Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |  Volume 7, Issue 06, Tuesday, February 07, 2012

 

 

SPOTLIGHT

Patenga Beach Cleanup

As the clock struck 9:00 am, a band of 50 scouts, their scout leaders, 50 students from Chittagong University and Nishorgo Network' and USAID's groups of volunteer descended on the famous Patenga beach in Chittagong. Their mission was simple -- to clean up the beach. Armed with gloves and two baskets, one for recycled material and another for trash, the determination among the volunteers was evident.

But before the work could begin, there were speeches to be made and messages to be spread. Afroza Haque Ripa - on behalf of the scouts took to the podium first. "We are here not only to get close to nature, but to work for nature," she said.

Dan Monzena, the US Ambassador to Bangladesh and Chief Guest, spoke next. "We are here because we care. We care about Bangladesh. We care about beautiful Bangladesh," Monzena said.

'If we don't take care of our home, who will?' His Excellency asked the audience. He went on to inform how America is partnering with Bangladesh to help preserve Bangladesh's natural beauty, mentioning the Hoolock Gibbons, Asian Elephants and Royal Bengal Tigers. Finally, he impressed upon the gathered audience the importance of eco-tourism and its ability to create numerous jobs.

A question and answer session followed the ambassador's speech which led to the him sharing an interesting yet relevant anecdote.

"When I lived in Washington I walked to and from the train station. On my way, I picked up all the trash on the sidewalk. It was a little thing and a huge thing because other people started doing it too and the whole kilometre was clean everyday.'

USAID's mission director, Richard Greene and IUCN's Country Representative, Ishtiaque-uddin Ahmed were also present to deliver speeches and answer questions.

Finally, the gloves came on for the ambassador and everyone else. As His Excellency picked up the first bit of litter, everyone else began to follow. Nearby shop-keepers also joined in while the scouts and students diligently carried out their duty. Instead of picking up litter from the surface, they dug out the trash and even collected rubbish that accumulated within jagged rocks.

It wasn't all work and no play though. There was laughter and cheers while the work went on. Mohsin, a 3rd year student of Public Health from CU, was excited about being part of the project. 'It was great to be a part of this. Now that we have been here, from the next time we'll make sure no one trashes the litter.' Rafique, another 3rd year student from CU, however asked for dustbins for the beach, which would be the only way to stop the littering. A lack of proper beach authorities to enforce anti-littering measures was also a problem.

“It isn't a one-day thing. We hope to just spread a message and get the locals involved,” Iffat Nawaz, said of the project. But in the end it was successful. The beach looked cleaner and the minds were left a bit greener.

By Osama Rahman
back from Chittagong
Photo Courtesy: Nishorgo Network'


CHECK IT OUT

Celebration of love with a humorous twist at Aarong

As this is the time of the year when love rules the world, Aarong brings to you the perfect gift options that you can shower your loved ones with. Taaga by Aarong brings you an exciting range of tops in shades of red and blue with elegant blending of laces, satin, unusual cuts and silhouettes. Besides these, you could also opt from Aarong's jewellery section to smartly accessorise your look with the all-new silver and ruby chains, lockets, earrings and bracelets. Aarong also brings you a stylish range of leather and leather-cut clutches, belts, pouches and wallets for men and women.

But that isn't all! With every purchase over Tk.1000, you can avail a complimentary gift wrap and a greeting card, and for any purchase over Tk.3000 Aarong offers all couples a hand-drawn caricature of themselves on February 13 at their Uttara showroom and on February 14 at Gulshan showroom. So, drop by Aarong showrooms to celebrate love and make memories!


21st February at Anjan's

In honour of February 21, a 19-day exhibition named 'Poshake Baranamala' commemorating the Language Movement of 1952 began at Anjan's Banani 11 outlet on February 3. The exhibition's opening was attended by poet Fazal Shahabuddin, writer and editor of Shaptahik-2000 Moinul Ahsan and numerous prominent designers. Nazmul Ahsan recited poems at the opening.

The line being exhibited works with the Bangla alphabet emblazoned on outfits which are mostly in white, black, red and ash. The ensembles on offer include saris, salwar kameez sets, panjabis, fatuas, shirts and salwar kameez sets, panjabis, fatuas and shirts for children.

The exhibition will run at all Anjan's outlets from February 3 till February 21 everyday from 10am to 8pm.


UNDER A DIFFERENT SKY

The child inside...

By Iffat Nawaz

The child inside me has died, I know because I no longer count the colours of a rainbow or wish for a purple sunshine. I know because I cry listening to Moushumi Bhowmik's songs and the lyrics haunt my evenings. I know the child is dead, because I read only novels and ignore short stories and I floss my teeth at night.

I know she is dead because the urge to relax and get away creeps up more and more everyday. I do not feel vengeful, jealous or angry, and I forget quickly even when I do. I search for songs from childhood, from my parents' mixed tapes, they soothe me like prayers. I finally understand the meaning of each and not just the feeling it created once.

I don't fall in love with love songs; I don't dance when no one is watching. I don't buy things to make me look pretty; when I do buy things they are to keep me warm, to make me feel comfortable. I wear my sari more securely, I carry bottles of mineral water to keep me hydrated during the day, and a bottle of painkillers. In the mornings, I watch other women on the streets rushing to work, scattered and tensed, I feel their nervous energy. I can vividly imagine their mornings, hectic and unsatisfying, a series of chores leading up to more.

The child inside is gone, I know because the once-worshipped ones have fallen from their pedestals, they seem empty, attention-hungry -- mere performers. I know she is gone because I cannot relate to as many people as I used to, I know there are many definitions of laughter but only one for tears.

She is no longer there, I know because she found little things more fascinating than I do. Like when I check into domestic flights run by Bangladeshi private airlines, how the woman at the check-in counter screams “5 F, Female” announcing to her colleagues that she has put a woman travelling alone in that seat and hence I need to be paired with another woman. An unordered service that is somehow part of the airlines protocol. I find that normal, and not funny, not cute, it doesn't even make me wonder if this is some form of discrimination.

I realised the child was not there when I visited the ocean last. There was almost no one in sight. Just me and a few children of the coast with unbrushed teeth and sleep-covered eyes. I was sitting on the sand watching the waves and an hour went by, yet I felt no urge to dip my feet in the water, I felt no urge to snap a picture. I knew I would remember this anyway, and I would see the ocean again many more times. And there were many days left in this world, and if there wasn't so be it.

I have been wondering exactly when the child died and how. I have wondering if she is still alive, maybe in a coma? Or has she just gone missing, left me and stepped out to find another home. If that is the case, and she is out there and any of you find her, will you please ask her to come back, I have a few bones to pick with her, a few things she has broken which she needs to mend. She wears a smile on her face matching her white sundress and she hasn't learnt yet how to speak. Don't ask her for her address, just send her towards the south, I will be waiting for her, right where I lost her, on the wet sand by the beach.

   
 

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