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It's all about

Ramadan is about cuts, or at least if should be. We are expected to be high on spirituality and low on materialistic needs. Truth be told, Ramadan is possibly about striking a balance, between abstinence and worldly needs.

Pondering on the subject of Ramadan and what defines it, we opt for "the cut!" First and foremost, it is the budget cut that is the highlight of the month. Soaring prices of commodities brings up the issue of cutting back on costs, as much as possible. We also suggest innovative cuts, the latest trends of shalwar kameezes -- the Eid essential for every fashionista.

And of course there is the section on hair cut.

This Ramadan, let yourself relax; cut your coat according to cloth and don't stress yourself. Experience the true flavour of Ramadan and blend in.

Frugal Ramadan cut
If you are one of those apt house makers, then you are well aware of the paradoxical nature of the month of Ramadan. With only one major meal to cook every day, simple logic suggests that the grocery budget for the month should not exceed the usual, if not less. But somehow we always end up spending way lot more in that sector.

Add to that the overwhelming size of the shopping list along with the transportation cost and bills. While you think that the bonus you've been waiting for will cover up for all the extra expenditures, the month is almost over and you're almost done overspending by the time you get that in hand.

So along with abstinence, the month of Ramadan calls for practising frugality keeping in mind the soaring prices. Here are some ways in which you can manage your monthly budget during the holy month:

First, do your homework. Sit down on a relaxed afternoon and make a list of your major expenses during the month. Write a rough estimate of your expenditure for every expense such as electricity, house rent, phone, the Internet, groceries, shopping, car fuel, etc. Get an approximate figure of the total expenditure for the month.

Next, decide on a budget and cross out all those items that will remain fixed. This includes house rent, insurance premium, car payments, etc. The rest of the items will be the ones that will be included within that budget. Don't forget to include Zakaat in it. This budget needs to be prepared as early as possible and will act as a guide for the rest of the month, preventing you form extravagant spending.

Next, stock up your groceries. Buy as much of vegetables, meat, fish etc. as you will need within the first week of the month and store up. Prices tend to rise throughout the month, so you should take advantage of the opportunity to buy your food at the lowest price possible.

Make energy-efficient changes to your home, like unplugging unused appliances and using compact flourescent light bulbs to save up bills.

Eliminate or significantly reduce your eating out costs. Restaurant food during the month of Ramadan is sure to leave a gaping hole in your purse. One way to achieve it is by learning to cook your favourite dishes so that you're not tempted to go out as often.

It is a month full of shopping, which means that we usually incur huge transportation costs. For those who use cars don't let your car engine stay idle. It unnecessarily wastes fuel, so turning off the engine when in a jam is a good option.

Now comes the major segment, shopping. Try sticking to the budget that you've made at the beginning of the month for yourself, family and relatives. If you are creative enough, try buying separate pieces of cloth, then mix and match to turn it into a beautiful piece. This will help you save money as ready-made clothes are usually more expensive.

Apart from that, it leaves behind a certain intimate touch which shows that you have gone to greater lengths for creating the perfect Eid dress for your loved one, making it more special. For things that do not require the involvement of a tailor like shirts, pants, panjabis etc, you can buy them at the end of the month.

By Afrida Mahbub
Photo courtesy: DressyDale


The 'in'cuts

Personally I am tired of adding yet another kameez to my wardrobe in the name of Eid. If that is the case with you too then this is where you can have some fun with the festival must have, a.k.a. the shalwar kameez.

Now experimenting with prints and decorative designs on your kameez is very last year. The area of experimentation today is with different cuts and here are a few handy tips to get that right.

Diagonal cut
If you don't want to stand out too much, start from here. This is pretty much the traditional kameez with the exception of a diagonal cut at the bottom and diagonal cuts in front of the sleeves. This cut adds no advantage to your body structure but definitely adds a differentiating factor.

Chest cut
Going a step further, this also abides by the rules of a traditional kameez, at least up to the chest area. The twist is at the neck, which is extended from the back to meet the chest segment.

Sleek look
This incorporates a V-shaped look, wide from the top and narrow at the bottom, making a tight fit. You can experiment with this cut if you have the confidence and a great body to flaunt.

