Things to keep in mind before getting your next suit

A good suit is an essential piece of clothing that every man need to have in their collection. Whether it’s for work, a wedding or any other formal event, having the right suit is indispensable in making the right impression. But picking out or tailoring ones next suit can be a daunting task for anyone. The fabric, size, style, colour, tailoring and budget all play their part in making the right suit. And for anyone who’s relatively inexperienced or getting their first suit on their own, it can be quite a headache. And the last thing any man wants is to not look good in their new suit.  

So here are a few things men should keep in mind before getting their next suit.

Having a clear idea of the desired suit

Buying a new suit doesn’t start in the store, it starts in one’s head. Deciding on a two-piece or a three-piece suit, the colour, material, style or even buying it readymade or buying the cloth and tailoring it, is something one should have an idea off beforehand. Each option has its own merits and it’s on the buyer to decide which route they are going to take. So a clear vision is the first step in getting there. 

Correctly matching the trousers with the coat

One of the biggest rookie mistakes is buying a black coat to match with a black pair of trousers.  A suit is a matching coat and trousers made from the same type of fabric and colour. Merely matching two different coat and trousers, no matter how similar they are, is not going to work as well as one would think it would. 

Sticking to the basics

When it comes to choosing the colour of suits, one can never go wrong with the classics. Sticking to the timeless black, grey, brown and navy blue color for suits is never a bad idea.  And pairing them with the right shirt and tie is a sure-fire way to get the best out of the suit. Checkered and patterned suits are blowing up right now on Instagram and Facebook and that opens up the door to new possibilities. We do recommend losing the pinstripes as it does seem a bit dated.

 Getting the right size

Unlike most other clothing suits don’t generally come in small, medium or large, rather they are fitted to the buyer’s measurements. So getting the correct measurement is crucial for anyone looking for a new suit, especially for the shoulders, torso and height. One of the most common missteps people make when getting a new suit is buying one that’s too big.

Pro tip: The suit should hug the wearer’s frame as closely as possible without it being tight.   

Detailing of the lapel, buttons and hemming the trousers   

Getting the right lapel style and the number of buttons are some of the finer detail but they are just as important. Lapel types are generally two; the notch style which is more casual and versatile and the more formal peak style. As for buttons, the buyer can go for two buttons to three buttons on the torso depending on their choice. Another detail to notice is whether the coat sleeves or trouser length is correct and hemming them if they are longer. Also when it comes to trousers, opting for flat front pants instead of the pleated pant are commendable. 

A good tailor can make all the difference

It’s always wise to have a trusty tailor on hand for any altering or adjustment that may be required for a suit. And a good tailor can help you get the most out of a suit even if it’s a bit off or if it gets damaged. Most suits are made to be alterable and even a lower-priced suit, in the hands of a skilful tailor can make it look and feel much better.

Getting a suit is a rite of passage for many men and hopefully, the pointers above will help in getting the perfect suit next time around.  

Finding feminism in the pages of literature

For as long as I can remember, I have been an intense reader. Throughout middle school and high school, my best friend and I bonded over “book-hunting” in the school library, and over the years we fought minotaurs with Percy Jackson, went on undercover spy missions at Cherub, fawned over Artemis Fowl’s criminal mastermind, hated Katniss Everdeen with a passion, and, of course, devoured page after page of Bella’s description of Edward Cullen’s perfect 45 degree angled nose (don’t pretend you didn’t have a Twilight phase).

In early 2017, I was reading a particularly popular novel by a particularly popular (male) author and I was reading through a paragraph (which was completely irrelevant to the rest of the plot of the book) in which the male protagonist lustfully described the only female character in the book, who just happened to be incredibly sexually appealing in all her intelligence and physique (but very careful as to not be too intelligent or too attractive so as to threaten our protagonist, of course).

As I suffered through the unnecessary account of how well she pulled off a white tank top and jean shorts, it dawned upon me that in my almost 20 years of life, I had not read nearly enough novels by female authors. It was at this point that I, utterly disgusted by the one-dimensionality of every female character I could recall in almost every novel I had read (however much I loved them), decided that 2017 would be the year that I would consciously choose to read more books by women.

