Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |  Volume 6, Issue 47, Tuesday, December 06, 2011




Cars and nightmares

By Ehsanur Raza Ronny

Cars are the stuff of nightmares. It is fear and agony wrapped up in metal supported on surefooted rubber. It grips and claws at people equally whether they have an affinity or aversion for all things car.

Environmentalists are the first to denounce the car as a threat to humanity. Pollution, carbon footprint, greenhouse gases and Justin Bieber's toxic tunes belting out from 1000 watt trunk mounted sub woofers. That kind of stuff.

Governments would say that the cars are blocking up the roads. Cut down forests to make more. Now you'll hear the environmentalists scream, again.

Parents say cars are the disease. Yet they can't not hand over the keys to their kids at some point of time. Kids can whine a lot. Justin Bieber again. Eventually you give in to make it stop. Parents will fear cars to be the cause of road rash, accidents and population boom. They're right.

Pedestrians fear cars the most. They're the ones who often have a close encounter of the metallic kind when they're crossing the streets while talking on a phone and fixing their hair. Probably the driver of the car is doing the same.

And then there are those who like cars. It's a source of constant fear and worry for them. When's the next model coming out? How about getting the car suspension low enough to look just right? How to deal with speed bumps and potholes the size of Dinajpur? Why are rickshaws right behind? And on the sides. And sometimes, they even fall right on top of a car. So many worries take up the mind.

I spent the better part of almost a week agonising over the colour of my newly bought oversized, unnecessary yet cool wheels. Do I paint them black? Gunmetal grey? White? Bronze? Metallic brown? Should I paint the car itself to suit the wheels better? I tried to pick the style on photoshop. I then painted four different wheels different colours to see which 'spoke' to me. I took someone's mouse home with me because I liked the colour and wanted to look at it for a few days and see if I still like it. I woke up in a cold sweat after having a dream where someone that looked deceptively like my wife sold my wheels. My precious wheels.

Cars are the stuff of nightmares. Trust me. If you are not in love with cars, stay at home and you will be at peace. Don't go on a road, don't go near cars. Stay away. If you love cars, you're doomed. But you'll love them anyways.


Furry and feathered friends

Mastan was a coal black deshi dog with curly fur and the disposition of an angel. As long as he was alive there was always laughter and mirth in the house of my good friend Tori and her husband Tawfique. When he died of some problem, I don't recall quite what exactly, cancer or some other gland complication of the throat, the element of joie de vivre not only diminished -- I didn't find that home in Dhanmondi quite resounding with guffaws and chortles, which that hearth and home once did.

The sound of music resonated often through that home. But now I don't quite know why, life in that home is more static than dynamic. I used to be “supersonic” to go there before. But not now, with the absence of the trilling parrot and Mastan there is certainly not quite the same flow of mirth.

Yes, pets make a whole lot of difference in a home. This is although some people are against having pets inside the homes -- or the neighbours who pass unkind comments. 'Why do you keep dogs? It is against our faith.' Or something along that line. This is although one knows Arabs and Persians of sound faith, with the regular five times prayers a day, keeping falcons, cats and even dogs in the desert. For them 'Duldul', the horse from the Shiite faith is something handsome and truly admirable. His portrait even decorates the living room with pride, there's no hiding of this under the rug.

I know that as long as Madan Dada had his dog, who took him gently by the cuff and led him to his petite, fay-like wife Mala, life was okay in that home too in Puran Dhaka, near Wari. They had a parrot too, which added to the lively home of three golden growing children. Now there are innumerable kittens and cats in that home. But the dog and parrot are sorely missed by the family of five. They say that having a child in the home is like having an angel. Having a pet too invariably brings peace and harmony.

Chaka, my friend George's dog would greet him every evening after his work, by jumping almost to his shoulder, even though my friend was almost six feet tall. The way he pampered his cats -- of all shapes and sizes -- is another story, and that too not a dull one, I assure you.

As for Brandy, my friend Arham's gorgeous cat, her story could be a minor “Ramayana Mahabharat”. One could write a book on her. And that is not empty bombast or hyperbole. She was cute and cuddly, with long, snowy fur. She was shampooed often, as she often rolled in the dustbin playfully. She used to growl gently in her tiny throat when she set her beautiful grey-green eyes on me.

