Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   | Volume 7, Issue 19, Tuesday, May 08, 2012




Pet story

I always believe that life's happiness lies in the simple things. In things that you don't expect to happen but they do take place unknowingly and they light up your life and make you smile for no particular reason at all. One such marvel gave me immense pleasure at dawn on Pahela Baishakh.

No, not my dream of being accompanied to the botomul with my daughter, who would be donning a sari and have beli phool garlands in her hair, that is yet to come true; but, strange as it might sound to a lot of you, my daughter's pet chicken 'Gutla the IV', hatched eight chicks from the twelve eggs that she laid.

And my great grandchildren, the eight cutest balls of feather, in our pen at the garage, are the most adorable things I have seen in recent times. The proud mother guarding her brood possessively brings a tiny slit of a smile even to our cranky neighbour, who unfortunately is outraged at our farm in the garage.

We all became busy with what to feed the little ones and what we have to do to help them survive. The grandmother, in this case my daughter, was adamant that no chick mortality case will be reported and made the guard toggle up and down the town to keep the chicks alive and healthy. From bringing medicines from Old Dhaka Veterinary Hospital in Fulbaria to buying tiny grains of kawon and broken rice from Tongi, no stone was left unturned.

Now the playful little ones are roaming on their mother's back and chirping ever so happily. And giving us all an unknown pleasure we cannot quite fathom.

Sadly, the chicks' rowdy father, who used to run away to other lanes chasing young chickens, died of unknown reasons the next day but his legacy lives on in the yellow, white, and black balls of fluffy, ultimate cuteness.

My daughter is fond of farm animals and ever since she was a toddler she had a handsome rooster and a chicken, four ducklings, six munias and a crow with a broken leg. And as she grew, her pets also grew in numbers: fish, turtles, parrots, so many diverse life forms enriched our days; I obliged because she wanted a puppy and I would not have that.

Imagine the chaos and hassle I had to go through just to entertain her children, as she called them. I even had to take a baby cuckoo that fell from a eucalyptus tree to the vet once. And both my daughter and I cared for her throughout the night by administering medicines at regular intervals, but the bird did not make it because her heart was punctured when she fell.

Anyway, Gutla was her first chicken, whom I hated with a vengeance because of obvious reasons. She nibbled at all my plants and let's not go into the details of her droppings and how hard I had to work to keep my flat clean.

The bathtub had ducklings quacking all around. We had to buy worms from Katabon to feed them. And strangely they were all fat and happy in our 1100 square feet flat. Every time my daughter went to her granny's, her mobile zoo, as her nanny fondly called them, went with her. Once at a traffic crossing the sergeant was flabbergasted to see ducks, chickens and other birds in the car and an extremely happy child, but a cranky mother.

Anyway, that was so long ago, later on 'Gutla the I' won my heart. One day she was running helter skelter in a frenzy, she came running all the way up to our flat and pecked hard on our door; then we realised what was happening and set her up so that she could lay her first egg. I could see the trauma she was in during the process. I realised then that all females of the animal kingdom go through birth pangs, even a pesky chicken. My respect for her grew and we became friends. Anyway, after her cruel death, at the hands of one of our guards who took revenge on her for spoiling the garage all the time by roasting her -- all her successors were named Gutla.

I have so many fond stories of my daughter's various colourful, feathery or slimy pets but her major crush -- a puppy -- remained at bay until one night Mars and Chocolate, two Spitz puppies were given to her by a friend. Obviously they were sent back because I was not ready to handle dogs. But again she picked a lame, stray dog from the streets in front of a friend's house and I had to keep him. Vaccinated and all, he was there in our garage but ultimately he could not forego the street life and ran away leaving my daughter heartbroken.

However, you all know how manipulative children are, they always manage to find the opportune moment to get their wish granted. Thus, at one such well-timed moment Boo Radley, the greedy Samoyet, arrived at our door step. And with his antics won our hearts, even mine, to a certain extent.

Pets have a unique way of warming your heart and making you happy. I tried my best to resist them all my motherhood years but have finally learnt that pets make your child responsive, responsible and above all keeps them in high spirits. So try to tackle your inhibitions and buy your child a pet this Mother's Day.

After all, the simple pleasures of life are all that matters.

