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Flowers 101

Carefully unwrap your flowers as soon as you can. If you receive a hand tied bouquet leave the tie around the stems to maintain its shape. Cut 3cm off each stem at a 45 degree angle using a sharp knife. Scissors can be used but they are not as good for the flowers as they blunt the stems which can stop them taking up water. Strip off all the leaves below the water line as they will decompose and create bacteria which will kill the flowers prematurely. Arrange your bouquet in a clean vase filled with lukewarm water and flower food. Place your flowers in a cool position away from heat, draughts and sunlight. Ensure your flowers are not put near fruit or vegetables as they release ethylene gas which prematurely ages fresh flowers. After the first few days, bring wilted flowers back to life by standing the stems in fairly hot water right up to the flower heads. After the water has cooled, allow the flowers to stand in the water a few hours before arranging. Roses can often be perked up by floating the whole stem in warm water for half an hour.


Those little green devils

They vary from knights in shining armour to short -tempered, impatient blokes. Sometimes they are so very, very good that, if taking you in an early misty, morning they will recite verses from the Quran with kirat to lend warmth to your heart, and rev up one's sinking spirits. Dauntless and sometimes dangerous, they can be kind or cunning. They could be gnashing their paan-covered teeth at you for nothing, and yet guffawing when you ask them if their wife failed to give them their morning cup of tea. They don't mean to rail at you, but being impetuous and hell-bent in reaching out to empty your wallet for baksheesh, on one pretext or another, they can't help it. Some are ever so gallant that they will suggest to you, “Let's go visit your ailing friend once more”, or pass a heart-warming remark such as ,“Isn't your friend's place just like home from the countryside?”

Way back, one of our Senior Assistant Editors, Imam Bhai, had warned us, “Girls, take care before jauntily hopping on to a CNG or Mishuk. One of my treasured nieces one said, 'Don't worry Uncle, I' ll be home before dusk. A CNG did come. But it bore her ruthlessly chopped up bleeding body. So, just be careful, and don't take a chance.”

But that was ages ago when getting a public transport wasn't a dodgy matter, or one controlled by Lady luck. Sometimes these CNGs are almost as rare as hen's teeth. Just take a vehicle, and coolly order. The trick is to get out of the eternal traffic jams of the city by paying some reasonable amount , without losing your shirt in an argument with the CNG driver. Once a “Mishuk walla” took me to Gulshan, and waited, as I had asked him to. I'd promised to pay for the extra time. Later on, as I finished my assignment, he insisted I'd have to go to his house and see his wife and children. I panicked and nearly passed out. After much pleading and literally begging, with a promise of a tiny fortune, I did reach my destination of Karwan Bazar. Was my heart thumping! But my boss lady was very understanding and sympathetic, and I somehow, anyhow, reeled out my report like some crazy computerised machine on two feet.

Ever since the dramatic mutiny took pace in Dhanmondi road 2, the people living in that hub of the city are no more lazy daisies after dusk. Some time back, there were addas galore, with rounds of pithas and tea. Now women without male chaperones, don't much care for the prospect of hanging out after sunset. It isn't as if brigands from the pages of “Lorna Doone” or “Kidnapped” are about. Yet one does tend to be wary.

Sometimes, even in broad daylight -- in the morning, before the bumper- to -bumper jams due to the many schools beginning or ending -- the drivers of public vehicles, with their menacing moustaches and beady, mean eyes can be caustic. They'll coolly tell you, “I'm not just going that way.” The CNG walla will ignore you as if you are some madman or scum of the earth.

When you do eventually reach home, if your elder brother is about, or some protective guardian, the rough and ready menacing public transport driver will hang his head and turn tail “double-quick jaldy” -- as if he'd seen a ghost. Visiting single women from overseas have reported of much worse conduct one the part of these dare-devil blokes, which is embarrassing and frightening, and not savoury to read. That bit remains expurgated.

By Fayza Huq


As The Daily Star has moved to its new premises, we request all our event invitations, press releases and other forms of correspondence be sent to Raffat Binte Rashid, Editor, Star Lifestyle (7th Floor), 64-65 Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, Dhaka 1215. Email: lifestyleds@yahoo.com or raffat@thedailystar.net


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