Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 6, Issue 03, Tuesday, January 18, 2011




Lunch for nuton jamai

Fahmeena nahas

Many years ago when my sister-in-law Ninkoo and I were young, naive and comparatively new brides, my newly married niece Limi and her husband came to stay with us at Sylhet. Ninkoo and I asked our mother-in-law if we could cook lunch which was supposed to be a grand affair befitting the notun jamai.

We spent the whole morning cooking delectable items; beef, chicken, fish, vegetables, 'daal' and desserts were all done. We needed to cook the 'pulao'. The 'pulao' was done by the cook after getting instructions about the amount of fine grained rice to be used.

We spread the table with the best linen and set it with the finest crockery, cutleries and glassware. We decorated the dishes in the best possible way we could and served lunch. We called the newly weds and all of us sat down to sample the fine spread we had produced.

After the first helping I looked at the dish of 'pulao' and realised that it needed refilling; so I got up from the table to get some more from the kitchen. I asked the cook to dish it out and what does she tell me? “There's no more left!”

I thought I had heard wrong. I asked her how much she had cooked and she told me the amount I had asked her to cook. I hadn't realised at that time that it was not enough for so many people who were gorging on the scrumptious dishes. So what was I supposed to do?

The cook asked me if she should cook plain rice quickly. I replied in the affirmative and stood rooted to the spot. I was too embarrassed to go back to the table in case I found everyone waiting for the replenished dish of 'pulao.' Ninkoo came to the kitchen to find out what was taking me so long. She was stunned to hear the bad news. She decided to stay on to keep me company!

By then my brother-in-law whom we fondly call 'bhaiya' knew something was amiss. He is a good cook and had helped us cook some of the items. He too came to the kitchen and stayed on with us. By then my mother-in-law and everyone else knew that there wasn't enough 'pulao.' Each one of them including the newly weds diplomatically pretended that they ate less rice!

The lesson I learnt that day was if you invite five people, make sure you cook for ten. I would rather eat leftovers for the next five days than be embarrassed in front of my 'nuton.' or for that matter, even any 'puraton jamai' again!

Photo courtesy: Khazana


Knowledge speaks


Life is beautiful, isn't it? Maybe it's the time of the year when everything around you seems cool, the air is festive, family reunions are overwhelming and of course a new year is beginning.

Many people take advantage of the transition into a new year to make resolutions that will help turn them into better people. Many people, though they begin with good intentions of following through on their resolutions, do not keep their goals and when February hits there are far fewer people following through on their lofty goals of self-improvement.

Most New Year's resolutions don't last long because they are too difficult and unrealistic. People vow to lose 50 pounds, exercise for an hour each day, get awesome grades in school, and become nicer people-- all by March.

You're much more likely to keep resolutions if they are realistic and attainable. Drastic change is even more difficult. Many of our goals are so big that they beat us. We become so focused on the end result that we lose sight of the importance of taking small steps and acknowledging small successes along the way.

Here are some suggestions for simple resolutions that may be useful for students.

Spend ten minutes every evening straightening up your room. Read at least one book every month just for fun. Keep up better with local and international news. Spend a little less time watching TV. Help a friend with homework when needed. Be kind to your friends. Be respectful towards your elders. Recycle. Give away old clothes to the poor. Try to improve your attention span in class. Volunteer for a local charity on weekends. Cut your "fun" spending by 25 percent. Spend more time with your family.

Here are some suggestions for simple resolutions that may be useful for parents and teachers.

Try and make an effort to understand your child/student. Become a role model for your child/student. Answer your child's/student's questions and encourage them to ask more. Monitor their food habits so that they grow up healthy. Provide them good study materials so that they have strong general knowledge.

Dear Readers, make the impossible possible in 2011. Please don't be reluctant to make resolutions this year because you had failed to keep them in previous years.


Dhaka Regency's new family offer

The concept of brunch a meal that combines breakfast and lunch -- was not a very popular one in Bangladesh, until in 2009 Dhaka Regency Hotel & Resort introduced this novelty. Since then, the hotel believes that through their special meal called the Saturday Brunch, this tradition has gained a lot of popularity. .

