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Life at Thakur Bari

You're probably reading this article, sitting in your room with the stereo on…or maybe online, while IM's keep popping up. Life is all about classes, tutors, computer games, eating out at fast-food joints, hanging out at the malls…there's so much, and yet so little to do. Each day comes and goes with such haste you have little time to think.

You really love these hectic routines, don't you? You love to go out. You love the adda at your school premises. You love to chat online till midnight with someone unknown. Sometimes you are busy doing nothing.

Have you ever stopped to imagine what life must have been like for people who lived in the past? Have you ever wondered what they used to do in |heir leisure time? And what filled their days? Can you imagine what life was like without electricity and the Internet? Some of you are probably about to swoon at the thought. If, however, you're in the slightest bit curious, read on, for we are going to explore the rhythms and cadence of the life at the Thakur Bari of Jorashako. Prize open the windows of imagination in your mind and take a walk ith the little Rabindranath to his childhood.

You are back in the year around 1870 as a child and woke up one morning with your little pal Rabi, the fourteenth child of the Thakur Bari. Rabi is a bit aloof from his parents as his father is busy with the responsibilities of the jamindari and his mother is bedridden after the birth of her fifteenth child. Rabi is credulous and full of imagination, quite different from others around his age. Though the house has several children he feels forlorn. He is probably excited to see you. He takes you to a corner in the veranda and informs yo} about the seeds that he sowed a few days ago in the hope that they will sprout up. Sometimes you hear snatches of songs and discussions going on from the meeting room of the elders. Curious, the two of you sneak closer to the room but the children are not allowed in. A bit crestfallen now, you decide to explore the labyrinth like attics and terraces instead.

You spend most of your time together, exploring the hidden terraces at the sprawling Thakur Bari. One day, you and your friend find the door of the room of Dwijendranath (Rabi's elder brother) ajar. You stop short in your tracks as you hear the cadence of recitation in the room. Dwijendranath is reciting from his recently written poem 'Shopno Proyan' to his friend. Rabi starts listening with rapt attention and after a few days he has thm whole poem by heart. You wonder how he learnt that long poem by rote. But there is little time to wonder now because it is time for the children to learn music.

Your guru is Srikantha Singh. Rabi has a very sweet voice and is very fond of his guru but he is not interested in learning the grammar of music. He has a penchant for listening to the songs of maids, servants, beggars, Bauls and boatmen. He learns what he listens to. His budding mind is redolent of these exotic songs. Rabi tells you that he is awestruck by the line 'jol porey pata norey' while reading the Bornoporichoy with his guru Madhab Pundit. Rabi is entranced by the charm of the primitive rhy|hm and it keeps ringing inside his mind like the tunes of the chiming carillon.

All the children of the house are under the control of the strict rules of Brajeshwar, the head of the servants. In the evening you sit with Rabi and other children to listen to the fascinating stories of the Ramayan and Mahabharata in the light of the oil lamp as narrated by Brajeshwar. Kolkata is yet to experience the flash of electricity. Kerosene is used by a few. Most people use castor oil to light the lamps in Thakur Bari.

After stories you go to dine. You are quite famished from the daylong exploration with Rabi. Then you two turn in with other children in the big bed. One old maid of the house starts the bedtime story of Dalimkumar and Konkaboti. You are fascinated and sleepy at the same time.

The next morning you wake up in your room with your alarm clock screaming its heart out. Lord! you just had a dream while reading the RS and you forgot your homework! You have classes at nine and it is eight thirty! No time to waste and no time to think again. You get ready in no time and run to your school forgetting your lonesome little pal, Rabi.

The end of the Kusharis and the rise of the Thakurs: Rabindranath was the most famous personality of the Thakur family of Jorashako. Thakur in Bengali means a Hindu priest. But his forefathers were not priests. Their surname was Kushari. Jagannath Kushari was ostracized from the society for socializing with the Pirali Brahmins. As the consequence he, along with his brother, had to shift to Kolkata from their ancient hometown Khulna. They started to live in the Horijon Polli (ghettos) of Kolkata and it was rumored that some priests came to teach idolatry to the Horijon community. The communities believed the Kusharis to be the priests, and they were surnamed Thakurs.

The rise of the Thakur family transpired in the time of the East India Company. Neelmoni Thakur used to work for the Company and earned a handsome amount. He built a western style house in Jorashako and founded the Thakur family. The family experienced its halcyon days at the time of Prince Dwaraknath Thakur. Debendranath was his son, and Rabindranath, the grandson.

Rabindranath's childhood in own words: I remember onm of those mornings when suddenly a Jibanananda woke up inside my mind. At that time the world was enveloped in the mist of the mysteries. I used to dig into the soil in the cow runwas very hopeful of discovering something thrilling. I gathered some soil in the corner of the south veranda and sowed some seeds and used to water them everyday thinking if they sprout up what a miracle it would be! All the beauties, smells and flavours the earth is redolent of, all the stirs and movements, the coconut tree in the indoor yard, |he banyan tree by the pond, the shadows on the surface of the water, the commotion from the streets, the cry of the kite, the fragrance of the garden, the gusty winds everything that was intertwined with the colossal half-known creature gave company to me.

By Durdana Ghias

The EID guest guide

Irritating guests drop in all year round, but Eid gives just another 'special' excuse to come and annoy you. Everyone faces this problem, but I don't think anyone has ever published any guide to help deal with these people who turn up out of the blue. Keeping this in mind, I have decided to compile one of my own that should serve as your essential guide this Eid. Follow a few simple steps anl voila! You get a peaceful (and wonderful) Eid without the hassle of having to deal with annoying guests.

