Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |   Volume 6, Issue 30, Tuesday, July 26, 2011



Poised to create

Rumana Khondokar's shalwar kameez creations at Gallery Zoom, Alliance Francaise were a pure delight -- the colours and materials she had chosen filled the heart of the onlooker at first glance. The ensembles were like goblets of wine from the The Rubayat of Omar Khayyam from Persia.

The colours ranged from snow white to a range of wine colours. The shapes were soothing and sophisticated. Soft and serene was the impact. The high collars, which were used in many of the designs, the long chiffon sleeves, ending in neat cuffs, the sequins, the fairytale-like stones and other finishing in the shape of those worn by ladies of leisure in the Middle-Age French romances, were very much a la mode.

There was nothing superfluous or blasé about the trimmings. The gentle, lady-like silken and velvety accessories appeared to caress the clothes gently heightening the simple but gorgeous creations. There were no complicated frills and add-ons.

One was not surprised at the inviting collation of this beauteous architect, who had taught dress designing earlier on at the Russian Culture Centre. An architect by training and being aware of the dictates of 21st century fashion, the designer has had several feats in fashion designing. This includes “Bexifabrics Contest Annyadin 2005, 2007; and “ Eid Fashion Contest in 2008”. The costume exhibit at Alliance Francaise was called “Fashion My Inspiration.”

One creation in black and white is with a large, eye-catching, Japanese style floral print with a scintillating dupatta in black, with tiny silver spun through the black. The maroon entrée had a silvery effect in the front, with a mounted bead, which looked like a neat, enamelled broach. The green one had braiding. Its braiding in green and orange had outspread peacock's tail-fan ends. The cloud-like delicate dupatta was in rose-pink chiffon. The silver buttons parading down the front were in beautiful silver, with designs of discs and flowers which were in white chiffon. This evoked the sensation of walking through a neat, trimmed, Japanese garden of flowers.

Another entrée, with rose motifs, was offset by smoked-pearl and jade-like buttons. The neck was a high, Chinese one. A red and grey ensemble had a high yoke, trimmed with sequins. The skirt was pleated, including a zigzag motif. The pink one had a high neck and included trimmings in silver. The trimming at the bottom had paisley designs. The jade-green one had trimmings in buttons, which had a broach-like effect, in plastic and metal. The cream-and-grey silk creation appeared like some chocolate and coffee smooth, chilled drink, on a warm afternoon's hard work.

Rumana said, “The thirty-seven shalwar kameez pieces represent my penchant for deep tones. It's for “Eid-ul-Fitr,” the oncoming big occasion for Muslims, the world over. The clothes are free-size, and the lengths are not too short or long.”

The prices varied from about Tk2000 to Tk4000, which is the typical bourgeoisie budget for festive occasions.

By Fayza Haq

A “pair of” Shimmer for your feet

Getting proper party sandals in Dhaka has indeed become a challenge. And this is especially true for golden ones. You can take it from the words of yours truly that Dhaka has officially run out of golden party sandals, since a hunt around the entire city for a pair of them (not the tacky ones though), for quite some time, bore no fruit.

All you get to see are the ones that are extremely shiny with heart-shaped stones embedded (a fashionista's nightmare) on them. Shimmer, a new name in town, brings us a nice change from the horrors that are inflicted upon us in the name of shoes.

Housed in a tiny shop tucked in Banani, Shimmer is the creation of Mahjabin Syed. It was recently inaugurated by Farzana Shakil and model Nobel.

“All around the city endless boutiques have sprouted up and there is no shortage of dresses, but there is a huge crisis of fashionable shoes and clutches to go with them. So to meet this purpose I came up with the idea of Shimmer,” says Mahjabin. “Thus, for the last one year I have travelled a lot and purchased eye-catching ones, keeping in mind our local taste and trends.”

“Nowadays stone studded, glittery shoes are very much in and I wanted a feminine name for the shop. Since Shimmer means something glittery I chose it.”