-- Raffat Binte Rashid



This boutique is now at Banani, Road 6, House 37, Block C, where they are showcasing their new Summer Collection. Muslin and cotton have been coloured in grey, lemon, violet, orange and other soothing shades. The collection comprises of cotton, chiffon, taant and other fabrics.
Contact: 0183 3328 380, 0183 3328 381.


@ Alliance Française de Dhaka

Thursday marked an exciting night for dance enthusiasts who gathered at Alliance Française to watch Isabelle Anne's solo Kathak dance recital. For Isabelle, a professional dancer and choreographer and a long time student of Bharata Natyam and Kathak, this was her second time performing in Bangladesh. The recital, organised by Alliance Française de Dhaka in conjunction with Indira Gandhi Cultural Center and High Commission of India celebrated both dance and fusion, bringing Western cultural elements together with the subcontinent, marked by Isabella who danced to both Kathak in Lucknow style and a mix of Kathak with Western music. The event took place in the building's La Galerie, just next to the café where visitors waited with coffee in hand. Viewers included dance students, artists, local dancers and aficionados. The intimate setting gave the audience a good view of Isabella, who entered in a bright turquoise and pink ensemble, first starting off with a 16 beat dance, choreographed by Pt Jaikishan Maharaj.

The second part of the performance along with a complete costume change presented Isabelle's own choreographies and experimental work. For example, she performed a piece that was based on tango and completed in the traditional Kathak style. The entire performance showcased Isabelle's own teachings and personal interpretations of dance, which she tried to show, can transcend boundaries. Kathak was a special medium to showcase how other non-South Asian music can also be incorporated. Isabelle ended the night with an Opera piece by George Bizet, representing her French roots.

By Olinda Hassan


'Baked' clay art

What makes art pass the test of time? Is it the sheer brilliance of the artist, the masterly strokes, the fine execution of techniques picked up from art school or something quite different altogether? The subject matter may seem pivotal but under careful scrutiny, can easily be ruled out as the decisive factor. With all certainty it is the blending of all components that makes art, art. And take it beyond the realms of time, turning it into a key piece in history.

The recent exhibition of Ceramic Art at Galleri Kaya, Uttara by Debashis Pal, Assistant Professor, Department of Ceramic, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka is an exhibition that will have a profound impact on the contemporary art scene.

Nearly 115 works of art are on display, all done in ceramic; from brilliant expansive installations, to work done on plates and tablets to colourful vases. And each of the pieces has a story of its own.

What strikes most about his artwork is the muted voice that each piece seems to have. Some narrate the joyous saga of the people while others, it seems, are an expression of the pathos that we experience. Incorporating newspaper headlines and clippings with his art, Pal's work freezes moments in time in his 'baked' ceramic art.

The installations are curious, some featuring apparent ancient soldiers, while others have distorted human figures placed in a box, engaged in an endless struggle to come out of the cubes. It is a just portrayal of our urban existence on many levels, where we live life with a constant effort to emerge out of our captive existence. Another has six human heads soaked in a pool of green blood, which gave the impression of fresh blood.

“The way Debashis incorporated molten fragments of broken glass into his art works speaks volumes on his artistic mindset. If you look into the tablets, one finds clay baked in a kiln so as to create crack, which can have levels of interpretation,” said Gautam Chakrabarty, Director, Galleri Kaya.

His lamps and vases are a stark contrast to most of the pensive pieces. They somehow have a galactic feel to them. As light pores out, they seem to be like a radiant ray, a glimpse of hope. But the most striking piece that will appeal to the masses are his colourful ceramic plates, each featuring portraits of an elegant woman, surrounded by grasshoppers, lilies and other symbolisms that speak of the vitality of life.

Ceramics is a neglected art field in Bangladesh. Unfortunate, as it may seem, people usually associate crockery with Ceramics and fail to understand the finer aspects, the skill and aesthetics that go behind creating Ceramic art. Debashis Pal and his “Journey in Fire” is set to change all that.

By Mannan Mashhur Zarif
“Journey in fire” by Debashis Pal will remain open at Galleri Kaya, House No. 29, Road No. 16, Sector 4, Uttara from 11 a.m. - 7.30 p.m. till 15 May, 2012.


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