Now before you go on calling me a feminazi and whatnot, I am not claiming that every book ever written by a man is inherently sexist or that men, by some default, cannot create complex female characters. I am only saying that there is an entire realm of emotions and experiences about being a woman that male writers have never experienced and therefore their writing does not reflect it.

Consciously reading books by female authors exposed me to a whole new representation of my identity as a woman. There are tiny bits and pieces of the life that only women know sprinkled into the details of each story that I had never before found in literature.

It was in Esther’s frustration with everyone around her waiting for her to turn her mind around about not wanting marriage and kids, in Sylvia Plath’s ‘The Bell Jar’. It was in Scout from ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’s constant battle with her neighbours’ expectations of her to wear more dresses and stay in more as she grew older. It was in Francie’s observation of how women around her shamed other women for their sexuality in ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’ – the cold hard reality of how women themselves pose obstacles to other women in a patriarchal society. In Alice Walker’s ‘The Color Purple’, it was the simple remark on how a lot of men talk to women – ‘mansplaining’ – which is sadly still relevant to a lot of our experiences today – “…they listen just long enough to issue instructions. They don’t even look at women when women are speaking.”

The unceasing struggle that I as a woman face against the patriarchal and conventional roles set for me has been experienced not only by women that I personally know but also by women before me – in 1930s Brooklyn, in 1800s England, in pre-Civil War Georgia – this discovery was both painful and wonderful to experience. As if the tiny secrets of survival that I have had to bear my entire life, that I never thought had space in literature, were being spilled out to women from all over the world and all timelines – getting together in solidarity and whispering, confessing, consoling, ‘Me too’. Yes – remember that hashtag? You’ll find traces of it in Austen and Bronte and Woolf and Eliot – forget not that some of these authors had to adopt male pseudonyms to have their work taken seriously, and some, such as George Eliot, are still known by their male pseudonym.

Long before they had the right to vote, these female characters defied sexist social standards in every way, most of all by thinking for themselves and being complex, intelligent, independent characters. In a world where women are still struggling to be heard and validated as full persons – through #metoo and #talkaboutit – I think that being a complex and independent person is the epitome of empowerment, and it is incredibly inspiring to see such empowered women splattered across the world throughout history, as if in some undisclosed unanimity.

If you are female, reading more books by women will connect you to the unmentioned little struggles of women who lived lives so vastly different from you. If you are not female, reading them (which I hope you do with the utmost respect to their experiences as women) will give you some very interesting and crucial understanding of the lives of all the women around you. For the #metoo era, to gain a full understanding and therefore validation of women’s experiences, the effort to consciously read more books by women is one that will move us forward. We must trace back to how the same patriarchal system has been poisoning our lives to as long as women have broken silence through the defiant act of writing.

An ode to deshi winters

Other countries get snow and all the wonders that come along with the soft white stuff, but having a mild, temperate winter means we Bangladeshis get a very different kind of experience. We have our own ways of celebrating and staying warm; our own culture and heritage define a lot of what we do in these months.

The fashion

Dust off the kombol suitcases and bring down the woolen sweaters tucked away in the back of the closet. You can spend away on faux leather jackets and Kashmiri shawls, how more often than not, winter clothing is strictly a fashion statement rather than being absolute necessities. It just doesn’t get that cold. Bangladesh’s mild winters mean the thermal underwear that you’d typically need to not die in the barren, frozen wastes of Canada is not needed. There is plenty of room to mix and match your winter style. Winter—the best season in Bangladesh 4 Anything goes—from the traditional shawl wrapped over a suitably ethnic Panjabi, to hoodies emblazoned with the logos of your favorite English Premier League football team. Winter is a chance for already expressive Bangladeshis to show more of their style with each additional layer of clothing. The cold can still get to you (2018 saw the lowest temperatures in nearly 50 years), especially at night. It’s a good idea to cover up and take extra protection in the form of mufflers. 

