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Let me eat! - The RS Tk. 100 Food Budget

WHAT with the current state of the country, I have yet to meet a person who hasn't at one point of the day looked down at their feet and mumbled with either a frustrated or pained expression in the face this: “Damn the inflation's killing me… I'm broke!”

Everything's expensive, and a large portion of this “everything” is devoured by none other Food itself.

If demand equals to supply, than a lot of supply should give a reasonable amount of price or something along that line (never mind my economics theories…I was never good at those, so what do I know? I don't even know why I went there). Anyway, point is, it seems that what with so much competition, food prices among the ever increasing population of Food joints springing up literally everywhere should be plausible. As it had to happen, it is not, which brings us back to square one: “broke”.

Resulting consequences: it is getting virtually impossible to take her/him out on a date and still manage to fill even half of the poor stomachs. Same goes when hanging out (Why is called “hanging out”? It's not like we really hang out of a thing or something…”) with friends.

Taka 100, at one point of time used to be an amount capable of making one form an “oh!” with their mouths when one saw another holding it. Basically meaning that once upon a time, Tk 100 was worth a lot to us teenagers. However, we hardly get anything worthwhile, let alone food, with tk 100 anymore.

But as fate would have it, all's not lost people! RS comes to your rescue (or more, its own rescue) once again with its comprehensive (maybe not totally comprehensive) list of 9 places (9 because we felt like it) you can go to with an empty stomach and a tk 100 budget to feed not one, but two people happily! Ok so the list may not be entirely hygienic, but hey, hardly anything is!

Without further ado, let us proceed with the *drum rolls*… List!

1) Kasturi: The place is as good as they come. It's situated in Mohakhali New DOHS within a two minutes walk from RAOWA Club; you can happily have one of their filling and yummy tk 40 Shwarmas and a glass of coke/coffee, whatever. Two shwarmas worth tk 70 and a perfect mouthwatering fill.

2) Arabian Fast-food: in Dhanmondi. This place serves that's practically scrumptious. Yummy food, and in budget.

3) Fuchka Stalls: Do I need to even elaborate? Tk 15 is all it takes, but if you're a monster, tk 100 worth of fuchka and chotpoti from a roadside stall anywhere is a great fill.

4) Khichuri stand in front of Charukola: if you're a hygiene freak, then this place is not for you. But you know what Charukola is (Art College) and you know what Khichuri is. Take 100 taka and a buddy along.

5) Dhaba: There are several branches. Take your pick from Bonani, Rifle's Square, and Uttara…your convenience. Fuchka, papri-chaat, dosa, aalu chaat, etc: everything's below tk 100 and the food is as good as the names sound.

6) Star Kabaab: This place is one of Dhaka's legacies. We could even use it as a tourist attraction centre!

7) Mahammadpur Bihari Stalls: Chaap, keema parathas, etc. etc. The mamas of our country cook the best!

8) Maloncho: Several branches here…Best Biriani and Pualu. There's one in Lalmatia, if you know any other, let us know.

9) Coffee World: yep, you heard it right! It's the Coffee World! They have the best ice-cream worth only tk 35 and totally worth it! This is more like an ice-cream date. There are branches of this place in Bonani, Dhanmondi, Uttara, etc.

However, rumour has it that this ice-cream is actually just “Igloo” (our yummy deshi brand). So obviously, a much more sensible choice would be to just buy a bunch of Igloo ice creams for tk 100 from any local departmental store, and satisfy that never ending ice-cream desire, instead of paying double of that to eat in Coffee World. Unless, of course, you prefer the AC and just the royalty of sitting in a place like that instead.

There you go! Budget covered, food eaten, and money still left for some to spare. Now go eat with your friend, tk 100 is all it'll take!

By Nuzhat Binte Arif

Chronicles of the Kacha Aam

THe sun's rays reflected on the shiny little green circular things at which Brishti stared intensely. The green little fruits were so majestic, so new. They were hanging on the trees with the perfect symmetry, and just were a days away to being plucked…and eaten. She was waiting for the day that these mangoes will be plucked from the trees and she would eat so much deliciousness that all the blood will come to her stomach and she would pass out…and the best day to do that was 'pohela baishakh'.

“Four days to go. Only four. Just four.” She thought. Her own built tradition was to eat mango on the first day of the Bengali New Year. Mango. Ah, yes. The best fruit in the world, its green colour so unique, its taste so impeccably mouth-watering… and there it was, in front of her own eyes, a bunch of them waiting to be sold, their emerald gleam lured her to the other end of the street… so fresh and green… so new… it was as if they were calling her…unfortunately she was broken from her reverie by the price of the mangoes…30tk per mango. Talk about thieving!

There was nothing she could do. With one last look on the mangoes, she departed, waiting for 14th April to come…

14th April, Bengali New Year. While everyone was busy wearing red and white sarees and eating hilsha and rice, Brishti was there searching mangoes. Finally the moment had arrived. She was more than thrilled to buy the mangoes…

She found out the price has not lessened but had increased. Powerless to the situation, she bought a five taka mango mixture and tried being contended with the amount she received. As she ate it, she could feel the everlasting rapture rising in her and she found herself going to the zenith of happiness…

Sadly, her happiness did not last long as she soon found out those mangoes were Indian whereas she waited so long for her own country's mango…and the spices gave her a lasting ticket to the lavatory.

By Raida Kifait

Book review

The Last Time They Met

LOVE stories are getting harder to write in this age of the cynical, demanding readers. You put in too much romance, and it starts feeling sappy and superficial. You don't put enough, and your readers cannot relate. Happy endings seem too convenient, and sad endings leave you frustrated. So when an author manages to strike just the right balance of emotions, you want to keep coming back to read his/her stuff. Anita Shreve is one such writer.

The Last Time They Met recounts a romance that spans over a quarter of a century. 52-year old Linda Fallon, a small-time poet, arrives at a literary convention to read out her moderately successful poetry. Who would she encounter but right-out-of-exile poet, the great Thomas Janes, her former lover? After the initial awkwardness, they get to catch up on one another's lives, and both being single and unattached at this point in their lives, finally get a chance to explore their aborted passion without any guilt hanging over their heads.

The story is then told in reverse sequence, with the second section, titled "Twenty-six" based in Africa during restless times, and how a chance encounter leads to an ill-judged liaison, considering both Fallon and Janes were married to different people at the time. Shreve draws from personal experience during her own stay in Africa to paint a vivid and realistic portrait of the natural, cultural, and political landscape of the setting.

The final section, titled "Seventeen" shows how the lovers first met at high school and the tragic circumstances that ultimately separated them. By this point, you get the sense that the author has begun at the very ending, so that she achieves the 'happily ever after' factor right at the beginning of the novel, without turning cheesy like some authors *cough*sparks*cough* sometimes do. Or does she? The end of the novel will have you shaking your head in wonderment.

I think Shreve's strength is in her faithful portrayal of pain. She manages to convey the sense of sadness or loss perfectly, no matter who her character is, and she does manage to create some wonderfully flawed, multi-faceted characters. That's another amazing thing about her; each person in her stories has a distinct and well-developed , no matter how small his/her role in the story is.

For a thought-provoking read, you definitely want to try this novel out!

By Sabrina F Ahmad



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