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



What do you wear when you visit your past?

By Iffat Nawaz

What do you wear when you visit your past? Not the living beings but the memories. The house that raised you, each crease still holding your mark. Your dirty fingerprints on the walls from when you were two years old and found the pleasure of darkness under old mahogany beds, long before you knew the meaning of secrets.

Do you wear your mother's old cotton, one that was new when it walked into that house in a brown bag with your father's shy fingers and tight hold? The one that still smells like the almira of that old house; a black taant with red and yellow border? Do you wear it so that your homecoming is taken more warmly by the old bricks, so they ease into your presence again? They don't know you anymore, not this you.

Or do you wear something vibrant -- red, orange and yellow. It shows all the happiness you collected while you were away. Wearing that you can climb up to the rooftop, visit the empty flower tubs, the water tank, the one that overflowed at times and you showered your little body with the excess water that dropped from it. The same rooftop where you flew polythene bags because you didn't learn to fly kites like all the other children from the rooftops nearby.

Or do you drape yourself in vegetable dye, something you got as a gift from someone of your present. Something that shows the house that you have matured more than it can imagine. The house knows all your flaws, how many times you lied as a child, how many cups and glasses you broke, how many nights you stayed up reading under the blankets with a torch light, and walked into bed with dirty feet. It knows the flaws that you can't confess, even now, not even in the future.

Or do you wear white, to sympathise with the pain held at each open door and window. For all the deaths that happened there of the people close to you. Of all the ones who left the house and never came back. You never returned to grieve there, the house demands your grievance, it wants your tears, it wants to know you have grown up to be a sensitive woman, one that looks back, one that still cries more often than necessary.

This house has seen you bare and it has seen you wearing your best. In this old town house, and its dark bathrooms you showered looking at the coconut tree that peaked at you from the ventilator. You were always afraid that a monkey or snake would appear on the branches; you showered with your eyes closed but long enough for your fingers to wrinkle up. The house should know you are not afraid anymore. So do you wear the colour of courage; what is the color of courage? Blue? Green? Purple?

You already know the place will seem smaller, the smell will be different from what defined your taste, the furniture has been changed, moved, replaced, rearranged. No one will wait for you there, except for the house, and its walls and the stories you wrote on them while you were there and even more while you were away.

The house, it's standing, it's waiting but the question is: what do you wear when you visit your past?


Friday SHOPPING craze

"Thank God it's Friday”, we say. Indeed, we have a lot of reasons to be happy when the calendar shows the sixth day of the week. Exhibitions and different, interesting places and events to visit are one dimension, no doubt. Shopping is surely another.

The spirit of shopping jumps by degrees innumerable on this day. The notion is not a new one, though; it has been going on for several decades.

Villages didn't have formal shopping malls and grocery stores before. This persists even today in some remote regions. Hence, a term villagers are familiar with is “haat bar”. Haat bar is the day of the week when a large number of traders and vendors congregate in a bazaar. Every village -- or a cluster of villages -- depends on that bazaar and waits for that particular day to shop for a variety of things from grocery to clothes.

This concept has not faded over time; it has also made its way to the urban jungle.

It's logical though. There is no office and school and all the family members are usually free on Friday. It is also the day when we are spared from the misery of annoying traffic congestion.

The process starts early in the morning. Grocery shopping is at full swing for most of the households. Many families have little time throughout the workweek and the weekend is the time for them to stock up on food and essentials for the coming week.

Buying a huge fish on Fridays is a norm followed by many. “We have guests in our home on most Fridays. I therefore try to buy one of the popular fish to prepare an extravagant lunch,” says Sara Naim, a housewife.

And extravagance knows no bounds. “My husband is crazy for fish. Once or twice a month, on Fridays, he goes to Mawa Ghat before dawn to buy fresh fish. He comes home beaming with pleasure and then spends most of the morning chattering about his fish,” another housewife says.

Going outside Dhaka for grocery is only possible on Fridays.

Travelling long distances for shopping is an adventure. Browsing through shelves of a superstore on a Friday evening has its own charms.

