Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |   Volume 6, Issue 19, Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Journey With our crafts

Although the demand for imports has drastically increased in recent years, the rich and indigenous handicraft products of Bangladesh have slowly but surely regained popularity. Our handicrafts are both beautiful and eco-friendly. As a designer, I wish for this near-patriotic love for our own products to be reflected in the interiors of our dwellings. This week, we highlight a host of natural, indigenous materials which we can use to furnish our homes with.

We chose not to focus on a luxurious apartment showcasing our local crafts, but rather concentrated on villages or peri-urban areas where people make livelihoods out of producing these eco-friendly handicrafts from clay, cane or bamboo.

The history of Bangladeshi pottery is ancient as it is illustrious, dating as far back as the Mohenjodaro and Harappa civilisations where earthenware was found after the excavation of Mohasthangarh in Bogra (300 BC). The Paharpur and Moinamoti excavation sites also yielded some truly exquisite pieces that our country can be proud of. The terra cotta art used in the Kantajee temple of Dinajpur is remarkable in terms of texture and quality. The 'Neelpadma' found in the Lalmai of Comilla is unparalleled. Some of these artefacts have been kept in the site museums of the various locations. The folk arts of these categories are now being used most tastefully in modern design.

Pottery has now become a commercially successful product in Bangladesh. The combination of pottery and green plants can be effectively used to enhance the interiors of any dwelling. Glazed and unglazed khumba matkas (water pots), figurines of birds and animals, and other such products are easily available at Shishu Academy, Mirpur Road, and the Dhaka Railway Station, among other places. Clay pots are widely available in rural Bangladesh; kumars sell their products at the weekly village bazaars or in roadside stalls.

Bamboo is widely available in many tropical countries; this is a popular choice of material for making baskets, fish traps, decorative toys, furniture and small accessories such as pen holders and pot plants. More people are waking up to the potential of bamboo furniture in city dwellings. Bamboo plays an instrumental role in the lives of Bangladesh's rural residents. Baskets made from bamboo are put to various uses; to carry fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, bricks, other building materials and so on. In hilly areas like Bandarban, Khagrachari and Modhupur, tribal people still rely on eco-friendly goods for daily use, carrying grain, household goods and even their children in their baskets.

Cane is our traditional substitute for wood. Several hundred species of the Calmonideae family, better known as rattan or cane, are found in the tropical regions of Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, China, as well as Africa and Australia. Cane furniture adds a classy touch to any household. Local cane baskets, table mats, place mats, trays and many other household goods are eye-catching. Rush is a beautiful eco-friendly resource. Rush is the name for tall, grass-like plants of various families, many of which have hollow stems. Rushes are used for basketwork, mats, chair seats, and other articles.

Some picture have magical stillness about Barisal`s riverside. The village people are carrying fish traps by boat from one place to another place. In our country almost every district people are dependent on local crafts. Comilla, Kurigram, Manikgonj, Mawa, Shatkira and Shariatpur are really rich for cane products.

Our pot chitro is an aesthetically brilliant artwork. In the past, the regions of Jessore and Mymensigh were popular for their specialisation in pot chitro. Other well-liked home décor products are masks and handmade traditional pakhas, or hand-fans which are very vibrant and colourful.

In endnote, the restoration of Bangladeshi crafts as popular choices for interior décor is a trend that can only be welcomed with open arms. And we can only hope that our local handicrafts continue to gain the appreciation that they deserve.

Nazneen Haque Mimi
Interior Consultant

E-mail: journeyman.interiors@gmail.com
Photo credit: B A Sujan/Map


Every day is Mother's Day

Fahmeena Nahas

I heard the shrill call of the bird and looked up. A river hawk landed on the Krishnachura tree and perched near its mate, the white of its neck quite visible. I searched for the nest. Then I spotted it cradled on one of the tallest branches of the tree. It was time for me to rejoice as I love watching the antics of the river hawk family.

Many years back another couple built their abode on the same tree. We watched in awe the life of our feathered friends; an amazing example of how the parents look after their children, no matter which species of the animal kingdom they belong to. Dad gathered food while mum looked after the babies or so it seemed. It must have been the mum who took care of her children for it was the mother who sat near the nest and spread out a wing to shade the nestlings from the intense mid-afternoon sun of Choitro.

Once the chicks became a little older, mum taught them to fly. One of the three fledglings was a little weaker than the others. But mum patiently stayed with it while it hopped on the limb of the tree. It took great trouble to teach it to fly.

A mother's love is unique. We hear endless stories of mothers' sacrifice down the ages all over the world.

There is a hadith about mothers:

A man came to the Prophet (may Allah's peace and blessings be on him) and said, 'O Messenger of God! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship? The Prophet said: Your mother. The man said, 'Then who?' The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man further asked, 'Then who?' The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man asked again, 'Then who?' The Prophet said: Then your father. (Bukhari, Muslim).

Muhammad (may Allah's peace and blessings be on him) also said “Your Heaven lies under the feet of your mother” (Ahmad, Nasai).

These ahadith show that the mother's status is higher than everybody else.

Readers, did you give your mother a big hug today? If you are far away from her, did you call her to say you love her? Why do you have to wait for Mother's Day to get her a present? Why can't you do it right now?

Personally, I want to shout out to my mum everyday just to say, “Ammy, I love you!” For me every day is Mother's Day!


Remember this the next time you upload a profile picture!


A picture says a thousand words. And if the picture we are talking about is the one posted as your “profile pic” on social networking sites like Facebook, it surely tells a lot about you! Profile pictures have surely become a medium of self-expression, and you come across a wide variety of them, each hinting whether the person is an interesting one, a boring one, a half-lunatic or completely insane!

