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By Tanziral Dilshad Ditan

“Maqsood O' Dhaka” Live!
Date: Friday, 1 February
Time: 6pm till 8.30pm
Venue: Indian Cultural Centre (ICC), Road # 2, Dhanmondi

”Maqsood O Dhaka” has, over the years, been excellent performers and set a high level of expectation among the audience each time they perform. This show promises to be as exciting as ever with Maqsood performing many songs, which they have not done in years.

Entrance is free, however due to seat limitations at the hall (capacity 350 only) those interested to join the event are requested to report at the venue by 4.30pm and take their seats.

Winter Festival by Dell SHE Power Club
Date: Saturday, 2 February
Time: 11am till 5pm
Venue: The American Club, Dhaka

American Club welcomes you to celebrate the winter through a festival that upholds the values of being a Bangladeshi. There will be a number of traditional Bangladeshi “pithas” on display and grassroots women exhibiting their products. Food will be provided by the American Club, followed by cultural dances, a “Floral” fashion show and activities for children. Entrepreneurial grassroots women who have excelled in their field will be awarded at the event by Dell.

Conditions apply for entry. For details email -- DellSHEPower@gmail.com

Poetry Slam
Date: Sunday, 3 February
Time: 7pm
Venue: Goethe-Institut Bangladesh

A Poetry Slam is a contest between different writers of poetry. Each writer recites his own poem within a certain time. At the end of the evening the audience chooses a winner, who receives an award.

Goethe Institut calls for entries for Poetry Slam around the theme "Water" whether it is about tears caused by a broken heart or about natural beauty -- just be creative!

NS Attires LIVE
Date: Sunday, 3 February
Time: 8pm onwards
Venue: Kabab Factory, Road 2, Lake Drive Road, Rabindra Sarani, Uttara Sector 7.

NS attires will present a Valentine's Special Runway at the Kabab Factory. An exhibition of attires by NS and other boutiques will be held on 4 February between 4pm to 10pm. For details call NS Attires at 0193 716 9452.


Just the handle, nothing more

By Iffat Nawaz

Two hours and 37 minutes past midnight, fear choked Konkaboti, in the form of a dream travelling outside of shut eyes, between bed sheets. There were no rickshaws on the streets, maybe one or two rickhshawalas, too drunk on fog and life to return home.

There were others too, among the ones on the street, there was the car full of boys who intentionally liked to hit moving things, people, cars, bikes. There was a 'shonkho cheel', circling way past her roaming hours and then there was a serial rapist who travelled outside Konkaboti's nightmare, hungry and bloody, he was out there walking the streets. There were no children or mothers.

Not yesterday but a day added to that, there was blood on the street. There was a tilted fallen rickshaw, wheels circling statically, a torn sari, a twisted ankle, and a gushing cut. There were open wounds, rolled up clothes. A small accident -- that's all it was -- the vehicle driver more injured than the passenger.

A crowd had gathered around, just to watch not to extend arms. Konkaboti's light pink cotton sari was full of dust, dry with a mix of concrete. The rickshawala's only sweater was half soaked, from the excess flowing water from the nearby construction site. His lungi was soaked in blood, open calf, stitches and staples were sought, to tie up what's inside.

When all things were sown back together costing a few days off for the rickshawala, Konkabati sat next to him and headed to the bazaar where he said he lived. The journey was not intense, it was not awkward. It was random, like the way Tuesday evenings come with no particular agendas, in the chaos of Dhaka city, where all things are possible and easily forgotten.

His wife screamed madness, gathering a crowd, she fell to the floor holding a baby in her arms. Even such exaggerated expressions were allowed after all the desensitisation around the slum. It was almost romantic, dramatic, and the rickshawala looked annoyed. “Get up and bring us water,” he muttered authoritatively, offering Konkaboti the best seat in the house, a torn chair with wheels, most likely collected from a junk yard.

Sitting on the revolving chair, Konkaboti's eyes roamed the room. Things hanging from the walls; the good clothes, the work clothes, feeder for the child, faded photos of people who looked rich. Faces peeked in from the windows and doors, more curious about Konkaboti than the rickhshawala's injury. After a glass of water and something salty, Konkaboti returned home.

