Come April and there is an automatic uplift in your mood what with the preparations for Baishakh and all. You're bound to be in a colorful disposition and want to start off everything afresh with the upcoming New Year. Speaking of color, one cannot but fail to mention the Institute of Fine Arts of D.U. that brings out the Mongol Shobha Jatra on every Pahela Baishakh. This year, it's no different and the students' preparation to make another successful Bengali New Year has already begun in full swing.
This reporter, upon entering the Institute, was welcomed with a fine sight of water-color paintings and a pottery sale. When asked, it was found out that the students were carrying out this sale in order to raise funds for the rally on Pahela Baishakh. The interesting fact this year is that the Institute is not taking up any sponsorship. This measure was taken in order to keep the exhibition a whole artists' affair. “We've had big companies wanting to buy sponsorship but once you take money from them then everything becomes their rights and thus we don't get the acclaim that we deserve,” comments Ziaul Haque Shimul, senior student and organizer of the Baishakhi exhibition. “So we are doing the sale in which you'll get paintings in quite low prices and in a way participate in the spirit of Baishakh,” he adds further.
Every year the Institute brings on new caricatures for the rally. If last year's elephant is still framed in your mind then you'll be surprised to hear that this time they are up to something totally different. They are embracing the Bengali culture of traditional transport i.e. the rickshaw. The rickshaw is going to be the main caricature along with cycles, an owl and dolls of the yesteryears from Sonargaon. The usual vibrant masks will also be on display. The making of these structures have already started and if you want to take a peek at the finishing then you're most welcome to visit the Institute on the day before Pahela Baishakh. Speaking of the day before, which is the last day of the year 1414, the Institute will hold its Chaitra Sankranti program. On the day following Pahela Baishakh, the students, staff and faculty of the Institute will carry out a rally titled “Ganga theke Buriganga”.
So what are you waiting for? Gear up and take a ride to the Institute of Fine Arts. I am certain that you would not want to miss it!
Photos and story by Faria Sanjana
Pohela Boishakh is fast becoming the social event of the year, when people can go crazy with colours, hang out in great numbers at all the cultural shows and happily flaunt their Bengaliness. When you know you're in for a day of fun and frolic, you want to look your best, right?
For girls, it's needless to mention that the main options are saris and kameezes. Stick with natural, breathable fabrics, because chances are, your outfit will be undergoing heavy duty throughout the day. Make sure you're pinned up properly, and can move freely. This season, break out of the red and white spectrum, and play with the colours of the season. In fact, fusion wear is an option you can consider. Team a kurti and shalwar with a colourful dupatta and traditional jewellery and accessories, like the teep. Or drape your sari differently and accessorize with funky extras like beads, or even flower jewellery.
Ornaments turn creative on this occasion, and women can choose between glass bangles, or extra-large oxidized metal jewellery for that exaggerated glam look, or even the traditional clay jewellery. Do not try mixing any of the above, or you'll end up looking a disaster.
With the weather and the elements in mind, it is perhaps a good idea to keep the make-up light and natural.
This is generally the time for girls to wear flowers in the hair, but you can break the mould and go for coloured extensions and hairspray (red and white, for the Boishakh theme), or even wacky accessories like feathers.
The same principle of fun and boldness applies for guys. We like nothing better than to see our men strut their stuff in panjabis, but who says they can't play too, right? You too, can ditch the red and white for more flexibility in colours; you can opt for fatuas, or even Boishakh-themed tees and jeans. Heck, you can even go crazy and try out a crisp new lungi, worn dhoti-style, along with a sherwani for the vintage zamindari style. Okay, so I'm only half serious about the last one, but hey, you could pull it off!
Men also have a plethora of accessories to choose from, be they arm-bands or wristlets, or bead necklaces. Use your judgement when wearing them, though, because they can so easily bypass 'trendy' and hit 'tacky'.
