Monthly Archives: September 2018

Dhaka Day by Day – traffic jam

Traffic Jam

With the numbers and assorted varieties of vehicles (some of which have to be seen to be believed!) on the Dhaka streets having skyrocketed in recent years, traffic jams have become have an inevitable part of the daily lives of Dhaka-dwellers. Whatever vehicle you happen to use yourself, there is absolutely no way to avoid the regular traffic snarl-ups that occur all over town. Under the circumstances, most of us have to resign ourselves to the cacophony around us, and concentrate on trying to think about something else – anything else! After all, we don’t have the options of some of the inhabitants of Bangkok, who consider the time spent in traffic jams every day to be part of “family time”, and have TVs and fridges installed in their vehicles to help pass the time.

Traffic trivia

Traffic trivia

On the other hand, since we presumably don’t want to end up to infamous inhabitants of Los Angeles (some of whom have been known to shoot after drivers in the midst of traffic jams – perhaps as a means of expressing their frustrations!), some harmless form of entertainment should be found to help us pass the time. One useful option is to cultivate an interest in “rickshaw art”.

Seriously, it is quite interesting to see the wide range of pictures which are which are painted onto the backs of baby-taxis and rickshaws. You see everything from fluffy white kittens to coy parrots and cavorting dolphins. Familiar scenes for Dhaka are include the parliament building and the martyrs’ monument, but then you also see quite peculiar scenes such as an alpine village nested at the foot of snowcapped mountains (no doubt painted by an artist longing for some coolness in the midst of the Bangladeshi summer!) or a grim-looking Rambo figure toting a remarkably large gun (anyone want to comment on the evidence of cultural imperialism here?!).

Along with the traditional depictions of the Taj Mahal and lush green villages, you can see the rather more avant-garde Sydney Opera House, and any number of futuristic metropolises, with curving highways, high-tech cars and towering skyscrapers. But my own favorites are the occasional animal figures (lions, tigers, jackals) seen riding on rickshaws, driving speedboats and shooting at sea-gragons. There is clearly no limit to the artistic imagination!

If that pastime palls, then you can turn to the interesting messages that are written on the back of some of the trucks that ply the city. A sense of humor is very evident in many of these writings. Take the following: “Biri Khabi Kha, More Jabi Ja” (roughly translated as. “You want to smoke, then go ahead and kill yourself.”) A number of these statements are concerned with the possibility of excessive closeness between vehicles leading to accidents — ranging from inscribed, “Chhi, Chii, tumi ato kachey” (Shame on you for coming so close to me) to the more progressive. “Akbar laiggai dekhen na” (Why don’t you bump me just once and see what I do to you) “Ei, shon, lagley khobor achhey” (Hey, you, if you bump into me then we’ll really have something to talk about).

Nor are the baby-taxis being left behind in this game. One zoomed past me, bearing the legend, “Ei rasta kobey phurabey” (when will this road finally come to an end). A number of them have also adopted the slogan of “Amakey mero na, ami choto” (don’t hit me, I’m little). Though perhaps in their case, it has less to do with a sense of humor and more with a sense of self-preservation! Whatever their motives, they certainly provide the bored motorist w3ith some amusement during Dhaka’s rush-hour gridlocks.

By Farah Ghuznavi


Sylhet an Exotic Place

By Naureen Rahnumul

Sylhet is a district situated between the Khasia and Jainta hill tracts on the north, and the Tripura hill tract to the south. It is a beautiful place with scenic tea gardens lush green tropical forests and many other beautiful spots. It is also the home of Monipur, Tippera, Khasi and Garo trbal people.

There are two rivers named the Surma and Kushiara. Many streams meander from the hills of north and connect with these rivers down south. There are a good number of marshes in Sylhet, in the winter season, lots of birds migrate to these marshes.

Tourism in Sylhet area

Tourism in Sylhet area

Greater Sylhet consists of the districts Sylhet, Sunamganj, Habiganj and Moulvibazar.