Back on a rickshaw, Konkaboti stared at the overworked back of another rickshawala, thoughts and music danced in the air, from far someone played an old Hindi song, the CD skipped abruptly, then sang again. And just like that, with those sudden skips and the potholes on the road, the incident became ordinary and already of the past, like all written and unwritten murders, rapes and hypocrisies. The night shone down a half smiling moon; no one searched for clichés or the meaning of life, only the handle of a rickshaw to hold on to.


How tos for men's jewellery

When it comes to men and jewellery, most have this strong fear of crossing that fine line between masculinity and femininity. Not to mention the taboo that takes control.

As soon as the word jewellery is attached to men, we envision the abundance of gold and silver tones draped from a mid twenty-year-old's neck -- no, this isn't your favourite rapper.

By all means you can be safe and allow the conventional image to sneak into the dressing room and take you back to a homogenous trend of Hugo Boss, Gucci and Rolex watches as your adornment. However, contemporary jewellery designers have been provoked to stylishly break that stereotype and introduce a versatile range of male jewellery that institutes a statement in the utmost masculine way.

You don't have to be a part of the mafia, the music industry or the United Arab Emirates to adorn your man self. Manhandle your way out of the traditional blazer buttons and shirt studs, and own your look as fiercely and ruggedly as ever with the how-tos of jewellery for men.

Firstly don't sprint and buy in wholesale -- keep it low key. The idea is to embrace and reveal the collection of jewellery one piece at a time, and that too with confidence. It's about being gritty yet simple -- ticking classy, sophisticated and timeless off the list.

Establish your sense of style according to how comfortable your skin feels in what you wear. Men in jewellery should feel a personal connection towards the piece and not feel too extravagant (after all you are wearing the jewellery, the jewellery isn't wearing you).

Work your way up from tie accessories and cufflinks to chains and rings. That said, one accessory per neck, wrist or set of fingers. We all know the rule of thumb -- quality over quantity.

Unless your name is Mr. T, Kanye West (or as my Granddad likes to add Bappi Laheri), a multitude of chunky gold chains and NBA diamonds are a no-no. Focus on a thin necklace (one that doesn't encourage you to unbutton your shirt to flash it) and attach a pendant if you wish.

'Bejewelled' is better off as a game on your smart phone! Allow your hands to look bold and craggy with an unembellished band, you don't want to chase away the women by ostentatiously displaying a bigger rock than what they have on.

Again, simplicity is key. Don't go overboard with body and face piercings, ladies are doing that job quite well. Earrings are the most acceptable piercing for men; hence keep in mind the architecture of the jewellery to gear that masculine appearance. We love that sharp look Marc Jacobs owns with his round cut diamond stud!

Bracelets are another acceptable piece, trendy and comfortable. Be sure to examine the structure and geometry of your piece, allowing the precise amount of thickness that suits your wrist. In this case, we love a thick chain or leather wrapped around the wrist -- just as long as it does not confront that watch you have on.

To conclude, do not integrate in one single outfit the two most common tones men wear -- gold and silver. It destroys the tasteful persona. Therefore invest in either one of gold, silver or copper for a look and work with it!

By Parisa Lasker


The Royal rendezvous

By Ehsanur Raza Ronny

It's impossible to wax lyrical about Old Dhaka, without mentioning its culinary influence on our meal. Just as every street will have at least one regal looking structure, it will also house a famous eatery. These eateries will offer a variety of delicacies, be it the bakarkhani, danish, biryani or lassi. Wandering the streets of Old Dhaka, meandering around the famous Lalbagh Fort you will encounter one such place. Fittingly named after the vision the Fort invokes, “Royal Restaurant” is one of Lalbagh's most famous restaurant.

Opening its doors to the public for the first time more than 12 years ago, Royal Restaurant has not changed much since then. Although the dining experience, in terms of ambience has been upgraded, the menu's preferential treatment towards the Mughal's palate remains the same.

The emphasis has been on the quality and quantity of the meal, a direct contradiction to the modern day reliance on selling the environment first. Royal lets the smells of its kebabs and biryanis attract passers-by, shunning the need for bright lights and attention-drawing décor. If not for word of mouth and the dedication put into every meal, one could be forgiven for considering Royal Restaurant's setting to be rather inconspicuous.

