Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |  Volume 7, Issue 23, Tuesday, June 05, 2012




Tips and toes

BY Sabrina F Ahmad

With the April fashion season behind us, the Spring/Summer wardrobe has most likely been updated and is enjoying its time in the sun. For the restless fashionistas out there, one fun way to keep playing with looks and staying fresh is to try out some of the year's hottest nail trends. Get your gal pals together, pop open a few Youtube tutorials (most, if not all the looks mentioned below can easily be recreated at home), and you're on your way.

Screen inspirations
Never is the old saw about life imitating art truer than when applied to fashion. The romance between designers and artists is an old one, whether we are talking about Dali and Schiaparelli collaborating on art-inspired dresses, or the local talent of Charukola lending their visions to t-shirts at Nityo Upohar. Small wonder then, that our beauty trends steal inspiration from the silver screen.

This is a year heavy on the fantasy, with The Hunger Games breaking the box office, and plenty of nails being chewed in anticipation for Dark Knight Rises, with the final Twilight movie, and the recently-released The Avengers keeping appetites whetted in between. The nail trend that pays homage to all three is the ombre manicure. This basically uses subtle shade-shifting so that your nails slowly blend from one colour to another, from your thumbnail to your pinky. The best part is, this manicure can easily be done at home, so grab your favourite shades, and you're on your way. Twilight fans are going for blood-red and black, Hunger Games fans for red-orange and tangerine, while Batman fans opt for a dark to light transition of blue, as a nod to Nolan's choice of lighting in his films.

For those who prefer to take their fashion inspirations from fashion itself, you can do what many style mavens are doing this season: matching their nails to their shoes. Let us consider the ways:

French tips: Power pumps are taking colour-blocking to a new level by reviving the French toe-cap. Nail stylists are stealing this idea, and that's why you're getting variations on the traditional French manicure. For a wonderfully trendy look, try the reverse French manicure, with black tips capping off white or nude polish. Or do white tips on black nails for a cool monochrome effect. Other variations that did their rounds on the red carpet recently include clear nails with brightly coloured tips.

Floral fusion: Wedges are back, and celebrating spring by strutting their stuff in floral prints and embellishments. We're seeing the same on nails. From nail tattoos to stencilling, it's a garden all over your nails.

A shade above the rest
If all that experimentation is not your cup of tea, and you prefer to keep things simple, why not stick to playing with colour? The trend for longer, ladylike nails are back, so once you've got that done, here are the season's hottest shades to try out.

Lavender - This understated colour is good to wear to interviews.

Glitter - Okay, so this isn't a colour, but a little sparkle can totally amp up your look. Great with ombre and fade manicures.

Fuschia - This fun shade is a great pick-me-up, and suitable for both night and day.

Canary yellow - Everything about this colour screams “Look at me”.

Classic red - Hollywood is reverting back to its old glam. Why? Because it's irresistible. Need another reason?

Nude - Whether it's beige, tan or ecru, somewhere, there's a nude shade that is sophisticated, understated, and totally you.

Tangerine - The hottest colour of the year. Enough said.

Soft teal - This cool shade is perfect for a day out with the girls.

Final word
This cannot be emphasised enough. Any and all the trends mentioned above only work if you have nice, well-maintained nails. So file, buff, and keep clean. Keep your nails healthy by drinking enough water, and eat your greens and plenty of nuts for nourishment. Regular massages with cuticle oil (or even baby oil or olive oil will do) will keep your nails shiny and young. Don't wear any nail-polish for longer than a week, and allow your nails a few days to breathe before a new application. This prevents yellowing. Finally, give your nails a good setting by keeping your hands adequately moisturised, and apply generous amounts of sunblock to the backs of your hands before stepping out, and you'll get the most out of them.

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Nail Art: La Belle


Bravery undying

It is very easy to think, with all the newness that surrounds us, that we are a young nation whose history goes back only to our independence. But as epochal as that struggle for our identity was this land has seen struggles and the effects of war before, evidence of which lies in acres of shaded green tranquillity in Maynamati.

The World War II Cemetery in Maynamati is a reminder of our past. The place is likely to fill you with an appreciation for the history of where you stand and also a deep respect for those who give their lives for a greater cause.

Many of those buried hailed from far off lands to fight a war that was bigger than they could perhaps comprehend.

The battle of Normandy, which took place in a far away, alien land on D-Day (6 June, 1945) marked a pivotal turn in the outcome of the Second World War. Today, after 67 years we remember all the soldiers who lost their lives on the Indo-Burmese border, a land far away from what these soldiers called 'home'. It is through their sacrifice and effort that we lead a life shaded by the canopy of serenity.

Historical Information
The cemetery is 1 kilometre down the road leading from Comilla to Sylinet and a short distance past the Cantonment Military Hospital. There is a C.W.G.C. road direction sign on a roundabout at the crossroad.

Before the war Maynamati was a hamlet of a few dozen huts, but during the war a large military camp was established there. Several ordnance depots and a number of military hospitals, both British and Indian, were in the area, including Nos. 14 and 150 British General Hospitals; and the majority of the burials in Maynamati War Cemetery were from the various hospitals.

The cemetery was started by the Army and laid out by the garrison engineer. It is dominated by a small flat-topped hill crowned with indigenous flowering and evergreen trees. Between the entrance and this hill lie the Christian graves, and on the far side of it are the Muslim graves. On a terrace about half-way up the hill, facing the entrance, stands the Cross of Sacrifice, and on the other side a shelter looks over the Muslim graves to a tree-framed view of the countryside beyond.

