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Check It Out

Shopper's paradise

Moving past the thick crowd at the entrance, one can't help but breathe a sigh of relief as the open space of the fairground invites thousand and one visitors pouring into the Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF) 2010 each minute. As the voice of the MC comes waving through the air, the visitor is instantly updated with the offers available, exclusively at the fair.

There is much to be seen, products from Bangladesh and abroad electrical appliances, powdered milk, baby food, Egyptian hieroglyphics, Pakistani aluminium woks and formal shirts the list seemingly endless. Attendants at the kiosks and premier pavilions dotted across the ground find themselves busy serving visitors, often seasoned hagglers looking forward to making a prized buy flaunting their purchasing skill. And it works! Try buying the Persian carpets, which the seller will inform, is available at a princely sum. Some technique however, might help you bring down the horse!

If your bargaining skills are anything but legendary, one can always opt for the 'fixed price' offers and make the best out of the discounts available solely throughout January.

Never mind the foreign buyers keeping a keen eye on local products; over the years the DITF has not been the source of great return in terms of bringing in the foreign currencies. However, it has successfully mesmerised Dhakaites and emerged as the greatest shopping experience the city has to offer.

People from all walks of life tread the same dusty pavements with stalls lining on one side, casually look through the offerings at the stalls and the experienced ones haggle to get the best possible bargain. And why won't they? There's much to attract diverse tastes, and this year the organizers have done their share to make people feel welcome.

“The children's corner is definitely a boon for us,” said a mother watching her children enjoying the bumper cars. “It is hard to keep them entertained while grownups do the shopping. This is the perfect solution.”

On how this year's Trade Fair stacks up against previous editions, she offered, “It has always been a good place to come and shop. There is such a wide variety of products that it will keep anyone interested. This year there are lots of attractions for homemakers like myself; the furniture shops, not to mention the textiles, and also the shops showcasing electronic goods, such as microwaves, refrigerators, etc.”

Indeed, the choice on offer is immense, as one would expect with close to five hundred stalls and pavilions strutting their wares. Rajshahi silk, Kashmiri shawls, energy-saving lamps, electronic goods, you name it. You will find it. The furniture outlets have gone all out to entice potential customers, and there are perfume shops that hold all the best brands- Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole, Playboy.

“It is in fact the best place to come and shop. Since everything is in one place, the whole family can make a day of it,” said Jamshed, who came with his family and was scouting the latest electronic products on offer. “I am most interested in the electronics. With pavilions taken up by brands like Samsung, Transcom, and Panasonic, there is plenty to see and maybe, if the price is right, purchase.”

A day of shopping will leave one famished, and as always the Trade Fair has made arrangements to satisfy that demand. In all there are twelve restaurants dotted across the fair. The only cautionary note regarding the eateries is that you should make sure of the prices before you sit down to eat, as they are considerably marked up.

The Dhaka International Trade Fair, organized by Export Promotion Bureau and the Ministry of Commerce will continue to entice visitors till the end of this month. All things considered, this is one annual event that should not be missed.

By STS and Mannan Mashhur Zarif
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed


LS Shuffle

Weekly buzz

To those of us who do not keep a regular diary, now is the perfect time to start a journal with entries describing our lives during each of the ten years of the preceding decade. Not only will it be an invaluable record of your life's events, it will also help to plan out the next decade in terms of what mistakes to avoid, and pursue what has worked for you in the past.

For those who keep a journal, leafing through it will take them down memory lane, and hopefully reveal little things about themselves that aren't always acknowledged. Writing a journal, and taking stock of our lives is our Pick#1.
Cold winter nights, feet tucked in under a shawl while sitting huddled on the sofa. A good horror film completes the picture, but sadly there haven't been many recently that make us pull the shawl over our eyes and ears.

Paranormal Activity is that rarity in cinema, an actually scary, horror movie. Directed by Oren Peli, the movie centres on a young couple, Katie and Micah, who are haunted by a supernatural presence in their home. The footage is supposedly "found" much like the footage in "Blair Witch Project", resulting in one of the largest profit margins in film history.

Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an 82 percent ranking and has this to say- "Using its low-budget effects and 'mockumentary' method to great result, Paranormal Activity turns a simple haunted house story into 90 minutes of relentless suspense."

Watch it alone for full effect; Paranormal Activity is Our Pick#2.

To wind up the shuffle for the week, elegance and sophistication in combination with nonchalance are the key words this winter in men's fashion world. Sweaters of all types and shapes are big this winter. Cardigans, vests, cable knits, and turtlenecks they are all in vogue. Keeping the festive, wedding season in mind go overboard with casual ideas, set aside from formal affairs, just to give you that chic 'to-cool-to-care' look. Our Pick #3.
Until next week!


Editor's Desk

Time's toll

You find yourself at strange crossroads when you are not only a parent to your child but also to your own parents. Once you hit the forties and they are in their seventies, the relationship between your parents and yourself is reversed. There comes a time when one sees one's darling papa needing the help of a walking stick, or one's ever beautiful mom a little challenged from stiff joints; life shows its bitter face then. When your strong father cries like a baby because he can't recall what he had for breakfast, or when Parkinson's starts eating him away, it certainly does put a damper on your life.

We always want our lives to be rosy and happy; it's human nature. Bad things cannot happen to us, our parents will never grow old and we want to be the baby forever. But as nature takes its own course, it takes you through highways and also through narrow alleys and by lanes. Your parents will age and you will have to take their responsibility; that is how life has chalked it out for us.

Old age is cruel and many can't accept this retirement, sickness and falling prey to hopelessness, but there are some who embrace age with grace and try to live life to the fullest. When you go for morning walks you see many elderly joggers, who are fit and extremely at ease with age; you'll see old couples walking together or sharing their morning tea with friends on park benches.

However you will also see a few in wheelchairs at the mercy of caretakers, or sad faces sitting listlessly with nothing to look forward to. Such is life. But the tried and tested formula is to be happy, to accept fate and make the best of all good things in life.

In your daily hectic schedule you have to make time to talk to your mom on the phone, allow her to speak her heart out and give her quality time. At times she will be unreasonable like your own teenager, but you have to steer her mood patiently towards being reasonable again. Your father might call you up in the middle of an important meeting, and he will not understand why you hung up on him. You have to find ways to handle such delicate moments with no damage done.

These are the weaknesses of middle age. It is natural for you to feel distraught and for you to wage war with your mother, but it is also your obligation to patch up and make her feel happy and wanted again.

As your parents age, they take a back seat and you take their place, thus changing the roles. Unfortunately we are so caught up being somebody and soaring high in our career paths that we tend to forget the loved ones and their loving. We become totally selfish as a result, forgetting to give love. But do remind yourself of that stable, happy childhood, of those lovely family times, of those wonderful years you spent with your grandparents and how your father and mother both had time and love for all. As you come full circle, embrace your new role with the same tolerance and commitment that your parents once bestowed on you, and receive the dividend in love.

By Raffat Binte Rashid

On The Cover

As the mercury continues to dip, heat up the scene with a sizzling black number.
Model: Sneha
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayeed
Make up and styling: Sadia Moyeen, La Belle



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