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Season’s Special

Romancing monsoon

‘Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add colour to my sunset sky', said Robi Thakur as he described the felicity of monsoon.

The season of rain may be described as gloomy by some but that is only when they cannot find the sheer joy of it. The little drops of rain on your forehead when you look up to the pink sky are enough to find that certain joy. With the blossoming of the sweet scented kadam flowers and the ripening of the ever so juicy mangoes, monsoon makes sweetness burst into life after the scorching heat from the May sun.

The monsoon comes during the months of Ashar and Srabon, yet nobody quite gets that tingly feeling of the season until they witness the boys on the roadside selling what is known to be the pom-pom's of monsoon- the Kadam flower. The season is known to be associated with romance hung in the air and what better to represent it than the omnipresent smell of the Kadam flower.

That perfect mixture of the warm and cold breeze makes the atmosphere almost perfect to go outside and take a stroll in the park with your loved one holding on to your hand. When the soft rain starts pouring, you can take shelter under an umbrella on the side of a road and enjoy some hot chotpoti or phuchka together.

Other than that, monsoon can also create the mood for having some good old-fashioned fun with your friends, whether it be sitting at home with your best friends and gossiping over a cup of coffee or going outside to play some football in the rain. You might want to go for a ride on the rickshaw with the wind in your hair, sit in a rooftop café sipping on some warm tea, or simply lie in your room with a book in your hand with the window slightly open. Almost everything sounds tempting enough just because of that warm feeling you get in the air.

The season of love and warmth, they call it here. It's reason enough for a dancer to have something to dance about, a singer to have something to sing about and a writer to have something to write about. Our own Robi Thakur and Kazi Nazrul Islam's obsession with monsoon gave us a hundred more reasons to love it.

The smell of rain and wet grass, the dim light in the sky and the sound of the wind brings uniqueness to this season. It makes people feel different and somehow happier. It's all about joie de vivre. It's all about monsoon.

By Naziba Basher
Photo courtesy: Dressy Dale

Check it out

Dhrupad Kala Kendra

Shukla Sarkar came back to her home country from India around the early 1980s as one of the first classical dancers of Bangladesh. She was trained for Manipuri and Bharatanatyam. After coming back to Bangladesh, she married fellow dancer Late Komol Sarkar. The two combined their talents and decided to share it with the rest of the country.

In the late 1980s Komol and Shukla Sarkar opened the very first classical dance school of Dhaka - Dhrupad Kala Kendra. Since its inception, Dhrupad has thoroughly trained over five hundred students. While Komol Sarkar would take the theory classes on the basic knowledge and history of classical dancing, Shukla Sarkar took the practical classes teaching their students the Indian classical dance form - Bharatanatyam, also known as Indian Ballet.

After Komol Sarkar's sudden death on 15 October, 1996 Shukla Sarkar ran Dhrupad Kala Kendra alone and didn't let the tragic incident break her down. She held her own and continued to help children find their talent, just like her husband wanted her to.

Dhrupad is the only dance school in Bangladesh to hold Arangetrams for its students. Arangetram is the coming out of a student to the general public as a classical dancer. In other words, it's the dancer's graduation.

An Arangetram is only held when the teacher is completely satisfied with a student's performance and thinks she is ready to go solo. So far, five students have graduated from Dhrupad Kala Kendra and are now successfully performing as solo artists.

The admission fee of Dhrupad Kala Kendra is one thousand taka and the monthly fee is five hundred. Shukla Sarkar's objective with this school, evidently, has nothing to do with earning well but only to give children a chance to discover their talent and make it flourish.

She wants her students to go out there and make a name for themselves, to contribute to the cultural scene, to make use of their talent and make a difference…and so they have.

Dhrupad Kala Kendra promises the most intense Bharatanatyam training and that too…from the most experienced Bharatanatyam dancer of the country!

By Naziba Basher

Reader’s Chit

After the train had left

It happened right in front of my eyes while I was walking down a road. I was at Mohakhali Circle the other day. If you think of it, it's an interesting location, being the intersection of so many roads meeting from so many places. It' s no surprise that Mohakhali Circle is such a busy and jam-packed area. Almost every hour of the day is a rush hour! The place seems to be some kind of a tireless machine that operates endlessly, day after day, without complaining. Uncountable cars and overcrowded buses honk and rush. Traffic sergeants blow their whistles continuously. People on the pavements can't wait to cross the street and an open-air, tiny marketplace is at full swing, selling just about everything - fruits, cheap perfumes, toothbrushes, CDs, cigarettes, toys…anything goes. And, of course, there is the rail-track - a rather important 'character' of this story…

I suddenly heard the siren go by, which meant that a train was coming. And therefore the poles were being pulled down to block the traffic flow. But some people are too impatient or just plain stupid: a local bus tried to race down the other side of the tracks to save time, while the bars were coming down.

And then the incident occurred. As the bus almost reached the rail-line, the ignition failed! The driver busily tried to restart the engine. But because the bus was then on a slope, it was rather impossible to do that…

Right under the flyover, at the rail-roads, a bus overcrowded with passengers was stuck while a ferocious train, with all its might roared and honked not too far way.

