|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 51, Tuesday January 20, 2008|
The advent of the New Year has ushered in with it one of the most awaited events of the year, the Dhaka International Trade Fair 2009. Organizers arranged the fair to be in complete sync with the arrival of 2009, taking advantage of the mellow spell of cool breezes with golden winter sunshine. With a myriad of local and international offerings, a visit to the DITF 2009 should definitely be on your to-do list for the week.
The Iranian stalls over the years have earned a reputation for the exclusive rugs and carpets they offer. These majestic carpets are available this year as well, but be prepared to oil your haggling machine before you decide to buy one, because the asking prices are pretty hefty. While at the Iranian pavilion, don't forget to pick up some of their crunchy pistachios!
The Thai pavilion has always been a favourite among the ladies, with their vast array of stylish bags and sandals. Hot buys this season include the versatile animal print purses and Thai flip-flops, both of which combine comfort with style. Also on offer are the Thai skin potions that promise you flawless skin in no time.
If ayurveda is more your style, when it comes to skin products the Sri Lankan stalls are definitely worth a stroll. They also offer some mouth-watering shingaras.
The Thai pavilions offer different kind of appetizing pastas, while the Iranians have a wide variety of nuts and other kernels to offer. They have also brought in some exotic fruits from Phuket. The rambutans displayed here are so cute that you may not know if you should eat it or pet it. The other fruits on display are durians, rose apples, sweet and sour mangoes. If you are a fruit lover, you are surely going to love this place!
Both the Iranian and Thai arcades served an array of delicious sauces like spicy stir-fry wok sauce, sweet and sour plum sauce, Cantonese style garlic, chilli and tomato sauce, green curry and red curry cooking sauce, spicy tamarind sauce to name a few.
The Pakistani pavilion has some excellent Pashmina shawls on display. Choose from colours like warm amber to maroon and parrot green to protect against the chilly breeze of the season. Delicate saris and flashy bangles that are Pakistani specialties are also being sold here. While you are there, you can also have your palms read by renowned Pakistani palmist M.A. Shahzad Khan.
Our local stalls are no less appealing than their international counterparts. The electronic gadgets stalls, as always, have excellent offers as do those for household décor. Beautiful printed bed sheets are available at very reasonable prices. If you have a fetish for traditional handloom, the local sari stalls have in stock just what you need!
Dispersed throughout the fairgrounds are fast food stalls offering phuckha, chotpoti, chips, etc… can be found all around the mela. Rich's stall is a good place to check out if you are in a mood for a mouth watering hamburger.
The favourite stalls in sight are Hajir Biryani and Star Kebab. Many marquees carried their haute trademark cuisines.
There are several stalls serving drinks. Fresh orange juices can be got at Tk10 only. Another booth carried different packed juices of diverse fruits from South Africa and Malaysia. But the stall that will catch your attention is that of Frutika's. The entire arcade has been shaped within a basket of rich multicolored fruits. They are also offering attractive hampers starting from Tk100 only. Next to Frutika is the kiosk of Pran, which too has appealing packages to vend away.
Many diary products including chocolates can be found in random pavilions. A lot of grocery stores can be seen around the place. Packages containing different biscuits can be got within Tk 100 and a whole bundle of breakfast goodies like jam and cereals, within Tk 300. The groceries are also offering Nocilla, Nutella and other much loved chocolate and hazelnut spreads at a discount. It is fascinating to see numerous local and foreign brands of processed comestibles the fair has in store. However, some of the foodstuffs are excessively priced. Interestingly the, bulk of the crowd is hardly bothered with that, most of them are too indulged in enjoying the food and the moment. Being at the fair is in itself a lot of fun; the food simply adds more flavour to the experience.
Ongoing till the end of this month, the DITF 2008 is a must-visit if you want an international shopping experience blended with our local flavour. Rush while the exclusive stocks last!
By Zion Ara Hamid and Wasia Mehnaz Minna
On The Cover
Music today enjoys a buoyant market. A new generation of musicians, composers and connoisseurs have made it into the music scene. This week Star Life style takes a closer look at the music scene.
A step ahead…
I watched her from my car window. She was sitting in a bus, surrounded by a swarm of men. I looked at her and wondered how life must be at her end. I salute all those women who take up the challenge of travelling all alone in the local bus or cabs. It is also true that they have turned to such an option, only because of having no other alternatives. The transportation system in our country is in great misery and the conditions are worst for women. The transport services currently provided by the public and private buses are insecure, unreliable, congested and unsafe. It takes a lot of courage to go through those intolerable circumstances and most importantly, risking your security, facing sexual and verbal harassment on the road.
It is a real shame that even in this age; the girls in our country are finding it tough to move around comfortably in good conditions. The rate of muggers and hijackers seems to be the same no matter what any of the governments' promises. Absence of a well-scheduled bus system, poor accessibility due to overcrowding and inadequate sidewalk and pedestrian facilities are some commonly addressed problems.
In the absence of adequate transport system, many women are forced to depend on more expensive, private and para modes of transport or spend more time walking to their destinations. Much has been said about the traffic congestions and air pollution already. The jams and lack of effectiveness of controlling the traffic only make the road journeys longer which in turn adds to the unhealthy conditions. It is hard even for the men as they too are subjected to similar kinds of threats but it is harder on the women. It is difficult for women to compete with men for the limited space on the buses particularly given the cultural background in Bangladesh.
It is high time that something is done about the transportation along with the security of women. There is a lot more that the girls in our country can do. Making the proper way for them is the key to a healthy living society. I hope this time somebody not only just reads this and keeps it to themselves but take some actions as well for the betterment of our beloved country.
By Zion Ara Hamid
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