Bullet Journal: A Perfectionists’ Guide to Navigate 1 and get absolute Burn Out

Bullet Journal, from where is all started. When I was younger, my father would always call me impatient. Whenever we had plans I would bombard him with questions about the duration of the commute, the starting time, the hypothesised arrival time and a million variations of time related questions. Although growing up I would think of myself as impatient as well, with time I realised you can be overly punctual without being impatient. I was not overly eager to get on with my plans to the point of irritability; I just wanted to get things done at the time I mentally allocated for it.

I would have mental lists and scraps of paper with time schedules written down for every trivial task. My obsession with time often manifested itself in the most absurd of ways. I had a certain day of the week when I allowed myself to be spontaneous, and for the weeks leading up to the pandemic it was always a Wednesday between 12 PM to 7:30 PM. My timed spontaneity went back to my teen years, during which I would only allow myself to act out and be rebellious on Sundays and Tuesdays. I was a mess then, but a calculated one. The irony of timed spontaneity did not get lost in me.

I went back and forth about starting a bullet journal over the years , but the idea always overwhelmed me.

Like most people who never gave it a shot, it seemed more stressful than soothing. As the pandemic seized my sense of time, something which is especially infuriating for someone who had a perpetually toxic relationship with clocks, I realised I had no option but to finally give bullet journals a shot. I had to plan my day out in the most visually pleasing way possible to keep myself grounded.

When I first started I went all in. My tendency to be a perfectionist encompassed more than punctuality. I got washi tape and stickers. I learned ‘faux calligraphy’. I got way too many coloured pens. I started adding over fifteen tasks to my daily routine, ranging from when I would crochet and edit my photography to when I would call a friend or watch YouTube videos. I had habit trackers for my daily fruits and veggies intake, lists for my water intake, lists for my skincare routine, lists for my self-study, lists for my screen time. Each daily spread had its own theme, be it ‘winter forestland’ or Martian.

Although my life often felt like nothing but a list of tasks previously, bullet journalling made this take concrete form. It made me aware of how unhealthy I was to myself. I felt shackled to a piece of paper of my own design. With time I started to dread opening up my dotted notebook. I realised what was once therapeutic had become a source of stress. The lists which I failed to complete everyday added a mounds of guilt which started to pile up.

For the first few weeks of the bullet journaling burn out, I let the notebook collect dust.

I decided to go back and try again after a few weeks and allowed myself to experiment. The lessons I learned during the experimentation process allowed me to use bullet journaling as a method to alleviate my troubled relationship with schedules rather than worsen it.

First lesson: Sticking to what’s necessary

It can be tempting to get carried away by all the templates for bullet journals online.

Bullet Journaling : Tasfia Ahmed

Work out habit trackers. Serum trackers. Gardening trackers. Calorie trackers. Every human activity seems to have its own tracker template. Youtube videos on bullet journaling often make beginners think that they should incorporate whatever habit tracker they can find into their bullet journal.

I learned the hard way that sometimes all you have to include in your daily or weekly spread are lists which are absolutely necessary. If you struggle with staying hydrated, you can opt for a fluid tracker. If you really need to start putting in more effort on a new skill, you can try making a tracker for it.

Adding trackers which do not necessarily apply to you, or one you don’t actively need to work on only introduces clutter to your spread, and adds stressful steps to an activity which must be kept as minimal and stress-free as possible. The extra clutter can be the beginning of a slow burn out if you struggle with being a schedule-perfectionist. If possible, only add trackers and lists you absolutely cannot go about your day without.

Second Lesson: Make room for flexibility

Sticking to only a weekly or daily spread without change works for some people. For me it did not. On the rare weeks when I struggled with procrastination, weekly spreads just tempted me to keep postponing tasks to the following day. On days when my workaholic/studyholic side kicked in, daily spreads only added to my self induced stress as I made no ‘me time’. For me, daily spreads worked best on days when I just couldn’t get myself to work. Each box which went crossed out was an incentive to get more work done.

On the other hand, on exam weeks or busy work weeks when I could never find myself catching a breather, a weekly spread helped. It helps me visualise how my week would go which helped me strike a balance between rest periods and work periods for the given week, helping me steer clear from snapping. While it may not be the same for everyone, it can be very difficult to keep the bullet journaling process stress-free if you only stick to one spread without flexibility.

Third Lesson: Forget your imagined audience
When starting off, many people have the tendency to obsess over making their daily spreads perfect. Minor spelling errors can lead to crumpled up sheets. A letter calligraphed wrong may induce a minor rage fit. Gratitude or thought blurbs may feel forced and only included to supply an appearance of consistency.

Even if your bullet journal never reveals itself to anyone’s eyes but yours, the hobby almost inherently demands those who engage in it to ensure every sheet is visually perfect and consistent. Some go as far to make each sheet themed with abstract concepts and colour codes. All this does is help ensure burn out. Bullet journaling is not supposed to add stress. The only reason you may want to keep the journal visually pleasing is to motivate yourself, and being borderline neurotic about whether or not the doodles and margins mesh well with each other will only add stress.

If the decorating aspect is therapeutic to you, go full out. Just be mindful of your limits. Similarly, I like many others used to add gratitude and self-reflection blurbs every day for the sake of consistency. I realised writing them only when they came to me naturally made sure my feelings and thoughts were organic and not forced.

The Most Important Lesson of All: Remember Why You Started

Bullet Journals broken down to its basics is nothing but a mix of a diary, a daily planner and a to-do list. Some of us get into it because doodling and making visually aesthetic organisers for our day helps motivate and calm us. Others need lists for everything and the bullet journal is the perfect outlet. It can be easy to be influenced by others bullet journal and the ways in which they use templates and decor.

Nevertheless, at the end of the day it’s best not to compare. The activity should be healing and you should stick to what got you started in the first place and what helped along the way. If that was excessive decorating and doodles with a self-reflection note, make that your bullet journaling style. If it was lists with minimal designs and the minimal use of washi tape , keep it at that. We all have different ways of ‘doing’ bullet journaling and it helps to remind yourself that no one’s journal is ever perfect.

