Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home |  Volume 6, Issue 11, Tuesday, March 15, 2011



Memories of sun-kissed childhood days

Fahmida Enam Kakoli has amazed us in the recent past with her comprehension and her analysis of the socio-economic and political situation around us. She has presented her ideas and feelings several times in the Gallery of Alliance Francaise.

Recently Fahmida has gathered together her ex-students of UODA , in the city, and presented a concept or nostalgia that being an integral part of a creative painter or writer unless one is a David Copperfied of Dickens' “Great Expectation” or Becky Sharp from Trollope's “Vanity Fair” one is bound to treasure the moments of innocent fun and frolic of one's childhood and youth.

Fahmida calls her group of young but promising painters “Studio 48” as it was in 1948 that the triad, comprising of Zainul Abedin, Quamrul Hasan and Safiduddin Ahmed began the original Art College. Thus buntings, kites, clay and cloth dolls, toy cars and other objects of pleasure from schooldays form memories of contentment and pleasure. These appear repeatedly on the paper and canvas of the young aspirants. Fahmida too used toys and happy visions of her memories of carefree days of songs of idyll and sun-kissed holidays.

Come college life and adult days, when earning a living or getting along with in-laws become vital, this element of nostalgia is helpful for one to take a break from everyday existence. The young artists, working with Fahmida, had put in modern presentations of nostalgia with pulsating colours and forms.

The passing viewer, with a little time in hand, is struck by the innocence of the theme, and the pleasant manner in which the objects have been held up to the viewer. There is no crazy pell-mell rush to get to the end of the tunnel. One can almost feel the lazy, cool breeze and enjoy the shades of the restful trees in the pictures suggested for us. Under the scudding clouds the viewer has ample penchant for rest and gathering of strength.

In the exhibition “Anuvobe Shoisobe” at “Shilpangan” Fahmida, who had many solo and joint exhibits to her credit, having studied art galleries overseas, in the recent past, had pinks, brown, and shades of purple combined with her chrome yellow washes.

The objects of joy and pleasure that she presented are clay toys, like cooking utensils, animals in the shape of donkeys, birds and flowers. The rhythm in the placing of the toy things got at you like notes of a distant half forgotten childhood song.

The others in the group, like Monjur Rashid, had also displayed harmony in the bent plastic bottles that pulsate like happy, human forms. The father and child theme was apparent. Circle and lines along with dots formed the images with care. The background was pasted with alphabets.

Kuntal Barai had the “tom-toms” from Barisal in mind. These are the simply-made rickshaw- like toys that he will always treasure in his memory. The rickety sound emanating also pleased him no end at one time. This was in gold, purple and black lines and circles.

Aung Rakhine , with his installation of the “bioscope” , also created a minor sensitive jolt in the mind of the art buff. Nayeemuzzaman 'entrée with the inclusion of images of boats, cars, kites and flowers on squares of acrylic were delightful too.

All in all, the display had a soothing impact on the viewer at the end of day.

By Fayza Haq


Slimming foods

Looking for a miracle diet? If you take in more calories than you expend, its simple biology, and no milkshake or mackerel can save you from that fate.

But before you throw in the towel, there are certain foods that promote satiety (the feeling of fullness that comes after a meal) more than others. While they're not miracle foods, they can help you eat less over the course of the day.

When you're looking for foods that are going to keep you fuller for longer, look for ones high in fibre, healthy fats and protein, or with high water content. The additional benefit is that a lot of these foods are packed with important nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

An apple a day may keep the fat pants away. This portable fruit is the perfect snack, with high water content and both kinds of weight-busting fibre: soluble, which helps prevent blood sugar spikes that lead to cravings, and insoluble, which helps fill you up.

A medium apple is about 85 percent water with 5 grams of soluble fibre, making it a snacking powerhouse. To sweeten the pot, apples also contain quercetin, a flavonoid known to help fight certain cancers, reduce cholesterol damage and promote healthy lungs.

Tips: Whenever you feel hungry other than regular mealtimes, instead of going for a sandwich and a cola from a fast food shop or deciding to starve and get acidity, munch on an apple.

They're a great source of protein, which may be key to keeping you full. Also, those who are on a diet and want to lose weight with diet food and exercise, it is important to have at least one egg thrice a week. It doesn't only keep you full but also provides the energy necessary to keep you going. Those who have cholesterol problems can just have the egg white.

