City in Frame | The Daily Star
  • A Bounty of Books

    The Ekushey Boi Mela 2018 began earlier this month. A favourite fixture of every Bangladeshi, the grounds of Suhrawardy Udyan come

  • Behind The Balloons

    Balloons certainly make a child smile and excited. But the ones you buy for your children at shopping malls or fairs often have dreary

  • Turning Ruins Into Rubies

    Several factories in Hazaribagh and Kamrangirchar areas of Dhaka are turning seemingly useless plastic bottles into new items. Every

  • Festival For Consumers

    People look forward to two fairs at the beginning of the year – the first being the Dhaka International Trade Fair and the second Amar Ekushey Boi Mela. While readers are attracted to the book fair, consumers from all walks of life are drawn to the DITF at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar. From cinnamon to cars, and from mobile phones to mustard oil, everything is available and for reasonable prices too. Big brands, national and international, bring in their best to woo consumers. People in their thousands visit the fair every day and the crowd in the weekends are almost unmanageable. They queue up at the gates and leaves with shopping bags full of things designed to make their lives easier. Like previous years, the DITF would be open for the entire month of January.

  • A Decade of Inclusivity

    Sporsho Braille Prokashona celebrated the completion of its decade-long journey through a day-long festival at Bangla Academy on

  • Celebrating The Life Of A Great Teacher

    The three-day long “Zainul Utsab and Zainul Mela”, held at Charukola (Faculty of Fine Arts, Dhaka University), drew admirers from all walks of life. It was a testament to the artist's enduring legacy and timeless relevance. The festivities commemorated the Shilpacharya's 103rd birth anniversary. Paintings, sculptures, busts, ceramic statuettes, entire installments and photographs were all on display, available for perusal and purchase. The celebration put together quite a display, showing the prowess of Bangladesh's art body. Many of the selected motifs incorporated and honoured Bangladesh's culture, traditions and beliefs. Charukola organised the event at the Bokultola part of the institute. The festival also featured a photography exhibition, poter gaan, a screening of Manpura-70 and many other attractions. Zainul Abedin is considered “The Great Teacher of Arts” and the “founding father of Bangladeshi art”. His Famine series paintings of 1943 thrust him towards the spotlight and sealed his legacy.

  • Parked On Pavements

    The footpaths of Dhaka often have a lot fewer feet on them. Pavements across the city are turned into makeshift shops, parking spots and even car repair shops. In a city already choked by lack of space, whatever little room remains for pedestrians is encroached upon. Cars and bikes are seen parking on the footpaths, even if there is a sign explicitly warning against such actions. Shops are set up forcing pedestrians on the road and right in front of traffic. The culture of impunity and a sense of perverse entitlement exacerbate the situation. While there are laws, no one is around to enforce them. The lack of parking space is another issue. Commercial buildings rise towards the sky with the fanciest of shops and offices generally forgoing the need for providing designated parking. Some rent out whatever space they have. Cars parked haphazardly narrow even the most important of thoroughfares and all this goes on right under the noses of law enforcers. The law enforcers slap fines and tow vehicles but it is business as usual moments later. Pictures were taken from Bijoynagar, Gulistan, near FDC, Tejgaon, Karwan Bazar, Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, Malibagh, Rajarbagh and Mohakhali. The Daily Star and other media outlets have been running reports on illegal parking and occupation of footpaths for years, yet the situation does not change. Measures to stop illegal parking have been scanty. Hardly any multistoried car parks have been built and only a handful of basements of commercial buildings have been cleared for parking cars.

  • Warming up in Winter With Pithas

    The descending fog never fails to merge with the delicious steam wafting from plates of pithas, a winter favourite in Bangladesh. Come the chill, street corners transform into tiny food courts, offering the best of pithas, a type of rice cake. Traditional favourites such as chitoi pitha, dudh puli, tel er pitha, bhapa, patishapta and many others are sold for affordable prices. Where once, homemakers began toiling over creating the delicacies, nowadays city dwellers can go absolutely anywhere for their fill of this tasty treat. Streets in Shahbagh, Mirpur, Mohammadpur, Farmgate and in front of Bashundhara City all offer pithas. Available in both sweet and sour flavours, with helpings of milk, coconut, jaggery, shutki and a lot of other ingredients, it's hard not to have a favourite when it comes to pithas. Winter and pitha are synonymous in Bangladesh.