With a chandelier hanging low in the middle of the store, along with the products it carries, the shop exudes style and elegance. Shimmer carries shoes from Bombay, Thailand and China with a price range of Tk1200 to TK10000. Flats and heels are both available here. One can find simple sandals for regular use at reasonable prices as well as exclusive ones, stone studded ones at the mid and higher price ranges. Shimmer also has a bridal collection.

“I kept in mind that while on one hand a lot of people are very fashion-conscious and are not very price-sensitive there are also people who are fashion-conscious but want to buy stylish shoes within a budget. For that I have priced the products over a big range,” is what Mahjabin had to say.

Shimmer also offers clutches priced between Tk1500 to Tk4000. Jewellery from India can be found at Shimmer for as low as Tk300 up to Tk3000.

Mahjabin plans to launch stores at Dhanmondi and Uttara as well as start manufacturing shoes here, among her future plans.

By Karishma Ameen

Thai delights @ Radisson

The city has recently gotten used to the phenomenon of food festivals, with the different hotels across town hosting the best from cuisines all over the world. Among all these various tastes, it can be safely said that the festival that the city's foodies look forward to eagerly is the Thai food festival. In the first place Thai cuisine is rich and varied, and it is also very similar to the traditionally favoured Chinese cuisine, which was all we Bangladeshis once had when it came to eating out.

Radisson Water Garden Hotel, as it has done in years past, are hosting a Thai Food Festival that started on July 19 and will continue till July 28 at the hotel's “Water Garden Brasserie” restaurant. This year, it is a must for Thai food enthusiasts, and food enthusiasts in general. The food on offer is as numerous as it is delightful.

The ten-day long Thai Food Festival will serve delectable Thai cuisine. Two master chefs from Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket, Thailand are in Dhaka to present the real taste of authentic Thai cuisine. This Thai Food & Cultural Festival is a joint initiative by Radisson Blu Water Garden Hotel Dhaka and Bangkok Airways.

The cuisine has been carefully selected and flavours perfected, blending the right kind of spices and herbs to pamper the palate. Diners can enjoy tantalising dishes such as Yum talay (Southern style seafood salad), Nam prik goong siab (Phuket style dip sauce with boiled and fresh vegetables), Yum pla fuu (Crispy fish salad with dip sauce), Tom Yam Goong (Traditional sour and spicy soup with prawns), Tom Kha Gai (Coconut soup with chicken and galangal), Pla nueng manao (Steamed fish with chili and lime), Nuea pud nam man noi (Stir fied beef with oyster sauce, and mushrooms) Kao phad poo o-cha (Crab meat, fried rice and minced vegetables) Gai Phad Khing (Fried chicken with ginger and black Mushrooms) and many more mouth-watering food items.

For reservation, please contact: 8754555

--LS Desk


Gems from Sri Lanka

When Melita Mehjabeen went to reside in Sri Lanka with her family, the history of Lankan gems fascinated her. “The history of Sri Lankan gems can be traced back to 1000 years BC and they are associated with royalty. I really liked the designs and craftsmanship of Lankan gem jewelry and I thought the people in Bangladesh would also appreciate it,” said Melita.

Thus, Melita decided to give the people here a taste of the beautiful Sri Lankan gems. She will be showcasing precious and semi-precious Sri Lankan gems that she has selected and collected from various places in Sri Lanka over time at her “Exclusive Sri Lankan gem jewelry exhibition and sale” between 28-29 July, 2011.

One will come across precious stones such as sapphires, rubies and emeralds as well as semi-precious ones such as garnet, cats' eyes, alexandrite and topaz to name a few. The gems are studded and fitted in white, gold-plated and gold-plated silver. Other than that a selective collection of these gems will be available in 14 carat and 18 carat gold. All of these stones have been tested and are certified.