In the end, the focus of the day should be on having fun, so emphasise on comfort before everything else, and go with what you feel good in. Here's wishing you a very Shubho Noboborsho. Keep it stylish!
By Sabrina F Ahmad
Birthday Bounce Back is a day of fun and frolic for underprivileged children sponsored by World Vision Bangladesh. These children are normally deprived of the usual colours that we find in ordinary children of the country. In a struggle for existence, occasions like birthdays come and go. World Vision Bangladesh celebrates the birthdays of near three thousand children, on a single day aptly termed Birthday Bounce Back.
Rozina Begum, a sponsored child, expressed her feelings on the event. “Had it not been for World Vision, I would probably have been married off and become a mother of two. WV has given me options in life. It means a lot to me”. Mohammed Eqbal expressed his sorrow for not having celebrated his birthday, ever! “The perils of existence take the joy out of our lives. I love the fact that World Vision is celebrating our birthday. Celebrating over three thousand birthdays on a single mass event makes it even more special”.
Noted filmmaker Badal Rahman spoke on the occasion. Before the children, he presented the nostalgic days of his childhood. “There was a sweet shop near our school. Everyday I used to walk by and dream of having one roshogolla. I had to save and save till I finally gathered up the money to buy the coveted sweet meat. And I still remember the taste, the feeling of that spongy, chana melting in my mouth. Mishti never tasted the same.” He shared his experience of meeting Satyajit Ray, the stalwart idol and how his works influenced him. He also expressed the importance of dreaming- having an aim in life and to strife for the realisation. “My ambition in life was to be a pilot. I worked for it but ended up being too short. But my dream was being a filmmaker. In my effort to do films, I have come across life and its many facets. None of this would have been possible if I didn't have a dream”.
For these underprivileged children, World Vision Bangladesh has given a chance to hope and dream. The mass birthday is just another effort to put a smile on the children that they call family.
By Mannan Mashhur Zarif
U.S. Study Guide acing the standardized tests
By now you may have a teensy bit of idea on the how's and what's of choosing a college. Next is the more intricate process i.e. the standardized tests. In order to go for an undergraduate degree almost all international students are needed to sit for the SATs and the TOEFL.
Test of English as a Foreign Language or in short TOEFL measures a student's ability to understand and incorporate English as it is the principal language of instruction. TOEFL is now iBT (internet-based) and the minimum requirement for universities is a score of 213. The test is divided into four sections reading, speaking, listening and writing. You can take practice tests from the textbooks which are offered in quite low prices at Nilkhet. These books now come with a CD included with the speaking and listening questions. More tests can be accessed online free of cost at the following sites:
A drawback of these sites are that they do not always contain full-length tests so for that you can become a member of the American Center from where you'll find loads of materials to practice from. TOEFL does not usually pose a hurdle in the paths of students. In fact, there may be a method for acquiring a waiver but for that you need to be acquainted with the waiver process carefully from the institution of your choice.
Next test date: July 12, 2008
Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT): This is the test that usually takes the breath out of most students. The SAT assesses how well a student analyses and solves problems. It is based on knowledge and skills developed through the years of your school life in three areas: reading, mathematics and writing. The total score is 2400 and requirements vary considerably from college to college.
Now, to ace the SATs a great deal of practice is necessary. The biggest problem that you're bound to face is time management. Take a section of Mathematics for example you have to answer 20 questions within 25 minutes so it leaves you roughly 1.25 minutes for each sum. To overcome this snag, you must time yourself at home and use your full concentration while answering. Make sure you have a quiet place away from your T.V, P.C. etc. so that you can prevent your focus from dwindling. SAT practice books are also available at Nilkhet from which the Official SAT endorsed by test makers themselves will give you the exact picture of the SATs. Books like Barron's and Kaplan contain lists of words you should learn while answering the Reading questions. Princeton Review's 11 Practice Tests contains the maximum number of full-length practice tests by which you can become master of the SATs.
Next test date: June 7, 2008
By Faria Sanjana
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