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<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 131 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

November 21 , 2003

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Last-Minute Eid Shopping

Okay, so your new kurtas and sarees are in place for Eid. You've also picked up a few dazzling pairs of salwaar kameezes and matching footwear. But tell us, honestly, isn't there an ever nagging need of rushing off to the market for a big this or small that. Is shopping for Eid ever over? Frankly, if it wasn't for the last minute, this world would have been such a dull unexciting place to live in! This Eid, SWM brings to you the zingiest of ideas for that just-in-time new look for yourself and your home.


Get yourself some unusual lamps made from Artifacts (J&J Mansion, Sohanbagh, Mirpur Road), from items you planned to discard during your Eid cleaning old flower vases, boxes, empty bottles, just about anything. This place has a fascinating collection of artistic lampshades and terracotta items. The Craft Centre (Rd 36, Gulshan 2) has specially designed lamps with antique hookkah bases! It also has a sizeable collection of bell metal items and authentic antiques.

In fact, we recommend a completely different cultivated, yet quaint, classic and ante diluvian - look this Eid. It is still not too late to change the look of your house with treasures from our glorious past. Places like The Craft Centre and The Folk International (Rd104, Gulshan2) have a few outstand-ing pieces of furniture seeped in nostalgia. These are classic four-posted high polongos, and wooden chests furniture that will instantly transport you to days when you snuggled up to your grandma for those engrossing never ending folk tales. For small striking side shelves made from coir and bamboo(!), head straight to Satranji, which has now relocated to Mirpur Road, opposite Metro Shopping Mall in Dhanmondi.

If it is a modern look you prefer in your home, especially in your lounge, we insist you have a peek inside Dé cor Idees (Hs19, Rd120, Gulshan1) for some extraordinary lounging furniture made with sea-grass (hogla in Bangla). Irresistibly comfortable and inviting as they look, these pieces are mostly for a low-seating setting, and this shop has enough other home accessories to complement these with a neo-Oriental appeal.

For the more adventurous souls, nothing works better than a flamboyant fusion scheme in their home décor. Move over the slithery silks and our traditional embroidery, the furniture mentioned in the paragraphs above could, alternatively be, accessorised with the quintessentially-Western woollen cushion covers from Sally Ann (Hs96, Rd23, Banani). These, and blankets (which could also be used as diwan covers), are all locally produced and come in vibrant reds, magentas, blues, off-whites and smart checks. A 'fair trade' project of The Salvation Army in Bangladesh, Sally Ann is the first of its kind in the world for them.

Children's rooms could light up with some truly delightful papier-mache animal figures from Folk International. In electric colours and varying sizes, these make excellent companions to your child's vivid imagination, both while being played with, or while simply being placed on the head-board for decoration. There cannot be a jollier way to usher in the festivities of Eid this season!

As for yourself, we have a few tips to make you stand out in the crowd, and be noticed. Tip one, in order to make a bold personal statement, shed off the heavy golds and silvers - they are good for wedding receptions. Tip two, adorn yourself with innovative fashionable wooden balas, beaded jewellery, jute jewellery or even brass jewellery, all of which are available at Piraan (Hs67, Rd11A, Dhanmondi). For a gorgeous selection of funky, chic, yet ultra-ethnic jewellery, the limited collection at Sajai (Rd11, Banani) is unbeatable. A wide range of terracotta jewellery, and several other knick knacks, is available at Idea (Asad Gate). In fact, these unconventional jewellery make very thoughtful gift items for your friends and young ones.

If you have run out of ideas for gifts this season, here are a few which make excellent last-minute purchases without looking like an afterthought! O2 (Rd103, Gulshan2) has some deliciously hip designer scented candles with oodles of attitude. For attractive handmade cards, gift boxes and gift tags, head straight back to Sally Ann, housed inside the Salvation Army building in Banani. They also have unusual wooden dinner plates in deeper shades of blue and green and some really dainty beaded napkin holders.

Unique sea-grass baskets (for every conceivable need) are available at Décor Idees. These could make the perfect gifts by themselves, or be used for packing the other gifts you may have picked up. Satranji too, is a treasure trove of innovative ideas. You'll find fishing nets, 'polai' and 'kholai' (baskets for caught fish), 'gorur topa', and many more items ingeniously transformed into lamps, pot bases and decorative items. Or, you could try out the exclusive range of 'juton' (jute and cotton) and leather cushion covers at Shetuli (Rd12, Banani) along with the unusual palm fibre cushions.

There are gifts bought from shops, and then there are gifts thoughtfully handpicked with a lot of care and affection. It takes little for us to venture just that extra mile in search of that perfect gift, yet it leaves a lifetime of memories and happy associations in the hearts of the loved ones you gift them to. Make it a memorable Eid for yourself, and for the others around you.

