Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5. 83, Tuesday, September 8, 2009















Celebration and jubilation through cards

On a visit to New Market, one realises that the Eid card scenario has changed dramatically in the last two decades. Today, one has little time to "stand and stare" and take in the beauty of nature and man's creations!

Looking around the Second Gate area of New Market, the only cards found are of "Ideal" production. One cannot help but wonder where the "Azad" ones had gone.

The "Ideal" cards were fit for the pocket during the recession days with the high tariff at post offices, for overseas greeting cards and anything else. These neat items, costing Tk 10, have idyllic motifs and designs. They have the romantic scenes from the countryside with the most common one bearing the straw-thatched hut with the bare, statue-like tree on the left, along with winging brown and beige birds, juxtaposed on the left.

Diagonal sweeps of pastel shades take over the sky in the backdrop with a snoozing river in the front. Similarly the dancing couples are presented with a few bare strokes of brown, beige and black with oscillating moon and sun in the sky. The figures remind one of 'The Dancing Group' by Matisse. There is one with a still-life scene too where gorgeous yellow roses with salmon-pink centres are supported with plum coloured fleshy flowers in long stems with a beaker and a glass in the back.

Apparently, the cards have been designed by the students of Fine Arts Institute. The owner of the shop that also sells other cards bearing photographs of Bangladeshi countryside in the same shapes and in the same price ranges lives in Old Dhaka and glowed with pride on his products. One of the cards has happy girls and boys plunging into the water with wicker baskets for their fishing haul. They appear to be wreathed with glee and expectations. The sunflower item, with its bursts of shades of yellow and gold reminds one of Van Gogh's fascination for sunflowers and brings in the Eid atmosphere with its joy and contentment, after the Ramadan.

There were other cards too, in the same shop and others on the pavement, presenting western scenes, meant for courting teenagers or cutesy ones geared at, for those under six. These have scenes from Disney Land, complete with Mickey Mouse, Tom and Jerry and the collection from "Looney Tunes". These are bound to be a hit with the young ones, who are cartoon fans from the time they were toddlers.

Such adorable cards are fit for gift tags or just to be handed over during the Eid season, containing small sums of "Eidies" for the young ones, are to be seen at the Dhanmondi shops too, such as in "Gyankosh", between Rd #2 and Rd #3.

Meanwhile "Hallmark" and "Archies" seen in Dhanmondi at "Anam Plaza" and near the Abahani Maath, present less than its usual collection of inviting ware from across the border. These have, for instance, cards bearing sepia coloured photographs with scenes from somewhere in the Middle East, with buildings bearing arches, slim pillars, exotic domes, turrets, stylised windowsills and other inviting architectural details. Festive streams of tissue added to the Eid flavour. Apart from that, it is roses and roses, everywhere-- in all possible hues and shapes, in the form of buds -- seen in blue Dutch Delft mugs, pale blue cups -- and scattered on the edges, corners, on bands of geometrical strips. These bore silver and transparent sugar-like dust, and silver lines to heighten the message of gaiety, jubilation and celebration.

The traditional Muslim motifs of paisley and intermingling cascading flowers and leaves with slim tendrils, fern-like additions are often included in geometrical supporting bars or neat, dainty blocks, at four ends of the cards. The patterns and motifs were continued at the back or inside of the cards. These bear pastel shades too-- more often than not-- shades of baby pink or salmon pink or even crimson or ruby-red. The wordings are lyrical, and often contain rhymes to move the heart and the mind. The letterings are flowing and sometimes akin to Victorian "copper-plating"-- to complement the season of peace and goodwill. And also, perhaps, warm the soul.

The "Archies" and "Hallmark" fare cost anything from Tk 46 to Tk 125-- and could surely only be bought in small numbers, and perhaps, by the upper echelons of Dhaka society.

By Fayza Haq

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Tricks of the Trade
* Cream or stick foundation can double up as a concealer, as can the slightly dehydrated liquid that gets stuck in the cap of foundation bottles. Don't be shy about combining two or even three shades of foundation to get the colour you want -- but mix it in the palm of your hand and not on your face.
* If you want heavy coverage, stick to solids (cream and stick foundations), which let you sponge on as much as you need without turning sloppy.
* When you're shopping for a foundation, bring your favourite shade from home to compare it with colours on the rack.
* If you're at the store and don't have a clue, don't panic. If you can't choose between two close matches, opt for the one that's slightly darker. When you apply powder over it later, the formula will appear lighter.
* Once it's been opened and exposed to air, liquid foundation will ideally last about six months; compacts six to nine months. (Toss them earlier if they smell funny or the texture changes).



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