Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 57, Tuesday September 19, 2006



Special feature

Shopaholic's paradise

Ramadan is still to come. But if you pay a visit to the popular shopping zones of the city you might think otherwise. Eid festivity is in the air even before it actually arrives. Most shopping areas are buzzing with shopaholics or shall we call them shopping fanatics' bargain calls. Speaking of bargain calls, this week, for all the shopping fanatics out there we are giving a special guided tour to all the exotic shopping destinations in Dhaka city.

This part of the story will take you to Mirpur. For those shiny party saris, georgette, chiffon, benaroshi, hip handmade fabrics and more Mirpur 11 is the place to go.

Don't think you can get through the place in a hurry. Take an afternoon off. Start with Benaroshi Polli. Although it says Benaroshi, most of the shops these days are sparkling with other kinds, imported from India. A brief stroll around the place tells us that local products are kept in the back while the front line has been secured by imported items.

Prices of georgette saris here will start at Tk.1300, and go up to TK.30, 000 depending on the embellishment. Chiffons will cost around Tk9, 000. Silk is sold at Tk12, 00 to Tk25, 00 and more. These however are not our famous Rajshahi silk saris. Benaroshis and Mirpur Katans are still competing with foreign goods. There prices range from Tk12, 00 onwards depending on how intricate and exclusive the artwork is. These saris always have flashy names. Whatever Bollywood movie is in the charts leaves its name in the Benaroshi Polli. Sari designs are often imported from these movies.

The latest hit in the market is the cotton Benaroshi sari. It is a blend of Tangail taat sari and Benaroshi. The sari is hand-woven, just like Tangail taat. What makes it special is the use of benaroshi paar and aanchol with a cotton base. This blend created a classy piece of artwork that can be your fashion statement this season. These saris will cost around Tk.13, 00 to Tk.18,00. Also available here are taat saris and Jamdani.

You can so also place your orders here. Just choose your pattern and say when. All you have to do is pay half the price in advance. For major occasions like paan-chini or weddings, Benaroshi polli is the best place to be. The place stretches over an entire neighbourhood, comprising of benaroshi and jamdani taati families residing there, the handloom machines running the entire industry, and around 100 stores selling saris.

Next stop -- Shabuj Bangla Market adjacent to Benaroshi polli. This tin-shed market and rugged look will not make an impression on your mind from outside. However, what is found inside is making its way into every woman's closet. This market offers a wonderful collection of hand woven dress materials and fabrics. What is more astonishing is that they sell fabrics also sold by some renowned fashion houses, only in half the price. In variety of sheds most fabrics come from Comilla. Fabrics here are always being experimented with. Sometimes it is a blend of linen with cotton, cotton with a bit of rayon just after a few months or pure cotton after that. Salwer-Kamiz three pieces are sold here at Tk.550 to Tk.650. Latest designs will always cost you more. If you want to make your own composition you can always get clothes per yard priced at Tk40 to Tk80. This place also sells yokes to make your outfit more attractive. These yokes with colourful hand stitches on them will cost between Tk.120 to Tk300.

One setback though is that this place is constantly crammed with women of all ages and will give you a hard time getting the attention of the salesman. Sometimes even getting a good look at the cloths becomes impossible. This trouble however is worth it because things sold here are not to be found anywhere else. Closed on Mondays this place is gradually being called Aarong Polli by many.

Don't stop just yet. Stroll around the Shabuj Bangla market in every direction. There will be knick-knacks to look for, stuff that you will definitely find interesting, that is of course if you have the eye to look for and the time to spare.

By Shahnaz Parveen

Check it out

Debashish Nabagata

Designer Debashish Chakma started working on his ethnic design line 'Debashish Nabagata' in 2005 and his collection just completed its first year on the 17 September. He started designing with the intent to introduce ethnic fashion into the national as well as the world fashion arena and seems to have achieved just that even in so short a timespan. If these Adivasi traditions are integrated into the mainstream fashion scene of the country, they might have an immense contribution to make to our fashion culture.
Debashish's new collection attempts to integrate ethnic fashion with western styles. The cuts and styles may be foreign, but the line is very wearable in our socio-cultural arena and comfortable as well.
The designer has been working only with ethnic fabrics and fashion since 2005 and his styles have become a recognized and revered name at retail stores and shows at home and abroad. He designs mostly skirts, tops and trousers for ladies. They are available for sale at Aranya in Banani.