The addicted and the lazy
For starters, everyone has a few friends on Facebook whose only job in life seems to be uploading pictures. Your homepage is flooded with his/her new flicks almost everyday. You feel they have an obligation to share each and every relevant (and not-so relevant) thing they do in life: eating, sleeping, studying, cooking, thinking, doing nothing -- they tirelessly present you a detailed report on everything they do with utmost dedication.

On the other hand, many people show no dedication at all. They hardly, if ever, change their profile pictures. Many of them still have the same old one they uploaded when they first opened their account!

The lovebirds
Then there are people who update their profile pic when they start dating someone. The moment they are no longer single, they will upload a mushy or intimate picture with their boyfriend/girlfriend. And typically, the picture will be followed by a comment by their other half, saying something like, “How cute januu!” Well, what can I say? It's their way of shouting “I'm single no more!” in the era of digital Bangladesh.

When they break up though, the “single” pic is back again.

The artist
Some people are keen to show their creative sides. They will take normal pictures, but strive to make them unique, perhaps by taking flicks from an odd angle, or trying to do something with light and shadows, etc. If nothing else, they'll simply edit it -- make it black-and-white, for example. While some of these people do show excellent flair in photography, most of them are delusional about their own expertise.

The Snow White fan
'Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?' Almost everybody knows at least one person on Facebook, who has, at some point, taken a picture of himself/herself in the mirror and uploaded it. In all likeliness, the person may even be you! I don't know why people have a strange fascination for taking photos of their reflections in mirrors.

The star struck
You can be a fan of many other things as well. But do people need to express who their idol is so vividly and explicitly on Facebook? Sachin Tendulkar, Sharukh Khan, and our very own Dhallywood actor, Shakib Khan on Facebook?

Fat guy thin
Hypocrisy and deception is everywhere around us, folks. They have made their way to social networking sites as well. You'll see an overweight person's picture where he seems to somehow have lost a bulk of weight since the last time you met him in person. His secret? Certain poses taken from certain angles! There's no obese person on Facebook.

The anonymous
There are people who'll never post their own photo. They'll give all sorts of pics, they even show their hand, their back, but when it comes to their face, they shake their heads. They are not yet ready to face the world. This, however, creates a problem for other users. If you search for someone on Facebook who does not have a picture, it can get confusing sometimes, especially if the name is a common one and generates many search results. How can I recognise a person seeing just her nails? And then there are people who post pictures of cartoon characters. Yeah, like you are Mr. Homer Simpson!

Your profile picture communicates more than you think. And speaking of communication, some pictures are so strange and silly that they make you wonder what your friend is trying to say or prove. For example, someone I know uploaded a picture of a banana. Whilst a jolly and cheerful lunatic stuck his tongue out and showed the world that his can be rolled! No comment.

By M H Haider


The search for thrill

The very common scenario of coming back home after a mundane day at work, with absolutely nothing to look forward to, is truly a depressing one. A man needs to feel the rush which a normal life deprives him of. Television and conversations cannot compensate for this, ever. Regardless of how exciting the story of your wife at the mall may be or the tale of your child at school, the fact is they just cannot bring that feeling of elation that your testosterones so dearly crave. So, what is to be done now? Games, I tell you.

Sounds a bit immature, now does it? Well, believe a man when he tells you it's the best thing to do with one's free time. Many men, regardless of age, indulge in this artificial world of pure heart-pounding, blood-rushing and testosterone-pumping pleasure. The list of games to choose from is varied and hence thirst for any sort of activity can be quenched whether one is feeling like building a city, kickin' some behind while chewing bubblegum or even going fishing. Indeed, the virtual world has a lot to offer and then some.

The best outlet of escape from the dull monotony of today's world is thus best offered by the numerous gaming consoles available in the market today. By spending in the region of 30,000-35,000 taka, one can easily buy the best console on offer. But here the dilemma really starts. Is it better to invest in the X-box 360 or should one opt for the much sleeker PS3? Given the red-light problem associated with the X-Box, its better to choose the latter. However, the factor of exclusive games comes into play, with both consoles offering games which are only available for that particular gaming system. Here, the person's preference should really be the factor. If you are into Metal Gear Solid then PS3 is for you but if you find yourself getting excited about God of War then it's the X-Box you are really looking for.

The hacking of Play Station's network can be a cause for concern but then again X-Box Live Gold has a monetary drawback in the sense that it is more expensive. Both have pros and cons and hence any would-be gamer should analyse the contributing factors before making a choice. Then again there is always the option of souping up your computers, but this will in no way ensure that games such as Fifa 11 or even God of War will be functioning properly. However, in a country that does no shy away from openly selling pirated games, computers can provide the most feasible option.

But in all honesty, playing games like Fifa 11 on your Plasma TV is so much better and being forced to purchase original games costing above 5000 taka also makes sure that you finish your game before moving onto the next one. That's utility for money, in all honesty. And yes, never modify your gaming consoles to run pirated games because that usually spells death.

Gaming is rather healthy if certain elements of the debate are ignored. Plus, no one can call you crazy if you are hooked to consoles as opposed to playing with action figures. Numerous men have found much needed solace in games such as War Craft and Sim City. Some even get a chance to create whole new identities for themselves as they prowl the online gaming world, making new friends and conquering new horizons. You are never too old for it really. So if its thrill you are searching for may we suggest heading out to the nearest gadget store and bringing home some non-stop, ever-changing entertainment with absolutely no advertisements? The football season is ending anyway, so why not?

By Osama Rahman


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