Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, August 17, 2006

A feast for the worms

By Tausif Salim

For the local bookworms, or any of our 'bookish' needs, there is an enormous 'feeding' ground located in Nilkhet (just opposite to the 'Balaka gate' of the New market). From bestsellers to never-before-heard titles, and BUET coaching guides to Princeton Review SAT, this place has got something for everyone.

Nilkhet's been the best place to find books in Dhaka for a long, long time. And what sets it apart from the rest of the places is its price range. With hundreds of shops, the competition is huge, the choices are wider, and the price level remains underground. For the average reader who cannot afford the 3000 Tk Da Vinci Code, this is just the right place.

And there's more to it. Not only can you find the pirated versions of the bestsellers, you are also free to browse through the old bookstores, which are located mostly in the inner alleys of the market. King, Forsyth, Clancy, Grisham and Steel are some of the more popular names amongst an array of celebrity and lesser-known writers. You can find quite recent issues of magazines such as TIME, Forbes, or Reader's Digest (I found May 2006 just few weeks back). And a rather helpful thing is that most of these shopkeepers are quite knowledgeable, as far as names of books and writers are concerned.

The majority of the books in these stores are in quite good condition, in spite of being old, and so you might prefer to buy a slightly old original copy, instead of the lower quality pirated stuff.

Apart from the novels, Nilkhet is also a very good place for all kinds of studying materials. The O & A level students could find most of the stuff they need including latest exam papers, marking schemes, books, and even the notes of some popular private tutors! There are books and/or CDs available for every conceivable exam, including the B.C.S, University Admission, SAT, IELTS, and TOEFL. And the computer geeks can get all the training books and guides (the photocopied versions cost much less). Sometimes the shops even download expensive exam guides and studying tips from various websites and compile them into their own, 'low-priced' versions.

When it comes to price, a few in the world can rival Nilkhet. I bought the original copy of Brick Lane for 80 odd and apparently it was no more than only a few months old. Similarly, I bought two Nicholas Sparks' hardcovers, each for less than a hundred. And for a better idea of how cheap it was, these books were originally priced at around 1000-1400! However, to get the best deal out of these shops, your bargaining skills would come very very handy.

I have been one of the loyal worms of this book hive, and was not quite willing to share my secrets here. But this other, 'bigger' worm who writes the weekly book review talked me into it. Anyways, the next time you need to buy a few books and save a few bucks, you know where to go, and who to thank for telling you. Till next time, Adios.

Fashion Crisis

By Aniqa Moinuddin

Despite the improvements in local fashion, both in the tastes of designers and that of the general mass, there are a few obnoxious trends that we (the RS desk) feel must be brought to the attention of authorities…or whoever.

Show those 'Ass-ets': Why teens nowadays have this tremendous urge to act 'black' fails to register in my head. The whole hip-hop look; weighing you down with chains from Gausia, walking 'the walk', talking 'the talk'…extremes of a wannabe. A message: 'Dude'! You're not Black…no matter how much you try, nothing you do is going to make you one so just try and get over it. However that is not the part that we're concerned with today since everyone has a right to emulate their idols no matter how crazy they may seem (the idols)

The tragic aspect of this whole 'wanting-to-be-black' concept is the fact that the belt industry of this country is REALLY suffering due to the sudden slump in demand for belts, since nobody is too bothered about keeping their pants where they're supposed to be. They (the pants) are free to fall as far down below as they choose to; the 'wearer' couldn't care less. An occasional tug at it to bring it up is noticeable amongst a conscientious few who aren't really comfortable with this particular 'style' but go with it anyway because otherwise they're 'baad' (outcasts). In consequence certain sights are revealed which I am quite sure should be preferred by onlookers be kept hidden, be it a piece of undergarment or none other than the hills and valleys themselves. It is particularly saddening to say that with time eventually more of the latter is coming into the lime-light. If you have expensive underwear and feel the irresistible urge to show them off, it is absolutely understandable…in fact we at the RS encourage it! Be proud and show it off well: do the Superhero thing! Wear it OVER the pants!

Be daring and innovative; start it off and it'll catch on amongst your friends and eventually the rest (no it's not a guarantee, not even a promise, hence you cannot demand for compensation of damages if the scheme doesn't work out). There is, of course, the more boring alternative of wearing pants that are at least as expensive as your underwear so that you can show those off instead, we would undoubtedly recommend the more daring approach since we the next generation must be dynamic!

Jhhun-jhhuni: You're at the O level examination venue, breathing hard, settling down for 2 hours of tremendous concentration and brain-usage (a rare and momentous event), just then there's the 'jhhun jhun jhun' from the payal of some completely senseless person who does not realize examination halls are for you to give an important exam in silence, so you can do well, get admitted in a good university and build a career, a good future for yourself and the country, NOT to announce your presence with its undying beauty to the rest of the exam candidates! (Phew…that was a long sentence and I am out of breath)

But honestly, I feel VERY strongly about this issue; there is a time and place for everything. Some people feel the need to dress up (makeover, heels and the works) during these exams, which I think is understandable since this is “one of the places where a lot of people are seeing you, so you might as well look your best” (quoted from a friend).

Plus it's their issue if they want to make a public display of themselves, it's not exactly bothering anyone…well it is in a sense, but not severely I guess. However the din of jingling bells in a quiet examination hall is a reason of concern, not to mention extreme annoyance, as it manages to completely spoil the atmosphere for an examination. Similar situations are jingling jewellery worn in milads, seminars, conferences and any other place or occasion which demands silence.

Fashion is about taste, being comfortable with what you wear and showing your personality. It is also a very subjective matter that can be carried off by only a few and only in certain circumstances.



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