There are now over 700, 1939-45 war casualties commemorated in this cemetery.

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed


The Sun

The hunched figure of a man sat in the centre of an isolated prison cell. The 6 by 8 room was windowless and the little illumination that came was from an invisible light source. The man raised his head from his arms around the folded knees. His face was withered and his eyes lustreless from lack of exposure to the elements outside. They kept him locked away in a subterranean cell because he was a threat to all humanity, as he constantly heard them say.

He got up from the steel floor and lay down on the single iron bedstead set against one of the three walls. It hurt his back but he did not flinch. He heaved a lonely sigh and closed his eyes.

The sun was a liquid gold orb in a clear, cloudless sky. He lay resting his head on her lap, on a grassy slope. The sunbeam bathed her soft, caramel skin setting it aglow and bounced off her shiny raven locks, accentuating her fiery beauty. He gazed up at her face, those tawny eyes, bright as the sun, and was lost for words.

Next, he was chasing her down the sun-kissed meadow, dotted with dancing, aureate daffodils. Rebecca was a good few yards ahead of him. She looked resplendent in the distance, her yellow sun-dress whipping about her knees in the wind, her dark tresses flapping about her face, shining in the sunlight. He had seen nothing as beautiful as Rebecca in the sun.

She loved the outdoors. Bright sunny days were her favourite. She reckoned there was nothing more fitting to be painted on a canvas than nature glorified by the sun. Her broad, smooth strokes from the paintbrush formed sun-splashed sceneries of trees and flowers, streams and hills and people. He didn't think much of the outdoors or the sun before but Rebecca had changed that.

She was radiant and so full of life that she left a trail of joy in her wake wherever she seemed to tread. Sunflowers and daffodils were her favourite and he got them in heaps for her, too. They spent hours on the curve of the hill, under the sun, and took long walks together, their fingers entwined. He listened to her talk about nature, enthralled by the life in her voice, mesmerised by her lustrous laughing eyes, addicted to her brand of beauty. For him, Rebecca was the sun, the angel fire that fuelled his passions, the centre of his life.

A loud wrenching sound cut through his dreams. An officer opened a latch in the reinforced steel door and pushed through a dented plastic tray with two kinds of mush in it. Dinner time, or was it lunch hour? He didn't know, nor did he care. Time had a way of melting from day into night and back to day without any one being the wiser at the Super Max. The walls that guarded the convicts did not allow rain or shine to permeate the underground penitentiaries. Shine…that was all he could think about.

He spooned down the grub from the tray, gulped down the water from a paper cup and lumbered back to the hardened bed, his only destination. But all he wanted was to get his days of sunshine back with Rebecca. How he wished he hadn't done what he did to end up in quarantine here. Slowly, painfully, he dozed off into his reveries of Rebecca and their days in the sun.

By Afrida Mahbub


Jamai Shoshthi

By Kaniska Chakraborty

That day in mid summer that son in laws of Bengali descent look forward to. That day they get to put up their feet and be pampered by their parent in laws. Not only food, but also gifts of various natures are showered. Some time-tested gifts are shirt and trousers pieces, also called cut pieces, Panjabi or kurta, dhoti and, of course, cash.

My case was special. I was the son in law in a different country, where Jamaishoshthi was not really an in thing. That never stopped me from showing my Mother in Law various Jamaishoshthi special recipes from various magazines. And the dear lady never failed to do an incredible spread, none from the recipes that I sourced. The proud cook that she is, she always did her own recipes and never borrowed from any publication.

Ever since I moved back, she has made it a point to send something across to me every year. This year was not different. I got some special cake and a very special sweet pickle from her. For me, food is the best gift.

Not being satisfied with sending that, she called up my wife and asked her to treat me on her behalf. Who am I to say no to that? But there was one little issue. The day of Jamaishoshthi, I fell ill. Viral fever. No taste in mouth. Weakness. Bodyache.

None of which could deter my wife.

She personally instructed Padma di to cook a seven course pure Bengali meal. There was mushurir dal, kakrolbhaja with kashundi, shukto, chalkumrochingri, katlamach, aamerachar. And it was served to me in a very Bengali way.

A central plate with rice and bhaja. Small bowls with portions of the rest of the menu around the plate. Just the way I saw my Grandmother serve my father when I was young.

I will leave the gory description of the taste, as you must remember this entire meal was Padma di's work. But as far as presentation goes, full marks to my wife. She did her mum proud.


5 things to do when you first move in

Relocation incites a lot of list making; organisation is a key factor in making sure a move moves along smoothly. Here are 5 things you should keep in mind when you have lugged the final boxes into your brand new place.

1. Hopefully all those boxes were labelled so you can easily place them in the appropriate room for the grand unpacking. Many people suggest starting with the essentials and then moving to setting up the bed. Your body will thank you later!

2. If you are an apartment dweller, closely check your new space for any pre-existing damage and take note to inform your landlords. Also take note of any required fixes -- a faulty cupboard door, problematic shower head -- the kind of things you might not have caught on the walk-through before calling the place home.

3. Wipe down the space. Hopefully your new dwelling is spic n' span, but there is a good chance that the tops of door frames, ceiling fans, and other out-of-the-way places have been overlooked. It is best to clean those now before all your belongings find a home and make those areas hard to access.

4. Confirm appointments with all utilities on separate days.

5. Test your speaker volume. Turn up your tunes and duck into a hallway to see how the sound travels. This is also a good opportunity to meet the neighbours and show your considerate side. Ask them what is "too loud" and arrange for mutual noise curfews.


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