Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 11, Tuesday March 11, 2008



Dearest diary,
According to the Oxford dictionary, the word, faux pas (pronounced- faugh pa), is French, meaning, an action or a remark that causes embarrassment because it is socially not correct. No, sweetie, this is not a French lesson...more like a lesson for me to just...think...before opening my mouth to say something in public. Now that I am in my golden years, I think, my golden sayings should stop now. And to make myself feel better, I thought of dredging up some faux pas, made by friends and family to show you that even the best of the crop...foul up.

And, so that I do not ruffle any feathers, I will start by narrating one of my best, which I am shamefully proud of. As far as I can remember, I started falling into these pitfalls right after I got married. Why I say "right after I got married" is because, before I got married, I was only seen and not heard. So like many of my contemporaries, post marriage, the licence to talk and actually have an opinion, meant, t-r-o-u-b-l-e.

Anyway, this was during my Hong Kong days where an evening out was just visiting friends or making some duty calls. One such evening, as planned, we went over to the house of a senior colleague of my husband's. So after some banal chitchat the conversation turned towards a safe subject as, shopping. The host trying to be hospitable put his two bit in by saying how one of his relatives literally bought a hundred ladies hand bags on her last trip to Hong Kong. I, in all innocence and awe remarked," Wow! She sure must have strong connections with the customs people." Because here I was thinking about the measly 20 kilos Thai airways was allotting me and this lady had the full plane to herself. By now I had already felt the sharp kicks from under the table and penetrating glares from over the table. The poor hostess by that time was feeling very sorry for my plight, so she quickly mumbled the name of the revered guest to put me out of my bewildered state. She was...ahem! One of our former president's wife. And here I was saying things like... customs...connections...Man, she WAS the customs!

Anyway, now moving on to greener pastures, I must narrate an incident, which my hubby dear did. One balmy evening, me, him and our good friend Minnat were having an intense discussion on materialism. To drive his point home he suddenly pointed to a red vase displayed on my coffee table, saying "see this vase, it has absolutely no meaning for me." Before I could haul his whole foot out of his mouth, he sort of caught on by Minnat's very expressive and hysterical expression that she had something to do with the vase. So by the time Minnat recovered, she forgave him, I think only for him to stop his uncontrollable, embarrassed knee shakings. Me, I was just happy to have somebody doing the same gaffes as me.

And now, over to the queen of faux pas...my sister. It is so hard to pick just one. Boy! She started young. She had come visiting to my newly married abode and I the big sister took her visiting to her newly acquired married friends who she wowed with her never again found tact. Her best was when she saw an enlarged wedding picture of a seven-year-old couple and remarked so earnestly to the hubby that he sure wouldn't have married her NOW if she still looked like that. I think she really lucked out because she said it with so much honesty, which you only have when you are only that young, and with only that amount of innocence. Whew!

Now keeping it in the family, with all due respect to my mother, I have to share this one with you diary. There was this friend of my father who used to come to the house quite regularly but never with his wife. So finally when my mother was introduced to the wife at a wedding, even to her astonishment, she blurted out "don't be silly...she can't be your wife...come on...show me who your wife is?" To this day the perplexed look on the man's face still haunts my mother. Her only defence to her unpardonable faux pas was, "she looked so old." The lesson learnt here...do not assume. No wonder he never took her out.

And, now, the finale. I can't obviously name her because I fear for my life. This absent-minded friend of mine was on a road trip with her family, where she saw her nephew playing with the toy they had given her. After a whole week of getting up in the mornings must have fuzzed up her brain, so instead of saying "sweetie...who gave you the game boy?" She said "sweetie, who gave you the playboy?”

Apparently, even while she was saying it she felt she was saying it wrong, but couldn't stop herself. The lesson learnt here.... do not even think, let alone speak, when you are sleep deprived.

So diary, I really do not know how much family and friends I will have left if they get to read this...so, a song comes to mind, "Say a little prayer for me". Adios diary. Have a good day the Sam Q. way!

Keralan Fish Curry

2 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp turmeric
juice of one lime
600 g of firm white fish cut into 4 cm cubes
1 tsp of black peppercorns
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp of fenugreek (methi) seeds
3 dried red chillies soaked in hot water for 20 mins
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp curry leaves
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
4 cm fresh ginger, chopped
1 cup coconut milk

Combine the paprika, turmeric and limejuice in a large mixing bowl. Add the fish in the marinade and leave for 20 minutes. Heat pan over medium heat. Toast the peppercorns, coriander seeds, and fenugreek for about 1 min. Pound the spices till they are finely ground. Add the soaked chillies with some water and pound till smooth paste. Leave on one side.

Heat the vegetable oil on medium heat. Toss in the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Mix for 30 seconds. Turn down heat and add onion. Soften without colouring for 5 mins. Stir in spice paste, garlic, and ginger and fry for 2-3 mins. Add the fish and stir to mix well. Now add coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and cook till fish is tender.

News flash

Bvlgari- Rose Essentielle

Perfume personifies the ultimate in the world of fashion, glamour and luxury. And in such a world, names like Bvlgari, Channel, Christian Dior, among others hold the highest positions of distinction. Prestige Bengal introduces yet another world renowned fragrance, this time for women. The very latest in their long list of prestigious international brands of perfume, Bvlgari- Rose Essentielle, is the essence of a jeweller.

Bvlgari- Rose Essentielle, as the name suggests, symbolizes the queen of flowers- the rose, an epitome of nature's boundless beauty. Created by master perfumer, Beatrice Piquet, Bvlgari- Rose Essentielle is a light, scintillating new summer fragrance that is fresh, sophisticated and delicate with a modern allure. With invigorating top notes of bergamot, blackberry and violet leaf, the ottoman rose and prelude rose as the core and patchouli, musk and sandal mysore as the base- the fragrance is an exquisite, feminine tribute to the rose that appeals to all the senses! The design of the bottle evokes elegance and sensuality and its pale pink colour symbolises what it was named after.

Bvlgari, an old and trusted brand name has been around for decades. However, they launched their very first perfume in 1992, and since then have created eight world-renowned fragrances.

Launched by Prestige Bengal on 6 March, during an elegant event at Hotel Lakeshore, Bvlgari- Rose Essentielle is one of two versions of fragrances. It will be available in all leading departmental stores across Dhaka, and exclusively at Artisti Collection, Ecstasy, Alma, Priyo and Etcetera. The perfume, also known as Bvlgari Rosee is available in both 50ml and 100ml bottles of Eau de Parfum Natural Spray, as well as 50ml and 100ml bottles of Eau de Toilette Natural Spray.

By Farina Noireet


Did someone say Mexican Food? Yes, the staff of the Bithika Restaurant did. Come and dine in the Bithika Restaurant between March 9-15 and take a culinary journey through the spicy and fresh flavors of Mexico and the Southwestern portion of America. Discover how some of the earliest settlers created, developed and refined some of the most recognized and popular food in the world today.

– LS Desk



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