Tasfia Ahmed

More from the author: https://banglahues.com/tag/child/ 

Durga Puja – Of Power, Devotion and Celebrations

The atmosphere of this city has already taken up a festive spirit as Dhaka prepares to celebrate one of the country’s major holidays, Durga Puja. Bangladesh is a melting pot of numerous different cultures and religions. This is one of the most beautiful things about Bengali culture. No matter which background one is from, there is always a festivity or holiday to celebrate all year round.

Thus, as the season of fall comes around, so does Devi Durga’s time to come home, and for Hindus to celebrate Durga Puja. 

Each year the festivities seem to get bigger and brighter, as Hindus prepare to welcome Devi Durga to her home. The streets surrounding the temples and other places where Devi Durga will be worshipped are decorated with colourful lights and elaborate gates are constructed with bamboo and pandals. All these decorations put not only the Hindus, but people from all religious backgrounds, in a joyous and festive spirit. 

I grew up in a Muslim household, but each year I would look forward to Durga Puja. My grandmother’s house was beside one of the major temples in Dhaka, the Ramakrishna Mission Temple. My uncle, mama, would take my siblings and I to the temple to see Devi Durga’s statue, how she was worshipped, and the fairs surrounding the temple. As it was such an important temple in Dhaka, it was always packed with Devi Durga’s worshippers asking for blessings. 

We could only catch a small glimpse of the beauty of Devi Durga’s statue from afar, but that was more than enough to make me want to come back every year. The first time I was able to see Devi Durga’s statue up close, I was more than awe-struck. I could not take my eyes off of her, and even now, whenever I get the chance to see Devi Durga’s statue in front of me, I stare at her, dumbfounded, at the sheer beauty of her, and all the work that went into creating such a work of art. 

The imagery surrounding Devi Durga’s statue always made me curious about her story. Sharothi bhaiya was kind enough to enlighten me on her origin and how Hindus came to celebrate Durga Puja. It started with Mahishasura gaining immortality from the Devas and becoming indestructible. He could only be killed in the hands of a woman, thus the Devas combined their divine energies to manifest Devi Durga. 

Mahishasura and Devi Durga waged war against each other for ten days, during which Mahishasura would take different forms to escape Devi Durga’s attacks. But, ultimately, his powers were incomparable to that of Devi Durga’s, and she stabbed him with her trident while Mahishasura was in her buffalo form. This is the scene that is depicted in Devi Durga’s statues. 

Devi Durga is also known to have ten arms to further establish how mighty and powerful she is. Each arm holds a weapon, each of which symbolizes an important part of Hinduism. The weapons Devi Durga holds in her hands are a conch, a discuss, a lotus, a sword, bow with arrow, trishul, mace, thunderbolt, a snake and flame.

This is only a short version of the story of Devi Durga, but I would encourage everyone to read or ask a friend about her full story. Each year, during Durga Puja, I can’t help but ask someone to give me a detailed retelling of Devi Durga’s story. 

Mahalaya marks the beginning of Durga Puja, which is held on Ashvina, the seventh month in the Hindu calendar. On this day Devi Durga begins her journey to her paternal house, where she ascends atop a lion, and along with her four children, Ganesh, Kartikey, Saraswati and Lakshmi. The celebrations of Durga Puja begin on Sashthi, the sixth day. 

It takes an abundance of skill and craftsmanship to construct Devi Durga’s statue, along with the statues of her children. The face and the eyes must give off the aura of her divine power, along with her stance and garments. Sculptors all over Bangladesh start construction on the statues weeks prior to Durga Puja. However, the eyes are painted on the day of Mahalaya during a ritual known as Chokkhu Daan. They are painted in such a way that one feels Devi Durga’s gaze no matter from which direction they look at her. 

I always feel small, yet inspired, at the sight of her powerful expression and stance. After the face is drawn, Devi Durga is then adorned with saree, jewelleries and garlands. When her statue is complete, she is brought to the temples and other places where Puja will take place, for Hindus to gather and begin their worship and celebrations. 

Shashthi is the sixth day of Durga Puja, where Devi Durga arrives at her paternal home.

On this day, Devi Durga’s statue is brought to her stage with a huge procession, accompanied with sounds of dhaks. The dhak is a drum-like instrument, the sounds of which awaken the festive spirits. The Hindus dress up in their new garments to welcome Devi Durga and proceed to her stage to receive her blessings. 

From the seventh day, Shaptami, Anjoli is performed. During this ritual, Devi Durga’s worshippers are given bel leaves and flower petals. Mantras are recited holding these, after which they are offered at the feet of Devi Durga. Hindus pray for the good of the Earth and use the leaves and petals to attain Devi Durga’s powers. They also take part in fasting to appease Devi Durga, where they do not consume meat and fish, and only eat fruits and vegetables. 

The tenth and last day of Durga Puja is the Dashami.

Sharothi bhaiya mentions how emotional this day is, as Devi Durga is said to leave her paternal home, and return once more to her husband, Shiva. Her statue is brought down from the stage so that Hindu women can come into contact with her and feel her energy. They also leave notes with prayers written on them in her hands, so Devi Durga can grant her devotees’ wishes. 

Afterwards, a procession is held, where Devi Durga is taken to the nearest river or water body to be immersed. This is called Durga Bisharjan, and it marks the end of Durga Puja. This is, of course, an extremely emotional sight as Hindus must say farewell to their Devi, after spending nine joyous days in her presence.

Durga Puja is one of the biggest festivities celebrated in Bangladesh. The fairs and nagordolas set up around the places of Puja, and watching the Puja itself is something Bengalis from all religions take part in each year. However, it is also important to be respectful of the Puja, as it is one of the most sacred times of the year for Hindus. Thus, I hope everyone has the most merry time and have their blessings fulfilled during Durga Puja.

By Tasnia Naureen

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A Tribute to The Forgotten Teachers: Grandparents

Arnob – 70 minutes of great emotional journey of the one and only

Arnob – story of a musician, a boy and a magic by Tahmid Islam

Arnob, you have most likely heard of him, if you’re a young, middle aged, old or just simply a person residing in any corner of Bangladesh and enjoy listening to music. You probably even have some of your favorite memories or a time in your life where Arnob’s music has helped you pass your time. Something about the chords that Arnob uses and the voice that he sings in just enraptured you in a way nothing else can. Such is the magic of the musical genius Arnob.

