|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 6, Issue 08, Tuesday, February 22, 2011|
IN THE RAGE
Looking around and observing the trends, it is not much of a hard job to catch the recent fads waving through Dhaka city.
Lounges: With the advent of the auspicious lounge culture in Dhaka, we now see many a teen spending away their leisure time sitting with friends on a comfy couch, sipping away fancy drinks or smoking a sheesha. Unlike the actual definition of lounge culture, where lounges are meant to provide an appropriate ambiance to sip a cup of coffee while working on the laptop, the lounge scenario in Bangladesh seems to be rather dominated by the youth. The reason might be the absence of a night life in Dhaka or probable places like quality parks to hangout in. But whatever the reason might be, lounges are the places to be in right now.
High-tech luxury: It seems as if almost every other kid has an XBOX 360 or PS3 at home now, and if not then they are wrangling with parents to buy them one. All of a sudden, people are all for showing off expensive LCD TVs mounted on their walls, or buying the latest Apple creations. Laptops can no more be called gadgets for the corporate, as now even a 9th grader gets one for scoring all As in his final exams.
Flat footwear: Heels are evergreen, but right now, flats are totally in. The latest collections of international brands like Gucci and Louise Vuitton are boasting their collections of flat shoes. And the best thing about flats is that they are extremely comfortable to wear and give you a reason to walk that extra mile and burn some calories. With numerous designs to choose from, flats are definitely all the rage.
By Afrida Mahbub
Bangladesh's first tourist helpline (13801)
The nation's first ever Tourist Helpline has been launched on 15 February, 2011. Club Vacation; a local tourism development organisation is providing this helpline service for the tourists of Bangladesh through a call centre in association with Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism & Bangladesh Tourism Board. Windmill Infotech Limited, one of the leading call centre service providers is providing this service through their call centre.
The aim of this helpline is to facilitate foreign and domestic tourists in their travel related inquires, emergency assistance and information dissemination. This 24/7 call centre service will be an easier and comfortable source to get destination advice, helpful information or any other advice regarding tourism in Bangladesh.
The following are the main sectors of information that will be available from the Helpline: hotels & resorts, food & dining, transportation, health sector, stores & super malls, MNCs & foreign organizations, Government, utilities services, financial & legal, industry & agricultur, education, entertainment, business bodies & services, building construction/materials & services.
For more information call Manager, PR & Communications, Windmill Group, 01911746250.
-- LS Desk
UNDER A DIFFERENT SKY
By Iffat Nawaz
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again , come , come."
Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi
Winter called us back to the forest. We couldn't refuse, little did I know winter had slipped through and disappeared between the moving plates causing the recent earthquakes. With some leftover mild vibrations traveling up and down my spine I walked out to taste winter lies.
Hopping from one bubble to another, going through free blowing dust and carts full of bottled medications promising magics for men, we stopped at a rest stop by the long road to the north for a plate of rice and daal. The subtle coloured nail polish on my nails stained yellow after adding vegetable torkari into the mix. Afternoon yawned while the roads winded into paths.
The forest waited - enigmatic, small and green. The forest waited to be recognised while the gibbons hid between her deepest layers. Instead of wildlife and birds, buses full of tourists wrapped in georgette with sequin beads ate their bagged chips and drank plastic bottled fuchsia juices, substituting for the gibbons. Their sons swung from the branches of trees, posing to take pictures with mobile cameras to be shared with girlfriends. The men announced nonsensical statements over a microphone attached to the buses and played sounds that were supposed to be music.
Should we enter we thought, should we drive by, should we walk in and talk to educate people about being aware tourists? Tell them that this is not a picnic spot; take your bagged peanuts somewhere else; don't litter, don't shout. But then we didn't. Will they change? Ever? And why will they listen to me, some bubble girl removed of most Bangladeshi realities?
Who are they? Most of Bangladesh? Without any recreation, any sense of nature conservation, any respect for the lives which live in the forest, humans and non. But why I wondered. If I think about it, these tourists look more like ones who grew up on the lap of nature more than many of us have. Being a Dhaka city child I never had a village to return to, but they did. They had a bot gach and bauls and trees around their lawns, cows and sheep, bulbulis and machrangas, and lotuses in their ponds. Then shouldn't they know the definition of preservation and conservation more than me?
Then what is it, lack of laws? No because we have laws in place prohibiting exactly these behaviours in forests and protected areas. Is it then supervision? Do we all need to be punished or hand held to teach us what to do or not to do?
Leaving the forests for women in loud kameezes and saris and men in patched jeans, we talked about strategies and changes, awareness and altering habits and values; helping people connect the dots between nature conservation and self interest. But of course, we cannot play God and we eventually forget how much it bothered us walking away from the forest peripheries made into a zoo.
We decided to return to the concrete jungle of Dhaka, and went home and watched our televisions for victories and hoped for second chances; for all of us and this land.
By Simon Gomes
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