The weddings

Summer weddings in Bangladesh are a terrible idea. Who wants to see the typical local aunty’s face-paint melting in the sweltering heat? How do you get around that? You shift the wedding plans to the end of the year and minimize the heat. Everyone has the same idea, and as a result, come December, you’re flooded with wedding invites and calls for holud dance rehearsals. It can get chaotic, but the serial wedding invites make winter a festive, happening time. Winter—the best season in Bangladesh 2 It’s also prime relationship forging time. The single and ready to mingle crowd emerges. Winter weddings are a fortuitously romantic time to pine after well-dressed people you’ll never meet again.  We almost relish the hundreds of hours of ridicule from friends and family as you repeatedly claim that that the good-looking boy/girl totally smiled at you when you looked at them.

The winter sports

The Bangladeshi version of the Winter Olympics consists of hundreds of hours of badminton and some more badminton. People all over Bangladesh take to the streets and the fields, draw up badminton courts and pull out tattered nets, racquets and corks to jump, run and keep their bodies warm. Winter—the best season in Bangladesh 3 Like everything else we Bengalis do, access to the court is determined through seniority and how well connected you are with the local boro bhais. If you’re just a young thug trying to make it big in the world of badassminton politics, you’ll probably be banished to a side court with no net and no lights. You’ll be lucky to get your hands on a racquet. Count your stars that you actually get to play some form of badminton each winter. Nonetheless, badminton is more of a community sport than anything else, and the strong sense of Bengali togetherness comes out in full force in winter.

The food

Does anything attain a special corner in Bengali hearts without some mention of food? Winter is no different. Winter means weddings. Weddings mean steaming plates of kacchi biriyani with a mouth-watering aloo on top. Winter—the best season in Bangladesh 1 If that doesn’t make your mouth water, how about the plethora of different kinds of pitha? Cooked in oil, dipped in pungent shutki or wrapped in a sickly sweet coating of heaven, these diverse delicacies are something to look forward to all year. The melting mouthful of gur conjures up images of a simpler time and fill you with an incredible warmth in the winter chill. 

The empathy

Winters in Bangladesh may be mild compared to much of the rest of the world, but it does induce a lot of suffering in the less fortunate. While charity is far from the best method of alleviating that, it does play its part in bringing together people. Winter—the best season in Bangladesh 5 Every blanket and donated clothing counts. It might just be the line between someone staying warm or suffering needlessly. So stack up and donate as much as you can, because that’s what we try to do—look out for one another.

Socially accepted addictions: Addictions we love to pursue

People around us tell us to stay away from all kinds of addiction every day. ‘Don’t smoke. Don’t drink. Or take drugs. Stay away from other addicts.’ And so on and on and on. Here’s the thing though, all the while they are telling us these things, they are also telling us, teaching us to get addicted to other things. Things that apparently are not as dangerous. Things that we are supposed to be addicted to. These are some of the things I’ve listed below:

Tea or Coffee:

Sure, keep drinking tea every hour and you will soon find people staring at you with concerned eyes. But think about it. Why is it that something that can kill your liver a part of our everyday life? Every time you go visit your sweet aunt, tea almost always comes up as a part of the hospitality? Why is it everywhere in our workplaces? How is it that something so harmful can be so ubiquitous? For some odd reason, we always overlook our addiction to drinking tea or coffee. We don’t even see it as a problem.

Okay fine. Yes, I’m fear-mongering a bit at this point. I’m making a big deal out of nothing. I understand. Caffeine-related deaths are not as common as many other causes of deaths. Still, you have to wonder, why though?

By the way, I’ve been writing all this with a cup of coffee in my hand. My second one this evening. The irony is not lost on me. But hey, addictions are addictions because they are fun as heck.

Television:

Socially accepted addiction: addictions we accept 1

I remember when my father and mother used to scold me for watching TV too much. Then they would spend the next three hours watching TV and fall asleep while watching TV. Well, the joke is on them now. I don’t watch TV no more. I only watch quality Youtube videos. Who is laughing now?

Certainly not my grades.

Anyway, TV hasn’t been around for that long in this country. Color TV came to us only very recently in 1980. It may not seem that recent, but in the grand scheme things, it is quite so. In spite of being so new, it has already reached almost every household of the country. There are very few if any, places in Bangladesh right now that doesn’t have a TV and a dish line to provide the people with some sweet Bangla cinema.