The biography titled “adhkhana bhalo chele adha mostaan” Directed by Abrar Athar K. is a very romanticised body of work in regards to Arnob’s life or so it feels. Rightfully so I might add since Arnob has weaved our love for music with his timeless tracks named “Tomar Jonno” and “Hariye Giyechi”.




















A Biography of  Arnob “Adhkhana Bhalo chele Adkhana Mostan”

In this documentary Arnob was able to visually and audibly encompass the emotions each one of us feel when we listen to any track. The presentation and general assembly of the documentary had me entangled in love in ways I never thought I could be tied in. From the colors that were shown and every masterfully crafted scenery that Arnob was just present there speaking in, to the places he was performing with his peers.

The direction of photography was simply immaculate and one might say that it was very similar to western movies or documentaries which, personally I think is not appropriate to say the least. We have had talent that resembled similarly to this sort of production. It is important to give credit where it’s due to the talent that we have here among us without diminishing it by comparing it to other things. All of this tied beautifully in a knot with Arnob performing his own music and classical /folk music performed by him is truly a wonderful experience.

Speaking about Arnob’s music, even when I was far away from this country I had fallen in love with him the second my ears heard those first notes from “Tomar Jonno”. This short documentary is really just a commentary of how he personally has evolved overtime and how he has grown into the person that he is right now. He speaks on how moving away from his home in Dhaka to Kolkata and coming back eventually has affected his personality. Arnob finally shared his memory of falling in love with music and the duality of all cultures and experiences.

The charm that he possesses is all evident in the duality of his whole life, something that he subtly mentions. How his mother being a muslim and his father being a Hindu is a really interesting dynamic and it has passed unto him to weave his personality. It seems as though the documentary tries to pinpoint where he lies in life. The gray area that he has found himself settling in is truly a testament to how he is as a person. It really is captivating with the visuals in the film.

The short documentary however does not only have Arnob speaking about his life but also some outdoor studio performances and are edited in the background of him speaking as well. No complaints there, every time Arnob performs, it feels transcendental to say the least.

He himself admits that perhaps life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows and there are times where he had succumbed to the darker side of himself when he comments about his problems of using. Regardless of the issues, it really does not define him entirely as a person since it was a transitional period. He does not glorify it and is mature and understanding on a deeper level about it in a way that not anybody else other than himself personally can understand it.

From what we can see in the documentary about the way he speaks, he really is trying to do his best finding himself through all the struggles that he has faced from fitting in. Which is obvious when you move places so often and try to find a gray area to find your peace in. Perhaps we can take a few pages from his life for we are just as human as him. His wisdom and charm is something every single one of us can adapt.

However, his journey in the music industry was an endeavour that only he can claim to have experience for. Through all his struggles of being lonely and lost and hurt and sad, All he has brought with his music is pure joy. That truly is a testament of the selflessness of many artists. There is much wisdom he still imparts from being himself and carrying himself through this endeavor of struggle that we call life. Perhaps we will continue to be fortunate for as long as he is alive and breathing.

You also can stream the documentary from “Chorki” if you wish to view and enjoy this immaculate viewing experience that is “Adhkhana bhalo chele adha mostaan”. It is 70 minutes in length and every single second is as captivating as you might expect when you’re peering into the life of a living legend that is Arnob.

More from Tahmid:

Rooftop Gardening : Nature and Nurture

A Tribute to The Forgotten Teachers: Grandparents

Growing up, was easy as we were lucky to have grandparents. When I was young, I used to think learning must be the most dreadful activity one could do. As a young girl, I wanted nothing more than to play games and watch television. But, as much as I hated learning and anything to do with school, there were some teachers who would make me look forward to their classes every single day.

Their passion for passing down their knowledge was prominent in each class they took. In my opinion, to be a teacher is one of the most noble professions there is. However, we often forget that, one does not have to be working at a school to be a teacher of a particular specialty, and when appreciating teachers, we forget the first teachers we ever had, the teachers who taught our parents everything they know, who in turn passed down that knowledge to us, our grandparents. 

From my early years to now, I have picked up and given up on a handful of different hobbies. However, only recently I had taken up embroidery, which is a much too delicate art form for my extremely clumsy self. But, I’m lucky enough to have my mother guiding me through the intricate patterns of the strings.

Thus, while embroidering on a t-shirt it occurred to me how many of these hobbies my mother had the patience to guide me through, all of which she had learned from my grandparents. They might have learned these skills from their grandparents as well, thus preserving these specific skills from generation to generation. 


Photo: Aziza Ahmed

[ A Tribute to The Forgotten Teachers: Grandparents ]

The first ever memories I can recall are from warm, sunny mornings with my dida, my paternal grandmother. As the stress and anxiety of being an adult consumes my mind more and more everyday, the memory grows blurrier. But I would like nothing more than to go back to those days.

I had not started school yet then, thus while everyone was away at their offices and schools, I would peacefully spend my mornings with dida and dada, my grandfather. I remember sitting on her bed, the sun shining through the windows, hardly any noise throughout the neighborhood, other than from the occasional vegetable seller passing by.

She would teach me the Bengali alphabet, while she had her morning tea. When I got hungry, dada would cut up fruits, and even peel the skin off apples and mandarins for me. They had a way of bringing people together. Dida used to take me to visit neighbors for afternoon tea, and there would always be people over to see dida and dada.

Our house felt more alive, but after their passing, it seems like people are now further away, even myself. They had practically raised my sister and I, as well as my cousins. Dida raised us with discipline, while dada was a quiet man whom I had never heard speak with a raised voice. They passed away when I was very young, but there was so much more to learn from them. 

[ A Tribute to The Forgotten Teachers: Grandparents ]

Sometimes, my mother used to leave me at my maternal grandmother’s, which we refer to as ‘nanu basha’. We would stay there for several days during summer vacations, or during weekends. While my mother was at work, I was under the care of so many grandmothers. In the morning, choto nanu would ask me what shaped paratha I wanted for breakfast. I would ask for the most unconventional shapes, but she would make them for me anyway. Later, I would spend time with nanu and nanabhai downstairs.