Skirts at Aranya

Skirts have made a strong come back in the fashion world and solidifying their rage are all the fashion havens and boutiques in the city. Aranya is no exception either, launching a varied collection of skirts in full force. Their colour scheme consists of soft Autumnal shades of natural dyes in addition to the all-time favourites of black and white. Designed in woven and printed handloom silks and cottons, the skirts are available in the casual wrap and layered styles as well as the slim lined eveningwear in silk and endi. Matching blouses and scarves complete the ensemble and the skirts can also be worn with Aranya's unique line of T-shirts. Aranya is located at 60 Kemal Ataturk Avenue, Banani.

LS Desk

By the way

Want to prepare a very scrumptious meal and even though you do every thing right the fish sticks to the pan and eventually breaks? Try out this very simple solution to a very annoying problem: coat fish pieces with rice flour before frying to prevent them from sticking to the frying pan.

Under a different sky

By Iffat Nawaz


I was watching a documentary on Nigeria the other day. It was a Japanese documentary on Nigerian rebel groups, their leaders, the oil industry and the corruption. The first half of the documentary concentrated on the country, the politics within, the poverty, the contrast between the rich and the poor, and a bit of the history. The next half switched abruptly to the role of the U.S.A in Nigerian politics and finance mainly dealing with the oil industry. My Japanese friend translated the message for me, which basically said that Nigeria is poor and pathetic, but they have oil, and the U.S.A, the evil power has a good relationship with the country so that it can steal all the oil. It talks about how the US is trying to infect the society, and cause problems within the country, maybe even cause a civil war. Bad bad bad US of A!

I felt defensive without even knowing it. Even though I don't support the current administration and their ways, I did know this was propaganda. I know how the USA is looked upon by every country beside themselves but I still feel a nudge inside when I hear something like this. The common message around the world about USA does bother me. Why? I do not know. I am a naturalized citizen here. I was not born here and neither do I wish I ever was. I don't have any particular loyalty to this land but propaganda certainly isn't the way to prove something wrong, and that will always bother me.

I remember the day five years ago, when America burnt on September 11, 2001. I remember talking to people back home in Bangladesh. To my awe, so many said America deserved it. Does any country “deserve” the killing of innocent people? I don't know, but for some reason everyone thought that America, the dictator of the world finally got what they deserved- the killing and burning of thousands of innocent lives. And it was okay.

Emotionally I often stand in no man's land. When I speak to others about America sitting here, I criticize the foreign policies, the Bush administration and the decisions they have made to become even more evil in the eyes of the world. I criticize the economy that now exists because of the war. But when I speak to someone who is against America, blindly pointing fingers without logic and completely based on second hand emotions and opinions, I get defensive. It's like standing up for a child who has done wrong, but is still close to you. It's like you are giving him time to grow out of his destructive shameful phase, and you know he will, and know he has potential to be so much better. He has done many things in the past and even at present that are good, and there can be a brighter future. You know it will take a long time to clean up his reputation, but you still want to stand behind him, waiting for this phase to pass hoping the world doesn't make him into a worse person by generalizing and stamping a big red Evil sign on his forehead!

If life was really black and white, it would be easy. Sure the intentions and the actions of this administration are quite black and white, the results of their actions are as well, but what happens in the middle and around, are not so black and white. Unfortunately we don't see the shades of grey very well with plain eyes, and from afar propaganda is easier to create than to analyse reality.

I am not supporting a country, standing behind anyone or anything. I just know I am against propaganda. Everything and anything out of context is scary to me. A label is hard to erase, and the damage it causes cannot be easily undone

Don't love me, but before you hate me look for my grey strands…


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