Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |  Volume 7, Issue 16, Tuesday, April 17, 2012




The geek trick
The title says it all: “Dear Fake Geek Girls: Please Go Away,” written by disgruntled Tara Brown who is angry that being a “geek” has become a trend now for almost anyone who chooses to wear big glasses and take on the label to be different (Forbes). She argues that pretentious girls have figured out that being geeky will get boys' attention, and it's an excuse to take lots of photos for Facebook, and nothing to do with the long established culture of geek-ness.

Sinfully healthy?
A recent study has found that people who eat chocolate more often than normal tended to weigh less than those who don't (Montreal Gazette). This reinforced the notion that chocolates do have health benefits such as controlling blood pressure. Of course this doesn't mean you should gorge on chocolates without being healthy in general with regular exercise and proper meals.

Saudi revolution
Another big change is coming to the history of Saudi Arabia -- women will be given the chance to participate in the Olympics, and represent the kingdom (“At last, Saudi Women in the Olympics”, Arab News). At the forefront of this campaign is Reema Abdullah, an amateur soccer player. The decision has not been easy, but it is finally possible -- more the reason to stay tuned to London.

Bizarre words
“The History of 7 Bizarre English Words” by author David Crystal explains the origins of bizarre words like bagonize, which means “to anxiously wait for your suitcase to appear on the baggage claim carousel at an airport” (Huffington Post). Every word has a story to tell, argues Crystal who explains other words like matrix, robot and doohickey.

The Shoemaker's Wife
Ciro and Enza fall for each other instantly when they first meet in 1908, but it becomes interrupted when Ciro must leave Italy. Years later, they meet again in New York City, where Ciro works as a shoemaker. The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani tells the story of a couple who live through two world wars and battle their individual ambitions and love for each other. A beautifully detailed, adventure-filled book on the American dream and how love can play.

Monday Mornings
Monday Mornings by the renowned Dr. Sanjay Gupta follows five surgeons at a hospital who must confront their personal and professional goals and failings, and tie in their private lives as they try to do what they are supposed to -- save lives. However, they must also enter the Morbidity and Mortality conference where the most secretive meetings in medicine take place. Think Grey's Anatomy as Gupta takes you into how surgeons really learn and the role of luck.

Remembering Titanic
The largest Titanic-themed tourist site just opened in Belfast, Northern Ireland, a project that cost £100 million and marks the 100th anniversary of the ship's sinking (The Mail). The opening ceremony was made special by having Cyril Quigley as the honourary guest- the 105 year old has watched the Titanic leave in 1911, when he was just 4 years old.

Gender and Art
Women in the Middle East, especially from countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran are finding their voices through art, inspired by the Arab Spring (The Economist, “An avenue of free expression”). Political art that talks about gender issues in the troubled region has increased; at the same time however, censorship is making strides too, even in cities like Dubai.

The much talked about bestseller Joyce Carol Oates's new novel, “Mudwoman” is about the stressed out Meredith (aka Mudwoman), the first female president of an Ivy League university. One day she abandons a presentation to visit the mud flats of her childhood, where her traumatic upbringing is revealed. History of sexual abuse, poverty, and religious fanatics makes her torn between her real world and the imagined.

Ice Cream Price Hike
Due to the poor harvest of vanilla beans this year, the price of ice cream could increase worldwide (The Telegraph, Food & Drink section). Madagascar, India and Mexico have seen far lower yields than normal- in Mexico, production fell by 90%. The article discusses the issue and how this is not very good news for ice cream lovers worldwide facing a hot summer this year.

Murder & Olympics
The timing of James Patterson's book “Private Games” couldn't have been better. The book is set in London where agent Peter Knight must pursue a murderer who is trying to destroy the London Olympics (in order to bring back the “old glory” of the games). Patterson cleverly takes readers to action-filled crime scene in the wake of the largest international gathering that also must be saved.

Coffee in Amsterdam
The recent push by Netherland's lawmakers to restrict coffee shops and the selling of drugs to nonresidents has caused a little uproar (New York Times, Europe section). Netherland's tourism industry could potentially suffer as a result -- while museums, scenic sites, and culture definitely attracts worldwide travelers, nearly a quarter of the foreign tourists come to Amsterdam to visit its coffee shops, where small amounts of cannabis sale is tolerated.


Short Time Course

For those who want to a career in the designing sector in a short span of time, Radiant Institute of Design has arranged 2/3 months of short courses in Fashion Design, Interior Design, Basic Graphics, Ikebana, Bonsai, Auto CAD 2D, 3D Studio Max, Bengal Clay Showpiece Design, Glass Paint etc. There are special discount offers for SSC-passed students. Seats are limited for admission. The last day of admission is 26 April and the classes will start on 27 April. Contract: Orchid Plaza (3rd Floor), House # 2, Road # 28 old, Dhanmondi, Mirpur Road.
#01817141824, 01671759479.


Flaunt your beautiful skin this summer!

Beat the heat this summer, maintain your beauty and keep your skin soft, supple and well-nourished with these quick summer skin care tips.

The skin sweats more in summer leading to increased dirt and grime. Try to wash the face with plain cool water every few hours.

Cleansing is also of utmost importance, in order for grime and other pollutants to be removed completely from the skin. Kaya's Soothing Cleaning Gel helps in deep cleansing without stripping away essential natural oils. It also makes the skin look and feel fresh after use.