Naturally, the passengers started to shout and rushed towards the door to step out and save their lives. But the number of passengers was so enormous that one door was just not enough. Many, therefore, saw windows as their emergency exits. They started jumping out of the windows - women, old men, everyone. But many were still left behind.

Terror and fear are contagious. They are rapidly multiplying viruses able to spread in milliseconds, affecting all around. All the people there, including myself, were terrified. This incident is now not new in our country. You've probably read in newspapers about such accidents taking place at the Moghbazar rail signal sometime last year. We could now see the train approaching. Several volunteers tried to push the bus to help it get started. I wondered what was going on inside the head of those passengers as they saw a monster train, just some feet away, rush towards them. Were they thinking of death? Their families? Or were they simply visualising what it would look like if a mighty train runs over them?

People were now going frantic. Yes, the train had arrived. Everyone was yelling; there was no solution. I looked away. And just then, the bus started! With one short, sudden jerk, it lurched forward and away from the rail-path: the angel of death leaving terrified faces behind. I now encountered a face of the junction that I had never seen before. This energetic, hyperactive area that has only seen people involved with day-to-day activities and goals, was quiet for a few seconds. All activities stood still. People did something that they never do in that area; they took a moment to think.

By M H Haider


Get wet, get beautiful this monsoon

WITH the monsoon fast approaching and the change in the weather, the skin needs extra care and pampering in order to look and feel healthy in the rains!

During the monsoons, we tend to ignore our skin. We don't use sunscreen as the sun is not strong and we avoid using moisturisers due to the increased humidity. However, we forget that skin care is extremely critical in this weather!

While monsoons spell pleasant weather and respite from the sultry summers, what would make this season ever better is an effective skin care regime. If you are looking for a wonderful and an easy way to keep your skin looking fresh and radiant till the end of the season, here are a few tips to follow by Dr Matiur Chowdhury and Dr Sharmina Huq at Kaya Skin Clinic.

The change in weather has a direct impact on the skin, which makes a good maintenance regime very important. Kaya Skin Clinic recommends the “Everyday Radiance” service that guarantees fresh radiant skin through the process of 'Exfoliation-Hydration-Nourishment', making it the most effective way of caring for your skin.

While a facial just cleans the surface of your skin, the range of services offered under “Everyday Radiance” remove all dead skin and deeply nourish your skin. The skin is exfoliated with the use of herbal extract peels, hydration is done by using Aloe Vera massages and hydrating masks and the final process of deep nourishment is done with the help of boosters, which leave the skin nourished from within.

For optimal skin health, this service needs to be repeated once in 4-6 weeks.

This service complemented with the right daily skin care would be the ideal recipe to keep your skin radiant and glowing, in this weather.

Daily skin and hair care for monsoon
Good and effective cleansing using a soap-free cleanser is recommended. You could also use a gentle scrub (with uniform mild beads) once a day. This should be followed by toning, using an alcohol free toner, since increased humidity could open up your pores.

It is important to use sunscreen, even on cloudy days. A light lotion-based moisturiser or serum, which will gently rehydrate your skin and also brighten it up, is essential to your skin this season. Avoid heavy makeup and use waterproof makeup when necessary

Remember to nourish your skin from the inside, too. Eat salads blanched in boiling water to disinfect them, vegetable soup that will keep you warm and healthy and drink the usual 8-10 glasses of water. Your skin is always thirstier than you are!

Care of feet
Effective cleansing of feet is very important, as they would be exposed to lot of grime and muck. Do not forget to completely dry your feet so as to prevent fungal infections, and avoid wearing boots as these would hold water for a longer duration, creating a soggy environment for your feet.

A home pedicure should be done once a week. This would consist of soaking feet in warm water to which you can add 3-4 drops of Savlon, for 15-20 minutes, followed by cleansing your nails and scrubbing the feet with a foot scraper. Complete the pedicure by applying a light moisturizer.

When you go for pedicure to a beautician, ensure that the instruments used are sterilised/cleansed with disinfectants, or if possible use your personal instruments. Also instruct your aesthetician to avoid pushing the cuticles, as toenail fungal infections are very common in the monsoon.

For your hair, good and effective cleansing using a volumising shampoo, twice or thrice a week is imperative, as the hair tends to go limp in this season. Post-shampoo, use a volumising conditioner, once a week or as required. If you need to blow dry your hair, apply a leave-on conditioner prior to it.

Avoid excess application of styling products, as this could make your hair very greasy due to increased humidity. Do not tie-up wet hair. Oiling once a week would help. Nourish your hair with milk and milk products, nuts and soya products.
Below are mentioned a few skincare tips that you need to follow:

Skin care regimen
Cleansing: Your skin will require regular cleansing in order to keep it looking fresh and healthy. Avoid harsh soap products that strip the skin of protective oils. If you have dry skin, avoid deodorant or antibacterial soaps, since they might be drying the skin further.

