Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |  Volume 7, Issue 04, Tuesday, January 24, 2012




The old town skyline was ablaze with kites of all colours, sizes and shapes as the residents of Tantibazar, Shakharibazar and other Hindu localities celebrated Poush Sankranti, a festival that celebrates the migration of the sun from the tropic of Capricorn to the equator.

The day of the Sankranti varies between January 14 and 15, depending on the Hindu almanac. This year being a leap year, the Sankranti was celebrated on January 15. The preparation for the event takes weeks and involves making sweets like tiler naru and palm sap. Many Hindu women apply halud-kumkum or turmeric powder on each others' foreheads. Yet the tradition that steals the show is flying kites!

Kites for the Sankranti come in many different forms -- bow kites, cellular or box kite and arch kites. The most popular form, however is the fighter kite. Fighters are usually small, flat, flattened diamond-shaped kites made of paper and bamboo. Tails are left off of the fighter kites so that agility and manoeuvrability is not compromised.

This week Star Lifestyle presents a photo feature highlighting this ritual of flying kites.

Photo: Jashim Salam



By Iffat Nawaz

Mrs. New-But-Claiming-To-Be-Old-Money is tired of walking around the Siam Paragon mall in Bangkok. Her left eyebrow is sporting a slant that shows annoyance, her right shows indifference. She had a long list of things she wanted to buy here. At least she thought that she did. Storing up on fifty dollar bottles of designer shampoo, the new purse that no one in Dhaka has gotten their hands on yet, a new face to be bought at the make up stores. It's been one and half hours and she has bought nothing, her credit card is feeling neglected, her shoes are tired of showing off and wants to be replaced by a posher pair.

The chinese new year celebrations have started already and the malls are packed with people. People everywhere. Eating, coughing, standing in lines, buying better lives at different counters. Why does she not feel like joining them today, she wonders. Is it that she has got everything she needs? Impossible, she tells herself. No one can ever stop needing things, luxury and comfort change fashion trends every hour and one needs to keep up with that.

She forces herself to walk into designer stores, to check out spring collections. To make sure that the salesgirls know her worth, she creates a mess going from one shop to the other, bringing out everything from the back, shoes and clothes of her size take over the store yet when it comes to taking out her wallet she stops. And she is confused, why is she stopping? There are things that she likes yet she can't get herself to purchase them. And the scary thing is there is a faint voice inside that keeps telling her “you don't need these things, walk away.” She feels like choking that voice at once.

She dials her husband's number. He is at a business meeting. That's what he said at least. He might as well be under sheets in a massage room, too close for her comfort with some Thai woman getting a Thai massage. She hates the fact that he is addicted to these hot oil massages. But she doesn't really say anything, it's only a massage; she knows things can go far, much much further than that.

Mrs. New-But-Claiming-To-Be-Old-Money doesn't find her husband on the other side of the phone. “Am I naive?” She asks herself, “Is he cheating on me again?” She takes a deep breath as the salesgirl at Prada puts a pair of shoes on her, they have got tail-fins, it's the new 'in' thing, the salesgirl says. The shoes are accented with chrome and conical lights. Inspired by the 60s automobiles, painted bright. She feels like she has two tiny cars on each of her feet. And she giggles like a little girl. She thinks of her girlhood when all she owned were one pair of sandals to wear at home and one pair of school shoes which she also wore at social events. She would never admit to such things to anyone of course. But she remembers how she shined those shoes everyday, and she imagined them to be different colours, with patterns and shade, she even wanted to paint them but that got stopped with her mother's famous ear twisting abilities.

Mrs. New-But-Claiming-To-Be-Old-Money, stood tall in those Prada heels. She walked up and down the store, and felt like she was moving faster than ever. She didn't want to take the shoes off and when the salesgirl asked if she should get them packed for her, Mrs. New mumbled some cliche like “happiness cannot be bought,” and in the next second she made a run for it, down the shiny floors of paragon, through the mall traffic and onto the street, leaving behind her ringing cell phone and credit cards, and feeling like she can finally fly.


Man-to-Man: Can't get away with ugly

"Dressing ridiculous. Blue and red, like I don't see what the big deal is.'--- Eminem, Marshall Mathers

So, right after Eid shopping you may be left with too many clothes you can't wear except on special occasions. It's time to go shopping again then. Clothes make the man, everyone knows that. If someone doesn't, it probably means that they know that good clothes are the least of their worries.

All the rest of us, on the other hand, choose to present the best looking versions of ourselves. For everyday use, people prefer more casual clothing. And they choose to buy such casual clothing. That's where the epic-fail comes in. Before you go out looking all ridiculous, here's where we try and save you.

First order of business is t-shirts. Since casual usually means t-shirt, it needs priority. Buying a t-shirt is not as easy as it sounds; judging by what people are wearing these days.

Patriotic t-shirts are in. If you can't find one of your choice get it customised. The Internet community of Bangladesh is buzzing with customised t-shirts that help reflect your ideologies and beliefs.

On that note, it has been seen that many people nowadays are sporting Nazi t-shirts. Perhaps, the meaning of the Nazi-version of a swastika escapes them. Showing support for an inhumane cause doesn't make you any cooler.

The best option, however, is to go for completely plain t-shirts. We beg you not to start buying plain canary yellow or bright red t-shirts. Calm down. Plain white t-shirts are a better bet. Absolutely anyone can pull off a plain white t-shirt.

It is great because you can wear it with jeans or even khakis and any colour of the shoe seems to complement it. To add a hint of formality, we suggest getting collared t-shirts like the ones that made LaCoste famous. Polo shirts are generally always casual with a hint of formality, hence they are great for any occasion. Go heavy on the colours if you want, because winter is just around the corner.

Secondly, you have jeans. Whatever you buy, don't buy faded jeans or jeans that are torn up to appear more fashionable. How a sign of poverty is deemed fashionable escapes me. Skinny jeans are also to be avoided. We know it looked real great on those music videos, but stork legs don't complement skinny jeans. So look at the width of your legs and then decide.

Khakis and chinos are pretty in too. And yes, they can be quite ghetto if you go about it properly. It isn't a golfer thing only. Khakis are super suave. So are chinos.

Shoes and sneakers are easy if you can find the right places. However, they should match, even if remotely, with your t-shirt. Usually men aren't concerned about mixing and matching, but a little effort goes a long way. Remember the 'I just woke up and put this on,' look? Even that takes effort. Before you step out, pause. Do you have a watch on? Because without a watch, you are just plain incomplete.

Before splurging on yourself, let's all try and avoid killing fashion for once.

By Osama Rahman


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