She was the best at massaging my scalp, while I rested my head on her lap. My nanu’s are the most talented group of sisters I have ever met. All the sewing and embroidery techniques I have learned from my mother came from them. I would watch bokhala nanu make little dolls, while she watched her serials. It was hypnotizing watching her make them in such a short amount of time.

One of my fondest childhood memories is when my mother would sew clothes at bokhala nanu’s, and I would help her turn the sewing wheel, while my grandmother worked on her own things. Those were the quietest mornings, with just the sound of the sewing machine and the chirps of birds outside.

In addition, mejho nanu and nana are the most talented artists I have come across. Their house is filled with artworks painted by themselves, and I have yet to sit with them and learn all their techniques. Each of my grandparents are highly skilled in so many different things.

My maternal grandmothers were like a little production team, where each would contribute in making dolls that would be bought by stores like Aarong. One would stuff the body with cotton and give it shape, one would sew the dresses and make accessories, and one would paint on the faces. They have made everything for us, from carrot halwa, that only nanu knows how to make perfectly, to clothes, to embroidered bed sheets, and anything you can think of. 


Photo: Farhana Fabin

These days, life seems to be moving a thousand miles per hour. As I try to keep myself afloat in all the responsibilities and obligations that come with growing up, I find that I hardly have time to learn things that are not related to my academic career. But sometimes, it is important to stop and think, and to invest time in acquiring all the skills you can from past generations.

It makes me wonder how my grandparents had their careers, while they raised their children and grandchildren, as well as learn all the skills they have. Our time here is so fleeting, people are here one day and gone the next. If one is lucky enough to have their grandparents around, spend time with them because there is a lot to learn from them about some of the things that make our culture so rich and beautiful, that would otherwise be lost.

[ A Tribute to The Forgotten Teachers: Grandparents ]

Author: Tasnia Naureen 

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A Tiny Best Friend

A Tiny Best Friend: It seemed like 17th July 2021 would be like any other day, when I had gone to visit my grandmother’s house. But, upon arriving, I was introduced to two tiny creatures. My aunt had found these two kittens, soaked in the rain, and without any sustenance. One of these two screaming banshees was to be under my care, and who is now a primary source of my happiness.

He was too tiny for his age, filled with fleas and other health issues. But, he had the most beautiful eyes, that were blue like a starless midnight sky. It has been a month or so since bringing him home, and after an immense amount of love and care, he has grown into quite the handsome feline. Even though he can be a nuisance at times, he has filled my home with joy and has even become my best friend. This is only one of the magical things about living with a pet, as I’m sure all pet owners can relate.

[ A Tiny Best Friend ]

Photo credit – Ashfia Nahreen on Instagram

Throughout my life, my sister and I had several different kinds of animals as pets, whether it was a stray we found on the street, or it was bought from Katabon. Regardless of where they come from, you now have to be responsible for the health and happiness of these helpless little

No matter what species an animal is, the care of a mother is essential for all, especially if they are newborn, or only a few months old. In most cases, these animals were separated from their mothers at a young age, thus they require that much extra care.

When I brought my tiny kitten home, he would scream day and night. It left me confused and worried, if he was hungry or if he was in pain. However, I soon realized he craved the warmth that he otherwise would have got from his mother, so I started letting him sleep beside me on my bed.

[ A Tiny Best Friend ]

His cries eased, knowing he was safe and warm, and thus he could sleep peacefully. So, no matter what species the animal is, love is a basic necessity for them, along with food and shelter. Like any living thing on the planet, you will face some challenges in taking care of your pets too.

Prerona is a proud mother of her dog, Hash, who is a Lhasa. She not only took care of Hash since she was four months old, but tended to Hash’s puppies as well. Having a pet comes with the constant worry of whether they are okay. For Prerona, these worries are heightened whenever she goes out and has to leave Hash at home.

Most times, you will find your pet sleeping quietly in a corner of the house, but the concerns still hover at the back of your mind as you think of every possible worst case scenario. Potty training a pet also poses a huge challenge, as they try to figure out their new home. Prerona mentions that Hash would use all corners of the house as her bathroom, until she finally fixated on one area.

[ A Tiny Best Friend ]

When Hash had her puppies, Prerona would also have to run around, cleaning their excrements. She states that taking care of these puppies is almost similar to the care that goes into newborn babies. A good precaution would be to keep small objects out of the pet’s reach and move things, such as shoes, to a place that is higher above the floor. These challenges are inevitable, so one must prepare themselves to face these before getting a pet.

Photo credit – Ashfia Nahreen on Instagram

A common misconception most people seem to have is that having a pet is a one-sided relationship. You give them food and love, and you get nothing in return. However, this is not true in the slightest. Like humans, these animals feel emotions as well.

They feel happiness and sadness, just like we do, and these emotions become apparent from close observations of their behaviours. My kitten and I do not speak remotely the same language, however, we always seem to have an understanding between us.

There are instances when he would softly purr and climb onto my lap, which indicates that he feels safe, and it is also a way for him to show his affection towards me. Prerona’s dog, Hash, would try to share some of her food with Prerona to show her appreciation for being fed. After a while of living with your pet, you would become acquainted with such behaviours of theirs.

[ A Tiny Best Friend ]

But, it still fills my heart from the first time my kitten softly licked my face as a sign of his love to the hundredth time he has done it. Thus, if you show your pet how much you love them, they will also find their own ways to show you how much they love you.

A pet can be as rewarding for the owner, as it is for the pet. They serve as a form of round the clock entertainment, even when they are sleeping. When I feel stressed from piles of assignments, sometimes I take a break and just watch my kitten sleep. He always sleeps in the most amusing positions, and I find my stress and anxiety subside from the rhythm of his soft purrs.

Prerona also mentions that Hash greets her with excitement whenever she comes home, and falls asleep wrapped up in the clothes that still carry Prerona’s scent. The feeling of a pet’s loyalty and love is incomparable to any other feeling in the world, as it is one of the most pure forms of love and affection.