My friend Kanak, who stays in Dhanmondi, and is an artist of repute, has a black and white cat whose pet foods are flown from overseas by her husband Mithu. They once also had large turtles in their picturesque living room. Lucky pets.

“Whenever strangers are about it barks so loud that unwanted guests fear to tread in,” said our tenants below about my pet Doggie, for whom I unfortunately had no time to play, as dogs need someone to give them love and affection like children or friends. “Go and play with the boys,” I used to say to my dog , as I went to work each morning. Yet when I returned, no matter what time, Doggie was there, with his big wagging tail and tongue hanging, his head between the paws with sheer joy. To come home was then pure pleasure. “Can you believe it, Dada,” I said to my friend, “My dog can move his head and tail to the notes of 'Sur les ponts de Paris', and my senior friend explained to me over the phone that a pet dog catches the tune through its sense of hearing.

There was the Alsatian Muddy in my uncle Moccadem's house that became as friendly with me as an amiable acquaintance. This was although I visited that house just four times at the most, as my aunt was gravely ill with cancer of the brain, and the couple stayed away in the US for treatment for more than a year.

Another lovely aunt of mine, who is a teacher of repute in the city, keeps four large Alsatian dogs, at their home on the main road, and they appear as gentle as lambs, snoozing happily in their respectable cages when I come and go, and my visits are not that frequent, all said and done.

When I was nearly twelve or so, we left Dhaka after a stay of two years, to stay and study abroad. My brother's Alsatian dog just pined away, as if he knew that we would not return for ages. Naturally, my big brother grieved, as if a dear friend had died. Dogs, wherever they are, whether in Melbourne or Brisbane, I always know them to be not only guards, but dear friends of the family.

By Fayza Haq


Winter collection at Aarong

Arong has brought to you a special collection this winter with shawls, scarves and quilts to match every moment of this season. Aarong has got a wide range of winter products that defines fashion as well as lifestyle. For regular and casual wear, Aarong has shawls and scarves in fabrics of cotton, khaadi, endi and silk in various shades with hand and machine embroideries, and contrast compositions that beautifully compliment ones look, be it saris, shalwar kameez sets, western or fusion outfits.

Aarong has an exclusive collection of nakshi-kantha shawls in shimmering silk that denotes cultural heritage as well is a mark of true sophistication. At Aarong you will also find specially designed sleek and smooth silk quilts that, besides being a necessity this season, can also make a great heart-warming gift for your loved ones.

Celebrate the winter and everything it has to offer, with Aarong.

Celebrating 40 years of Freedom

2011 marks the 40th year of our victory in the War of Liberation. To celebrate this auspicious occasion, and to pay tribute to the Dhaka Club on its 100th year celebration Reela's Fashion Boutique is organising a gala fashion show, marking the success of Bangladeshi fabrics and fashion that has evolved since 1971. The event will take place on Saturday, 10 December, at 7:30 pm, at the Tennis court of the Dhaka Club.

Reela's is a highly acclaimed fashion house in Dhaka, which focuses on promoting Bangladeshi fabrics, capacity building and employment generation. The fashion show will be conducted in three segments. The first will showcase the fashion and trends that were popular in Bangladesh in the 70's. The style of 80's and 90's would be presented in the second and third segments respectively, with popular music from those decades.

The last segment will contain a glamorous display of evening and wedding clothes, illustrating the gradual evolution of fashion from the 70's till the new millennium. The fashion show will be followed by dinner and a musical program.

A M A Muhith, Honourable Finance Minister, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, will grace the occasion as Chief Guest. A K Azad, Honourable Minister for the Ministry of Information, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, has kindly consented to be the Guest of Honour. Kobori Sarwar, MP and A K Azad, President, FBCCI will be present as Special Guests.

Chanel I is the media partner for this event.

Kumudini celebrates Christmas

Every year, renowned boutique Kumudini brings their Christmas Collection with a range of products -- silk scarves, gift bags, shawls, place mats, coasters, tea cosy sets etc. Don't miss out of this exclusive offer, one that blends the local heritage to the blessed occasion that is Christmas.