Moisturising in the rains is as important as it is in summer. Monsoons can mean a de-moisturising effect on dry skin and an over-hydrating effect on oily skin. The skin gets wet often and with the constant wetting and drying, a lot of dehydration (yes, in the rains!) takes place. That explains the itchy feeling one gets during monsoons. Use a non-water based moisturiser, if you happen to get wet often. Otherwise a water- based moisturiser will do.

For dull skin: Exfoliation of the skin is very important. This not only helps to keep the pores free of hardened oil, but also clears the skin of dead cells.

For more information visit http://www.kayaclinic.com
By Dr Matiur Chowdhury and Dr Sharmina Huq
Photo courtesy: Kaya Skin Clinic

News Flash

The Monsoon Festival 2010

THE Borsha Boron Utshab of 1417, otherwise known as the Monsoon Festival of 2010, began on the 17th of June. The event was held at North Gulshan Avenue, presented by the Bangladesh Arts Council. The three day event was inaugurated by Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, who was the chief guest of the event. Distinguished writer Syed Shamsul Haq, esteemed Artist Monirul Islam, H.E Arturo Manuel Perez Martinez, Ambassador, Embassy of Spain, Mohamed Mijarul Quayes, Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Government of People's Republic of Bangladesh, Syed Mahbubur Rahman, Managing Director & CEO BRAC BANK, Rishi Pardal, Managing Director Marico Bangladesh were also present as special guests.

The Bangladesh Arts council has hosted two such events so far, including this. Their intentions are to give artists of this country an opportunity to nurture their talent and bring fine arts to a greater height. The council's main objectives are to bring artists of this day and age out of their shells and help them share their work with the rest of the world just as they deserve. They also give the audience an opportunity to explore art deeper and to embrace it. They work with a wide range of organizations, cultures, ages and talents.

The artworks exhibited at the festival were no less than enthralling. There were paintings, sculptures, photographs, craftwork and many more. Among the artists there was A.S.M. Mustafa Jamil Akbar Shamim who specializes in acrylics. He has been involved with fine arts for 23 years. His wife, Marufa A. Chowdhary, who had studied arts in Shantiniketon for 12 years, also displayed her fine work. Ratnashwar Sutradhwar displayed his eye-catching paintings while Farzana Ahmed Urmi and Sayed Zahid Iqbal expressed their feelings about monsoon through their exquisite paintings. Print makers such as Zahid Sagar, Gazi Taslima Happy and many more shared their talent with the audience. Tajosh Haldar, Shamol Sarkar, Liton Pal and more, exhibited their amazing sculptures. There was craftwork by Shyamol Shutradhor and Shajib Pal. Robiul Hossain and Raju showed off their talent with ceramics along with their teachers, Debashish Pal and Shopon. R. Saifee presented his work with recycled cardboards that he had painted on. Sayed Tareq Rahman Komol had his life-size sculptures on display representing yoga postures. There were also exceptional photographs, taken by Sazzad Ibne Sayed, on display. These are just a few of the brilliant work that the audience had witnessed. The whole venue was surrounded with art.

The instrumental performances during the evenings of the three-day event were just as admirable with performers coming in from all around Dhaka.

The children's art workshop with Monsoon as the theme gave the children an opportunity to display their own work and also have fun. It's also another way of promoting and exploring the talents of tomorrow. Afrozaa Jamil Konka of the Bangladesh Arts council had mentioned the vastness of creativity in the artists. She has had two art exhibitions herself after she had moved back to Bangladesh from the USA. She has graduated from Charukola, Dhaka University majoring in Oriental art.

Maheen Khan, also from the Bangladesh Arts council, wishes to continue to promote fine arts in Bangladesh after moving back from the USA, graduating from the Parsons School of design on textile designing.

Both of the organizers had agreed on how the artists of today should be promoted. By doing so, not only will they be helping the artists, they will also help influence the children of the country to be more involved with art and culture. They plan on hosting more events promoting the different areas of fine arts, such as textile, terracotta and basket wears. As Maheen Khan said, 'Art is important for self-discipline and self-recognition. It should be practised more often and more cherished than it is'.

They were both overwhelmed and impressed by the display of traditional and non-traditional artwork of the artists. The broad imaginations and ideas that the artists had put into their work had amazed them both. They wish to carry on and give more opportunities and open more doors for artists of this day and age; to give the artists a chance that they did not get in their country in the times they had needed one, to give people the chance to love art as much as art loves people.

By Naziba Basher
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed



THE ensuing monsoon will disrupt lives for the homemaker. Incessant rain and lack of sunshine means that we have fewer opportunities to dry our washed clothes on the clothesline.

Many opt to dry washed clothes over the flaming gas stove. Although the system works but the potential hazards of this process makes it a big no!

Even the highest form of vigilance cannot guarantee protection from a potential disaster. It is also a sheer waste of precious energy resources, not to mention, an eyesore.

Please beware, and seek alternative means of drying clothes. Maybe getting a tumble dryer is an idea!




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