Dress type
This incorporates a bit of the traditional kameez, a bit of the funky fatua and a bit of the western dress cut. The end result? A kameez which looks like a dress top. Since the long kameez is back again, you can take this cut a step further and make the kameez longer so that instead of looking like a dress top it looks more like a gown.

Long edges
Another 'just-in' cut is one where the front and back ends of the kameez are cut in a concave so that it leaves edges at the sides. This is one of the top sellers this Eid.

Short cut
It is highly advised that you do not opt for a short kameez this Eid. You might look fabulous in that style but the rate at which long kameezes are encroaching upon the fashion podium, this 'new' short kameez of yours will soon adorn only a hanger in your closet.

It's not only the kameez which allows you to get creative. The shalwar should no longer be treated as just a piece of cloth covering your legs but another whole canvass for creativity altogether. Few of the latest cuts for shalwars which are fast gaining popularity are the boot cut, Patiala etc.

Boot cuts are the baggy jeans version of a shalwar with huge bottom and with multi-coloured patches stitched one by one. Although this had a short shelf life two Eids back, this Eid it is once again gaining popularity. The latest boot cut has two segments -- a straight cut from the top up to the knee, after which it expands to imitate a flat umbrella-like shape. You can also add a split at the side which can go up as high as you can dare!

The traditional Patiala has revamped itself before reentering the market this Eid season. It comes in two distinct styles, the first being the bear legs style, which is a tight pleated churidar and the second is the dhoti style which is also pleated but hangs loose with the pleats being more voluminous than the one described before.

By Raisaa Tashnova
Photo courtesy: DressyDale


Platinum Suites

An event every night. That is what Platinum suites, a concern of Sheltec Group, is aiming for in the near future. This little boutique hotel situated at Banani road 11 is an icon of customised luxury. Known to cater to big names and the hot shots of corporate Dhaka, Platinum Suites has garnered the image of being an out of reach, expensive restaurant and hotel. This image is exactly what the boutique hotel wants to dissolve with its new offerings.

“We have something for everyone here” says Tarannum, PR Manager for the hotel.

“The youngsters of Dhaka are constantly looking for entertainment, the lack of which is pushing most of the young crowd to indulge in socially inappropriate entertainment forms. We want to be the source for healthy entertainment and that is why we are highly flexible towards student groups or young executives.”

So far Platinum Suites has permanently booked two of its night every week. Thursday night is movie night and Friday night is live music and BBQ night.

At the movie night you can pre-inform the hotel management and request them to show any movie of your choice. You do not even need to go there in a big group. Movie night is available for as little as a group of four for Tk650 each. This offer includes the movie, free popcorn and lemonade and a buffet dinner!

“Movie night is specifically for families or friend groups but of course everyone is welcome to enjoy this facility” says Tarannum.

Live music night is more of a romantic or, in the least, sophisticated matter. It is conducted at one of the hotels three restaurants, the Platinum Terrace situated under the open skies and which transforms into a soothing dinning heaven with well known artists such as "Shunno" and many more playing each Friday to the content of the guests who can indulge in the BBQ offerings, simultaneously.

“Our three restaurants are all cooked for by executive chefs who have worked at 5-stars and for Presidents in the past.” Tarannum says.

“Terra Bistro is for the youngsters and is open 24/7. You can enjoy your morning breakfast after a jog here. Café Nimo is the global restaurant and the Platinum Terrace is the playing field for your romantic imagination.”

Tarrannum chuckles as she remembers how she once was asked to organise the most romantic dinner for a couple celebrating their anniversary. “We transformed the terrace and we all ensured that she was surprised every step of the way!”

Finally there is their banquet hall otherwise known as Zizzi Banquet. This hall can be a high security, highly decorated private gathering for AGMs and high-up executives, it can act as a reception hall for up to 120 guests and it doubles as the venue for Red Adda and Airtel's Buzz Party.

Always looking to be the pioneer, Platinum Suites is also introducing something very unique this Ramadan. “We have Iftar offers for Tk999 but the special feature is Seheri, which will also be available at Tk800.”

Despite its out-of-reach name and attire, Platinum Suites is really a friendly entity. They are waiting for you to step inside their highly polished doors at the other side of which you will only find smiles and a warm welcome. So when are you visiting?

By Raisaa Tashnova


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