“I did an exhibition of Bangladeshi items in Sri Lanka and thoroughly enjoyed the response. After that, I decided that I would do something similar in Dhaka. As Eid-ul-Fitr in Bangladesh is the most celebrated religious festival I thought women would be interested to buy quality and affordable jewellery to adorn themselves along with the best attire for Eid. So I chose to do the exhibition just before Ramadan,” mentioned Melita. “Other than that I want people to take a look at the natural stones and the craftsmanship of the Sri Lankan craftsmen.”

“I have requested Sharmin Lucky to inaugurate the event and she has gladly agreed to do it,” added Melita.

Earrings, pendants, rings, bracelets studded with gems will be available, separately as well as in sets at the exhibition. Loose gems will also be available.

For the time being Melita will only be displayed at the exhibition and if the program is a success, future exhibitions may be expected. Other than that you can also order your desired jewellery and have it delivered to you.

For more information drop by Flambe restaurant (House#6, Road#50, Gulshan 2). The exhibition will be on from 10 am to 8pm on 28-29 July, 2011.

By Karishma Ameen




Lifestyle choices that we make today will affect the strength of our bones in the long run. To maintain a youthful posture and fluid movements throughout your life, you should value the structure that holds you. During the so-called “sandwich years”, your bones will need those extra nutrients to keep strong. Therefore, taking care of it from an early stage is crucial.

Greying of the hair can indicate a lot of things going on inside our body. According to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (2005) premature greying and thinning of hair indicates deterioration of bone health. In order to combat that it is wise to follow a Bone Building diet that has nutrient-rich foods.

Acid/alkaline balance
Acidity and inflammation are mainly caused by eating excessive animal proteins, fast foods, junk foods, processed/packaged foods, canned foods, frozen foods and soft drinks. These foods are low in essential proteins and high in fat, salt, sugar, sweeteners, artificial colours and preservatives. This turns our body pH acidic.

Bone is a great reservoir of many essential minerals but when the body is acidic these minerals are taken from the bone to neutralise the excess acidity. Prolonged and repeated utilisation of these minerals from our bone can deplete the bone and contribute towards osteoporosis.

The diet
When you shop look for fruits, vegetables, sprouts, herbs, spices, free range eggs (deshi murgir dim), lean meat, fish, whole grains (either brown rice or unpolished white rice), lentils, beans, unsalted nuts and seeds.

Plain yoghurt (tok doi) and cottage cheese in moderate amounts are great to add to your diet. I am only in favour of milk or dairy products if it is fresh, raw, un-pasteurised, grass-fed and if the animals are raised in humane conditions. The benefits of raw milk are many but today milk is found in powdered, condensed, pasteurised or packaged condition.

I remember the days when the milk-man brought fresh milk from the cow he owned and those days the only possible crime could be adding water in the milk. I also do not like low-fat milk as I like it in its whole form, just as it is made in nature. Human modification can only confuse the body when digesting food. The body's natural enzymes (proteins that break down foods) will not recognise easily the products that are over-processed.

Reduce the intake of red meat significantly to maintain an alkaline body pH. I do not consume meat that is more than 4 oz (size of a deck of cards that you can hold in your palm) per meal. Most alkaline foods are cucumbers, coriander leaves, spinach, garlic, cauliflowers, cabbages, carrots and pumpkins.

Fruits such as watermelons, papayas, mangos, lemons, pineapples, grapes and apples are also very alkalising. One of my favourite ways to get nutrients for bone health is through sesame seeds (til). Note: always ground up or make a paste with water to consume sesame seeds for better absorption.

Vitamins D, K and all Bs are important for bone health. Vitamin D (particularly D3) helps with proper calcium absorption in the intestine. Best sources of D3 are cold, saltwater fish like herring, shrimp, salmon, halibut and oyster and fish liver oil.