“As both me and my wife have jobs, finding time to be with each other gets tough. We have therefore made it a rule to do the necessary shopping for the household together. Shopping on Friday evenings at superstores is the quality time I treasure with her,” Samee, a businessman by profession, informs.

Friday evenings are busy. Friends and family members go out to buy clothes, accessories and what not. Hubs such as Banani Road 11and Bailey Road dive into a merry mood of shopping. Friends meet up and shop together.

It is not all about shopping though. Hanging out or eating out are part and parcel of the proceedings. It's a family day out. That's why food courts are such a big hit.

However, for some people, it's all and only about shopping. It's an addiction. Naima, a university student, says, “I must go shopping every week. It doesn't have to be a heavy-duty, intensive session. I'll just buy a nail posh or a couple of trinkets sometimes. But I must shop, and since Friday is most convenient, I usually trot around malls on that day.”

Another interesting aspect must be noted; Friday shopping may just be the thing to get over depression if shopping is actually an effective form of therapy, that is. If someone is depressed with their workload, Friday allows that breathing space for indulgence and therapy that will hopefully last till the next Friday, when one can be back to enjoy some more!

Indeed, the whole town goes into a shopping frenzy on Friday. It is not just about the necessity or enjoyment of purchasing, it is about indulgence. It is also about an excuse to pick up your phone and decide to meet your friends in a mall, followed by a trip to the ice-cream parlour. It basically boils down to spending quality time with your loved ones.

The phenomenon is also not limited to a particular segment or class. People from all walks of life take part in this.

Reasons, budget and locations for shopping may be different to different people. But when it's Friday, it's shopping time for all!

By M H Haider


Friday market

The sights and sounds in front of Motsho Bhaban in Ramna and Ideal School & College in Motijheel take on a unique guise on Fridays. The streets are blocked and sellers sit on the road to open up al fresco “shopping malls”.

And the day is of course perfect. Its Friday after all; the day to tap the wallet and go for some shopping. Also, the low volume of traffic is a major reason why this is the only time of the week when it's possible to occupy such a chunk of space on the road.

The festive smell of popcorn greets you as you enter the market. It is a busy and quite crowded place. The vendors sell a wide array of things; clothing items for men, women and children, toys, kitchen utensils, shoes, bed sheets, wallets, belts, decoration pieces, etc.

If you become exhausted from shopping, you can always treat yourself to street food like the chotipoti-fuchka or Bengali snacks such as neemki, goja and the like. The environment is somewhat similar to that of a fair.

The Friday markets have a colour and vibe all of their own. Seeing clothes of various colours lying on the street and people haggling spiritedly lend the whole scene a festive air. Also, every now and then, one vendor or other starts to yell the prices of his items at the top of his lungs.

To grab the shoppers' attention, even microphones are used sometimes.

The Friday markets start early in the morning and wind up around 9 p.m. The vendors bring their goods from various wholesale markets.

Prices are very cheap and the opportunities for haggling are, of course, endless. It is a good place to shop if someone has a tight budget or a keen eye for steals.

By M H Haider


Good housekeeping while on vacation

When you're heading out of town, it's always good to ready the house. These tips are good vacation practices, as well as little ways to practice green living even while you're away. We know that some of these tips are just common-sense practices, but this checklist will help you lower the chance of missing out on an important matter.

· In summer especially, don't forget to water your plants and garden before you leave. If you'll be gone for a while and don't want your veggies or flowers to suffer, enlist the help of a good friend or neighbour.

· Unplug the TV, computer, and anything else with an "off" light.

· For your air quality's sake, be sure to take out the trash and compost before leaving town.

· Clean up the house before you go, taking out the trash, etc., so you can keep the relaxation going when you get back.

· Wash your sheets and towels. Yes, you'll still have laundry from your trip, but being able to slide into a nice, clean bed is lovely.

· Dump some white vinegar down your drains if you'll be gone for more than a couple of days. It'll help clean them out, and keep them from getting stinky. Sometimes your trash cans could benefit from this treatment too.

· Clear out the stuff in your fridge that isn't going to last until you get back.


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