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View from the gallery

Watching cricket on TV is satisfying, what with instant replays and live [albeit, sometimes flawed] commentary. To tell the truth, I was never much enthusiastic about going to the gallery to watch cricket. Honestly, who wants to get roasted in the sun? But when I finally swallowed the pill and tried it, the experience was unbelievable.

Your time of arrival depends on the price of your ticket. If you have a cheap ticket, it's better if you are a little late as the queues are shorter and less pushy. If you have VIP or VVIP tickets, get there half an hour early, at least. Otherwise, you won't be able to find a seat. My advice, get a cheap ticket, get there early, get inside, go over to the VIP gallery and voila, you have a Tk.1000 per ticket gallery where you can park you humongous buttocks, pardon my French. Don't kid yourself; VIP galleries are no better than the average galleries. If you are lucky, you'll find a seat in the second tier, which has a shamiyana. But if you are late, like me, you'll have to sit in the open gallery, under the scorching sun. If that be the case, better take an old edition of the RS with you. Cover your head with the centerfold and put the rest under your above mentioned buttocks, because that concrete is hot, I tell you. If you are thinking that it'd be sacrilege to handle the RS that way, well, Ronny keeps reminding us that RS is actually good quality toilet paper. At least you are not putting it to that particular use.

The Business
No food, cans or bottles are allowed into the ground for “safety reasons”. I wonder what the Resident Conspiracy Theorist would make of the pricelist of the food available inside.

Tk.10 Mum drinking water Price Inside [PI], Tk.15
Tk.10 Chocbar PI, Tk.15
Tk.8 Lemon Popsicle PI, Tk.15
Tk.6 Burger [stuff you can find in tea stalls] PI, Tk.20
And we say the Indians are obsessed with business. A piece of advice - take a big bottle of water in your bag, cover it with books and smuggle it in. they're not too bothered with checking the bags at the gate.

The Breaks
Don't know what to do during the lunch break? Get out then. Don't forget to take you gate pass, because they won't let you in without it. There are a large number of hawkers selling stickers of the Bangladesh flag, Bandannas, the actual Bangladesh flag, wrist bands, etc. Some of them even sell flags of the opposing team. When I asked why, they said, the visiting team's supporters should have a chance of buying their national flag as well. I thought it was very considerate of them, until a nasty part of my brain said something about business again.

Anyway, if you don't like stickers, like me, you can get your face painted. I met this really nice chap from Charukola, who painted a rather splendid flag on my cheek. It's pretty cheap, too.

There was this huge bat [courtesy of Mojo] during the Bangladesh vs. India match, where you could write messages to the Bangladesh team. Bad idea, Mojo; some of the messages are such that I cannot utter them here.

After you get tired of reading the obscene messages [if Mojo puts another bat there, that is] and seeing people shout about the, obviously intentional, hike in the price of cigarettes by the vendors, and eating stuff that could, possibly, kill a foreigner by food poisoning, you can go back in.

The Game
Seriously, the enthusiasm of the crowd is infectious. I was there during the Bangladesh vs. India game. Every good shot, even if it led to the fielder, was cheered with a fervour the likes of which I have rarely witnessed. When there was a boundary the whole gallery erupted in a volcano of shouts, whistles, screams and what not? I lost my voice shouting after every run. Even if you're there alone, you certainly won't feel alone. You can have deep, cricketing conversations with the guy next to you or you can be part of group discussions on various topics, which will change with every appeal or run. You'll be sucked into a world you never knew existed. The guy next to you will become your best friend; the crowd, your family. The connection is simply inexplicable.

All you people getting fat by watching cricket from the couch - this is something that is worth experiencing. Just be prepared to lose around ten litres of water while you are there. Hey, it's better than that sauna belt thing that people keep buying.

By Kazim Ibn Sadique


I admit Dhaka city isn't a great fan of kites, or kites aren't great fans of Dhaka city. Put it whichever way you want to; but once in a blue moon, we still saw them grace our skies. It was a welcome respite. Before, people did not have such elaborate forms of entertainment. What did they do? They created their own. They made kites out of pieces of cloth and supported them with stronger, harder material to make them resistant to wind. The handles of the kites were made of stick-like 'sholas' , and the methods of gluing these to the kites were ingenious and many. Bits and pieces of cooked rice was taken, mashed and mixed with a little water to make glue. Dough mixed with water was also a good source of glue, and the 'jiga' tree manufactured a juicy substance that fabulously stuck material together. Gultis were formidable forces to be reckoned with. Pieces of wood were sized and the middle was carved out to form a hollow. Then a rubber band was encircled around it, which could be stretched to hit something (or worse, someone). Surprisingly, the gulti can cover quite large distances. The 'kathas' of yesteryears are still a great source of comfort as well as art. They just have that extra something that modern plush blankets don't carry. How were these kathas made?