I would encourage everyone to adopt one of their own, with proper research beforehand. A lot of these animals, that are strays, face much abuse and neglect on the street. But, once adopted they will be forever grateful for the love and care they are surrounded

Author: Tasnia Naureen

Read more from Tasnia Naureen:

Ghost kitchen or cloud kitchen

[ Ghost kitchen or cloud kitchen ]

Years of living in Dhaka has given me an incredible amount of ups, as well as downs. However, the first time I got out of this country to visit another, there was one thing I found myself missing dearly. Even though other countries have much to offer in this particular area, I still craved the spices and flavours of Dhaka’s food. That might have been about five years ago and since then, Dhaka’s food culture has developed vastly. An increasing number of international cuisines are being introduced to our pallets, from Asian to European to even African. The reason I craved Bengali food while in a foreign land with an even more diverse food culture is because Bengali restaurants would add their own Bengali flavours to their dishes, even if it was a foreign dish. Personally, this is what makes the food here even more delectable.

With the advancements in our food culture, technology has also come very far. This was especially useful as we embarked on the first pandemic of our lives, where we were confined inside the walls of our home. In such times, eating out at restaurants was, and still is, out of the question. Thus, it would seem that the pandemic would have driven restaurants and cafes completely out of business. But, business is still booming, and even more, restaurants are popping up as well. All of this can be accredited to the fairly recent phenomenon of ‘cloud kitchens’, together with improvements of service mobile applications, such as Pathao and FoodPanda.

So, what are ‘cloud kitchens’? Normally, restaurants offer dine-in services, alongside deliveries. However, cloud kitchens are set up solely for their delivery services. They run their business through food delivery websites and applications, where customers can place their orders. Pathao food and FoodPanda were running successful food delivery services since much earlier than the pandemic, but in the past year and a half, there has been an increase in the start-up of more of these services such as Kludio and Munchies.

Previously, having food from outside of your home would mean dressing up, travelling to the restaurant in Dhaka’s infuriating traffic, and finally making it to the restaurant while you wait for the waiter to take your order. For an introvert such as myself, this was a very cumbersome experience. What was even more inconvenient was how awkward it is to eat alone at restaurants, thus my cravings would only be met when friends or family also had similar cravings. So, cloud kitchens and online delivery services were a godsend. Now, whenever I crave something from my favourite restaurant, I only have to press a few buttons, and the food is brought straight to my doorstep.

The progressing cloud kitchen businesses have not only provided a way for us to enjoy food from the comfort of our homes, but I feel that it has helped our community as a whole to a great extent too. Every time I would place an order online, a different delivery person would deliver my food each time. This suggests that these kitchens and services have hired a large number of employees as delivery persons, thus providing jobs for all these people, especially during a pandemic. A few days ago, I even saw on the news that FoodPanda has now hired delivery persons from the transgender community as well, which is an incredible step towards the progression of our society. Not only that, many talented homecooks are able to set up shop in their own kitchen and provide deliveries from there. They do not have to worry about the funds required to rent out a space for a restaurant and hiring waiters and kitchen workers anymore.

Photo: Internet

Dragon’s Den and The Kebab Junction are two successful cloud kitchens. The proud owner of both these kitchens is Ramin Bhai. He had opened these two kitchens a month after the start of the pandemic. After speaking with him, he mentioned that running a cloud kitchen and running a dine-in restaurant has two completely different business models, as they need to be run differently. These kitchens can be ordered from through their Facebook page. They are also available on Pathao food, and provide amazing dishes that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your home. Ramin Bhai also mentioned that they currently do not have any plans of expanding their kitchen to a dine-in restaurant, as it does not seem like the pandemic will end any time soon.

The progressing cloud kitchen businesses have not only provided a way for us to enjoy food from the comfort of our homes, but I feel that it has helped our community as a whole to a great extent too.

Pandemic or not, cloud kitchens are a very convenient addition to our food experience here in Dhaka, as well as other cities all over Bangladesh. When I visit other houses, or have friends or family over, most of the time, people opt for the option to order in rather than eat outside. Most people have become comfortable in this new way of life, and it just feels like a hassle-free way to meet cravings. The one downside I would point out of cloud kitchens is how fast I drain all my income. If good food is brought right to my hands, without having to move from the comfort of my bed, of course, I would regularly spend money on it. But, it is completely worth it each time. Thus, as more people get vaccinated and rumours of institutions opening back up floating around, I am certain cloud kitchens and food deliveries will remain a successful business, even after the pandemic.

Author: Tasnia Naureen

[ Ghost kitchen or cloud kitchen ]

Rooftop Gardening : Nature and Nurture

[ Rooftop Gardening : Nature and Nurture ]

It seems as though the pandemic is a black cloud looming over our heads. A cloud that came and never went away. But people never really let that be the end of the world even though it quite literally felt like it. We were quick to adapt, improvise and overcome. It didn’t take long for us to pierce through the impenetrable dark cloud so we could rain some sunshine on ourselves for a change. Our true colors shone and we found our true selves amongst all the hobbies.

The most Therapeutic hobby has to be gardening. For you are in tune with mother nature. Anyone under the sun can appreciate the hue of green. It just seems to have a naturally calming aura emanating, it is almost enchanting, the effect of looking at a beautifully placed and maintained garden or even a plant.

You are at liberty to incorporate your own personality into a little space through arranging, procuring and growing your mini or fullsized rooftop garden. – 

Without looking at the hobby of gardening through a microscope, one might find a plethora of therapeutic and beneficial attributes to picking up such a way to pass time and incorporate into your lifestyle. As you Nurture life in your arms you learn how to be delicate, precise and even punctual if you take care of a high-maintenance garden. Either way you acquire skills that could be deemed crucial to building a more healthy lifestyle through keeping you grounded both spiritually and physically.

Photo Tahmid Islam

Not only are you nurturing nature itself but nature is nurturing you in turn. While you provide sustenance for your happy little garden, your garden supplies you with fresh breath, incredible aromas and beautiful sceneries. Their greenery and vibrant colors are a living testament to your very own love, affection and care. You are at liberty to incorporate your own personality into a little space through arranging, procuring and growing your mini or fullsized rooftop garden.