Remember to continually brag. We often try to avoid doing this for fear of onfending others. Yet this can sezve as a powerful tool in your times of stress. Just let go of your imagination …make up impossible stories of what you have done, your multi accomplishments, your brother/sister/cousin/friends' accomplishments, your mountains of shopping for Eid. Mention how you simply couldn't resist buying that 57 thousand taka kameez in the shop window when you saw it. How people oohed and aahed about it for the entire month when they saw it, how they practically begged you to let them have i| (hey, it never hurts to exaggezate, right?). Remember, everyone loves to brag, but few love listening to it. Ignore the raised eyebrows as your tales continue to grow more and more unbelievable.

Claim the spotlight, and don't let anyone else s|ep in. People listening to your will need to have an ex|reme amount of illpower to not fall asleep. Oh yes, please don't try to prove just how interesting and exciting you can be, during Eid. This shall ruin everything. Once you find that the people are actually interested in what you're saying, swiftly change the topic to something that'll guarantee to make them yawn. Its even better if you can talk to them about something that they have absolutely no knowledge about…. like history, or technical matters about machinery.

Don't stop your boring monologue, even when you see them yawning repeatedly. Better still, you can take your guests on a grand tour of the house. Don't forget to provide them with numerous details, even about the most insignificant pieces of furniture in your house (i.e. the 5 year old coffee table in the corner, or the rusty rocking chair in the verandah). At this point, your guests will probably be dying to get away from you, and never return!

If you aren't the talkative type, don't lose heart. There's hope for you yet! Remember, supposedly it's the quiet ones who make excellent listeners. Here's your chance to prove this statement wrong. Constantly feign disinterest in what your guest (s) are saying, sit tight with an expression of absolute boredom, and steal clear glances at your wa|ch every five minutes, mutterino to yourself. E~entually your guest(s) will notice and ask you hat the matter is. Here's your chance to launch into a short tale on how your fziend/relative has urgently called you to his/her house, but you don't want to leave your guest alone in the house. If youz guest is thick headed enough to actually stay after |his remark, cas}ally ask 'So, when will you be leaving? Will it be long?' with a simple smile on innocence. This tactic almost always works, and you don't have to worry about them thinking of you as being rude cause you have already noticed that they can't pay attention to subtle hints.

I believe I have said a lot. All these have actually worked for me in the past, and will probably be put to use again this Eid. Hopefully, they'll be helping you out too. Anyone with more ideas on getting rid of annoying guests, feel free to contact me at jenniash@hotmail.com as I'll really be requiring feedback on this.

Wishing you all a very happy Eid from Aunt Jen. Take care and Ciao!

By Jennifer Ashraf (Kashmi)

Motion. Emotion.Explosion

Undoubtedly, the shopping fiesta began before we could smell Ramadan. On the last week of Ramadan, when bargain hunters nrom all over the country gathered in the capital city just to get the smell of the Eid fiesta.

At the biggest shopping spree of the year, the shop entertainers are doing any thing to exert a pull on their customers. So, we would look as some of the different types of marketing mockeries that these entertainers have put on.

To start with, we have 'ANDAN' super shop. Not long ago, they provided a deal that said anyone paying above TK.5000 would be awarded with gifts. Our experience with these gentle business establishments was not gentle, unfortunately. We bought goods worth Tk.4400, and we were zegretting the missing 600 bucks, but my generous daddy cool, levelled the balance on Tk.5000 by getting some biscuits. All thesm while the attendants were enco}raging us with ords, like 'Sir, we've got plenty of gifts' and etc. We failed to get what we would get in material by what they called gifts. Our fault, I admit. The attendants were clever enough to keep the secret a secret.

After everything was passed through the counter and the suspense of gifts was coming to an end, we had the ultimate shock. The gift was a packet of halim masala. I must say that they were a huge reward after we bought our time to get the essence of the hugely popular delicacy called halim. Down but not out, my sister and I had the pleasure of tasting expensive biscuits, which tasted worse thin stale wet bread. Poignant, but not cheerless, my attention always reflects on what the gifts, discounts and extras were, which the vendors kept on providing all thzough the popula|ion explosion month.

Experiencing 'Shoppers World' on Gulshan Avenue, was unique and distinctive. Consumers who would buy goods worth 35000 bucks would get a thousand off and the ones who would buy goods worth 10 lakh, would get a lakh off. Ever wondered how much these shops extract out of us? No. I was feeling so cheerful that I planned on calling a hartal the very next day accusing the govEARNment for allowing business houses to extrac| too much profit out of civil consumers. But sadly though, I didn't belong to any party.

The Mobile mania seems to have gotten to all Eid fanatics, I suppose. The experience at the 2nd Mobile fair at the Bangladesh-China Friendship Hall was a matchless one. If anyone doubted Bangladesh as a populous country, I am sure those doubts would have been cleared at the Mela. The extremely disorganized fair was aimed to measure people's love for mobile phones. If there was anything else to it, I suppose that didn't click my mind. The number of people that flocked the exhibition, I am certain, if I were in charge of ticket sales, by now I would have opened another telecom company bigger than Grameen Phone. I knew that our culture insists that people buy new clothes on EID, but little did I know that new phone number{ were part of the deal. So, when we go check out what our friends and relatives have bought, we ought to take note of the new cell numbers they've acquired this season.

Eid Greetings via SMS, E-Mails, Phone Calls and paper advertisements seem to be a thing of the past, as I forecast tub thumping car audios playing ' Eid Mubarak' songs.

Finally, I must introduce this year's sensational fusion fashion. Available in T-shirt forms on the skirts of Dhaka College. This T-shirts seem to have taken Eid to a different level, the T-Shirt bear writings such as, 'COOL EID.'

So, wishing all Rising Star's readers a COOL EID, I conclude.

By OrGaNiZeD CoNfUsIoN







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