Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 43, Tuesday, November 02, 2010


Special feature

Fashion too forward

Scene 101
If you weren't born in the last two decades, chances are, you're equally mystified by the music and fashion trends prevalent amongst adolescents today. Their clothes and philosophy make no more sense to you than yours did to the 'grown ups' when you were young.

If you ever wished you were hip to the new fads and the methods behind the madness, so to speak, look no further. We at Star Lifestyle have compiled a neat cheat sheet on the scene kids of this generation dwell on.

How to spot a metalhead
The current underground music scene has more RMA (Rock, Metal, Alternative) than any other genre, and the concerts attract quite a number of different fans, but are also as good a place as any to spot a metalhead.

Before we proceed, it is important to note that merely being fond of metal music does not qualify one as a metalhead. Fans can actually get pretty touchy about these things.

A true metalhead, as the name implies, is a bit of a heavy metal purist, and will shun the mainstream. They prefer bands such as Black Sabbath, Dio, Manowar, Iron Maiden, and older Metallica songs, and will scoff at anyone who suggests that Limp Bizkit, Korn and Slipknot are metal. The music they prefer is typically angry, and thus they are often typecast as aggressive people. Usually free-thinking, they are anti-establishment, and care little for current fashion trends.

Metalheads tend to favour long hair, band T-shirts, sleeveless denim jackets, ripped jeans, chain wallets and spiked wristbands. Because they wear a lot of black, they are often characterised as goths, which annoys them to no end. Which brings us to our next subculture...

So, what IS Goth?
The answer to this question is subject to debate even within the Goth community. One artist on deviantArt has even identified 21 distinct kinds of Goths, ranging from the traditional Victorian Goths to the newer Industrial Goths. However, you would be hard-pressed to find any distinct kind in Bangladesh.

In general, Goth music is dark, with a gloomy sound and subject matter, often focusing on the eternal battle between forces of good and evil, inspired by Gothic fiction and architecture of the 18th and 19th centuries and horror movies of the earlier part of the past century.

It is easier to identify a Goth male than a female. In addition to the de riguer all-black attire, he will have nails painted in black and wear guy-liner. The corpse paint (white faces, dark shadows under the eyes) favoured by some Goths in the West is missing in Bangladesh, although the pasty foundation and smoky eyes preferred by many women here might convince you otherwise.

In general, if you come across a broody teen who dresses in all black, likes Gothic art, reads a lot of fiction pertaining to angels, demons, vampires (NOT Twilight), listens to bands like The Cure, Sisters of Mercy, Nosferatu, and in some cases, HIM, Within Temptation, and The Rasmus, you've got a Goth on your hands.

You know you've found an Emo when...
...Metalheads and goths will hit you for suggesting that said person belongs to their subcultures. Jokes aside, the pop-punk genre that originated around the 1980's finally exploded into the mainstream in the early 2000's, with the rising popularity of bands like Dashboard Confessional and Death Cab for Cutie, giving birth to a whole new subculture.

Emo music is characterised by melodic compositions and excessively expressive, often confessional lyrics. Small wonder that it quickly caught the melodramatic imagination of the deshi youth.

As subcultures go, the Emos are probably the most distinctively fashionable. Brightly coloured slim-fit jeans, jailbird-striped socks, fitted short-sleeved tees, studded belts, black wristbands and converse shoes of every colour on the rainbow are to be found clogging the wardrobe. This fashion is also very geek-friendly, as those dorky thick glasses will be a welcome accessory instead of something to be laughed at.

What really makes Emos stand out are their hairstyles. Super-straight, with brightly coloured highlights, worn long, or in short, choppy layers, with the mandatory sideswept bangs that cover at least one eye, there's no mistaking the hair.

Other scene kids
RMA, gothic rock and emo are by no means the only genres of music available in the deshi underground scene, but are definitely the ones with definite subcultures. There are a few more styles you'll notice that may indicate preference for a certain kind of music, but the music is not necessarily the main influence behind the fashions.

Oye, hip-hopper: There is a small, but significant number of hip-hop and rap fans, identifiable by baggy clothes, sneakers, baseball caps, fancy beards, and a proclivity for chunky jewellery or 'bling'. Tattoos and bandannas are optional.