The hefty meal is prepared every Saturday in Dhaka Regency's Grandiose Restaurant (Level 6), from 11:30am to 3:30pm.

End your lazy morning with a generous banquet of French toast with Maple Syrup, German sausages and an assortment of cereals, among many other appetising items. Help yourself with mouthwatering soups along with a vast range of appetizers. And then, of course, try out the large variety of items they have on their main course, which includes Arabian Roast Chicken with Kabsa Rice, Teriyaki Beef, Manchurian Prawn, Chicken Hariali, Beef Tehari, etc. And, last but not the least, indulge your sweet tooth with the creative and yummy treat of desserts on offer, which includes strawberry mousse, pudding with orange sauce, blueberry cheesecake, etc. There are a staggering one hundred and twenty items for you to savour.

The brunch is the perfect meal for a family, as it usually takes place during a holiday. Dhaka Regency has recognised this fact, and introduced an attractive offer whereby every two adults will be able to bring up to two children under the age of twelve, who can dine free of cost.

Great food, magnificent milieu and with your family members and other loved ones around that definitely adds up to a splendid time spent. So, what's your plan for next Saturday?

For reservations, call 01713332599.

By M H Haider


Frozen with patriots

By Iffat Nawaz

Concrete streets exhaled foggy cold breaths as she rode down the narrow alley, could have been the back roads of Moscow or the city that works as the mouth of Sundarbans. Didn't matter really, her mind was floating atop somewhere trying to look ahead, predict the midday mood of her heart. Lives moved with frozen steps left, right and center. Cold wind hit her face, traveled between the gaps of her shawl; stomach felt empty, tongue unwilling.

Last night was wrapped with music from the street. Who knew the people in this town loved patriotic songs this much. And that too in January, no special occasions to show such all night love to the country while it tries to sleep. Her hotel window brought in verses from the patriots, and the curse words thrown with affection between the truck and bus drivers. Her dream contained rallies and riots, she woke up wishing she were home.

Rushing between meetings to accomplish some major detail that will be forgotten in a few months, or days, she walked into the hotel to check out of her room.

The lobby gate opened with a half smiling guard. She rushed towards the lift as she felt the invading glances down the back of her body.

The guard called out “Madam, ey je apu?”
“Yes, what is it?” she turned and asked.

“Will you please go to the reception first?”
“But why? I am already running late, okay fine” annoyed she walked over to the reception counter where two suited men with unbrushed hair and teeth stared her down. One of them opened his mouth “Which room are you going to madam?”

“715” she hurriedly answered, “I am in a rush! What is it, anything wrong?”
“715” the man repeated slowly as the other one searched for the registration cards to pull out the details of room 715. He asked, “Which college do you attend?”

“College? Ummm? I am not a student.” She answered a little puzzled.

“Well madam you cannot go up to the gentleman's room, you are a lady and we don't have permission to let a lady go up to a gentleman's room.”

“That is my room! I am the person who is paying to stay here! What nonsense is this?”

“Oh sorry madam sorry, we didn't…”

“Where are your manners? Is this how you treat your guests?” she half yelled, and didn't know what else to say as she exploded inside. The connation of the two men plus the guard made her fume and she wanted to say so much more but time was short so she walked off burning inside.

Inside the room some local Bengali newspaper lay on her bed. Someone had come to clean up while she was gone. She glanced over the front page, there were news of murders and mugging. The patriotic songs still played outside “Ekti Bangladesh tumi jagroto jonotar, shara bissher bisshoy, tumi amar ohonkar,” Just one Bangladesh, you are of your peoples, an amazement for the world, you are my pride.”

She sat on her bed, listening to the next verses, about liberation, she felt like crying but instead sang along a few verses out of sync, right then the microphone muffled and the CD abruptly stopped. For one-second silence drew over the barren and embarrassed mouth of Sundarbans, she prepared to leave.



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