To celebrate the Independence Day, fashion house Buno has brought an entire new collection for men and women. The range of attires includes shalwar kameez suits and fatuas for women and shirts, panjabis and fatuas for men. Also available are children's wear.

The fabric used has been essentially cotton, in patriotic colours of green and red. For details, contact: 46 Aziz Super Market (2nd floor), Shahbagh. #01911691842.

212 VIP

After the tremendous success of the female version in 2010, Carolina Herrera presents the 212 VIP, masculine edition, which is promoted with the slogans -- "Are you on the list?" and "This is a private party."

The exclusive party fragrance for men was launched by leading perfume distributor-Prestige Bengal Ltd through a dazzling gala event staged at Floor-6 Restaurant on 28 November, 2011.

The fragrance reflects the style and attitude of the New York party elite, described as a party animal and nightlife scent, containing notes of gin and vodka. A man of this fragrance is a fun, charismatic and stylish, awakening lust and envy in others.

The oriental woody composition is created by Emilie Coppermann as an explosive cocktail of vodka, passion fruit, frozen mint, ginger, black pepper, lime caviar, leather, spices, amber and king wood. It reflects the attitude of the most exclusive parties.

The fragrance is available as 50ml and 100 ml EDT with 150 ml deodorant and also a Gift box containing a duo of EDT 100ml and Aftershave

This fragrance is available at Paris Parfums, H#2, Rd#126, Gulshan-1. For details, call at 01730077066.

Kay Kraft

Beginning 1 December, 2011 the Independence Day Collection of Kay Kraft, one of the leading fashion houses of the country, has hit the shelves. The collection basically features attires and accessories in the nationalistic bicolour of red and green. Dress up for this year's 40th year celebration wearing a patriotic, tied-and-dyed sari or a shalwar kameez; a sporty top or a fatua; maybe a panjabi or a carefree t-shirt wrapped around by shawl.

Available at all Kay Kraft outlets.

Winter discount @ Ena la Mode

Keeping the ensuing winter season in mind, fashion house Ena la Mode is offering a 20 percent discount on a range of products. Clients can avail this special offer at Ena la Mode's outlets at Uttara and Pink City, Gulshan till New Year's Eve. Contact: Pink City Complex, 3rd Floor, Shop #9, Road 103, Gulshan 2; House #4, Road #12, Sector 6, Uttara.


Here comes the cold season

Left work for half-hour to grab something to eat. One step outside the building and a gush of wind almost blew me away. I put my hands on my freezing ears. This is just the beginning of the long winter that is to follow but I am falling in love with the season.

The trees still have some yellow leaves left on them. When I look at the horizon, I see colours that I can't always describe in words. I think I see beige, golden, brown, yellow and perhaps, a light shade of green too. On some days, I feel like buying a long-distance bus ticket and leaving home for a day-long road trip to another state. The reason? I can devour the beauty of the season in the streets, houses, trees and fields while on the move.

I usually leave home about ten-fifteen minutes before time so that I can stand at the bus stop and look at the balding trees, the grey-blue skies and the distant yellow fields, where children frolicked even a month ago.

I always take a window seat on the bus so that I can look outside and see how everything is changing. Frosty cars, people clad in layers, lawns covered in dead leaves, everything murmurs the beginning of a cold, cold season.

It has not snowed at the time of writing this piece. But that does not mean it is not cold enough. Every morning before leaving home, I check temperature online so that the sunshine does not deceive me. The sun deceived me on a regular basis when I first came to USA. I would look outside the window and be awed by the bright sun. I would only know that the sun tricked me when the cold outside would send shivers to my bones. I am rarely fooled these days because I have learned that checking weather.com before stepping outside is the smartest thing to do in winter.

I know I will start complaining about the snow, the wind and the cold once the New Year comes. I will get bored and tired of the leafless trees, snow-covered fields and gloomy skies. But it is nature in the beginning of winter which seems so surreally beautiful that I can't help but scribble a few lines.

By Wara Karim


As The Daily Star has moved to its new premises, we request all our event invitations, press releases and other forms of correspondence be sent to Raffat Binte Rashid, Editor, Star Lifestyle (7th Floor), 64-65 Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, Dhaka 1215. Email: lifestyleds@yahoo.com or raffat@thedailystar.net


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