It's very important to exfoliate your skin. Your body sheds skin cells quite rapidly and regularly. Get rid of the dead cells before they start making your skin look dull and dry. Exfoliate your skin at least once a week to remove all dead cells and flakes left over from the winter. Massage gently using micro beads as opposed to harsh exfoliation with larger beads as this can injure the skin and make it sun sensitive. After about 4-6 weekly exfoliations bring it down to once in 2 weeks during summers.

Cover your skin:
Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection and at least SPF 15. If on vacation or outdoors, usage of sunscreen with SPF 30 is highly recommended. SPF only measures UVB protection and not UVA; hence one should look for a sunscreen that also provides UVA protection. It takes about 15-20 minutes for any sunscreen to give you complete protection, so apply it at least 20 minutes before stepping out in the sun. The product should be reapplied every 3-4 hours, if one is outdoors for long periods of time.

Sun's rays are the strongest between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. so it is advisable to limit exposure to the sun as much as possible, during these hours.

Use sunglasses to protect your eyes. Try using an umbrella when you go out in sun. This will protect your skin and your hair.

Shower tips:
A cool water shower cools the body and skin temperature and retains oils and moisture in the skin. Don't dry the skin roughly with a towel. Gently pat it dry. Do leave some moisture on the skin so that when you apply the moisturiser, the skin can absorb it fully and seal it in.

Try and take a shower twice a day, to feel cool and refreshed.

Summer diet tips:
A light summer diet is recommended, to keep one feeling fresh and hydrated all day.

Foods rich in Vitamin A aid in protecting the skin from the sun. Foods with abundant Vitamin C help in repairing sun-damaged skin. These vitamins can be found in vegetables and fruits including carrots, papaya, black grapes, and green leafy vegetables.

Water, freshly squeezed fruit juices, fresh lime water or soda, and light summer salads loaded with plenty of vegetables and fruit are all part of an ideal summer diet.

Don't forget to drink at least 2 litres of water every day.

By Kaya Skin Clinic


Tranquillity in chaos

Making most of the space we have is a concept that will grow in importance more and more as the city of Dhaka balloons out of all proportion. How space is utilised in this city that seems to be sprouting concrete mutations in every space available is something that will determine how we live in the not too distant future.

All great cities are characterised by an ability to adapt to its unique circumstances, and Dhaka should be no exception. This adaptation is scarcely more in evidence than in a shaded nook of the busy Dhanmondi road 7/A area, an area that is known for its cultural activities as right opposite is the Dhanmondi Lake and the lakeside amphitheatre that hosts numerous cultural programmes.

From the outside, House 60 just bears the appearance of an elegant building sporting the rustic charm of red brick walls, but inside is quite a different story. Perpetually shaded, the premises, which also houses the Art Centre, is home to Ajo, a cafe quite unique in decor in Dhaka's eatery scene.

It is indeed a wonder of space utilisation; all the tables are set along the outer walls of the Art Centre building, in normal circumstances where the cars would have been parked.

The entrance speaks of shaded tranquility. Steps lead up to the first floor which has a balcony and before that, an AC room that houses a small library with a few comfortable sofas and a wall lined with bookshelves. But before ascending the steps, make your way through a narrow passageway by its side to get to the heart of the cafe. A series of tables sit elegantly along the rear of the building, the extended canopy overhead lending the feel of dining outdoors while still retaining some of the ambience of indoor seating.

The organic, almost spontaneous feel carries over to the furniture used. The decor, as talking to co-founder and interior designer of the cafe Khaled Mahmud proved, was given a lot of thought. "We visited a 400-year-old monastery in Bhutan to identify what brings peace," said Mahmud. "We have kept things basic, as peace comes from simplicity. The design was based on the four elements -- earth (the high earth walls of the cafe), wind (its ventilation), water (the small water body) and fire (the kitchen)."

Mahmud also said that Ajo, meaning unborn, sought to give identity. We as a people thrive on recycled materials -- we watch pirated cds, wear second-hand clothes from Bongo Bazar or Dhaka College, etc. Ajo gives this recycling a positive and environment-friendly twist.

A crow's nest chandelier, use of discarded ship's floorboards and metals, discarded transistors and even self-made bulb-holders, all form part of the effect.

Thankfully, prices are reasonable which is important in a cafe that caters mainly to university students who flock here from the abundance of nearby institutions. The menu is Continental and Indian, and both worlds are represented thoroughly. It is worth mentioning again that the prices are an attraction, because it is not often you get the combination of spectacular ambience and reasonable prices in Dhaka. Their most expensive item, the Ajo Special Steak, is priced at Tk.543.

Whatever sort of culinary mood you are in, you can bet that Ajo has the menu to satisfy. If you do not want anything too heavy there are rolls and salads to choose from. The grilled chicken salad is a special offering -- a healthy treat. If you want something heavier, there is an assortment of steaks and beef dishes to choose from, as well as Spaghetti/Pasta and Chicken Gyros. In the mood for something closer to home? An extensive selection of deshi cuisine awaits.

Being located in the Art Centre premises, it is a cafe that engages the intellect. Patrons are encouraged to donate books to the library and they can also borrow books if they so desire.

Ajo is indeed an example to follow for future establishments in Dhaka not only in terms of architecture and interior designing, but also in terms of the overall business philosophy. It is a place to go to take a break from the grind, and fortunately the oasis is right in the middle of the chaos.

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Ajo Address: (Near Art Centre) House 60, Road 7/A, Dhanmondi.


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