would be the use? Would anybody sit up and take action? I don't think so. And to prove my point home I am going to give one last example. Last month, there was this huge banner in front of a lighting shop in Gulshan 2, which said in bold, red, letters, “MARRY CHRISTMAS” for two whole weeks. And to put your niggling mind at rest Diary, yes, I did point it out to the person looking after the shop, that the spelling was incorrect, but the way he was looking at me without saying anything made me feel as if I was speaking Latin to him. And I guess since it was still up there till Christmas, I must have been speaking Latin.

So Diary, thank you for being my sounding board. You are the best.
So, have a good day the Sam Q. way.

South Indian Chicken curry
1kg chicken
3 large onions, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp oil
A few sprigs curry leaves
2 tbsp ginger paste
2 tbsp garlic paste
1½ tsp red chilli powder
1½ tsp jeera (cumin) powder
1 tsp haldi (turmeric) powder
1 tsp garam masala
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup water
Juice of one lemon

Clean and wash chicken and place on a colander for the water to drain off. Meanwhile chop onions and tomatoes. In a vessel heat oil and add a few sprigs of washed curry leaves. When they begin to splutter, add the onions and fry till golden brown. Add ginger-garlic paste and cook further. Put in the tomatoes and red chilli and jeera (cumin) powder. Add 1 tsp each of haldi (turmeric) and garam masala. Fry on a slow fire till the oil separates from the masala. Add the chicken pieces and salt to taste and stir till well coated with the masala. After this pour the coconut milk along with one cup of water. Let it boil and allow it to simmer on a slow fire for 10-15 minutes till the chicken is tender. Add the juice of a lemon to add to the flavour. Serve with rice or chapatti.

Shop Talk

Men's winter flair

Winter is the time for men to show off their awesome collection of exclusive winter wears, which include the classical jackets. An epitome of style and fashion, men's winter jackets look simply fabulous and are apt for the dashing look. They provide the essential warmth being stylish at the same time.

Though retro designs have always been in vogue, this winter, jackets with a blazer cut seem to be the newest look. Since blazers are versatile and great for mixing and matching with various looks, they are pretty much suitable for all occasions. They seem to go with all wardrobe types- whether you are dressed up for office or heading for a dance party. Monochromatic colours such as classy black, majestic navy blue, celestial white or simple grey shades have replaced the worn out vibrant colours. That's why it is no wonder that fabrics that have a subtle tone and varied texture - the suede leather or denim or heavy cotton - are on high demand.

While the shopping malls are flooded with jackets in different styles, some of the prominent local brands have come up with their own line of exclusive designs. And leading the league is Ecstasy, which has groomed its clientele with the latest trends over the years. Their range covers everything from sporty jackets to casual blazer jackets with a varied affordable price tag. The usual jackets would cost around Tk 1480 to Tk 3480 while the blazer cut ones are between Tk 1580 to Tk 3880. And the sporty leather ones are priced at around Tk 4980.

Soul Dance, the brand that has revolutionized the wardrobe of today's young generation, has become a fashion statement in itself. As with its all-popular western outfits, the winter collection also puts emphasis on being different and trendy. The slim fit jackets, available in a few dark colours, can be bought for Tk 1149 to Tk 1659 and the sweatshirts are available between Tk 749 to Tk 849.

Don't be under the misconception that you cannot buy a designer jacket unless and until you spend a hefty amount for it. If not the best, at least make sure you buy good quality stuff that doesn't turn out to be a bad deal at the end of the day. Keeping all that in mind, spruce up your winter with the cool fashionable jackets that would keep you warm and stylish at the same time.

By Shakhawat Imam Rajeeb

On The Cover

Dance and drama is all it takes to transcend the cultural barriers, defy the odds and gods. In the midst of the hip swaying and intricate gyrations, two worlds meet. To know more about how the Nederlands Dans Theatre and Marjan van Lier weaved their magic, turn to the Centrefold, for our scoop.

Photo: Amirul Rajiv


Exam time
It's time for the new candidates to prepare themselves for the upcoming Ordinary and Advanced Level Examinations and also for that of national board. All of you should pull up your socks and start off for the battle of the mind.

The paper works
There's not much time left in hand so what you should do is sort your subjects methodically. You must do a lot of practice but make a point to get the paperworks checked by your teachers, and try to rectify the errors, which you may be repeating. It is important to consult your teachers regularly and also read through different books or notes which can give a better opportunity to write good answers. But you can only do this after you have a complete grasp of the subject. Solve the questions by yourself and also discuss, if necessary, with your classmates who know the topics thoroughly.

The tips
Make a day-to-day plan for the subjects you'll be studying, and also the time of hours you will spend for them. If you find the questions difficult to answer, do not panic. You can find an alternative for answering the short questions at first and then attempting the broad ones. This way you can save up the time to answer all the questions. You must go through the questions at least twice and understand what actually needs to be answered. After being certain, mentally prepare your answers and start writing. After answering all your questions, do check if any has been left out, and whether you have numbered them properly.

With the exam knocking at your doors, we would expect you to put all your efforts into your studies and make the best of yourself. All the best to all candidates!

By Yamin Tauseef Jahangir



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