Two or more sarees were folded and sewed together- the 'paar' of the saree became the edge of the 'katha', and two sides of it get to look completely different because of the different forms of sarees used. We use brown paper to cover our books and copies now, but in those days, people used old newspapers to cover their copies. Somehow, this sounds more appealing. Knowledge was encouraged by truthful verity and not by a bland lifeless form. They say 'necessity is the mother of invention'. Spoonfeeding was not an option before, so everyone got creative and enriched their lives with little pieces of self-made magic that can almost be overlooked in this day and age. The new generation has never seen the 'jiga tree', seldom played with gultis and never raced with friends to see whose kite flies higher. People are cooped up in their homes with their TVs, DVD players, computers and playstations. There is no room for venturing out and no Scope for diving in the pukurs. It scares me. I don't see kites soaring in the sky anymore.

By Anika Tabassum

Think twice before throwing a rose away!

The word brings to mind a red flower with thorns. To us roses are only for hopeless romantics, to be presented to one's beloved or on certain occasions to be flung haughtily into the faces of the hopeless romantics when their gestures aren't appreciated.

How many of us actually ponder deeper on this thorny flower though? Do we ever really dwell on its symbolic significance or place in history? No, right? If you ever happen to wonder then I hope the following information will come handy.

The rose is a very ancient plant. It is believed to have come from Persia but fossil remains have also been found in Colorado and Oregon and are determined to be 32 million years old. Yes, you read right; 32 MILLION years old!

We come across the rose in many places in ancient history. There are stories of Cleopatra having the floor of the banquet hall carpeted with a layer of roses 2 feet deep for Mark Anthony.

Throughout the ages the rose has been praised and treasured not only for its beauty but also for its symbolism. The rose means purity or heavenly passion, transmutation, completion of consummate achievement and perfection and also a symbol of joy. Sa'adi of Shiraz, the Persian poet described the rose garden as a garden of contemplation.

The rose was also used as the symbol of secrecy. This is where the word sub-rosa came into usage and is defined as 'under the rose'. In medieval times when secret societies and gatherings met, the rose was hung from the ceiling at a meeting indicating a demand of discretion.

Last but not at all the least the rose has always been loved for its beauty. It was considered sacred to Venus the goddess of beauty and perfection. The rose comes in varieties of colours. Red, black, orange, yellow and so on. And despite having a thorny stem it never fails to touch the heart of a person. Even the cruelest of hearts melt at its sight.

The rose was also compared to our life's journeys. The thorns were the dangers and troubles we had to endure to reach the beautiful flower, our ultimate goal.

Those who have read Dan Brown's famous novel “The Da Vinci Code” (I love this novel!) already know some of this information.

Finally, with all these said I only hope that after reading this article we will all remember to steal at least a glance while passing a rose plant or think twice before throwing away a rose!

By Mashiat Rabbani
Source of information: www.authorsden.com

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

"You have got to read this series,” said my beloved Literature teacher. “Come on Miss, wizards and witches? Aren't I little old for that?” asked the thoroughly amused tenth-grader me. I'm glad I wasn't struck by lightning that day for that impertinent query. Because, no one, absolutely no one is ever too old to read Harry Potter.

I bought the first four together and finished them in four days. I almost missed an A-Level exam trying to buy the fifth one. And as for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I actually ended up buying a second copy because I couldn't bear the thought of waiting for another two months to return to New York to read the copy I had ordered from Amazon.com five months before the release!

As with the previous five, Half-Blood Prince is a magical concoction of characters which by now have become household names. And three new significants to join the cast are Rufus Scrimgeour, the new Minister for Magic, Professor Horace Slughorn, Hogwarts faculty's newest addition and the Half-Blood Prince, who is ever present, not in person, but through his scribble's in an old copy of Advanced Potion-Making.

After the didn't-see-that-coming tragedy of Order of the Phoenix, much begins to happen, some good, some bad, as the snowball of events starts gathering even more pace. The wizarding world is in a fear-tinged uproar; incompetent Fudge is replaced by a new Minister for Magic; Harry is made Quidditich captain; his lessons with Snape are replaced with lessons with Dumbledore; Snape's wish of teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts is finally fulfilled; Harry finally makes way through Potions, thanks to a little help from the Half-Blood Prince; and Harry, Ron and Hermione seem to come the pubescent full circle as all three's love lives take distinct turns.

Besides Defence Against the Dark Arts classes, the year at Hogwarts seems to run quite smoothly for Harry, Ron and Hermione if you can ignore the fact that Death Eaters are creating havoc, Draco Malfoy is acting suspiciously, Harry is outshining Hermione in Potions and Ron's new girlfriend is driving a wedge between him and Hermione.

Another volume lined with new discoveries, the sixth book gives readers a good glimpse into what shaped the life of Lord Voldemort himself. And Harry and Dumbledore rely on these discoveries to deduce how to bring an end to Voldemort.

Each chapter works towards a final culmination in the book that punches the air right out of your lungs and makes you reel back to make sure you're reading things right towards the end of he book. And to top it all off, the very last chapter unlike the previous five, leaves everything up in the air, leaving readers truly wondering what will happen in the final and last book in the Harry Potter series.

July 21st is right around the corner. And if you haven't by some miraculous chance read the sixth book yet, dedicate this Friday to finishing it off before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows hits the stand. Trust me, it will be a Friday well-spent!

By Tahiat-e-Mahboob


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