Folk: Top-knots, ratty jeans, fatuas, sandal-shoes, “Charukola” bags, wooden beads, and 'om' symbols make up the ensemble of these fans, who listen to a lot of Lalon, baul, and folk-fusion.

Contemporary Bangla Pop/Rock Fusion
Contemporary Bangla music has evolved over the past decade or so, drawing from diverse influences and multicultural elements to create eclectic sounds that generally defy easy classification. Whether we're talking about the sophisticated tunes of Arnob, the easy-breezy fun stuff by Fuad, the socially conscious musical messages by Shayan.

This spirit may well be expressed in the choice of attire which blends eastern and western wear to create a look all of its own. Kameezes paired with leggings, kurtis teamed with skirts, panjabis worn with jeans and Vans, short fatuas with harem pants, the looks are varied and best represent a generation that comfortably straddles a global identity that has its roots firmly in tradition.

If there's anyone who's thumbed one at Bollywood's cultural takeover single-handedly, it has to be our very own pop powerhouse Mila. No gaye holud ceremony is complete without at least one of her iconic numbers, be it the catchy 'Jatrabala', or this year's runaway hit 'Disco Bandor'.

Comfortably straddling the mainstream and the exclusive, Mila has taken her sexy, fun outlook and combined it with popular themes and lore easily identifiable to any Bangladeshi anywhere, to create a sound that is uniquely hers. It is loud, wild, catchy, and irresistible.

The same spirit is reflected in her stage presence and costumes. Chin piercing, coloured contacts, knee high boots, fishnets, short skirts, and wild colours, her look walks the line between trendy and chic, but she makes it work. Fans will know not to emulate the whole look, but may incorporate certain elements into their own wardrobes.

And on that happy note, we wish you smooth navigating through the intricacies of the deshi underground scene. Class dismissed!

By Bossa Nova
References: urbandictionary.com, wisegeek.com, deviantart.com
Photo: Mila’s fanpage

Perilous ride

Sitting idly on the soft green grass, they sip cups of hot tea and take part in heated conversations. Shormi, Sharna, Brishti, Pial and Rubel are friends studying at the same university under different disciplines. But something united them all, they felt free to criticise their friends, their choice of films, music, political views or even a social outlook. That particular day, they were sharing their experiences of riding on local buses.

Equal rights? Eh!
Shormi had her shares of stories regarding gender discrimination on buses; something she experienced on a routine basis while commuting between the university and her residence in Khilgaon. “You demand gender equality, then why do you demand ladies seats on local buses?” was a common, irrational question that she faced.

"Another problem" she added, "is when a male passenger occupies a lady's seat in a cramped bus. If a female passenger asks for the seat, more often than not, heated words are exchanged."

"I agree" Rubel joined in -- chewing the peanuts in his mouth -- no stranger to the experience himself. "Actually the ordeal of women commuters on local buses is beyond belief for someone who doesn't have a first hand experience.

"The conductor fills the bus to the brim, leaving passengers holding on to the overhead rod, standing. Some seats are allocated for women in the front, on top of the hot engine" he shared.

"Did you ever try sitting on them?" inquired Sharna. "Hot as hell! They are also vulnerable positions in case of accidents or when the speeding bus brakes. Sometimes women sit on them, holding children on their laps. Makes the journey all the more unsafe.

“These places around the driver are hot due to the engine's proximity. As women hold children on their laps, staying with their babies in these places becomes a punishment for them as well as for the babies.”

"Do not take any women now"
“This is the most gender insensitive comment by people aboard and bus conductors, especially during office hours in mornings and late evenings,” said Bristi.

“But there is a positive side to this statement,” said Pial. “Women sometimes feel uncomfortable when standing with men on a crowded bus. The other point is that there are still some culturally conscious males, who feel obligated to give up their seats as a sign of respect for women. These people feel obliged to sacrifice their seats for standing women commuters, so they protest against their presence in a crowded bus.”

“This is absurd Pial! How can it be logical to avoid women passengers?” Sharna, now visibly annoyed, threw a pebble at Pial. “Women are more street-smart these days. They can travel standing on a bus when there are no seats available for them. If the conductors and male occupants show such shallow mentalities, how will women work and travel in this society?”