Tips: Start the day with an egg in your breakfast, you will not feel physically hungry for a long time but if you get mentally hungry by looking at a desert or a brownie, you are on your own!

When you are trying to lose weight, non-starchy vegetables such as cauliflowers are one of the few foods that can be eaten in unlimited quantities, which is good for you too. Cauliflower contains the cancer-fighting phytonutrient sulforaphane, as well as a good amount of folate and vitamin C, which may be helpful for weight loss. In fact, vitamin C plays a key factor in how much fat is burned during physical activity. All that and it's pretty tasty, too. If you're not a cauliflower fan, try spinach or broccoli.

Tips: Love the creamy consistency of mashed potatoes? Steam a head of cauliflower and mash it with garlic salt, a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese and a touch of butter. You will love it, enjoy without thinking of putting on weight.

Low fat yoghurt
While yoghurt and other dairy products are not weight-loss magic bullets, low fat can be a diet meal item. Dieters eating three servings of yoghurt daily lost twice as much weight as their nondairy eating counterparts on a 12-week weight-loss program. Why? Calcium combined with other bioactive compounds found in dairy products slows down the process of making fat and increases fat burning, especially around the belly.

Tips: Sneak more dairy into your diet by adding plain yoghurt to dips, sauces and salad dressings. You get the health benefits without the added sugar of flavoured yoghurts.

We all know soup is good food, but who knew it was slimming, too? Why? Adding water into a food makes it more filling than drinking water separately. The water in soup adds volume to a meal and helps you feel fuller, without extra calories. As a result, you take in fewer calories over the course of the day.

Tips: Add your own veggies or fibre-rich beans, chicken to your soup to keep you full longer. Soup is an item you can have through out the day, but it is best to have it as dinner with one or two slices of bread. Because dinner is the time when whatever you eat has low burning chances.

Include all these diet foods in your diet; don't expect to see any result if you are eating these and also having lots of carbs such as rice, potato, cola, etc. While maintaining these food habits, you can always have rich food once or twice a week, maybe during weekends. But to get fast results you need to continue this food habit 5/6 days a week. These diet meals not only help to reduce weight and be healthy but also bring positive changes in your skin, hair and not to mention your energy level.

Compiled by Tanziral Dilshad Ditan

For the love of food

Wabbit season

By Kaniska Chakraborty

I was on my way to Colombo. Always a happy occasion, only marred by the fact that I needed to spend about six hours in the evening in Chennai -- a city largely unknown to me and where I do not have any friends.

This posed a serious problem. I would have to have dinner but had no clue where. I used to go to Chennai when it was Madras and used to eat at a Chettinad restaurant long before Chettinad became part of Indian haute cuisine.

That restaurant used to serve unheard of delicacies -- shark fried rice, crisp fried whitebait, and dry mutton fry, to name a few. Initial days of my food awakening. It had a huge role to play in that.

Today's Chennai, I assumed is a different city. Bigger, better, busier. Like any other metro. Why should it be any different?

Trusty Google unearthed the name of the restaurant. It has flourished and has many branches. I could find the one I used to go to at Radhakrishnan Salai. Just to be sure, I called a kindred soul in Mumbai. He is part of a great “foodie” network and is truly passionate about food. He thought I was calling from Colombo and with great enthusiasm wanted to find out about my culinary adventure there so far.

I confronted him with the million dollar question: where should I go for dinner in Chennai? He said he would call back.

Sure enough, in five minutes, he did. He had poked around a few of his “foodie” friends and got this place which serves exotic meat -- pigeon, sheep's head and rabbit.

Rabbit, in Chennai, is like guava in Stockholm. You do not expect to find it there. And when you do, you have to try it.

Off I went hiring a “four hour/20 km” air-conditioned taxi. The driver spoke enough English to find out from me that my quest was a “hotel”.

Egmore, being the location of the train station, is easy enough to reach. And fortunately, the restaurant is on the main stretch, tucked in a shopping center. Ponnusamy, the home of South Indian and Chettinad food. So it says on the sign.

I walked into a typically clean South Indian restaurant. Split level, I was sent to the basement, which was the air-conditioned section. Made sense, it was around 30 degrees celcius outside.

