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Buying furniture is tricky business. On one hand, it reflects your taste, lifestyle and choice and on the other, it costs quite a lot. To add to the misery, you are faced with innumerable dilemmas of choosing the right colour, quality, size, shape, style…the list goes on and on. Commit a wrong move and you have to live with the regret of it for a very long time. Athena's Furniture & Home Décor however, makes the job much simpler.

Athena's, founded in 2004, boasts its huge collection of furniture made by a group of skilled workers, backed by an innovative design team, using only the finest wood. The furnitures are based on various styles- Victorian, Egyptian and Italian to name a few.

Athena's has a large collection of beds, from the simple, chic designs to lavish decorative ones. The prices vary between Tk 90,000 to Tk 1,20,000.

The store also offers sleek dining tables priced between Tk 1,20,000 to around Tk 2, 50,000. Another thing to look for are their simple and trendy centre tables. Each one styled and crafted with a touch of difference, you have quite a large selection to choose from.

If the array of designs does not satisfy your tastes, you can always order for a customised design made solely to cater to your needs.

The extremely aesthetic decoration pieces are another aspect of Athena's that makes it stand tall. You'll be enticed by the beautiful, majestic timepieces they have to offer. Some of the designs are inspired from famous and prominent works made many centuries ago. Other showpieces include beautiful lamps and luring candles and candle stands.

And last, but not the least, consider getting hold of one of the strikingly artistic, elegant mirrors that are a throwback to Victorian art. A mirror can cost you anywhere between Tk 15,000 and Tk 60,000; while lamps have price tags ranging from Tk 8000 to Tk 15,000.

Whether you think its time to replace your old sofa or to add a gleaming ornament to adorn your drawing room, Athena's, located in Gulshan-1, Road # 136 is one place you must stop by.

By M H Haider

Pickled prawn
600g medium-sized prawns, peeled
2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
salt to taste
3 tbsp lemon juice
mustard oil for frying
1 tsp onion seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp fenugreek
4 dry red chillies
a pinch of coriander seeds
150g onions, sliced
100g tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp green chillies, chopped
a pinch of coriander powder
salt to taste
red chilli powder to taste
2 tbsp Rooh Afza chilli sauce
1 tsp cumin powder
½ tsp Garam masala
½ tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp sliced ginger
2 tbsp green coriander, chopped
Mix half the ginger-garlic paste, salt, and lemon juice together. Marinate the prawns in this mixture for half an hour.
Heat the mustard oil in a wok; add the spices and sauté. Add onions and sauté till transparent. Add tomatoes, green chillies, and half the coriander powder. Stir-fry for 5-10 minutes.
Stir in salt, red chilli powder, Rooh Afza chilli sauce, the remaining coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala, and turmeric powder. Stir-fry for another 5-10 minutes. Add prawns and stir-fry till cooked. Serve, garnished with ginger and green coriander.

Fennel Flavoured Prawns
12 prawns, deveined, shelled
1 tbsp butter
25g fennel
2 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp chopped ginger
5 green chillies, deseeded, chopped
5 tsp onion paste
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt to taste
5 tsp Aniseed broiled, pounded
½ cup cream
½ cup yoghurt
Heat the butter in a pan; sauté the fennel for a few seconds. Add garlic, ginger, green chillies, and onion paste. Stir-fry for a few minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat.
Place the prawns in an ovenproof dish. Spread the prepared mixture on top. Cover the dish tightly and cook in a preheated oven (180°C (350°F)) for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven. Transfer onto a serving platter and serve immediately accompanied by steamed rice.

Fried chilli fish cooked in tamarind juice
4 medium-sized fish, cleaned
1 tbsp coconut oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
4 medium-sized onions, chopped
3 green chillies, chopped
2 tbsp Rooh Afza chilli sauce
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1½ tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
30 g tamarind
20 curry leaves
salt to taste
2 tomatoes, chopped
Heat the coconut oil in a wok; add mustard and fenugreek seeds. When they start to crackle add onions, green chillies, and garlic. Fry for a few seconds, and then add red chilli powder, Rooh Afza chilli sauce and turmeric powder. Mix well for a minute.
Add tamarind juice and let the mixture simmer for some time.
Add fish, curry leaves, salt, and tomatoes. Cook covered for 10 minutes or till the fish is done.
Serve hot with steamed rice.

Chutney fish steamed in banana leaves
2 large pomfrets, deboned, cut into 1/2 inch-thick slices, washed
salt to taste
juice of 1 lemon
1 coconut, freshly grated
3 green chillies, seeded
2 cups fresh coriander leaves
1 tbsp ginger
1 clove garlic
4-5 banana leaves or aluminium foil paper
Marinate the fish with salt and half the lemon juice for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Grind the coconut, green chillies, green coriander, ginger, and garlic to a smooth paste. Add salt and the remaining lemon juice.
Wash the marinated fish and apply the coconut paste on both sides of the fish.
Cut the banana leaves large enough to wrap each piece of fish. Spread a little oil over the leaves and wrap each piece like a parcel. Tie with a cotton thread, and steam in a large steamer for 20 minutes. It can also be baked in an oven at 180°C (350°F) for 15 minutes.
Remove the string and serve with rice and Rooh Afza Chilli Sauce.

Supernatural or something else?

Whenever ghost stories come up in conversations, I have one of my own. I'm not really sure if it was really a ghost or something else that I saw. Readers, you decide. Ghost or man....the memory of it is still freshly etched in my mind and it sends shivers up my spine.

When we were small, going for long drives in the evenings was a regular ritual. On a cold Ramadan night, after my mother and her sister finished their Taraweeh prayers, we decided to go for a drive towards Sylhet airport. This was one of our regular routes. Back then this road used to be a narrow, winding one built during the British era. There were very few houses along the road and the tea garden area used to be totally devoid of human beings in the evenings especially in the winter. It was a full moon night and the deserted roadside was quite visible. In those days, cars didn't have heaters or air-conditioning so we had to leave the window down to prevent the glasses from getting foggy. We huddled against one another and enjoyed the ride as well as the fresh, crisp, cool air.

When we got to the main gate of Sylhet Cadet College, at that time known as Residential Model School, we saw a man....or was it really a man? He was clad in a dirty, torn vest and a torn lungi. The car headlight fell on him and we could clearly see his face. I had never before seen a face as creepy as his. It had pockmarks all over that seemed fresh and moist as if he had been afflicted with the infectious disease only recently. His eyes seemed to have a vacant look. And though I don't remember this, but my mother claims that his feet were pointing backwards.

There were six of us including the driver in the car. All of us were horrified and screamed out loudly. We urged the driver to drive as fast as he could and he pressed the accelerator full throttle. The car sped and reached the place where a left turning leads towards Sylhet airport. The distance between the Residential Model School gate and this place is over two kilometres and we must have taken at the most a minute and a half to reach there. The driver swerved the car, took a three-sixty-degree turn and stopped in his tracks with a hissing sound.

And lo! The scary man was standing there right in front of our horrified eyes!!



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