Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home |Volume 5, Issue 47, Tuesday, November 30, 2010




Chequered chic

We cannot think of a day without a bag. Wherever we go or however we spend the day, carrying a bag has almost become a matter of necessity. From big totes to fancy vanities, handbags are needed for almost every look of your daily style statement. Going to the office, to the gym, an evening out or a fancy dinner to a weekend out of town, bags and handbags are mandatory accessories on every checklist.

The bags that recently caught the fancy of every Dhaka girl -- be it a fashionista or a hardworking garments' labourer -- are those colourful, chequered, nylon totes. The chequered bags that are making big splashes in the fashion scene these days are made out of multi-coloured nylon ribbons that are weaved in a weft and warp manner. Thus vendors label them as 'Pati bags'.

Nazma Akter, a housewife who went shopping to the Dhaka New Market reiterated the usefulness of these bags: “Generally we buy a lot of small things for our family members and for the household; these come in handy while doing groceries and shopping in general.”

“I am drawn to these tote bags because of their flexibility and longevity,” she added.

Zannatul Ferdaus, a university student finds her stylish chequered bag useful but for different reasons. “I use them to carry books to university. The attractive, bright colours have a positive impact on my mood and make me feel livelier.”

Smitten by this recent craze, Zannat Tonima Siddiqui, a journalist by profession has over ten chequered bags in her closet. “I like to have my options open as I always make a note of carrying a purse or a bag, matching whichever outfit I wear.”

Even the story behind these chic fashion accessories has a feminine touch as these are made primarily by female workers. The imported material reaches different localities of the country - Gazipur, Narayanganj and Khagrachhari- where women in large numbers weave them.

After reaching Dhaka they are sold in every nook and corner of the city, from posh outlets at Gulshan to more down to earth places like New Market. Depending on the locality, the price varies but generally they are sold between Tk.70-120, but this can go up a few notches depending on the colour combination or intricate designs and of course, the size. Zipped bags command a premium.

Delowar Hossain, a floating trader of chequered bags is satisfied with the number of bags he sells everyday. “Business,” according to Delowar, “is good.

I sell 15 to 20 bags every day despite being a mobile vendor.” Nuru Mia on the other hand sells about 5-10 from his stationery spot in front of the entrance to the New Market.

Whether these bags create a stir and become an iconic fashion statement remains to be seen, but one thing is as clear as daylight, they have already become a blue-boy of fashion statements. Chequered bags or pati bags, if you prefer are here to stay; at least for a couple of seasons.

By Mahtabi Zaman
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

LS Editor's Note

North Wind and I

I can't exactly remember in which of the two textbooks - Radiant Reading or Radiant Way - that I came across Mr North Wind. Neither do I remember the storyline or his tale but I vividly remember him.

The fierce Mr North Wind, with a mighty tail behind him like a comet, was all huffed and puffed up to blow his icy winds down on the townspeople; who were either afraid of him or were not prepared for his wrath of freezing chills. And honestly speaking, when my old crackling bones feel the season's first chilliness, surely before any one of you, I think of North Wind's hazy sketch from the book. His image, till date, sends shivers down my spine. Maybe he is the reason why I hate winter so much.

Yes I said it; I am definitely not a winter person. I guess I am a minority in this regard and like all marginalised people, I too have to be a victim of peer pressure. It's almost sacrilegious that I hate winter- at least that's how my friends and family make me feel.

Mugs of steaming sweet chai and piping hot rice cakes cannot sufficiently persuade me to love winter or the gorgeous assortment of fresh winter vegetables, the winter picnics, and the fashionable winter wears; nothing is strong enough to make a turncoat of me. I just cannot deal with a cold nose tip and toes, and let me not get started on winter clothes.

The shawls, thermals, overcoats, and earmuffs - the list of everyday basics is endless. Now you will say who needs thermals or earmuffs in Bangladesh? But I do. I live in Uttara where the North Wind is already in action; in the evenings and early mornings you feel his cold presence. Just the other day, the sky was a tad overcast and I couldn't stop my teeth from chattering during the first lap of my morning walk.

I really cannot pinpoint whether it is the bad image of the North Wind's story that is ingrained in my mind from childhood or in actuality I am prone to colds. But I have serious issues with low temperatures. Moreover I find it absolutely challenging to simultaneously deal with my sari or dupatta, my shawl and my extra, extra layers of natural insulation that is my fat self.

Yes, my peers constantly remind me that an extremely 'chubby' person like me shouldn't feel cold at all, especially during a Bangladesh winter. But I cannot help being the first one to air out the quilts and bring out the jackets.

On winter days in Uttara you can actually hear North Wind's horrid howls and feel your windows rattling. At this suburban part of the city North Wind is always at its gloomiest, with overcast skies and a blistering wind bending the trees to its unforgiving will.

While the rest of you wax lyrical odes about winter's pleasures, I will do the opposite, and arm myself to the teeth with jackets and shawls, all bundled up to combat that demon - the cruel, harsh North Wind.

-Raffat Binte Rashid






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