Sylhet has an interesting history. There is the famous shrine of the saint Hazrat Shah Jalal. The shrine is visited by innumerable devotees from far away.

Hazrat Shah Jalal was born in Cunla, a city situated in TTurkey. His ancestors were from Yemen. Both his father and mother died. When he was a little boy. After that, his uncle Hazrat Sayed Ahmed Kabir looked after him.

One day Hazrat Shah Jalal dreamt that he should go to Delhi. He was very desperate to go there. His uncle picked up a handful of soil and gave it to him, saying that he should stay and preach Islam wherever he gets soil similar to the scent and colour.

So, after travelling to Delhi and other places, he came to Sylhet in 1303 with 360 disciples and defeated the king Gour Govindo. Legend says that he transformed followers of the Raja into catfish, which are still alive in a tank near the shrine. Swords, the holy Quran and the robe of the saint are still preserved in the shrine.

There are two gigantic metallic cooking pot, in which people put money.

Moreover, there is a well near the shrine. It is said that the water level doesn’t decrease or increase, it stays the same.

The shrine of another famous saint, Hazrat Shah Paran is situated 7 kms away from Sylhet town in a place called Khadim Nagar. He was the nephew of Hazrat Shah Jalal.

The Shahi Eidgah situated in Sylhet town was built by the Mughal Emperor, Aurangazeb, in the 17th century. It looks like a fort, but it is actually meant for Eid congregations.

The Murarichand Government college is situated on a hilltop. It was established in 1821. To the north-west of the college lies the remain of Raja Gour Govinda’s fort.

About 500 years old, renowned temple of Sri Chaitanya Dev is located at Dhaka Dakhin, about 45 kms south-east from Sylhet. The place is the ancestral home of the famous Vaishnava saint Vaishnava.

There is a park called ‘Natural park’, which is situated about 3 km away from the Osmani Airport. Here you can see some small hills.

Near the airport, there is a Motel, which is situated on a hilltop. You can get a good view of luxurious pastures from up there. The hospitality of the motel is very pleasing.

Tourism in Sylhet

Tourism in Sylhet

In Sylhet town, there is the famous clock of Ali Amzad, near the old Surma bridge, which is also famous, if you come to Sylhet, don’t forget to have a look at them.

Jaintapur is a place situated 43km away, north of Sylhet town. Jaintapur included the Khasi and the Jaintia hill tracts and plains of Jaintia. Jaintiapur Rajbari is about 34km away from the town. Only 5km away from Jaintiapur is Jaflong. It is a scenic spot, amidst tea gardens and rare beauty of rolling stones from hills. You can also see from Jaflong a hanging bridge called “Dawkil”, which is in India. A river called ‘Piyain’ flows across Jaflong. You can take a bit trip there. There is a bungalow in Jaflong where you can rest if you like. There is an elephant and you can ride it too. Tamabil is a border outpost on Sylhet-Shillong road and about 55km away from Sylhet town and 10-15km away from Jaflong. You can glimpse the waterfalls on the mountains, across the border.

Near Tamabil there is a bungalow on a hilltop, where you can take rest and you can have a look at the waterfall lying far away on big green mountains.