Even though I have made conscious efforts to stop watching TV, all I have managed to do is replace one addiction with another. Well, at least I don’t have to get into arguments with my parents about the remote anymore. That’s my little cousin’s job now.|

Sports:

Socially accepted addictions: Addictions we love to pursue
I remember sneaking out of my house to play street cricket with my friends. Yes, it was addictive

Let me tell you a story.

I was hard at work. I was typing away furiously at my computer, trying to get this article done in time. My room was dark and silent. Only the sounds of my fan and my keystrokes were around. My whole concentration focused on the words and ideas I slowly forming into coherent paragraphs. Many things were written, then deleted, then rewritten, only to be deleted for good. Many jokes, many ideas, and thoughts swirling away… and…

Sounds of cheering, screaming, and horns shatter all that in a matter of seconds. What happened? Oh, Brazil won a match.

Okay.

This is some kind of fanaticism. The way we treat sports sometimes seems like borderline insanity. Did you know that a person committed suicide after Argentina losing in the first round? I bet you do. And I bet that if you are a fan of Argentina, you are heartbroken after they lost the chance to progress. But we don’t see sports rehabilitation centers opened up around the country, do we? Of course not. That would be ridiculous. Still, it’s a very prevalent addiction in our life.

I support Brazil, in case you are wondering.

Books:

12 things only a bookworm can relate to-HiFi Public

This may sound strange to some people. You don’t see that many readers nowadays. But I promise you, they are there, hidden under their comfy blankets, sipping coffee and reading away at a speed that you can’t even imagine, the bookworms are all around us. And I assure you, it is indeed an addiction.

Be wary of books. They hold wonders that can enrich you, but also consume you to your core.

It’s weird because all our life, books have been held up as something that you should indulge yourself in. Do it a bit too much though, and you will be lost in a world from which there is no escape. There was a time when all I had were books. I enjoyed them immensely. My parents were proud of me too. They probably used to brag to other parents about how much books I read.

Then came exam time. These books became their worst enemy then. I wouldn’t study. I would just keep reading the same books again and again because it was fun. That’s what I wanted to do. I was addicted.

Success:

Finally, we get here. The apex of socially endorsed addiction. A thing that we are trained from childhood to pursue. A thing that every one of us craves to some extent. That magical thing. Success.

There are a lot of ways I could go about describing how success is an addiction to you. The thing is though, I feel like this aspect of the world has been so talked about by this point that I can add very little to the discussion that hasn’t already been explored in one way or another. So instead, let me tell you another story.

During my HSC exams, I used to study a little bit the night before and then leave early the next morning because the exam center was quite far. At least one of my parents made sure to go with me every day. We would take a CNG. The CNG would drop us off a little bit away from the center and we would walk the rest.

Every morning, I would walk and watch as my fellow examiners would be absorbed into their mobiles, staring at and solving the leaked questions as fast as possible. The questions would leak every day around 30 minutes before the exam and everyone would solve it before going into the exam hall.

That’s fine.

Kids don’t know better, but the parents should

The thing is, they would have their parents around while doing all this. Not one of the parents I saw those days seemed to care about what they were doing. They encouraged and helped their children. They fanned their children while the said children went through the question and books to find the best answer.

The parents helped their children cheat in an exam in hopes of better results.

Success is a drug, and we are all addicts.

Look the bottom line is, these things, hobbies they are all good but when you take them to an obsessive level, it’s bad. Even gaming. I will not get to that point because I love life. But you get the point. Nothing should become an obsession. If you see symptoms of getting obsessed with something then it’s high time you stopped or changed to something different. If you don’t, then at some point in your life it cost you a great deal.

Parents and educators, STOP pushing our students over the edge!

This is not just to tell you why you need to think about what is killing the future of our nation, this is a plea. I, a 21-year-old university student, deal with personal humiliation every other week and survive. However, I have finally found a pill too hard to swallow.

The tragedies

Just recently, we heard about the 10th-grade students of one of the most prominent schools in the capital commit suicide inside the school premises. A few days later, another news report popped up on my Facebook feed about a fifteen-year-old committing suicide. I thought (I hoped) that someone was resharing an old article in the light of recent incidents. However, after spending another minute or two on social media, my worst suspicions were confirmed about the loss of another young life. Not even two weeks had passed since a student at BRAC University took his life. How many more student deaths and how often does it need to occur for our society and our guardians to take accountability. When will they realize that they are doing something wrong?

