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One of the best things about life is the fact that you get to receive so many presents. But unfortunately, you aren't always on the receiving end. You must give too and with Eid just having ended, the giving hasn't. There will be the month after festivity when you are fresh out of ideas but still need to buy presents and that's when the panic sets in. Keeping that in mind, this week Shop Talk suggests some new gift ideas to help tide you over till the next year.

Books are your answer. People only admit to not liking books on Facebook but in real life, they know that if you refuse a book, it means you are not really packing a lot upstairs. So no one will ever refuse a book. And there's a book for everyone and for every occasion. Head off to World Book Distribution Centre, Boi Bichitra, Bookworm or Nilkhet and pick a gift that lasts quite a while.

If the person concerned has never been seen reading a book or listening to music, then s/he must like sports, right? With the Olympics just concluding and a new football season about to begin, meaning new football kits, go crazy and get your friend/family member the latest jersey of their favourite teams.

Sports fans do not understand subtlety, so a trip around their room will tell you who they are rooting for, be it the large poster, the wrist-band or the tattoo; the signs will be present. Sports World, Sports Style, Stadium Market and numerous other shops offer the latest jerseys. Getting an original takes some know-how, so scout it out online.

But some people don't readily like to read books. These people are busier listening to music, usually at loud volumes that tend to get on everyone's nerves. Do society a favour and get these music maniacs some headphones, be they the normal ones or splurge on Beats by Dr. Dre or even the more animated looking Skull-Candy versions. Rifles Square and Bashundhara City have a collection but you can also opt to order online or through online shops like Style Lab. Music lovers will love the thoughtfulness.

Some people would rather be lost in their own little world and have little time for anything else. They have their own football leagues, fight their own world wars, fly their own planes and steal their own cars. For these people, you need to go for the totally unrealistic. The Wii or the Kinect are two gadgets that connect gaming with virtual reality and hence will prove to be quite a hit. With your own motions being simulated in the game you are playing, spend hours with your consoles, playing football, tennis or whatever it is that tickles your fancy. Guitar Heroes can also be quite the treat.

Still confused? Go for watches. You can never go wrong with a wristwatch, unless you are shopping for one at Farm Gate that says Pumu. Avoid that and go for the affordable versions of Citizen, Quartz, Longines, Cartier, Fast Track, etc. Be it a boy or a girl, watches will do the trick anytime. Head off to Iqbal Centre, Time Zone or the numerous shops on the ground floor of Bashundhara City and have your pick.

By Osama Rahman


Pampers is out to spread the smile

Ramadan is the special month of giving and forgiving and attempting to be a better human being all together. We find it easier to be better human beings during this month-- we give more alms to the poor and occasionally share our iftar with the less fortunate. But as the holy month bids farewell, much of our compassion seems to go into hibernation as well to resurface again a year later.

There are exceptions however, and such an exception is Anita Aparna Muyeed. A former teacher at the International School of Dhaka, Anita has found herself feeling the 'Ramadan compassion' all year round for the street children she saw around her block. It started with the simple initiative of inviting some of these street kids to her place every Friday for a meal and soon it snowballed into what is today Streetwise.

Streetwise is an organisation which is providing a group of 22 under privileged boys and girls with education, lodging, healthcare, meals and an allowance of Tk.1500 per month so that their families allow them to stay off the street and in the Streetwise hostels. The institution is not an organisation, rather a personal engagement by one philanthropic individual which has been gathering pace.

Adding much momentum to Streetwise is the global brand Proctor and Gamble. PnG, which has touched the lives of many with their products, is now looking into touching the lives of those who might not be using their products but who nonetheless could use some help and compassion.

PnG is lending its hand to Streetwise to spread some joy with its brand Pampers, the first ever diaper brand worldwide. The 'Pamper them, spread the smile' campaign by PnG will be providing Streetwise with a computer lab in order to allow them to educate its students and give them a fair shot at a bright future. You can check out the Pamper 'diaper centres' in all the major shopping malls around the city and contribute to the campaign by pampering your baby with some Pampers and spreading the smile to those who have not been pampered yet.

To learn more about Streetwise check out their website: www.streetwise.com.bd

Raisaa Tashnova


Personalising your floor

Functionally they are meant to provide protection from the cold and bare floors. They are also meant to give your rooms that feel of lavishness and comfort. In the Dhaka climate, they are difficult to keep clean, what with the dust building a community under them, but carpets have always been a part of any Bengali home. The style and structure of carpets have changed over the ages and today we take a glimpse into what the present market for carpets and rugs have to offer.

At present, the markets offer carpets ranging from Tk.20 to Tk.220 per square feet, varying in terms of the material for the carpeting as well as the design. Apart from full floor carpeting, rugs are also available in abundance within the price range of Tk.2000-15,000. The material for the carpet can vary from synthetic to cotton to wool to jute and finally rubber. Each of these materials is used to make rugs and carpets suited for different places within a household and for different purposes. The designs of these rugs and carpets are also adapted to the part of the house they decorate.

Let us delve deeper into what the market now offers in terms of these designs.

Persian carpets
As the name suggests, these are those classics which adorned your grandparents' house or your parents' house in the days gone by. The Persian carpets are usually large in size (usually 8 feet by 10 feet) and are meant for those rooms in the house where guests are likely to be entertained. Thus the drawing room and the dining area are well suited for these carpets.

The designs on these carpets are from the Mughal era and consist of a main central motif which stretches out to the corners. Usually done in white over a deep red, green or grey background, the designs have the touch of classic elegance, perfect for portraying sophistication in one's abode.

