|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 16, Tuesday, April 20, 2010|
The mane dilemma
When I first watched Aladdin, all that I could think about for the next few days was not the bold Princess or the handsome 'street-rat' but Princess Jasmine's long, fine black hair. The importance of fine hair was later reiterated by Rapunzel, who depended on her fair mane to escape from the enchantress who held her captive.
I watched in awe as Disney princesses came one after another and they all seemed to have perfect hair. Everyone, from Princesses of the sea to a girl who was named after her golden locks, seemed to have the ability to flaunt their voluminous waves.
I looked down at my entwining curls and sighed. Everyone that is, except myself, of course.
Very few of us will admit it but hair (and the unanswerable questions that accompany it) is one of the “demons” we face nearly every single day. Should it be worn up or let loose? Should it be highlighted with light streaks or left au naturale? And of course, who could forget the perennial dilemma curly or straight?
For a significant amount of time in the fashion world, straight hair was considered to be the “be all and end all” and the fairy tales having established the necessity of fine hair, it hardly came as a surprise when a recent survey showed that nearly half a million women classed their hair straighteners as one of the greatest modern inventions. While straighteners were once seen as a luxury item, they are now must-buys, along with lip-gloss, small bottles of mineral water and liquid soap.
This trend is surprising, to say the least, considering that stick-straight hair is no longer "in fashion". Fashion seems to be leaning towards muse-like curls and subtle tresses these days; think Penelope Cruz's seductive waves instead of Jennifer Anniston's sleek and straight hair. Still, women continue to covet straight hair and straighteners seem to be here to stay.
This begs the all-important question of “Why?”
The finger can be pointed to the opposite sex.
Is that really the opinion of the “real” man?
Despite the differing opinions, both concurred that the texture of a woman's hair is hardly the “be all and end all” women seem to think it is. They agree that other things are more important -- like her personality and her smile.
With that in mind, I think it's safe to stop splurging on the latest flat irons and concentrate instead on straightening out your inner beauty.
We are again reminded of the transience of seasons, the inexorable march of time. We are all but a witness of time, yet few of us are able to put this 'flowing' time into words, picture or music.
A peek at the literary world reveals that few authors write on these themes as beautifully and faithfully as Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Márquez. 'Strange Pilgrims' is a collection of twelve short stories that the author wrote and revised over a span of eighteen years.
All of these stories are about the lives and travails of Latin Americans living in Europe, with the accompanying disenchantment and hardships their situations throw up. Marquez retains his ability to throw us into their worlds and make us feel his characters' disillusionment, and through it all strikes the melancholy chord of time as in the opening story “Bon Voyage, Mr. President”, where the winding down of a once-famous Caribbean president is detailed.
An engrossing and enriching read, Strange Pilgrims is our Pick #1.
L'agencevu is a French photo agency that features stock photos, documentary photographs on their website, the highlight of which is their sheer ingenuity in the art that is photography. Irrespective of your status an amateur, a novice or a seasoned artist, this website is definitely a pick to hone your skills and get some solid, wacky ideas…if not anything else. An obvious choice, www.agencevu.com, is our Pick #2.
To wind up the shuffle, with Sonic Boom, Kiss has done what most classic rock bands can just never get right: they made an album that not only sounds like their old records but, at times, outshines our fondest of memories.
It has been over a decade since Kiss last released a record. After years of uninspired tours and average music, Kiss proved once again why they are one of the biggest names in music- eleven new songs about girls and partying and all that is signature Kiss.
By Mannan Mashhur Zarif and STS
Ls Editor's Note
I always visualise the customer care unit as highly efficient; almost robotic in manner, where the managers are equipped with a cotton cloth and some stain-free solution. As soon as you complain, they come to you with a prescribed stiff smile, nonchalant look but a caring tone; they'll spray and clean off your worries.
I think there is a trained dog somewhere in the scene too, almost like those FBI duos we see on television. Imagination at its wildest, who is there to stop you? Let it run wild. I can add the black suit if I want to, 'nough said! Let's come back to what's bugging me.
When in real trouble, like when some expert behind the sales counter at a shop swiped your card twice or thrice and blocked the amount to be paid twice and your very fragile bank balance goes kaput, and you can't withstand the minus digits, what do you do?
Naturally you want someone real to talk to, to ensure you that you'd be five thousand grand richer soon. What you need are the strong shoulders of this customer care people, but reality is a different story all together.
Instead you find yourself hitting buttons, not the panic sort, but real ones. Please press one for English, two for Bangla, three for French… if you want to talk about bills press nine, about dues press this, about latest tariffs press that.
The pressing goes on and on till finally you find that if you press zero you can actually talk to a real person, but alas! all lines to this messiah will be busy at that precise moment and you find yourself waiting and waiting.
If by accident you get to talk to some real dude, you'll get disconnected or s/he will say that you need to talk to someone else for your particular problem. They cannot help you. On the other hand I've discovered that people from call centers only call you to offer deals that make no sense. (Anyway that is another note altogether.)
I don't know about my readers, but patience is something I lack, totally. My tolerance level is lower than zero, if that is at all possible. However, under such delicate customer care situations, if you are edgy then you are not entitled to any care. It doesn't matter if a few of the keys fall off your button pad.
What I fail to understand is why offices whose main job is as service providers cannot have a desk or two at their posh corporate offices where customers in trouble can go and talk and subsequently sort their problems out, stress-free.
It seems that, to the customer care providers, the customers are dimwitted, single-minded nuisances. In reality, we just want to know when and how the problem can be solved, and frankly, customer care units should be able to deal with these minus their airs and mighty attitudes. These experts must have the ability to talk to people like us who are supposedly, 'dimwits'.
As for me I am still in deep trouble and yet to find the knight who would come with a cloth duster, spray the magic solution, and wipe my woes away. Till then, I am pressing buttons or should I call my friend, not sure.
Raffat Binte Rashid
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