  • Magic of The Mountains

    The five-day Mountain Fair held at Shilpakala Academy in Dhaka came to an end this week. The fair attracted people from all walks of life, offering them a chance to celebrate the diversity of cultures present in the mountains of Bangladesh. The event was organised to mark International Mountain Day 2017. Over the five days, visitors were dazzled by numerous cultural performances by indigenous groups. There were also stalls showcasing various handicrafts and food of the highlanders. The grounds of Shilpakala were also designed to recreate the highlands, providing a peek into the day to day life of the indigenous community. The theme for this year's festival was "Mountains under Pressure: climate, hunger, migration". The fair consisted of 55 stalls offering food, clothing, books, souvenirs and a lot more. The huge number of visitors added a further shine to the event and stall-owners expressed happiness at the amazing response.

  • Wild Flavours From Wild Fish

    As canals, ponds, and rivers dry up around the country, it proves to be fortuitous for fishermen. With fish farms facing a lull, wild fish have begun flooding the market. These fish are highly favoured by fish lovers given their taste and natural freshness. Koi, katal, pangash and chitol are among some of the wild fish found in the markets of Karwan Bazar, Shantinagar and Jhigatola. The prices of the wild fish are a bit higher. Where a rui or rohu from a farm will set one back around Tk 300, a wild rui will cost between Tk 350-400. Wild fish are considered to be more nutritious and come winter, they arrive as another treasured bounty of the season. Apart from canals and ponds, the rivers Padma, Meghna, Jamuna and Halda are other water bodies from where these fish are caught.

  • Winter Means Vegetables

    Come winter, as we prolong our slumber, the earth seems to wake up with a vigour. Under blankets of mist, far from the sun's glare, the ground comes alive, sprouting the tastiest vegetables of the year. The trees too refuse to miss out, dangling delights that satiate even the most critical of palates. Areas of Munshiganj, Savar and Keraniganj become busy harvesting the fruits of their labours come winter. Delicacies such as lal shakh (red amaranth), pumpkin, bottle gourd, cabbage and others are all grown around the city, meeting its dwellers' growing demand. However, farmers say the cost of both purchasing and growing the vegetables have increased over the years meaning a rise in prices is inevitable. But a growing supply aims to keep costs within the reach of the common people.

  • Making Them Smile

    On a wintry morning in the northern district of Rajshahi, about 100 people joined a queue in front of the Janata Bank's Halidagachhi

  • The Flight of Rainbows

    Have you ever seen a rainbow fly? There is a place in the port city for one to witness just that. Here, the slightest disturbance will awaken

  • The Disappearing Hillock

    Illegal stone extraction by vested quarters has led to the disappearance of the Shah Arefin Tila in Companiganj of Sylhet district. The mazar of the sufi saint Shah Arefin Mokam and the hillock encompassed an area of 137.50 acres of government khas land. Influential traders, taking advantage of the loopholes in the law, steadily excavated the stones, erasing an important part of the country's history and removing any trace of the knoll. Every year, many workers lost their lives while extracting the stones from the area. On January 23, some five workers were killed while lifting stone from a quarry in the area. Two others lost their lives at the same site a few weeks before.

  • Safety Derailed

    Safety Derailed

    Negligence on the parts of the authorities, travellers and the people around the rail lines often contribute to fatalities.

  • Not for Passengers Anymore

    Brand new passenger sheds, third row left, on Airport Road. Gleaming black rods and digital boards both combine to hint at Bangladesh's

  • Celebrating Puja

    Durga Puja, the biggest religious festivals for Hindus, began on September 26 and ended on the 30th. The five-day festival begins with the “bodhon” (incarnation) of the Goddess Durga. While Durga is the focus of the celebration, other deities are also prominently featured and revered during the festival. The festival is one of the most colourful around with beautiful crafted idols dressed in many different hues and dazzling ornamentation. Artisans began to make the idols months before the festival and puja mandals are set up around the country. Devotees throng the festival areas in Chittagong in huge numbers. The religious festival culminates with the immersion of the idols of the goddess in rivers and water bodies around the country, in this case in the Bay in Patenga.