Persian carpets in the Dhaka market are mainly imported. They are brought from Dubai, Malaysia or Indonesia and are the products of synthetic fibres. Hence, these carpets tend to last a long time, truly becoming a classic.

These are smaller and longer versions of carpeting meant for more private places of the home. Rugs are to be placed at the foot of the bed or the entrance of the interior doors of the house. Unlike the mainly decorative purposes of the Persian carpets, a rug's primary function is that of cleanliness. They protect your bare feet when you step down from the bed and clean your sandals before you step into a room.

The designs of rugs are as varied as the materials from which they are made. The market currently offers rugs made from synthetic, cotton or wool fibres. The synthetic rugs are again subdivided into thick and thin kinds. Wool and cotton rugs are usually of the thin variety and the woollen rugs specifically have the disadvantage of storing heat. Rug designs include nokshi patterns, bold-coloured stripes and blocks and a range of other varieties from prints to writings and single-coloured rugs. Satranji, a leading manufacturer and retailer of carpets in Bangladesh, even has a line of rugs named 'A riot of colours'.

The most recent addition to the carpet market of the city is the soft and fluffy shaggy carpets. These plush floor covers are meant to soften a room's interior with a touch of great comfort. They almost beckon one to lie down and get immersed within the softness of their material.

Shaggy carpets are also made from synthetic fibres but are woven using a very different method than the Persian carpets. They are mainly meant for that open space in one's room and are thus 4 feet by 5 feet in size, bigger than rugs yet smaller than Persian carpets. The designs of Shaggies are mainly contemporary, displaying abstract patterns or a single bright colour alone.

These rugs and carpets are widely available in Dhaka. Elephant road, Gulshan 1, the retail outlets of Satranji in Dhanmondi, Aarong and Jatra are some of the places you may visit in order to grab the perfect rug or carpet to convert your house into a home.

By Raisaa Tashnova
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed


Jewel up the Himalayan way!

The blue of the endless skies, the red of fresh blood, the orange of tangerine, the white of ivory, the purple pink of the skies while gobbling up the sun; colours, these are what Himalayan jewellery are rich in. Apart from that the very make and designs speak to their uniqueness giving them a sort of raw, ethnic feel, making them that much more chic and fashionable.

Genuine Himalayan Jewelleries, the idea of Eksha Limbu, a jewellery designer who works mainly with contemporary Himalayan ethnic artistic designs often incorporated with Tibetan and Nepalese cultural and ethnic symbols, brings these jewelleries to the local fashion arena for those who want to make a volte-face from the conventional ornaments.

The concepts of the designs have been borrowed from the jewellery sported by women residing on the Himalayan belt, from Ladakh and Kashmir to name a couple of regions, and fused together to create Genuine Himalayan Jewelleries collection. These are not to be confused with tribal or antique designs since these are contemporary designs worn by the residents there.

Delving a little into the origins of this trade shows that the history of today's Himalayan Jewellery is not very old. In the early 1980s, Muslim refugees from Tibet started making jewellery in Kathmandu. The Himalayan Jewellery business is still largely under their control. Himalayan jewellery-making is influenced in many ways by religions like Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam.

At Genuine Himalayan Jewellery the stones and jewellery parts are brought from Tibet and Kathmandu and put together here according to designs by Jasmin Haque and Anna Cochhiarella. Metals and natural stones include turquoise, genuine mountain Coral and also Yak bones which are very popular in Himalayan Jewellery making.

Stone and metal bead necklaces, pendants in metal inlaid with stones, stone inlaid bead necklaces, rings and earrings are some of the items that can be availed. What further sets Genuine Himalayan Jewellery apart is the fact that they do not use knots to tie the neck pieces; instead they crimp the strings. Another specialty that they boast is the fact that a lot of their pendants have intricate designs engraved on the back of the pendants and on the fastener at the back of the necklaces. A lot of attention goes into the details of each piece.

Other than choosing from their existing collection, Genuine Himalayan Jewellery makes it possible for you to customise your own jewellery by selecting from their wide range of stones and beads and specifying your design to the designers.

Contact Genuine Himalayan Jewellery at Xplore, Suite C2 (3rd Floor) 404, Golam Rasul Bhavan, Dilu Road, New Eskaton, Dhaka 1000, # 01832801681, 01843565578. Visit their Facebook page-


By Karishma Ameen


Ramadan in photos

The Economist, in their July 26 issue looks at the month of Ramadan through a photo-essay titled “Fasting and Feasting.” From pickled olives in Tripoli to the busy food vendors in our very own Dhaka, it is a trip on its own, and a delicious one.


Wedding announcements
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un just got hitched ending weeks of speculation, the stylish Ri Sol Ju is North Korea's first lady (Voice of America). It is one of the series of moves that shows that the new ruler is breaking away from his father. Analysts believe that this symbolic move was made to show that the leader, while young, is “mature”.


Digital world
Our love for lists continues: Newsweek has compiled the “Digital 100 Power Index”, with an eye towards “impact and innovation.” Obvious choices includes Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, it is an interesting list that is a testament to the most important tool in the 21st century.


Freshman blues
Author Rebecca Harrington's debut novel "Penelope" is full of English humour, following the story of the picture perfect Penelope, a freshman at Harvard who must unexpectedly deal with the quirks and irksome manners of her classmates far from what she, and her advice filled mother, expected of the institution.


Quest for masculinity
After Stein finds out his wife is pregnant, he is committed to do as many “manly” things as possible before he embarks on fatherhood including learning baseball, loving dogs from a former Playboy playmate, getting handsome, and everything else the media describes as being “manly”. Joel Stein's book “Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity” is a hilarious one, to say the least.

By Olinda Hassan


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