But there is a limit
Reshma, who works in a furniture outlet as a sales agent at Banani, said, “The other day I was sitting on a reserved seat and another girl was standing beside me by the entrance. A man, who appeared to be gentle and courteous, was leaning on her and pushing the girl, despite the fact that the bus was not overcrowded. The girl was feeling so uneasy that she was leaning on me to save herself,” said Reshma.

“After a while, when she couldn't bear it any longer, the girl protested and asked him to keep his distance. With utter surprise, I noticed that the man was not gentle at all, rather he reacted by saying, 'You have to face such problems frequently if you want to travel by public bus, and if you feel so troubled, buy and use a private car.'” Pial reiterated “Commuting on a local bus is a perilous undertaking for women. Males are habituated to using sheer physical power to occupy seats, making it tougher for women to fight for vacant places.

“But a change of this frame of mind has already begun, thanks to counter services by some operators. People now buy bus tickets and wait in long queues. This culture has somewhat changed people's attitudes. People now make queues for local buses when it is late, and they get into the bus in a disciplined manner.”

A matter of pride
"Well, in a male dominated society, females do have something to cheer about," said Shorna quizzically. "I was once told by a bus driver that it was far more easier to deal with women regarding bus fares, because they are generally honest and disciplined. And they pay the correct fare even if the conductor makes a mistake. Something which male occupants rarely do."

Nota Bene
Although women have to face a lot of problems while making a journey by bus, they are determined to face the situation with conviction as they are now more positive than ever. Women are now more educated, and working alongside men, equally capable of managing all troubles.

The positive signs observed hint towards a change in people's mindsets. Like every cloud, the situation on a local bus has a silver lining.

By Mahtabi Zaman
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

Hasna-Hena, the picnic and
shooting spot

Are you bored and fed-up with your daily routine, work and the crowds of urban life? Are you tired of all things mechanised? Are you thinking of taking a short break to spend some quality time with your near and dear ones? If these thoughts occupy your mind frequently, you should arrange a trip to Hasna-Hena for a day. It will rejuvenate you and your companions, and leave you refreshed enough to return to the challenges of city life.

Located about eight kilometres away from Tongi at Pubail College Gate near Gazipur, Hasna-Hena is a picnic and shooting spot. To get there, you will have to cross Tongi Station Road and the Ahsanullah Master Flyover. Crossing Mirer Bazaar, you will arrive at Pubail College Gate, which is 1 km away from the Bazaar.

If the traffic works in your favour, you can reach the spot from central Dhaka in an hour and a half, at the most. If you are a foreigner and want to enjoy the rural landscape of Bangladesh while staying in Dhaka, then a visit to Hasna-Hena is ideal. You can arrange a picnic, photoshoot or any other family gathering for 50 to 300 people.

There is a big pond in the 9.5 bigha area, with fish and ducks floating on the water, adding to the flavour of village life. Coconut trees surround the pond and provide a much-coveted shade from the sun. There is also a nicely built embankment where you can sit and enjoy the beauty of nature.

Two sides of the whole area are surrounded by walls and the other sides by iron fences. The walls are covered by bougainnvillea, madhabilata and other creepers. There are rajanigandha, blood-red rangan, roses and other flowers in the garden. Big trees like mahogany and rubber offer shelter for rare birds like the bald headed eagle, woodpecker or kingfisher.

While entering Hasna-Hena, you will find a red tin-shaded, well-furnished big house. There are bedrooms, a drawing room, a clean bathroom and a kitchen. You can use all these facilities and there are five members of staff always there to serve you. There is also a big playground where cattle can be seen grazing leisurely. There are some fruit trees on this open field such as mango, kalo jaam, guava, jackfruit and banana.

Outside the boundary, there is a big water body, surrounded by the seasonal kashful, which is full of water and fish in the rainy season and has a boat adding to the picturesque view. Hasna-Hena is also a shooting spot.

If you want a quick getaway from the city and wish to get closer to Mother Nature's tranquillity, be sure to pay a visit to Hasna-Hena. Their contact numbers are 01199875576, 01911495123, 01714003103 and 01736672408.

By Mahtabi Zaman


home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2010 The Daily Star