Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home

 

Lounges
So not the thing!

So you like going to lounges, huh? Getting in a room where you get welcomed by the dim lights, the cozy atmosphere, and the music making your soul being lifted in another level of content. Well, think again, because lounges are not that great as you thought it was. We go there, amuse ourselves and come back. Some of us bother going there for the second time and the others couldn't care less about the place. They are the 'hot and happening' place of today, and it makes me wonder what really the point of lounges are.

'So, I saw you in this lounge the other day. Who did you go with, hmm?' A friend of was caught being over excited about the matter. No matter how much I made him believe it was a friend's birthday party, he refused to believe it. I had to bring a witness to make him believe that (even though I did not do that). As I asked a friend's sister reading in class eight; if she ever went to a lounge, she replied 'Aren't lounges like for couples? Why would I go there?' So, the first reason for a lounge being sucky is the idea that it's a couple's place. Strike one.

If you really want to exclude that ideology, then think about all the kids going and goofing around there. Some of the faces can always be seen when you enter the lounges every time. Their main reason is to sit there and waste their time while they don't have any other better thing to do! Smoking is common, and recently sheesha got banned. Well guess what, some lounges still have it. 'I would not want my child to go there because of the controversies regarding them', says Mrs. Akhter, government officer. 'My mother did not allow me to have a party in a lounge because of all the hotch potch', says Protik* studying in class nine. So lounges somewhat are popular for having spoilt kids. Strike two.

As life is becoming more superficial, some might say they can't live without lounges. But have we ever thought of the useless money that we spend on them, the useless electricity and resources being wasted on lounges? 'I have limited earning, and it breaks my heart to see all the money going down the drain when I hang out with my friends. I mean, 100taka for a juice? The worst part is, there is no other cheaper place as an option' says Rafsan*, studying in A levels. 'All they can do is brag about it, rich people, and fancy places, popular cliques, everyone can't really mix in them', says Mowrin*, studying in NSU. There are always some people found sitting in the lounges who are always dressed up, talking quietly and having an expression of being 'posh'. They make me wonder if sitting uncomfortably, having really expensive things draping them is an idea of having fun. So, 'rich' kids go there. Strike three.

So we have all the strikes. Thus lounges are out. Now, you might be wondering what you would do if lounges were not there, where would you probably hang? Think of your house, the best possible potential for creating the perfect hangout! You just have to have your friends come home with all the things that will make your hangout really cool.

You would probably need, comfy low seating, and then good music. That is for starters. Then comes the food, where you will be required to make your friends chip in. make yourself useful and made your own food, petite things like noodles and soup. Bring in movies, board games and video games; make every one of them contribute to the whole thing.

Get your friends be involved in the whole thing, make the whole set up. Now you can have your own lounge with less expense, no intruders, no show off and you will always be under your parent's roof, which will not call you being spoilt. So, voila! Hours of fun, and that without getting ready, going outside in the sun, and being in the traffic jam!
*names have been changed

By Bloo Bomebody


The original car fuel

Biofuels have been around as long as cars have. At the start of the 20th century, Henry Ford planned to fuel his Model Ts with ethanol, and early diesel engines were shown to run on peanut oil.

Biofuels have been around as long as cars have. At the start of the 20th century, Henry Ford planned to fuel his Model Ts with ethanol, and early diesel engines were shown to run on peanut oil.

But discoveries of huge petroleum deposits kept gasoline and diesel cheap for decades, and biofuels were largely forgotten. However, with the recent rise in oil prices, along with growing concern about global warming caused by carbon dioxide emissions, biofuels have been regaining popularity.

Gasoline and diesel are actually ancient biofuels. But they are known as fossil fuels because they are made from decomposed plants and animals that have been buried in the ground for millions of years. Biofuels are similar, except that they're made from plants grown today.

Much of the gasoline in the United States is blended with a biofuelethanol. This is the same stuff as in alcoholic drinks, except that it's made from corn that has been heavily processed. There are various ways of making biofuels, but they generally use chemical reactions, fermentation, and heat to break down the starches, sugars, and other molecules in plants. The leftover products are then refined to produce a fuel that cars can use.

