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Before the sunrise

Barriers made of string are like the 'Stop' signs at the back of CNG taxis. You see it but you don't really pay attention. So you step over the string anyway and step in. And then you face errant paint brushes, flecks of paint, glued, gooey paper and other such artsy hazards.

Story: Sadia Islam
Photo: Adnan Fakir

This was the scene at two very happening places the night before the Bangla New Year. The first was Charukola, Bangladesh's premier art institution. People were busy painting, building, gluing, wiping dried glue off their paint speckled clothes and generally having more fun than watching monkeys doing the moonwalk. And this was open to all.

The Shahbagh area was the place to be if you're looking for a great open air hangout. The footpaths were lined with makeshift stalls selling bangles, ektara, more bangles, clothes, toys and some more bangles. New boyfriends should beware, for opinion can and will be asked of them.

But that's just the start. The party happens beyond the gate. First to greet you is an art display by students and teachers alike. It's all for sale. But moving along further inside the campus, you see people; all kinds of people, old, young, newborn, in love, jaded and a dog. A really scruffy one. All around it's a major party atmosphere. There were papier-mâché masks and my legs went weak. I wanted them, all the colours, all the shapes.

So what were all these people doing here? Razia walked up carrying a little two year old girl with beautiful curls. “The kids love the park-like atmosphere. And to tell you the truth, so do I,” she said.

There was an elderly couple, perhaps about 60. They were there to see their daughter, who is a student. They loved the show. What show? It's the string barriers I was talking about. People were busy building floats for the New Year, for the next morning. There was music, there were fireworks, some of which cracked up too low. And then my friends showed up. Tapos, a 31 year old finance guy, is a regular around this area. “The fun starts at midnight. The fireworks amp up, the drums fire up, it's a proper carnival.” All across the city everything was quiet but this was anything but.

On the other side of town, along Manik Mia Avenue, a similar carnival [yes that's what these were] took place. This year, the entire stretch of road was used up as a canvas. Everyone and anyone could participate. People got busy with their paint and the food was ever-present. Check the pictures; these speak more than the thousand words that I'm not allowed here.

Both the venues are terrific for a unique hangout with friends and family. Since these happen from the evening onward and carry late, late into the night, it's always a good idea to go along in big groups. There were police present throughout the venues this year but then THIS IS (kind of like) SPARTA. While the daytime parades are the big attraction, the night time activities shouldn't be missed.

Gadget Masking What the city offers and what you can do

By Padya Paramita

Gadgets are upgraded every day. Not only in case of apps or features but also their exteriors. You don't see mp3 players, iPods, laptops, tablets or cell phones without some kind of cool design on them. In case of you were thinking of getting your gadget “masked” any time soon, here's all you need to know about customising skins.

The trend was active abroad for some time. People would get their gadget covers customised into skins depending on their likes, favourites and philosophies. It followed in Bangladesh with the advent of the store called G-Mask a couple of years ago by the company Idea Max. With branches in Bashundhara City and then in Rifles' Square, G-Mask is a very small “workshop” where they, duh, mask your gadgets.

They have a wide choice of designs in albums you can choose from. And by wide, we mean from Rabindranath to Cristiano Ronaldo. You can also give them your own designs and they can manage to put it on your gadget for you. They are currently receiving a large number of computer accessories from customers, ranging from a pair of headphones (to make skull candy) to a mouse.

However, if you want to save some money or are really bored, you can try masking your gadget by yourself. This is DIY at a whole new level. What they do at the G-Mask store is that they apply an adhesive-layered film over the design. That type of film isn't available at the store because, well, they won't sell it. What you can do is make a design using Photoshop, MS Paint or adjust any wallpaper or picture you want to use as the skin to fit the size of your gadget and print on a standard label sheet. Make sure you set paper type to “label” before you print for the glossy effect. Once it's printed carefully take it off and put it on your iPod/iPad/laptop and the like. Voila!

If you want to place jewels on your gadget, fabric glue works best and this is available in the art stores around the city, such as Modern Stationeries at New Market. Whatever you do, make sure you practice on something else first, in case you regret your final piece later.

Go all out with your masking, impress your friends, and who knows, they might urge you to start your own business! Happy masking!


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