Personally I can safely say sometimes all it took for a refreshing change in life was spending time with nature. It is almost poetic taking care of a rooftop garden, where at one point you are taking care of it and in turn, it takes care of you. Providing you all it can from just being present in the atmosphere you have created for yourself.

Photo Tahmid Islam

Upon interacting with a couple of people who dabble in gardening, we were able to gather some insight from the mind of a couple of avid gardeners. The opinions and thoughts held some likeness and contrast at the same time. Mrs. Sonia Haque, a young Teacher from DPS STS junior, says even before the pandemic she had taken part in gardening prior to officially getting into this line of hobby herself. She says it was mainly her mother who had inspired her to get involved in gardening. It simply just not was one person in her life.

It seems as though anyone who is going through a transitional period in their life or just growing older have in some way dedicated a piece of their life to taking care of their own personal little gardens. It is however, not necessarily factual that this hobby is solely for the older people but to anyone who is maturing and is simply growing as a person.

Additionally, nurturing routinely for anything that holds life within itself be it animals or plants can teach a great deal about being thoughtful and maturing as a more self aware and alert human being. She says it always made her feel at home. Caring for her plants was almost instinctive as she had a green thumb. She had passively observed her family members maintaining their own garden.

She was already good at gardening from the get go and she almost instantly had a knack for it when she took up the hobby. She found it very relaxing from the start and never had any ailments in acquiring the skill set that she needed to acquire overtime for gardening.

Tasfia Ahmed, a third year student from BRAC university. Very much like the other person had taken up gardening by being inspired through her family. She says she had been in and out of this hobby quite often and had finally settled in and committed in the beginning of the pandemic. That, however, between the two people had been the only alignment in terms of inspiration.

This hobby was quite stressful for Tasfia, she says, as she had not been able to passively acquire the skill set of taking care of a plant through observation of her close ones. In her defense she had been trying the hobby on and off and was never really able to fully commit. Additionally she worries quite a lot about either overwatering or underwatering her plants since it is indeed a very delicate task to learn. In the end when she sees a new seedling or an offspring grow as a result of her care she says all of it is quite rewarding.

Although being afraid herself, she was able to overcome that hurdle and find joy in it. That is the beauty of being resilient in doing something that you really love.

Nothing is as easy as they come. Acquiring hobbies were difficult during the pandemic due to restrictions but people have been resilient in creating stunningly beautiful things for themselves. All it took was a little bit of love and endurance. In the end, endurance is the cost of wisdom. There is no rainbow without a little bit of rain so embrace it while you’re at it! Find out what brings you joy during the pandemic, perhaps pick up gardening, it surely cannot fail to enlighten you in this stage of your life.

Author: Tahmid Islam

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The Overlooked Disadvantages of Being Sibling-Free

The Overlooked Disadvantages of Being Sibling-Free: There is a reason why people tend to ask those who are stubborn or a bit self-centred if they are an only child. We do have it easy in many ways. Some of the positives eventually take a backseat with age. Whether it is the constant reminder that you are the sole caretaker of your parents or how much every single decision you make will affect their futures heavily, it can get a bit overwhelming. Then there are the overlooked disadvantages, which come at the cost of the perks you get from having no siblings. Here are some of the advantages of being an only child which tend to be double edged.

No One is Around to Interfere with Your Free Time

Although I love imagining that my sibling would be a miniature version of me, with the same ideals and taste, along with a tendency to always sacrifice their own needs for me, that probably would not have been the case if I actually did have a sibling. There would have been a lot of sharing, negotiation, bargain, and light hearted blackmail over schedules, time, resources and electronics. As a kid, I  never had to wait for an older sibling to get off the family desktop or landline so I could use it after school when my parents were at work. There was no heated negotiation, screaming or physical altercations over television schedules for that time window either. I did not have to cancel plans to attend to sibling sitting duties. How I spent my free time was always up to me growing up, other than when I managed to tick my parents off.

But No One is There to Interject During Fights Either

Without any siblings, especially older ones, it can be a bit challenging to get an outsider perspective or support during any disagreement you have with your parents. When navigating and negotiating the amount of freedom I should be able to have at certain milestones in life, I didn’t really have anyone back me up on some of the things I would swear almost everyone of my friends were allowed to do. I can’t blame my parents either since the only time they had to figure out the amount of freedom a child should have started and ended with me. There was no experimental first child. On the other end of the spectrum, there were times I did throw tantrums which may have been uncalled for (my hair still pays the toll for the countless times I bleached my hair against my mother’s will) and an older, more responsible sibling probably would have helped me understand where my parents were coming from in such cases.

These issues trickle well into your adulthood, and make standing your ground increasingly difficult.

Single child family, image source: deposit photos
You Are the Designated Friend

Sometime after I turned 20, there was an apparent dynamic shift I had with my parents, especially my mom. After every ‘dawat’, she would tell me all the gossip she gathered about her friends. I would send screenshots of questionable things my older cousins who I was not ‘friends-friends’ with would post on Facebook. A lot of it was definitely not things parents usually share with their kids in South Asia, due to the age gap and dynamic in question. I was actually treated somewhat like an adult without the actual decision making power it entails.  I’ve noticed this unfold to different extents with my friends who are only children. While for some, it meant that breakfast conversations required no self-censorship, for others it meant reporting trivial relationship milestones from the first date.

While this is not entirely specific to only children, this shift usually required outside interference or special context for my friends who did have siblings. The ‘friend’ role is often reserved for the eldest sibling, or is transferred to younger ones when the eldest gets married or moves out. For me it was automatic.

..And The Designated Intermediary

When you’re the designated friend, it also means you’re the designated intermediary. When your parents fight, you are the only one who can walk on eggshells and try to get them to see each other’s perspectives. Sometimes the fights can get as trivial as disagreements about the actual message of some Netflix show you are a bit tired of hearing about. Sometimes this leads to you and one parent cornering the other one.  From deciding whether or not your mother indeed has been using her phone too much, to more heavy decisions like taking one of their sides regarding health issues and doctors, being the one who helps settle indecision between parents can be mentally taxing. For heavier things, this may mean that you are the one to finalise a decision which could really backfire. For lighter things, one of them may be a bit irritated with you and accuse you of loving the other more.