Parents and Educators, STOP.
Artwork by Mehedi Haque Cartoons

The lack of diligence in previous incidents

A couple of months ago, I happened to tutor one of the classmates of the deceased student from Rajuk Uttara Model School and College. I found out that students were not even allowed to leave the class at the time of the unfortunate event. Their classes weren’t halted for even a period and they were forced to continue activities as if nothing had happened. Later, the school authorities stated that the student had “accidentally” slipped from the staircases and died. This was a farcical attempt to invalidate the death of a child.

Who can be held accountable?

The child from Viqarunnisa Noon School and College was reportedly expelled from her school due to allegations of cheating in her final exam. This allegation has not been proved. Students have claimed that she was found to be in possession of the cell phone, which is against the rules of the school. Even if you go by the allegation that she was indeed carrying the phone to cheat on her test, would that justify her teachers’ and Principal’s course of action?

In this case, attempts were not made to wait for proof, the school arrived at the conclusion that she cheated. As a consequence, her parent was called to the school and insulted in front of her. Our education system encourages educators to take harsh actions. In this case, the actions were so harsh that a mere 15-year-old child felt compelled to end their life.

No one is condoning cheating by speaking up about this accident. Students are expressing outrage and concern over the fact that our system has placed the power of molding young and vulnerable minds in the hands of people who have displayed incompetence as educators and parents. They have acted without due diligence and treated young lives with callousness.

Parents and Educators, STOP.

Take responsibility

Corporal punishment might have decreased in schools. However, the crippling lack of absolution from the society and family members if anyone flies off the rails, can be worse. Many families make their children think that their lives are only of worth if they do well in school.

We are left to consider the extent of the pressure the 10th grader felt to think suicide was the solution. Are we part of a system that places so much pressure on children? Do we make childish transgressions warrant a life of shame and ridicule? Can this pressure, aggravated with the lack of awareness and services about mental health, create an environment that is unbearable for young ones?

I am disappointed at those displaying “holier than thou” morality and self-righteousness. We have been nothing but accomplices to a system that has been defended too often, for too long.

Why you need to participate in business competitions

If you are a university student, you are familiar with the influx of business competition photos on your homepage every winter. Sometimes they make you feel severely unaccomplished, other times they simply annoy you with the showcase of corporate grandeur- but they are unavoidable. They are even more inescapable if you are friends with business school students. But no matter how you much you dislike those photos, admit that they do make you curious. Why do all these people keep participating in these competitions? They are stressful, and not everyone go home with the prize money- why do they still do it?

Well, here’s why they do it, and why you should too- despite your academic background.

  1. Learning to apply your skills to solve actual problems

As students, we learn a lot of theoretical tools to solve real life problems. Unfortunately, for most us that is the extent of our skills. Attending these competitions helps you realize where you can apply your textbook knowledge, why they are important, and what you should focus on in your work life. This is something you cannot learn in a classroom, and business competitions often provide you with the proper learning environment.

  1. Hands on Experience

While solving these business cases, you need to come up with real, sustainable business solutions to everyday problems. You need to make budgets, talk to professionals, and come up with compelling pitches for potential investors. All these tasks help you prepare for your actual job life.

  1. Networking

While having powerful uncles might not help get you a job at the reputed MNCs, having a wide network definitely can. Business competitions help you get this network. While meeting students from other universities is important, it’s more important to meet with potential employers and map what they want in graduates. Attending these competitions will provide you with opportunities to do just that.

  1. For better communication skills

Having “introvert pride” is a beautiful thing. But it doesn’t help you get far in your life. As unfortunate it is, this world is designed for extroverts, and you have to play by their rules. But the good news is, you can learn the art of speaking to anyone, anywhere with sufficient practice, and business competitions provide you with the perfect platform.

  1. Teamwork!

Working in teams can be very excruciating. But it is a skill that will be indispensable in your professional life. Companies always look for people who can function in a team, and participating in these competitions will give you valuable insights about how to lead a team that is about to fall apart under pressure.