Vitamin K helps the body to make two critical calcium binding proteins, which are essential to make bone tissues and prevent osteoporosis. Green peas, eggs, leafy greens, oats and whole wheat are high in Vitamin K. Both Vitamin D and K are produced in the body by certain healthy intestinal bacteria. Therefore, fermented foods such as yoghurt, lassi, miso, kimchi are great to have in your diet. B vitamins, specifically B12 and folic acids, are also important for bone building and bone repair. All nuts, seeds, leafy greens and whole grains contain B vitamins.

Minerals that are crucial for bone, teeth and nail health are Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Manganese, Potassium and Silica (silicon). We all know calcium is great for building bones, teeth and nails but magnesium not only helps in bone building but also in transporting calcium in and out of bones.

Zinc encourages bones to heal and boosts Vitamin D function. Manganese aids muscle reflexes and potassium optimises bone repair and maintains alkaline pH. Last but not least, silica increases bone mineralisation when our calcium levels are low in the body. All nuts and seeds, fish, leafy greens and fruits such as oranges contain all these minerals. Sesame seeds are my favourite because they are particularly high in calcium.

The super drink!
Clean, spring water or filtered water is the super drink! You should be drinking water every 2 hours. You can live 35-50 days without food but you can only live 3-5 days without water. Water cleans all essential organs in the body, takes out waste from the body and alkalises the body -- all of which are essential for stronger bone health. You should drink a minimum of 6-8 oz of water a day and more if the weather is hot and humid.

Other drinks
The most acid forming products are soft drinks and alcohol, which are full of phosphoric and carbonic acids. If you drink too many of these your body will work hard to neutralise them with minerals taken right out of your own bone, leaving the bone in a compromised state and starving for nutrients.

Nightshade vegetables
Foods such as capsicum (bell pepper), any sweet and hot peppers, eggplant, tomato, potato and tobacco are members of nightshade family. Among processed foods Tabasco sauce, paprika and cayenne pepper is derived from foods that are from this family. They can actually worsen the muscle and joint pain in some people. A particular group of substances in these foods, called alkaloids, can impact nerve-muscle functions, digestive function and compromise joint function.

Cooking only lowers alkaloid contents by 40-50 percent; therefore if you are highly sensitive to these foods then you should avoid them completely. Note that black pepper is not a member of nightshade group.

There are five factors that can create healthy bone tissue. A toxin free diet (junk, processed foods etc. toxic to your body), a micro nutrient rich diet (Vitamins and minerals), intake of good fats (ghee, extra virgin coconut oil or olive), exercise/staying active and enhancing your digestion. Believe it or not almost all diseases start from colon dysfunction or digestive dysfunction.


C is for Continuum

C is for challenge. The challenge to be true to yourself even though it's easier to play nice and be false in your sentiments and opinions.

C is for cheek. Turning the other cheek when someone slaps you because you dare to be true to yourself and not play nice, thereby upsetting the social equilibrium.

C is for children. Those little monkeys who turn your hair white at the roots but for whom you are happy to give up a piece of your liver, one of your kidneys, your whole heart. For whom you willingly turn the other cheek because you hope this will teach them how to be brave and gracious in times of adversity.

C is for chuckle. The chuckle that you give out inadvertently because your child has mimicked you so perfectly and you can't believe you have indeed become (gasp!) like your mother.

C is for caesarean. The caesarean scar your mother has. The one that told her you were going to be a difficult child even before you were born. The scar which has faded over the years but the connection hasn't and she's still the one you can turn to when clouds gather over your head.

C is for the culmination of clouds that drench you and wash away all that once had you stranded on high and dry ground. When you couldn't take a step one way or the other because you were too petrified of leaving indelible marks on the wrong path. But then it gets all muddy and you finally gain the confidence to squelch around and find whatever it is that you are looking for.

C is for confidence. The confidence that things will work out if you can just sit out the storm.

C is for closure. After the storm ends and the dark clouds part. When the sun peeks and promises to help you recover, give you light so you can pick up and move on.

…which brings me back to…

C is for challenge. The next challenge which may break you yet. Or the challenge to continue on.

C. Why, C is for continuum of course.

By Munize Manzur


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