Here to Stay
After the thirty-sixth rerun, even your favourite episode of Tom and Jerry starts to lose its charm - you know exactly when Tom is going to crash into that ironing board. And as much as you wish that the old cartoons had stayed, some of the new ones aren't doing that badly, either. Ninja Hattori aside, here's an RS shout-out to the not-so-bad newbies out there-
Phineas and Ferb - If the title song hasn't made you watch it yet, then Parry the Platypus surely will. Weirdly shaped heads, a tattletale sister, and a bumbling evil...well, not-so-genius. The soundtrack is awesome, an added bonus to the already awesome episodes. (check out “Squirrel in My Pants”). Two kids' random summer holiday adventures were never this much fun.
Kim Possible - Another Disney cartoon, this is your schoolgirl-turned-buttkicker-in-secret show. Despite having a female as the lead character, it doesn't go all girl-power on you. Guys can enjoy it equally well as there's a healthy dose of (animated) action to go with the school dance dress dilemmas. Catchy title music sets the mood for the show. Oh, and there's Rufus. He's a naked mole rat, NOT a hamster.
Teen Titans - Well, this one's been around for a while, but you could still call it new in the sense that it puts a new spin on old characters. Remember Robin from Batman? Well, he's not just a colourful sidekick in this show. He's the leader of the Teen Titans, a teen superhero group. The show has a definite plot to it, but there are still a couple of episodes you can enjoy on their own. Teen Titans gives you a new perspective on Robin and what he did before joining Batman. Sadly, his costume remains just as garish.
My Dad the Rockstar - Well, the name just says it all, doesn't it? This one's nothing short of wacky. Willy Zilla, son of rock sensation Rockzilla, just wants a normal life. His larger-than-life heavy metal dad is anything but normal, and completely useless when it comes to advice about the school bully. Sliding down the staircase of their mansion, he acts more like a teenager than a dad. Throw in a smart-talking bus driver called Skunk, a pet Komodo dragon, and a pink-haired spiritualist called Crystal who also happens to be Willy's mum. The result - a recipe for complete disaster. Or do I mean fun?
Ruby Gloom- This cutesy cartoon makes for easy watching. The stories are simple and baby-ish, but the characters are just so unique and lovable. There's Ruby, 'the happiest girl in the world', and her cat, Doom Kitty. You get Scaredy Bat, who is afraid of the dark but eats mosquitoes, and Boo Boo, who tries so hard to be accepted as the mansion's official ghost. But the best of the lot is probably Misery, whose jinxed family has been blamed for everything from the Ice Age to the thunderstorm last night. Put them all together to get something that's sure to bring out the emo in you, but will make you smile at the same time. Now when's the last time that happened?
Shurjo Uthshab 2011
When I first told my friends that I was going all the way to the edge of the country, where the indigenous Garo tribes live; a place far from luxury, mobile networks and electricity supply... just to see the first sunrise of the New Year, they laughed me off. From what I gathered from their reactions, they were firmly on the party boat, the one that makes the police block some areas of the city on the 31st. But even at times like this, every year a group of adventurous people from different walks of life gather to visit a part of the country that is usually unusual for us city dwellers, to bid farewell to the ending year and to welcome the new year by greeting the rising sun. For those of you who did not know, it has been going on for 10 years! They call it Shurjo Utshob!
Shurjo Uthshob started way back in 2000 when a group of thrill-seeking people from Bangladesh Astronomical Association decided to see the first sunrise of the new millennium from a wondrous location of Bangladesh, far from modern civilisation. The concept received immense popularity among the high-spirited population and has been continuing ever since.
On the night of 30th when I reached Chobir Haat (opposite charukola) I saw a group of people ranging from little children to, well, people whose age you don't ask (cause you don't dare) waiting for our bus. They were all set with their backpacks, tents, sleeping bags and cameras. It took us around 8 hours to reach "Lauachapra Oboshor Binodon Kendro” in Sherpur. The ride was quite bumpy but fun, especially the 26 bumps that almost threw us out of our seats (yes we counted!). Wild elephants frequently raid the area, so we had to get special permission to stay overnight.
After the introductory group meeting we started off to visit the Garo villages for which we had to trek up and down several hills through deep vegetation for hours before we reached a small village with a few cottages made of wood and bamboo occupied by the Garo tribal people.
