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Tiger Kingdom

By Kaniska Chakraborty

Bill Watterson has retired.

But life has not given up on stories involving a man who refuses to grow up, a tiger and a girl.

My wife and I got a chance to meet and greet a couple of tigers while in Thailand. And not through the bars of a cage but inside an enclosure, up close and personal.

There are a couple of places in Thailand where you can venture close to tigers. One such well-known place is near Kanchanaburi, called the Tiger Temple. Monks keep tigers as pets and visitors are allowed to take pictures and also pet the tigers.

Another such place is in Chiang Mai. Tiger Kingdom -- a place similar to a zoo with a small difference; you can walk into the enclosures and be with the tigers.

There are trained attendants who will always accompany you and there are certain safety guidelines you have to abide by. There is also some basic hygiene that needs to be adhered to.

And then, you can be with tigers.

You can choose between a baby tiger, a young tiger or an adult tiger to be with. We just had to do this.

We chose the smallest tigers to be with.

The pictures and videos of the website enticed us enough to be with the little guys and not the big cats.

Eager and excited, we landed up at Tiger Kingdom one fine morning and bought tickets.

Soon we were taken to the enclosure and asked to disinfect our hands and wear footwear provided by them. We were briefed to not approach the tigers from the front and not to touch their heads. Also, we were told not to let them lick us or feed them anything.

Then came the moment of truth.
We walked into the small tiger's enclosure.
All this while we were watching people going in and playing with them.
And we saw tigers that were around 6 months old.
The baby tigers were in an enclosure behind these guys.
There we were, standing next to a 6 month old tiger.
Sudden apprehension gripped us.
After all, this was a tiger.
Stretched out my hand and touched the back of the tiger.
Words can't explain that feeling. Soft, furry, warm, everything good.
Tiger sat down and I did too.
And then the floodgate of emotion broke.
We stroked the tiger, petted, lay next to it, put my head on it.

Tiger slept. Tiger, I guessed, had gotten tired of all the attention.

Having broken the ice, we proceeded to the baby tiger enclosure.

They were just like kittens, with minds of their own.

First, the little one decided to sit next to me. The next moment, he decided that the other corner of the enclosure was a better place. Very next moment, he was back, sniffing my shorts. Soon, another one joined us. Both decided to wrestle for a while.

My wife sat down next to one. She was not greeted with any warm welcome. Just a cool stare. Then the baby walked away.

We spotted a little fellow chewing on the wire divider, standing up. He was teething. We stroked and scratched his back for about ten minutes. Not for once did he stop chewing the wire.

We paid for 15 minutes of tiger time. We ended up staying for half an hour.

Every moment precious. Stuff bucket lists are made of. You do not get to play with tiger cubs everyday.

There were full-grown tigers as well where people were with them, taking pictures, posing.

But we were happy with the little guys and their kitten-like behaviour.

And I finally understand Calvin.


The six-armed goddess

By Iffat Nawaz

There was once a goddess with six arms. Not four, not ten, but six. She was less than Durga, the Inaccessible, the Invincible. The six-armed goddess was not so confident, she had many flaws between each pair of arms, she carried them with her; in fact she flaunted them. She was still a Devi, she was no average woman, her flaws therefore were also not average.

She was not a good girl, like the four-armed Laxmi or Saraswati, the goddess of wealth and the goddess of knowledge. Her beauty was not mild and serene. There was no colour that defined her, no musical instrument that sang beautifully on her lap, she was not worshipped to bring prosperity.

As she was not the depiction of perfection and purity like Laxmi and Saraswati or as powerful as Durga, there was more room for criticism for this no-named goddess with six arms. She found herself a misfit around her pretty perfect sisters and strong and supreme mother. Many asked what it was that she symbolised and if her two extra arms than the virgin perfections symbolised more power or being short of four arms from Durga made her that much less imperfect.

When the scholars and admirers looked closely and the Gods came around to pick wives and lovers, they noticed her six empty hands. No lotus flower, or beads of pearls or weapons hung from those hands. Many gods, taking pity, offered to gift her with things she could hold onto, bows and arrows, wild flowers, a ticking clock even. But she refused.

She claimed that there was much more there than eyes could meet, in those arms of hers. She insisted that her one arm was used to hold on to pasts, not just hers but of every person she came across. The other by default she said held on to the present. That arm was fidgety, a bit clumsy. She used one arm to hold on to the future. She said that although future tends to appear bigger it always slips away, so she only can spare one arm for such illusions.

As for the three other arms, one of them she said was searching, constantly searching, for purpose. “Purpose,” she said, “is hard to identify, and so much of it always remains hidden.” That hand would point and wipe and dig in strange places, purpose was all over the place yet so hard to pinpoint.

The fifth arm was used to wipe her tears. The weight of the past, present and future was not easy to contain. It required a lot of tear-shedding. And that hand was busy holding the achol of her sari to wipe her cheeks dry every few minutes.