A foodie would never be bothered by things such as the presentation of tables and chairs, but rather be wooed by the fragrance and taste of the meals provided. Here, Royal's reputation is impeccable. The zealous pursuit of providing a meal fit for a king is followed to the T. The Menu reads like the who's who of fine dining, providing a taste of delights such as mosallam ghosht, lara shobji, tandoori chicken, chicken biryani, beef kofta curry and beef kalo bhuna. There is also the absolutely unbeatable badamer sherbet, an item that is as associated with Royal as the Fort is to Lalbagh. The tandoori chicken, badamer sherbet and chicken biryani are three of Royal's biggest sellers and rightfully so.

The two-storey restaurant opens early at 6.30am and shuts shop at 11pm at night. Breakfast, lunch and dinner menus all vary, while the evening sees the most crowds. During iftar time, getting a seat is next to impossible unless one can get there well before the Maghrib azaan. A visible kitchen and food serving area hints towards an adherence to hygiene. The service itself is of a traditional Dhakaiya style; warm, friendly and hospitable.

“Royal is one of the most famous restaurants this side of Old Dhaka. You won't find a person in the vicinity who hasn't come here at least once,” Imtiaz Joy, a regular at Royal, says. Apart from the factors listed above, another key reason behind Royal's popularity is the value for money that it provides. A litre of the badamer sherbet costs Tk.200, chicken biryani is Tk.80 and a half of tandoori chicken is Tk. 160. The ease of affordability makes Royal a popular and easy choice.

The next time you are in the neck of the Old woods, drop by Royal for a royal feast for you to remember. Alone or in company, the promise of a delectable experience in one of the finest eateries in town is one hard to miss out on. Royal Restaurant is located at 44, Harnath Ghosh Road, Lalbagh, Dhaka. Simply put, get to the intersection with the Fort's main entrance on the right turn and another turn on your left. Take the left turn, keep going straight until you meet another right turn. Take that and the restaurant is there on your right. Then again, you can ask anyone for direction. There isn't a person in Lalbagh who does not know of Royal Restaurant.

By Osama Rahman
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed


Picnics: To dos and not to dos

Now being the height of winter, it is the perfect time for outdoor gatherings with family and friends. School is out and with no more worries of children's exams and tests you will soon be planning that must-have annual winter picnic.

When it comes to food we like being a little grand and going overboard; and go for the grand picnic luncheon. This is a big mistake for very obvious reasons. A day of activities outdoors is not the ideal scenario in which to be feasting on heavy food since it may be accompanied by indigestion and gas, and kids may end up throwing up their lunches as a result of post-lunch running. Try and opt for lighter items in the lunch menu.

Despite the happy yellow ball of fire glowing on top of our heads the winter chills are going to get to your bones; so heavy articles of clothing are necessary. However, the wardrobe for a fun day out does not and should not include formal office wear or suits for that matter.

Shocking, but, this is true -- at every picnic one visitor or another will be found wearing what one would wear to a meeting at the office. This is your day off work so just like you will be leaving your work back home in the briefcase, do the same for your attire!

Also, since most picnic spots here are usually open fields you may want to wear comfortable sneakers or flat, closed shoes since walking in open sandals may get your feet dirty while heels will obviously be tortuous.

There are a few things that must be taken along on such group outings but are often forgotten or overlooked. The most important of these are first-aid kits and ice bags. Also bring along wet wipes for cleaning up.

The winter sun is not gracious enough to leave your skin unharmed, so best be equipped by slathering on some sunscreen and taking along the bottle as well and keeping umbrellas around for a walk down the sunny fields and gardens. The trip back home does not usually start before the sun has gone down and that is when the mosquitoes begin buzzing and biting around. Mosquito repellant lotions may provide some relief till you get to your mosquito-free home.

Lastly do take big bags or cardboard boxes along with you to dispose of trash. Littering is sort of a habit for most of us and picnic spots at the end of the day usually stand witness to that. It does not do any good to dirty our surroundings even if we are not going to be there for long and it does not speak well of us as people. So, making some arrangement for waste disposal should be one of the priorities at picnics.

These are a few basic pointers for having a safe and healthy picnic. Think up your own ways about how you can make your picnic easier and safer for you and your environment and have a safe picnic season!

By Karishma Ameen


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