Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5 Issue 75, Tuesday, July 7, 2009




Rage, rage against the dying of light

There are some among us who have somehow got it into their minds that the adjusted daylight saving time does not apply to them. Believe it or not, there are some who actually haven't adjusted their clocks. They do not feel that they are part of a functioning society in this country. You could bet that if the same people were in a foreign country they would be the first to adjust the clocks in order to display their new find identity. Thankfully, the rest of us have made the effort to adopt the daylight saving time, and this will have to be accompanied by an effort to save electricity, the reason for which the change was implemented.

Here are some tips on how to cut corners during load-shedding season: The best way is to attack the biggest energy consumers in our households. Such items include:

Air conditioning: If your A.C is equipped with a built in timer, set it so that you only use it when it is needed. Also, it is important to remember that the lower you set your temperature, the colder it gets and more electricity is consumed.

The optimum temperature is said to be 24 degrees Celsius, below which electricity bills start climbing. Also, a cheap alternative that is readily available in Bangladesh is ceiling fans. Use air conditioners when you feel you absolutely must.

Refrigerators: Many refrigerators have small heaters that keep moisture from forming on the cabinet. These use 5-10 percent extra energy. Most have a switch that lets you turn it off, usually labelled 'energy saver'. Also, it is important to set the temperature only as cool as it needs to be. This will be an energy saver as well.

Lighting: It is no secret that fluorescent lighting consumes considerably less energy. If you are not charmed by the white glow they emit, dress your lamps with shades in soothing colours; it is worth it to reduce energy consumption.

And lastly, vigilance. Turn off all energy consumers when not in use. Think about geysers and running water. Every little bit helps in the fight against load shedding.


Deshi summer salsa
2 cans sweet white corn
1 can black beans
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
Salt to taste
In a large bowl, stir together corn, beans, onion, red pepper, and sugar. Stir in rice wine vinegar, and season with salt.

Spicy coconut and lime grilled shrimp
2 peppers, seeded
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 garlic cloves
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Combine the peppers, lime zest, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, coconut, olive oil, and soy sauce in a food processor; blend until smooth. Place the shrimp in a large bowl. Pour the sauce over the shrimp and toss to coat. Cover and allow to marinate at least 2 hours.
Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate.
Thread the shrimp onto skewers, piercing each shrimp near the head and tail.
Cook the skewers on the preheated grill, turning frequently until nicely browned on all sides and the meat is no longer pink in the center, 2 to 3 minutes per side

Indian style chicken wings
Oil for deep frying
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup hot sauce
1 dash ground black pepper
1 dash garlic powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt
10 chicken wings
Heat oil in a deep fryer to 190 degrees C. The oil should be just enough to cover wings entirely, an inch or so deep. Combine the butter, hot sauce, pepper and garlic powder in a small saucepan over low heat.

Stir together and heat until butter is melted and mixture is well blended. Remove from heat and reserve for serving.

In a small bowl mix together the flour, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt. Place chicken wings in a large nonporous glass dish or bowl and sprinkle flour mixture over them until they are evenly coated. Cover dish or bowl and refrigerate for 60 to 90 minutes.

Fry coated wings in hot oil for 10 to 15 minutes, or until parts of wings begin to turn brown. Remove from heat, place wings in serving bowl, add hot sauce mixture and stir together. Serve.

Creamy cucumber salad
1 tsp sugar
1 cup dairy sour cream
3 tsp grated onion
2 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice
4 1/2 cups thinly sliced pared cucumbers
Blend together sugar, salt, sour cream, onion and vinegar in large bowl. Add cucumbers; mix well. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.

DST dilemma

The hour hand of the clock moved one hour ahead amidst much fanfare on the night of 19 June. I zapped channels, open-mouthed, as they showed the time being changed from eleven to midnight in the big clock at the Rajuk Bhaban live while the anchor in all these channels talked about the advantages of daylight saving time and it being used in many other countries.

I changed the time in most of the clocks in my house in the afternoon of the 19th so that I didn't have much of a problem going to bed at the “right” time and to work next day too. Accordingly, waking up at my usual time was no big a hassle and I didn't feel quite drained out waking up one hour early, so to speak.

But the rest of Bangladesh was quite another story! Here are some of the views I heard about DST.

My son-in-law's driver had to report to duty at 6 o'clock a couple of days after the time had changed. He called up Mehmood and asked, “bhaiya, ager time e ashbo no ekhonkar time e ashbo”? (should I come at the old time or the present time?) Mehmood, being the smart guy he is, asked the driver what the time was on his watch. The driver looked at his watch and mentioned the time. He hadn't changed his time...he was still running on the old time.

My cousin was coming from Dhaka by bus. Somehow, her driver too fell into the “ager” time and “porer” time mode and came to work late. She went to the bus station at break neck speed, getting held up at places by the inevitable traffic. She called up the bus counter and was told to hurry. At the bus station she found that the bus they were supposed to board hadn't arrived. The people at the counter arrogantly informed her that she would have missed it if the bus was on “time”!

A guest at my house stated that her aged mother-in law, a strong-willed matriarch, hadn't allowed them to change the time in any of their clocks. No matter how much they cajoled her, she wouldn't budge an inch.

My friend's sister in law, a housewife, told her, “bhabi, you guys have gone ahead but those of us who stay at home have gone backwards”. She meant that the time for namaaz had gone one hour forward.

I asked an old woman who lives in a village near the Sylhet Osmany International Airport if she and her family were facing any problem with the new timing. She didn't have a clue about daylight saving time. She was very surprised and informed me that there was no publicity in her village about it.

All said and done, I asked my mother a week later how she was faring with the new timing. She smugly announced that she hadn't changed the time in any of her clocks around the house!



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