  • The Fishermen's Tale

    Before we can relish that fresh fish cooked in a combination of our favourite spices, a lot of hard work goes into bringing it on our plates. In Cox's Bazar, one can see the amount of dedication, courage and perseverance fishermen needed. An average trip means a seven day foray into deep sea with the powerful waves only one of many elements to be braved. Ten fishermen with one boat usually go into such week-long trips, risking their lives in the tempestuous sea, only to make living. The fishermen though aren't rewarded a deserving price for their labour nor for the fish they bring. Regardless, they go on, in a tradition passed down from generations, sometimes stuck in a vicious cycle of exploitation. The fruits of their labour are various; from hilsa, koral, loitta (Bombay duck) and many others. Businessmen buy the fish from them and send them around the country where they are loved, with some earmarked for export.

  • Another Man's Treasure

    In the capital's Chawk Bazar, Gulistan, Mouchak, Malibagh and opposite the Nagar Bhaban , second hand consumer electronics are becoming highly popular. What they have on offer isn't always serviceable but people still find various uses for them. From discarded electronic parts, broken mobile phones, used table fans, computers, laptops and even a Sony PSP, a gaming device, can all be found here. Bilkis, an 8 year old seller, opposite Nagar Bhaban, makes a profit of Tk 300 per day selling old torches, headphones, irons and so on. An old mobile phone will set one back Tk 50, Tk 600 for a table fan, Tk 20 for headphones with prices depending on the condition of the wares. Many buyers even scavenge parts, fix electronics and sell for a higher mark up. The customers are usually from the lower-income groups, but in area, such as around Dhaka medical, patients come to buy what they need in case of an emergency. For instance, if one forgets to bring a charger and has to stay at the hospital overnight, even that is available for a low price of Tk 40.

  • Quack, Who Only Pulls Out Teeth

    "ADAR DOCTOR” has only one cure for most ailments of the teeth. He tells most people with toothaches to get rid of their bad tooth.

  • Trekking out of horror

    Oing back is like drowning in the sea, said a woman residing in a makeshift camp in Teknaf. Her sentiment is shared by more than

  • Gabtoli All Ready

    Hroughout the year the Gabtoli Cattle Market in the capital caters to the meatpacking industry but ahead of Eid-ul-Azha it serves a large

  • Rough Ride Ahead

    As city dwellers prepare to travel back home for their Eid holidays, a major stumbling block stands in their way. Highways and roads

  • Roads or Obstacle Courses?

    Repair and development work with oversight and negligence has turned many streets of Dhaka virtually into obstacle courses, especially

  • Waste That Causes Waterlogging

    Inadequate and clogged drainage is to blame for flooded city streets after downpour. Over the years, wholesale grabbing of the city's

  • Allure of Aluminium

    In a small area in Keraniganj, right off the Buriganga, a road snakes its way through many small tin sheds. The sun's rays playfully bounce off a dazzling array of aluminium strewn about the otherwise nondescript structures. But here, this congregation of buildings work for one purpose: recycling. Some 10-12 recycling centres, employing 20-30 people each, diligently recycle huge amounts of aluminium. It works in a number of stages. First, the workers here visit various scrap metal shops in Lalbagh, Chawkbazar and Islambagh, collecting objects such as kitchen utensils, soda cans and deodorant bottles. These are then taken back to their little factories and the aluminium is extracted. The metal is first shredded, then melted in a furnace and finally moulded into shiny new bricks. The bricks are then sold off to factories where it is used for making brand new kitchen utensils and even pistons for motorbikes!

  • For the Love of Fish

    A five-day fish fair began in the city's Krishibid Institution Bangladesh, where around 37 stalls attracted hundreds of fish lovers of different ages from across the country. While highlighting the country's love for fish, the fair also informed the visitors about fish species and methods of rearing them. Some stalls showcased various species of fish preserved in glass jars and even live fish and others showed how to make the ideal fish farm. Tools used for fishing were also on display. Some of the freshest fish were on sale during the fair. To generate further interest, visitors were treated to demonstrations on how to rear their favourite fish in aquariums.

  • Land, Dreams Erode

    As the floodwaters recede, sighs of relief are quickly turning into cries of anguish. Areas around the country affected by river erosion are

  • Monsoon Market

    The 100-year-old Kaikkar Tek Haat in Sonargaon upazila of Narayanganj sits in the early morning of Sundays during the rainy season.

  • Still Pressing Pewter

    With the advent of cheaper alternatives to make domestic utensils, the use of the heavier pewter has dwindled in Bangladesh. Beating the odds, some seven to eight families of Kasharipara in Uttar Dariabad of Jamalpur's Islampur continue to make such items out of this tin (25 percent) and copper (75 percent) alloy, and hold on to this centuries-old heritage, the adherents of which were once deemed aristocratic.