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Pithas galore: The winter delicacy

Come winter people start bringing out of the dusty closets the sweaters, jackets and pullovers. And usually the reason that jackets tend to be baggy is because winter also heralds in the season of pithas, that Bangla delicacy that could give a donut a run for its money anytime, and we Bangladeshis being gluttons by heritage just can't resist pithas (which is why we need baggy winter to clothing to hide the paunch). And since we at the RS also tend to drool over these seasonal delicacies we've decided to bring to you some of the delicacies that can be found easily in the city.

The most accessible and probably the most popular pithas are the bhaapa pitha and the chitoi ptiha. And like the tea stalls that populate almost all the sidewalks of Dhaka, makeshift pitha stalls suddenly crop up all over the streets in winter like some weird form of seasonal flower. Cheap, tasty and readily available these two pithas take the season by storm.

And now for the other tasty morsels that make this fine season of colds and sneezes worth living through. Second on our list is the patishapta. A tasty roll with an insanely sweet filling and its enough to keep everybody happy for the five minutes it takes to eat one. There are different variants of patishapta ranging from malaishapta to gheeshapta. These two are specially made in Old Town and are some of the delicacies specific from that part of the city.

Another favorite is the teler pitha. Sweet and filled to the extreme with saccharine it's a death wish for diabetics and one of my favorites. It's a staple at the pitha melas that take place every now and then and good thing about this pitha is that it transcends the season. Bug your mom to make it whenever and she'll happily make it, thinking that at last her good for nothing son/daughter is showing some interest in good deshi food. Those with a sweet tooth, this is the pitha for you.

Then there's the dudher pitha. Basically it's a chitoi pitha soaked in milk mixed with a bit of sugar or gur/. It's tasty and healthy with all that milk and calcium it's great for breakfast or an evening snack. An for those of you who are connoisseur cooks, it's one extremely easy to make because the ingredients aren't hard to come by nor are there any hard procedures in work.

Next up we have the kuli pitha. It's crescent shaped, filled with coconut and sugar and it's enough to make any hungry man salivate (although, that's not saying much, I mean if the guy's already hungry... but you get the idea) and it's got coconut in it. It's better than those Swiss coconut caramel chocolate thingies…or not. Ah well. It's still good stuff, you can bet on it.

And for those of you who don't have a liking for the sweet stuff, don't worry. Pithas aren't just the quintessential example of concentrated sugar. There are pithas that are known for being spicy, for the chilli lovers out there. Chitoi pitha for example can be eaten with a variety of bhortas that are spicy to the nth degree.

Other than that there are the dim poas that are another of the treats that primarily come from the Old Town and are spicy and tasty as well. Made from vegetable and eggs it's definitely one to burn holes in tongues. And it's cheap, it might even be healthy, with the vegetables in it, but we tend not to recommend health food, on account that they don't taste good. Rest assured though, the dim poas are tasty and likeable.

And how could we forget the all encompassing jhal pitha. It's jhal, and it's tasty. It's there for the eating and in these cold wintry months, they are sure to heat up the intestines with all that concentrated spiciness. Saturated with spice it's one of the more enjoyable treats among the pitha kingdom and we recommend water as a side dish, lots of water. You'll need it.

In conclusion, all we have to say is this that deshi food is the way to go. In winter the day's special on the menu should be pitha, in some form or the other, be it spicy or sweet. And instead of opting for that donut or pastry, what's wrong with stopping for pitha? They are tasty and worth the eating. And since it's still kinda cold, meaning its still winter (don't know for how long though, frankly I don't trust the Dhaka weather) eating pithas should be a top priority.

By Tareq Adnan
Photo credits: Sajjad Hossain

Winter sports

Winter sports - it has the effect of bringing to your mind images of skiing on smooth slopes or flying down them on your cool snowboard and getting buried head first in the freezing snow, or it brings to mind fonder thoughts of smashing your rival's face in a friendly game of ice hockey. Unfortunately, these sports are impossible to play in Bangladesh, so it is time to stop dreaming of a potential snowstorm that will no doubt kill thousands, but nevertheless will allow you to play such games. Instead, why don't you go out there and take part in sports that are more suited for a wintry day in this place?

The first sport that comes to mind is definitely badminton. Wherever there is an open space, you are bound to see a couple of badminton players having a game on a wintry evening. Everyone can play this, starting from noisy kids to grown ups, and it is relatively easy to learn. Once the racquet soars out of your hand a couple of times and hits random people in the face and after you look like an idiot swatting imaginary flies while the cork lies untouched on the ground, you will get the hang it. You don't need too many players to have a game of badminton, which makes playing it a lot easier, and it allows you to move around a lot and keep warm, so you should definitely try this out.

Speaking of extra movement, if you have a bunch of friends around and you have nothing to do, football should definitely be your choice of sport. The speed and strategies of this game makes it incredibly interesting and while you are out on the field, you can imagine you are playing like Kaka or Messi even though you are just running around aimlessly and kicking your friends' shins, how fun is that? The great thing about playing football in winter is that you won't collapse from a heat stroke while playing and when your sluggish friend does so, you will be sure that he is just pretending and can guiltlessly kick him as hard as you want. Also, there is less chance of you slipping in the mud and unintentionally getting a facial in the process.

Cricket is also a good game to play in winter. Although it does not give you as much exercise as football does, it is still a really popular sport, especially now that our team is finally giving the Kiwis a hard time! In winter the pitch will not be cracked from the heat or too slippery from the rain, so it might be better to play in this season, especially if you are a serious player and are particular about bowling the perfect line and length, or batting with the right techniques.

Though this sport is not nearly as popular, you can try playing handball as well in the field. This could also be fun and make it less tough to injure your opponent, like hitting him really hard on the head, since it is probably easier to throw the ball at someone with your hand instead of kicking it in that direction! Basketball is another option; if you can actually find a proper court to play on, and can give you the exercise that you need as well.

Since it can get quite cold outside at times, many of you can opt to stay indoors. Instead of lounging around and imitating Homer Simpson all day, you can opt for a game of 'kaaram', which, though it doesn't help you to burn calories, can keep you occupied in a fun and active manner. Or you can get together with your friends to go and play pool. This sport has the same effects as the previously mentioned one but face it, the idea of hanging out together in a cozy room, playing pool and sipping warm tea, sounds much more comforting than shivering out in the cold.

Then again, if you are completely retarded when it comes to playing proper sports, like me, and just want to stay warm this winter, you can run around like a four year old and play tag (Or maybe 'borof pani' would be a more befitting game to play in winter). Even that will be better than snuggling down under layers of blankets and snoring all day. So get out and get some exercise!

By Shuprova Tasneem

Famous Quotes

A selection of comedians, writers, philosophers, politicians and more give you a selection of their best wit

The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible.
-- George Burns

Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year.
-- Victor Borge

Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
-- Mark Twain

By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you'll become happy; if you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.
-- Socrates

I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.
-- Groucho Marx

I don't feel old. I don't feel anything until noon. Then it's time for my nap.
-- Bob Hope

I never drink water because of the disgusting things that fish do in it.
-- W.C. Fields

Don't worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will avoid you.
-- Winston Churchill

Maybe it's true that life begins at fifty. But everything else starts to wear out, fall out, or spread out.
-- Phyllis Diller

By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he's too old to go anywhere.
-- Billy Crystal




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