We trekked through more wilderness to finally reach our cottages to be greeted by unbearable loud music being played by eight different "Picnic Parties" all of whom had speakers set up on top of their buses and were playing different weird music at the same time. Things got worse when they started singing themselves... the jungles were so much better! Luckily they did not have the guts to stay overnight and left soon enough!
After a little rest, we climbed the watch tower to see the last sunset of the year and came back to start making lanterns, caps and setting lamps to celebrate the beginning of the new year at midnight. In the meantime a telescope was set up and people from surrounding villages came over and were shown Venus and its satellites. Luckily enough, the sky was very clear that night. Stars were all over the unpolluted sky. We hardly felt the need for electricity. Most of our phones didn't have charge or network. Somehow every few hours a signal would pop up and we would be flooded with missed call alerts from friends and family and when we would try to call them the signal would disappear!
Around 100 paper lanterns of different colours were lit and placed on the bridge above the lake, which was beside our cottage. The area around the cottage was transformed within moments with coloured flags and lamps. In no time the place was ready to welcome 2011! At midnight hundreds of lamps (mongol prodeep) were floated on the lake with best wishes for the New Year. This along with the lanterns on the bridge and the weather outside created an otherworldly environment. We sat and talked for a while getting to know one another better. Tents were set up and arrangements were made in the cottage and we dozed off for the night.
We woke at dawn and hurried to the watchtower on the hill. When the sun came up, it mesmerised us. It was a moment of pure joy. The silhouette of the eastern hills was an unforgettable scene. The green hills started becoming visible as our brightest star kept rising. It made our journey complete and gave meaning to the name "Shurjo Utshob". For all it's worth we were glad that we were standing there to feel its warmth rather than sleeping in the comfort of our beds back at home. Try it at the end of this year.
By Mohammad Ar-Rafi Waseq Hossain
Click and Caption
As a part of their campaign for the 'Every One' movement, Save the Children UK organised a photography exhibition on the 28th and of 29th December, 2010 at Dhanmondi's Russian Cultural Centre. The 30 exhibits, selected from 500 entries, were all posted under the same tagline expressing stories of optimism through a single photograph and an appropriate caption. Needless to say, the focus of the photographs was children.
The special guests present at the award giving ceremony were Sumanta Sengupta, the country director of Save the Children UK, and Mr. Shafiqul Alam Kiran and Shihab Uddin Ahmed from Pathshala. These two, along with Abir Abdullah, were the judges for the contest. The main criterion for selecting the photographs were the way the children were presented in them. Unlike other exhibitions, the photographs were not aimed to evoke thoughts in their viewers by pointing out children's miseries or sufferings, but by unveiling a different aspect of their lives in a more positive light. The three photographers best able to do so were present at the event: the second runner up Adnan Arsalan, first runner up Imran Hassan and the winner, Tania Shukhrana. The winners received Tk20,000, Tk30,000 and Tk50,000 in cash respectively.
It was the first photography award for all three winners, and they were overwhelmed by the achievement. Adnan's photograph was titled 'Aye Chelebela' (Welcome, childhood), depicting a young boy standing still during a game on the street, but his skyward stare is what captures one's attention. The title of Imran's entry, 'Need Playground for All Children', is quite self explanatory. The reason it stood out of the rest is the way Imran portrayed a group of jovial children, making the most out of their playtime in an unfinished parking lot, and the fact that it doesn't take much to make a child happy. Tania's click and caption, however, completely stole the limelight. A moment of her two month old niece dressed in a saree, it came with the caption 'Cherish Your Baby Girl Who Reflects a Mother'. The photographer's personal interpretation of the caption was the unfortunate reality that daughters are rather unwanted in this subcontinent, and she believes that her photograph showed how a daughter can make us proud too. Optimism, a story of change, emotions - the photograph had it all.
The other exhibits were no less impressive, though. None of them were clichéd, and none failed to induce hope in the observer. That was the target of the organisers - 2.5 lakh children die in Bangladesh every year from easily preventable or curable diseases, and 9 million worldwide. 'Every One' is aimed at increasing awareness among the different classes of society, to remind us that every child has an equal right to survive. May the 'Click and Caption' contest be the first of many more to come.
For more information on 'Every One', visit
By Abedin T. Rafique
| Issues | The Daily Star Home|
© 2010 The Daily Star