They Have No One To Compare You To. For Better

No matter how much parents try to hide it, as an outsider it seems as if one sibling is always the more loved one. They are the one others are compared to, be it verbally or during internal monologues. Sometimes the comparisons lack all sense of rationality. One of my friends still continues to be told that she will never be the all-rounder her brother is even though she has her life together, finances almost all her own spendings and single handedly takes care of her parents while her brother seems to find new ways to throw his life away every other year. The apparent favouritism often has no base other than gender sadly. I have always been grateful to be exempt from all that drama as an only child.

 …Or Worse

Although there is no one to compare you to, every hiccup you have during your developing years is almost always met with drastic measures and ridiculous reactions.Your parents are more likely to label the most trivial coming of age markers as a warning of your permanent demise. This usually plays out as a result of them being more reliant on your success, and also because no one else is there to normalise mess ups. Without any siblings to exemplify how commonplace such teenage glitches are with their own actions, or to interject with verbal reminders, your parents have the tendency to increase the severity of common road bumps by tenfold in their heads. Without anyone to pave the way, an ordinary teenage slip up is a sign that you are headed towards an irreversible downfall. This dread infiltrated into my adulthood too, with my parents being heavily invested in every decision I made. Be it my decision to freelance for a new publication, to sleep into the ‘late’ hours of 10 AM, to spend time with people my age who were a bit ‘different’, all of it often mattered more to them than necessary.

Author: Tasfia Ahmed

[ The Overlooked Disadvantages of Being Sibling-Free ]


Tagore’s Timelessness

Tagore’s Timelessness : A name we are all familiar with from our childhoods, from the songs on the radio to the stories we would study in Bangla classes, is Rabindranath Tagore. In Bengali history and culture he is not just a name, but a pillar of the country’s literature and music.

Not only that, his works have spread throughout the globe and earned him the title of Biswakabi. Tagore’s talents range throughout most, if not all, areas of Bengali literature. His philosophy and uniqueness depicted in his writing earned him the Nobel prize in 1913. Although he is given the title of poet, the list of Tagore’s achievements throughout his life goes on and on.

Jorasako Thakur bari  – Tagore’s birth place in Kolkata. Image souce: internet
Rabindranath Tagore was born on 7 May, 1861 in Jorasanko, Kolkata. He was the fourteenth child of Maharshi Debendranath Tagore and Sarada Devi. His mother had passed away when Tagore was only a child and his father spent most of his time in North India and England. Thus he spent his childhood days under the care of the servants in the Tagore family. He also had to be home-schooled, where he was taught various subjects such as Mathematics, Language, Biology and Physics.

When he reached eleven years of age, Tagore’s father took him on a world tour. During this time, his source of education was his father. Under his schooling, Tagore gained knowledge on history and literature as well. This is where Tagore’s journey into literature starts, as he started writing his own stories and poems from such a young age. In 1877, a criticism of Michael Madhusudan Dutta was published in the Bharati newspaper, which was written by eleven-year-old Tagore.

He then completed his primary education in Oriental Seminary in Kolkata. He attended Bengal Academy and St Xavier’s Collegiate for a while, only to realize traditional schools were too restrictive for him.

Portrait of a poet.
Image: Internet
In 1878, Rabindranath Tagore traveled to England with the intention of studying law. He attended a public school there, and then took admission in University College of London to pursue a career in law. However, Tagore’s passion for literature still burned strongly. Eventually, he came back to Kolkata without completing his law degree. Back home, he pursued writing while looking after the lands in regions of Bengal owned by the Tagore family. He married Mrinalini Devi, who gave birth to five children. Unfortunately, two of them, Renuka and Shamindranath passed away very young.

Shilaidaha Kuthibadi (Bengali: শিলাইদহ) is a place in Kumarkhali Upazila of Kushtia District in Bangladesh. The place is famous for Kuthi Bari; a country house made by Dwarkanath Tagore. Rabindranath Tagore lived a part of life here and created some of his memorable poems while living here. Image source: internet
Over the years, Rabindranath Tagore has written fifty-two books of poetry, over a hundred short stories, thirteen novels, twenty plays and more than two thousand songs. All his works are meticulously studied to this day, as they have left a lasting impact on Bengali culture and literature. Bangla classes in every school, in almost every grade would teach one of Tagore’s works, whether it is one of his poems or short stories.

Tagore’s most famous collection of short stories, Golpa Guccha, includes stories such as ‘Monihara’, ‘Nashtanir’ and ‘Kabuliwala’. The first book of poetry he published was called Kabi Kahini, where we can see how his writing changes as he grows older and wiser. In 1913, he won the Nobel Prize for his most famous book of poetry, Gitanjali, which was translated into English and called ‘The Song Offerings’. Tagore’s poem ‘Shesher Kabita’ was published in Pramatha Choudhuri’s Shobujpatra.

Rabindranath Tagore born Robindronath Thakur, 7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941; sobriquet Gurudev, Kobiguru, Biswakobi) was a Bengali polymath – poet, writer, playwright, composer, philosopher, social reformer and painter.
In addition to stories and poems, Rabindranath Tagore was also an excellent playwright. Bengali theatre was still somewhat unheard of during that time, but performances of Tagore’s plays soon became infamous. Tagore paved the way for actors and performers to see theatre as a professional career. He wrote an essay called ‘Rangmancha’, in which he spoke against the European influences in Bengali theatre.

It is considered crucial for theatre apprentices to read through this. He wrote plays that had a more serious tone, which depicted the state of society. At the same time, he wrote comedies and dance dramas as well. Tagore’s famous comedic plays include ‘Hashyakautuk’ and ‘Goraya Galad’, while famous dance dramas include ‘Chitrangada’, ‘Shyama’ and ‘Chandalika’. However, Tagore’s talents do not stop there.

He mastered music in his lifetime as well. His lyrics are a combination of European and Indian classical music. He not only wrote the lyrics, but composed all his songs. ‘Amar Shonar Bangla’, written by Tagore, was named the national anthem of Bangladesh after independence. It perfectly depicts the love Bengali people have for their beautiful land. In all of his songs, the love that went into them can be clearly seen.