A TREAT FOR AUTO CONNOISSEURS

Every year London holds shows and exhibitions of different things appealing to the diverse interest of her cosmopolitan inhabitants.
From Chelsea flower show to the annual lager exhibition, each is unique in proportion and variety. “This is like being in Utopia” remarked one enchanted and enraptured viewer of the Chelsea flower show.
Every year London hosts about three to four hundred exhibitions, but, the display that transcends others in flamboyance, proportion and visible ostentation, is the annual London Motor shows. “It is unsurpassed, unrivaled and one of its kind” observed a local tabloid. This confident tone however, is not based on shallow pride but on hard tangible facts. From Fiat to Ferrari, From Saab to Suzuki you name it the show has it.
Being a car lover myself I made it my priority to go to the much-publicized exhibition at Earl’s Court. Not anticipating its monumental size, I had earlier visualized a car show with two to three hundred cars at the most. But, boy, was I in for a shock! Covering an area approximately of four football pitches the show was a spectacle to behold. Latest cars with their metallic polish radiating in the yellow lights. It seemed like a fantasy world.
Entering, my attention was caught by the latest TVR sleek and undoubtedly sexy the fabulous piece of wheels was rotating on a glass platform. A large line of mesmerized viewers marveling at her beauty with cries of wonder. A futuristic dashboard with all options (including a laser TV) reminded me of the Star Treck space deck. Crossing the TVR stand we came across Vauxhall, Seat, Peugeot and the car the Bangladeshis like most Toyota. I did not waste any time on these as all the models were of the same look with that often annoying aero-dynamic look.
With a red flag flattering and a lot of “wow’s” and dazzled eyes we came to the “Ferrari” stand. In all her allure the GTI was there standing with an arrogant countenance. The sophisticated curves, the distinguished poise sent a shiver of delight through my system. With admiration literally flowing out in one of the greatest cars stood there stuck by beside Ferrari was the stand of the car that is Vodka Martini “shaken prefers men who drink not stirred”.
Yes, we are talking about James Bond’s car Aston Martin, The V-8, the Vantage were rotating with an air of chastity. The heraldic sign of the Prince of Wales proudly hanging on the walls saying, that, like bond, the Prince is also a user. The stands of Lamborghini, better known as the Cleopatra of sports cars was occupied by people flashing away in frenzy. Stunned viewers went inside, came out with a look, as if to suggest that they had a short visit to heaven. The interior of the Lamborghini is absolutely “groovy”. Once inside the car I put my foot on the accelerator, shifted the gear forward and thought “If only this beauty had some petrol in her.” My reverie was broken by the restless persistence of the next viewer in the queue.
Our next target was BMW, and believe me guys I got a real treat, after taking a brief look at the Ford stand which featured the latest “KA” and “Puma” we went towards “LOTUS”. The “Elan” was there. Crossing Maserati, we went to the Mercedes show. The 300 SLK, the 220 and E class were being displayed. Having enough of new cars we headed for the upper floor. Here the crème de la crème of automobile was exhibited. The classics from the late thirties to early seventies shining with an unbelievable aura a price a price tag. The past world of automobile opened before me as went up. In line Ferrari 355’s 250’s was kept, Lamborghini Countach, Aston Martin D85 the one James Bond drove in “Goldfinger”, Dodge Viper, Lotus Espirit, Jaguar XJ7, E-type, XJS were all kept for the spectators to behold, praise and for some to be bold enough to buy. From staggering 250,000 and onwards the prices looked unreal. But, a 1953 Ferrari with a price of £500,000 “SOLD” sign written on it gave me an idea of the immense wealth of some people. Standing near a £35000 Ferrari Daytona was the buyer, rather unassuming, this guy owns five other Ferraris.
There were the Rolls Royce’s all glittering in the light. Phantom, Silver Ghost, Camargue sitting on a stand competing with one another. The dazed viewers going around and some of them drinking Champagne at the counter an indication that they had just parted with a few million for another car. Ferrari merchandise were being sold, and people were just buying like crazy. Ferrari shops were all red, and Temptation was put to test when anyone came near them. From stickers to writing pads from T-shirts to wallets all were there embroidered with the famous Ferrari logo.
“The best way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it” remembering Oscar Wild’s words I wasted no time and went on a shopping spree. By this time the exhibition was coming to its closing time. With one last look at the marvelous array of auto beauties, in a trance, I finally started for home. Being at the Motor show was dream fulfilled. But, I have one more dream, that is to drive a Ferrari or an Aston Martin or a Lamborghini Miura or a Viper. But for the time being think I shall have to be satisfied with my Toyota, definitely with a Ferrari sticker on it.

By – TOWHEED FEROZE


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