Interestingly, every item mentioned above has been prepared in Bangladesh, using local skills and resources. At festive moments such as these, is there a better way to pay our ultimate tribute to the exquisite craftsmanship of the home-grown products? Try them, you can never go wrong with them.

Electronic Gizmos This Eid


Technology has enslaved us in such a manner that we cannot pass a single day without it. With this in mind, many Eid shoppers had decided to spend a proportion of their Eid budget, not on fancy clothing, but on something that will last them for a while, something the whole family can enjoy an electronic contraption. This Eid, amongst much hardware in the market, the most common ones seem to be entertainment gadgets. On top of the list is the television set. Refrigerators too, are always a hit in the market, whatever the time. Mahbubul Rahman, Manager of Electra Service Centre says, “We sell about two fridges each day. During the ramadan, most of the people have bought television and fridge. I guess everyone has their own way of preparing for Eid.” The television industry has expanded so much (import wise) that there is a vast range of T.V. sets to choose from. Starting from the hot-selling new brand Konka to the long lasting Sony and Panasonic, there are brands catering to different income groups. Another hot selling item this Eid is the sound system. Starting from Cassette Player Deck Sets to five piece Home Theatres, the market is all set to attract potential customers of all types. Though Disk Man is also quite a popular gift item for all age groups. Rizwan, a university going student says, “I usually buy clothes and hang out with friends but this Eid, I hope to spend my 'eidi' on a Home Theatre.” Since there is a wide range of items to choose from, everyone can go home with something that they will be able to enjoy long after Eid is over.

Dubai Market
An Old Place at the Right Price

New Market may be the most obvious choice for shopping but if you really want to be innovative about gift giving you may want to check out what lies beyond. As one aimlessly wanders about from one end of New Market to another, the only exit that does not lead to the main road leads to a totally 'new' market: Dubai Market, a place that has little to do with Dubai. Though some people feel that it is a part of New Market, it's not. It caters to a much larger group of buyers. A new comer cannot comprehend how large this market is until he/she gets lost in the myriads of shops, most of which look exactly like the last one visited. This maze of a market has an endless variety of goodies. Here, you find any and every item of necessity starting from the basic cooking items of pots and pans, to the more sophisticated cooking utilities; from regular tit-bit gift items to vase worth Tk.12, 000; from baby shoes to walking sticks. It's all here.

This Eid, Dubai market is jam packed with people, even more so than the new plazas that are mushrooming everywhere. Most shops here are stocked to the brim. Prices are not fixed here and everything can be bargained for. What happens is that if one shop asks for a very high price for an item, the patron moves on to the next shop (whose assistant has already overheard the conversation) where the price is somewhat reduced. Shoppers are very familiar with the phrase: “Just apnar jonno….” (Only for you).

Mahbubur Rahman, a government servant feels that “the customers should never give a price to the sellers. The sellers will be all over you to buy that product, provided that the price is higher than the buying price.” Another happy shopper is Abul. He is out with his little brother for their Eid shopping venture. “The ideal way to shop here is to move about and stand behind people who are already purchasing items. After they do all the bargaining and come to a price, we get in line to buy that item for that price. It saves energy and you don't get upset,” says the smiling Abul. “There might be a problem if everyone followed this rule though,” he adds as his little sibling lugs him away.

This Eid, the main attraction to hit all the customers seems to be decoration pieces, or so thinks Kamrul, (not his real name) one of the shop assistants. He says, “Everyone wants their homes to look nice. Most of the middle-class families come to shop here and they all live in apartments. The only way they can brighten the atmosphere of their homes is by having nice decoration pieces.” After all, this is the Eid where people go about visiting their near and dear ones.

Another Eid attraction to hit this time seems to be kitchenware. “Because this is the festival of feeding, most of the consumers like to be prepared and keep their kitchens stocked with cutlery so that there is no shortage during rush hours”, says Mojib, one of the shop owners. Like him, many owners who sell crockery have brought in a wide variety of items for display. “Though we display a few items, if the customer is interested to buy, we bring out our reserves,” Mojib continues. Due to lack of space, many of these shops have the ability to display a small variety of items to the customers. Since the market is a very competitive one, they have to depend (sometimes) on customers coming back after a satisfactory purchase they had made previously.

There are also some shops that sell artificial plants. Some are imported, or so the shop owners say, but nonetheless they are in excellent taste with detailed finishing. Other items that may be on a few lists are stoves, micro-ovens, photo frames, paintings, dress material, colognes and perfumes, shirts and ties, sarees, shalwar kameez, sanitary items, jewellery, toys, carpets, rugs, shoes, cushions and cushion covers, sofa covers and much much more.

To finish off one's shopping, one needs to have some final ingredients to spice up Eid. Talking of spices, Dubai Market also has a spice corner that has every variety of spices that one may need for all the mouth-watering dishes that will highlight this Eid.


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