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Sepulchral Shishu Mela

SHISHU Mela- the fun-filled amusement park that once was THE place where youngsters were taken to on weekends if they had been on their best behaviour the entire week. Sadly, the only part of the “fun-filled amusement park” that remains is the “park”, with the new words “almost dead” attached.

Why so, you ask? To answer that, this writer headed to Shishu Mela (after almost two years). Previous experience had taught him that the afternoons were peak times what with all the rides on and people thronging to them. However, what met the eyes was, well, nothing. Nothing at all. The place had hardly three or four adults- whose countenance betrayed that fact that they were not there to get on rides and have clean fun- and the once heard joy and laughter of children was horribly absent.

Now, you can't blame places like Fantasy Kingdom, Heritage Park or Nandan for the upset in attendance. A lot of this is to do with Shishu Mela itself. People go to parks for mind-boggling awesome rides, or at least to a place where the ambience speaks of family fun or even just a good place to hangout with buddies. The present Shishu Mela has none of that. And it starts all from the beginning. This writer waited almost 15 minutes at the entry ticketing stall before someone came and issued him a 30 taka one (true, it's nothing, but then again considerably expensive for the disappointment you get once inside). The rides are as old as the park itself, and the rusted chains of the Swinging Chairs loudly blare, “HAZARD” to park visitors. Shishu Mela's brightly coloured Merry-Go-Rounds, which used to be the place's biggest attraction, now has shabby horses, ageing from lack of use and repainting. The same can be said for everything else in the park, bar the newly painted murals and statues at the park's entrance, which only aid to reel in a few people at a time.

There are a total of 22 rides in the park, each of which only cost Tk20 for a single ride. For the rides' ticketing stall, this writer was prepared to wait as well, until he found out that there wasn't anyone in at all. It turns out that you have to cross the entire park to get over to the entry booth, and the man who sells entry tickets is also responsible for rides. Their entire message of cost-cutting and downsizing staff is further found when you get on the Ghost Ride, and find no Ghosts on the Ride. This writer feels he must kneel at this point and pray for the Salvation of mentioned Ghosts.

Foodies like yours truly also prefer certain amusement parks over the others for the awesome park food. The Shishu Mela that this writer remembers had snack bars occupying a decent amount of space and offering an equally decent amount of food. That isn't the case anymore completely. Now only two large stalls operate selling virtually the same amounts on the menu. The soft drinks are sold at higher prices than outside, and if you too are a burgeoning cheapskate who has had enough with how this park is turning out to be, then you too will wail out and pierce the sepulchral silence that hangs over this place. Horribly.

This writer believes in finding a silver lining in every black cloud, and so, to wrap up this account would be injustice to the dimming reputation of Shishu Mela. Yes, it may be devoid of visitors at times but for a couple trying to find a break from city life, who would like to spend quality-bonding time on rides, Shishu Mela is both a cheap and sure option. Also, for James Bond fans and aspiring agents, exchange packages containing mission details and having discreet meetings at Shishu Mela will confirm that no one really IS watching.

Good Luck.

By Wahid T Khan

Break and Run

POOL is definitely the coolest indoor sport there is. Guys have a strange infatuation towards the game and everyone out there fantasises about having their own pool table someday. So here's a list of some of the best pool places in Dhaka.

HOB - This is perhaps one of the best pool places around. The atmosphere is classy and the markers are well trained and polite. The boards are some of the best you will find in Dhaka and the balls and cues are of good quality. The price is a bit too high, but it is totally worth it. Most of the players here are usually very good, so make sure to take your A game. HOB is situated on Kamal Attaturk Road.

Pool Lovers - Situated just opposite HOB, this pool place is HOB's biggest competition. The boards are great and so are the balls. However, the environment or the employees are not as good as HOB's, but not too shabby either. The boards are affordable and you get value for your money. All in all, a moderate experience.

Fantasy - This is one of the most famous pool places in Baily Road. Everything is just above average and it is usually very crowded. Not a good place to go if you are a beginner, but if you live nearby you can give it a shot.

MNS - The pool places in Dhanmondi are rubbish, to say the least. They are littered with stupid teens, constantly smoking cigarettes and what not and turning the place into a gas chamber. However MNS delivers a slightly different, but better crowd and this is probably the best you can find in Dhanmondi. Most of the boards have cracks or loose skins, but renovations are taking place. So hopefully things will get better.

So there you have it people, the best pool places in Dhaka. I know the list is pretty disappointing, but it is Dhaka, so stop reading and go shoot some pool.

By Alvi Ahmed

Toggi World

BASHUNDHARA City is the biggest shopping mall in our country where people just cannot get enough shops despite what our economy might seem like. The mall authorities mostly think of kids as a package that comes with moms doing shopping. Curiously though, Bashundhara City mall authority didn't forget about kids. They built a kids zone in the level 8 of the shopping complex named 'Toggi world' which also is the country's first indoor theme park.

If you want to go to Toggi World, you'll just have to go to level 8 of the mall and enter through the gate. The entry fee is tk.50 and you also get 2 free rides or 3 free video games ticket with the entry ticket. If you want the unlimited rides offer with the entrance, the cost will be tk.200. Now that you have managed to go in, you'll meet a mini-Eiffel tower and some buildings in the background. The rides include merry-go-round, bumper cars, a small rollercoaster, electric cars for kids, a small train ride and much more. The lighting of the place is pleasant and adds festivity. Toggi world has all the right elements to be a place of entertainment for kids and the not-so kids.

There is also a video game room which has video games and air hockey, which is quite fun and addictive. Tickets for each individual rides can also be bought, they cost around tk.15-30. The rides there look satisfactory but that's the end of it. It might be enjoyable but might fall short of actually delighting you or do anything of that sort. But then again if you really wanted to have real fun you wouldn't come to a mall's kid's zone.

By Tasnima Haque Orin


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