Countries around the world are using various kinds of biofuels. For decades, Brazil has turned sugarcane into ethanol, and some cars there can run on pure ethanol rather than as additive to fossil fuels. And biodiesela diesel-like fuel commonly made from palm oilis generally available in Europe.

On the face of it, biofuels look like a great solution. Cars are a major source of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas that causes global warming. But since plants absorb carbon dioxide as they grow, crops grown for biofuels should suck up about as much carbon dioxide as comes out of the tailpipes of cars that burn these fuels. And unlike underground oil reserves, biofuels are a renewable resource since we can always grow more crops to turn into fuel.

Unfortunately, it's not so simple. The process of growing the crops, making fertilizers and pesticides, and processing the plants into fuel consumes a lot of energy. It's so much energy that there is debate about whether ethanol from corn actually provides more energy than is required to grow and process it. Also, because much of the energy used in production comes from coal and natural gas, biofuels don't replace as much oil as they use.

For the future, many think a better way of making biofuels will be from grasses and saplings, which contain more cellulose. Cellulose is the tough material that makes up plants' cell walls, and most of the weight of a plant is cellulose. If cellulose can be turned into biofuel, it could be more efficient than current biofuels, and emit less carbon dioxide.


A Midsummer Night's Dream-revisited

On-stage dramas had always been a mystery to me; I used to think that these dramas are meant for people with extraordinary literary quest rather than a layman like me. It was just sheer luck that I got a chance to watch Shakespeare's famous play A Midsummer Night's Dream while it was staged back in Delhi in the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA). It was surprising that we just downloaded the entry permits from the IGNCA website free of cost which otherwise would have cost Rs. 500 each, thanks to their generosity! My mother was not much interested to go, but we finally managed to convince her as well. When we reached the venue the next evening a whole lot of surprises awaited us- the complex was magnificently decorated with small red lanterns. The cool night breeze and soft moonlight gave the open air amphitheatre a mysterious aura. But what surprised me most was the stage; it was just blank white with nothing but a checkered bamboo frame in front. I also noticed some long red pieces of cloth kept folded on top of the frames in a haphazard way. I asked my mother, “How will they portray a forest in this plain white stage?” She exclaimed, “Forest? What for?” I kept mum because it reminded me that I was the only one of the three who was familiar with the story. I couldn't help but wonder how such an intricate classic which involves enchanted forests, movement of fairies and even some imaginary species like hobgoblins would be portrayed in such a mundane stage. But as the drama began to unfurl I was proved wrong; flawless acting, attractive costumes and simplified dialogues with the magic of Shakespeare kept the audience captivated.

The most interesting feature of the play was its multilingual dialogue. We were thrilled to hear the actors and actresses speaking their dialogues in almost all the prime languages of India including Hindi, English, Tamil, Telegu and even Bangla. But what amused us most was how they created the forest effect. Just after the scene when Lysander and Hermia decided to flee, there was a heavy beat of drums; the lights became more subtle to create a moonlit night effect. Suddenly to our great astonishment, out came Titania's fairies tearing the white background to pieces. The actors playing this part had surprising agility; they swung from the red pieces of cloth beautifully replicating jungle pixies. It was then when we noticed the trick, the torn pieces still dangling from the frame resembled the thick foliage of a forest- and the moonlight added to the mystery. What a mesmerizing effect! The Greek classic with an Indian touch at last came to an end. The romantic comedy reflects the challenges of love, and the relationships between fantasy and reality, between experience and the environment.

As the play came to an end, all the actors, backstage people and the director came up on stage and took part in a melodious chorus together. Then the director, Tim Supple gave a short vote of thanks to the audience. From his speech we came to learn that directing this play was a very hard task indeed. Not only did he direct the play, but the organizers also had to hold auditions all over India and find the actors best suited for each role. The process took about four months, and finally the play was staged in the big cities of India.

This unforgettable experience will be ever fresh in my mind. A theatrical event like no other, Tim Supple's acclaimed Indian production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream combines the astonishing skills of actors, dancers, martial arts experts, musicians and street acrobats from across India and Sri Lanka.

 


 

home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2008 The Daily Star