And the sixth and final hand, she said, was her survival tool. It fed her, dressed her, she used it to draw shelter from storms or the heat of the scorching sun. She said without this hand she would be dead a long time ago.

The Gods called her madness, didn't find her wild beauty and strange ideas appealing. She was kept in corners, not invited to be worshiped by the commons, she was declared to be unsuitable to symbolise anything concrete or pure, for she was too complex, and could not be defined in a word or a few.

The six-armed goddess remained however, searching for purpose, holding past, present and future, wiping tears, forming smiles, carrying flaws and fending for herself. No poem was written for her, no mantras started or ended with her name, but she lived, a full life or more, like all goddesses do.


By Tanziral Dilshad Ditan

Groove of Jazz & Blues @ Mermaid Café
Date: Friday, 12 October
Time: 8 p.m.
Venue: Mermaid Cafe.
Dhaka, Gulshan Circle 2

Dhaka Blues Society, in association with Mermaid Café, is welcoming you to experience an evening full of groove. Come and sway with the tunes performed by musicians with extraordinary credentials. They know nothing but the Blues! Band Aronno with special guests Armeen Musa, Buno, Imran Rabbani, Yameen Khan and many more will be taking part.

No cover charges, no hassle of picking up tickets. Mermaid Cafe staff will cater to you according to your choice. Book your table right away before it's too late.

For reservations, please contact 0184 141 6470, and for advanced booking call 0184 141 6460.

Diva's World of Jewellery
Date: 12-13 October and also 19 October
Time: 11 a.m.- 9 p.m.
Venue: Dhanmondi Terrace, Flat A1, House 11, Road 10, Dhanmondi (12-13 October);
Ground Floor, House 192, Lane 2 (West), DOHS Baridhara (19 October).
#0171 300 5733

Diva is back with its sixth exhibition of Indian jewellery from Hyderabad and Delhi; Pearl and Gem Fair to be held on 12-13 October at Dhanmondi and on 19 October at Gulshan. The fair is a perfect trading platform for launching and sourcing the newest jewellery collections from the Indian jewellery industry.

Diva Collections is an online store, which provides a variety of silver, kundan and fashion jewellery. They specialise in designer earrings, American diamond sets and bangles along with 1 gram polki and kundan jewellery.

Prices range from Tk.2000 to Tk.10,000.

South Asian Art Exhibition
Date: 6 -13 October
Time: 11 a.m. till 6 p.m.
Venue: National Art Gallery, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy

The exhibition brings together the winning artworks from an art competition sponsored by the World Bank entitled “Imagining Our Future Together” for young artists in South Asia. The competition received over 230 entries from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The selection committee chose 25 winners from these submissions. The first of the “Imagining Our Future Together” exhibitions is being held in Bangladesh before travelling to neighbouring countries.


Prize distribution by Acnes

On 29 September, Rohto organised the prize distribution ceremony where awards were handed over to 150 winners of the Eid consumer campaign.

Fujifilm outlet opens at Niketan

Fujifilm has further strengthened its digital camera range with a strong, new partnership and assurance of service support to create a new dimension among the digital camera users.

Fujifilm,the pioneer in imaging technology with 78 years of experience takes pride in providing the Bangladeshi consumers the best products and services with commitment. For the first time in Bangladesh they have setup 3D Digital Studio with 3D print facility in Niketan-Gulshan at their newly opened Digital Camera Experience Zone.

A summary of the models that FUJIFILM are currently offering are: X Series; HS/S Series, F Series, XP series and Z/T/J Series.

Customers can easily get the FUJIFILM cameras from the authorised dealer shops in BCS Computer City (IDB Bhaban), Multiplan Center, Bashundhara City Shopping Mall, Motijheel, Gulshan, Rifles Square, Bailey Road and Narayanganj.

Sale at Avera

On 20 Septembe, 2012 Avera Day Spa and Hair Salon celebrated its seventh anniversary. In connection with its celebration, they are offering a 50 per cent discount on all services.

For details contact: House #13/1, Road# 12, Level #3, Baridhara (Diplomatic Area), Dhaka. # 881 1383, 0176 448 0024, 011 998 02380.



The heart-smart whole grain

One of the easiest ways to significantly lower your cholesterol is to eat whole-grain oatmeal daily. The fibre in oatmeal forms a gel that slows down your body's absorption of cholesterol. Easiest way to add oatmeal to your diet? Have a bowl of Quaker oats for breakfast.

Bonus benefits: People who eat oatmeal for breakfast tend to stay full all morning and consume less at lunch, due in part to the protein and fibre.


In keeping with our motto to continually reinvent ourselves, we have recently launched our very own Facebook page. Take the time to browse through our content, unseen pictures and much more. Be sure to leave your comments and suggestions.

We hope that our dear readers will not only be part of this change but lead us in new directions by expressing themselves and letting their views and preferences be known.
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