She is our own, the darling of our hearts,
In the shadows of her trees we meet
in the freedom of her open sky.
Our dreams are rocked in her arms.
Her face is a fresh wonder of love every
time we see her,
for she is our own, the darling of our
— Rabindranath Tagore,
Rabindranath Tagore had an immense role in the socio-political state of India. At the time, the British rule continued their oppression in Bengal and massacred many in Jalianwalabagh, Punjab. Because of this incident, Tagore renounced the title of Knighthood in 1919. He continued his protests against Britain in his writing. Some of his political essays include ‘Crisis of Civilization’, ‘Letter to Russia’ and ‘Kalantar’.

Moreover, Tagore had his ambitions set in reforming the conservative education system of India. He established Bishwabharati University in 1918, where students were taught in the traditional way, as well as through nature. In later years, Tagore dabbled in painting.

Although his paintings were not very popular, his first exhibition was held in the Pigal Art Gallery, Paris in 1928. After a lifetime of achievements and improvements to the world around him, Tagore passed away on 7 August, 1941.

Tagore’s funeral
Thus, it is clear that Rabindranath Tagore’s contribution to not only literature, but music, theatre and society as a whole, has been immense. The Thakurbari in Jorasanko has been converted to Rabindranath Tagore University. The bridge connecting Kolkata and Howrah has been named after him as the Rabindra Bridge.

For Bengali writers, earning the Rabindra Award is the highest award they can achieve, which is awarded every year. These are just some of the tributes to the Bishwakabi Rabindranath Tagore. Every year, musical programmes are held in his honour, where the country’s Rabindra Sangeet singers would gather to sing his melodious songs. Even after his demise decades ago, Tagore continues to live on through his spectacular and heartfelt works generation after generation.

Author: Tasnia Naureen

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[ Tagore’s Timelessness ]

The pandemic : A hairy situation

The pandemic has brought out the best and most possibly the worst in all of us, but that does not have to be as bad as it sounds as we probably found a reason to laugh about our shortcomings or small mishaps out of sheer boredom.

We have managed to stand taller and be braver than ever in the face of global panic where we were greeted by an unexpected circumstance. Even though we assumed it would wash over in the blink of an eye, it seems to be staying for what feels like an eternity. A couple of years have passed and we are still on the battlefield of disease and calamity. Regardless, we have found many ways to cope and hold steadfast in this long and lonesome journey. Out of all the coping mechanisms, our hair has unfortunately fallen victim to the whims of our boredom in these dark times.

Photo credit Tahmid Islam

Everyone had a go at their hair during this time, be it cutting it yourself or letting someone else snip at your hair, without any prior experience in both cases. Many have opted to grow it out all the way, which is the case of most men, or to colour it. The lockdown was a good opportunity for people to experiment with their hair, as we could stay isolated. If a haircut did not turn out particularly flattering, we had the option to stay inside and hide our embarrassment.

Nonetheless, it is still quite amazing how, whichever route we chose turned out to work pretty well for most of us, given how scary it can be to experiment with hair. When it comes to hair, the final outcome usually does not meet expectations, even when it is done by professionals. But, it is quite a spectacle to behold for many, as they tapped into their primal instincts to execute their ideas. Needless to say, grooming is important even though you are stuck at home. It may be for self-appreciation, or because your work requires you to present yourself on video.

The pandemic, however, has not entirely stopped people from seeing the face of the sun. Boredom, loneliness and yearning brew a strong concoction that makes you want to do things at your own home. You may not normally do these things at home, or at least not admit to doing them prior to lockdown, such as dressing up at home just to go to the rooftop during the sunlight to take pictures. These pictures would result in a refreshing and delightful sight to behold.

Sabrina, a third year student from NSU, says she really wanted to switch things up. She is not a stranger to dyeing her hair, but most of the time she would prefer to dye it brown. During lockdown, she made an impulsive decision to get violet streaks in her hair, which had very satisfying results. To think she did it all by herself and with the advice of two of her closest friends is quite an achievement. She not only succeeded in getting the color she wanted but styled it perfectly.

Along with colouring hair, one of the most common activities of the pandemic was to cut your own hair. Women, who normally have long hair, have cut it short to see how it would suit them. Some have been satisfied with their results, but some wish that they could hide from society until their hair grows back out. A student from BRACU looks back on how she attempted to cut her own fringes, while her hand shook uncontrollably as she held her hair between the scissors.

It was something she had never done before, but had seen countless videos on the internet where it went horribly wrong. She did come to regret it later, as she says the haircut was unflattering on her. Another student recollects that her mother had to cut her father’s hair, as he was scared he might get infected at the saloon.

The haircut did not turn out like her father’s usual haircut, but her mother was still proud of it. In instances like these, we are just trying to make the most of the circumstances we are in and hold on to some form of control in our lives. Thus, the easiest thing we can have immediate control of is our hair.

Mahee, a BRACU student, says the pandemic has given him a chance to grow out his hair, and now he does not feel the need to cut it.

However, it is also true that, for some, their hair has gone out of control in the pandemic. Mahee, a BRACU student, says the pandemic has given him a chance to grow out his hair, and now he does not feel the need to cut it. Although he finds his new long locks to be difficult to maintain, he has come to get used to it, and says he would feel bad when he eventually has to get rid of it.

Thus, many others like Mahee have allowed their hair to grow naturally, whether it is because it’s something they always wanted to do but never had the chance to, or because saloons are not the safest place to be in a pandemic. Even though many feel the upkeep of longer hair is not worth it, they do not have a choice but to keep it that way.

The pandemic has left us frustrated with our lives, and many have taken out their frustrations on their hair. Some have resulted in a trendy new hairstyle, but some have resulted in sheer horror at the outcome. Whatever it may be, we could explore and experiment with how we look, which we would not have been able to do before. Now, as we see the slight glimmers of hope that the pandemic will end, experimenting on hair has somewhat gone down. But, hopefully people will be encouraged to look however they want even after everything has gone back to normal.


Author: Tahmid Islam and Photo: Tahmid Islam


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