I was presented with a menu which had a fair share of traditional Indian, Chinese and South Indian dishes. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian.

I was happy to skip everything else and concentrate on the Chettinad section. That small village in Tamil Nadu that has sparked a culinary revolution and has established non-vegetarian Tamil cuisine.

I found rabbit. Rabbit roast, it said. I ordered. I also ordered mutton pepper fry and fried whitebait with appam.

Rabbit was served to me. Buried under a sea of shredded fried coconut and curry leaves. Ochre with excess turmeric. Indian with loads of fried shallots.

I have had a lot of rabbits abroad, in places where rabbits are no strangers in menus. And rabbits are discernible by their gaminess and their softness. Rabbit served on a stainless steel plate, garnished with chopped coriander leaves does not have the same effect.

Strangely, I experienced a mental block eating rabbit there. It just did not seem right. Rabbit was more Bugs Bunny in Chennai than in San Francisco. It seemed to be wiggling its button nose and tuft tail to me more than it ever did.

This Elmer Fudd was committed to the cause. I found myself gingerly taking the first bite, wincing at the same time.

The meat tasted surprisingly bland. And enveloped in a general South Indian spiciness. Kind of a let down after a big build up. It could as well have been chicken and I would not have known the difference.

Nonetheless, I ate very quickly, as if to get over it fast. Mutton pepper fry and fried whitebait played a familiar background score. Off I went to the Emerald Isle.


Sleep: a basic necessity

As basic necessities, with food, shelter and clothing comes sleep, a basic requirement for human survival. The notorious and inhuman Nazi torture technique of experimenting with people by depriving them of sleep to an extent that they started hallucinating, lost their minds and ultimately died, was something that taught us of its importance. For the brain to function properly, it is imperative that one sleeps for a certain amount of time.

While for some lucky individuals, sleeping for as less as five hours a day is sufficient to function properly, others might need even ten hours of sleep as a daily requirement. It varies form person to person, depending upon metabolic rates and genetic makeup.

Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who had slept after learning a task did better on tests later. So if you are thinking of pulling off an all nighter before an exam, think again, because some sleep might get you a better result.

Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite. Hence, if you are one of those health conscious individuals who think that sleep deprivation will burn some extra calories, do give it another thought because you might end up gaining more weight than ever before.

Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps and road accidents. So if you are planning to go on a long drive, do make sure that you have rested your body with enough sleep.

Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do. So before an important meeting or a date, refresh your mood by catching up on some shut eye.

The recent medical breakthrough that will give you the ultimate reason to manage your sleep timetable is that sleeping in a regular pattern can help fight cancer. So, for the sake of fighting this monster disease, sleep regularly and try not to break the trend.

By Afrida Mahbub

Eating out


Situated at 3 Baily Road, Thirty3, the first truly music-themed café of Dhaka and Bangladesh, opened at 6pm on March 6. Inaugurated by Aiyub Bachchu, the master musician himself, Thirty3 promises to be a grand culinary and music experience for its guests.

The restaurant is on the high-budget end with live music playing every day and night of the week and five-star chefs producing the food. A glamorous stage welcomes you just beyond the entrance after which you can choose to be seated in the café which has a cosy yet sophisticated interior, or the shisha lounge with a perfect smoky environment.

Thirty3 specialises in fusion food, a combination of all the famous foods of different cultures, ranging from American mini-hamburgers to Japanese sushi. True to its theme, the café even serves the food on plates which have lyrics of famous songs etched on them, so that the true music fan is overwhelmed with the abundance of music surrounding him or her.

Thirty3 plays soft and contemporary music during the day while the nights are divided into unique segments. Each night live bands will perform, with Sundays being Male night, Mondays being Diva Night, Tuesdays being open mic night and so on.

At the opening ceremony Bachchu first performed on the streets in front of the café to announce its arrival to the local people. After raising a huge cheer from the street crowd Bachchu and international cover guitarist Pandu White entertained the huge media gathering at the café. Bachchu ended with a request that the café stay true to music and never compromises in its selection of music.

Located on the 3rd floor of the 3rd building of 3 Bailey Road, with food from 33 cultures, 33 types of non-alcoholic mocktails and 33 flavours of shisha to choose from, Thirty3 is the new place for the Dhaka crowd to venture into.

By Raisaa Tashnova


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