  1. Meeting employers

Potential employers roam the business competitions, looking for smart, talented people that can add value to their company. So if you can set yourself apart in these competitions, there is a possibility that you will graduate with job offers. Isn’t that a decent incentive?

  1. Getting familiar with design trends

The business sector is going under immense renovations. Traditional marketing tactics do not work with people anymore. So you need to know how to grab your customers’ attention, and to do that you need to know how the sector is evolving. Getting involved in the business competitions give you the opportunity to get familiar with the latest design trends, and you can gain a competitive edge over your peers!

  1. Acquiring technical skills that actually matter

Just knowing how to browse the internet does not cut it anymore. To be a valuable employee, you need to have complete knowledge of software like Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher and Word. Knowing software like R and Stata would be a bonus, but having complete control over MS Office is a must. If you start competing, you will be forced to learn these basics- which will definitely add value to your professional life.

  1. Wins matter!

Business competitions are not a piece of cake. They are not very easy to win. But what if you do end up winning a few, after all? Of course, you get a decent amount of money as a prize. But the importance of these wins goes beyond the monetary value. They add a lot of value to your job application. And you need to set yourself apart from the crowd. So while you have clear incentives for participation, the incentives for winning are even more important.

  1. Most importantly, they are fun!

Admit it- University is stressful. To survive, you need to find solace in something. Not to mention, the sense of accomplishment after a successful competition is indescribable. So why not have fun while actually learning?

So these were our top reasons why you should participate in business competitions. Did we convince you? Don’t forget to let us know!

Cheers!

New to the job search? How to ace interviews

Adulting is hard. You have to look after yourself, pay your own bills, and do all the things that your parents have been unconditionally providing you with over the years. To do all that, you need money. And to get the money you need a job. To get a job, you need to be good at doing an interview.

We all know that getting a well-paying, decent job is getting tougher by the day. You don’t know what the employers look for. So every time you get a call for an interview, you start sweating like a pig. Also, you get tiny anxiety attacks and you mess it up. This is standard procedure for a regular, fresh graduate. But luckily, there are a few tips that might save you. And here they are.

1. Be ready for the basic questions.

In every interview that I faced, they always asked me a fundamental question- “Tell us about yourself.” If you think about it, it is a really hard question to answer, and it is enough to throw you off balance. So be ready for it. Before your interview, take a few days to come up with a humble, yet flattering answer. Remember, the first impression is the best impression. So ask around seniors who have faced a ton of interviews, and make a list of questions that you know you will be asked. The rest is simple- come up with witty, smart answers for those.

2. Be aware of your surroundings.

Every office has its own vibe. GP’s corporate headquarter and Go Zayaan’s corporate headquarter will not have the same feel. So keep your eyes and ears open. Try to understand that the people you are surrounded with. Are they all very formal? Or are they laughing and having fun while they work? Try to assess the mood and mirror that. It shows your adaptability, and it is a crucial skill that every employer looks for.

3. Be careful with the dress code.

Speaking of first impressions, you have 7 seconds to make them decide if they actually want to consider you for the job. So dress accordingly. Make sure that your dress is clean and pressed properly. Pay attention to your shoes. If you are a girl, tone down on the makeup. Make sure that the employers know how serious you are about this interview.

4. Be confident.

Your posture says a lot about you. So straighten your back, and maintain eye contact with your interviewer. If you’re too nervous, focus on the gap of their eyebrows. They won’t be able to tell the difference. Square your shoulders, smile, have a strong handshake. Just show them that you are up for a challenge.

5. Turn your weakness into strengths.

The man might be a supervillain, but he’s also a canny businessman

Interviewers will often ask you about your strengths and weaknesses. Be very careful about how you phrase the answer. While answering the weakness part, say “I am cautious” instead of “I have trust issues.” Say “I am too determined to see the end of something” instead of “I am stubborn”. Moot point, place yourself in the best light possible and make sure to phrase it positively. You are a smart person, my friend. You get the idea. Now implement it.

6. Do not talk about money.

In interviews, it is common practice to ask salary expectations. Never utter a number when it comes to that part. We all know that you are not fooling anyone, but your attitude should be of someone who is willing to work for free if it means that they can learn something. Industry and willingness to learn while disregarding the monetary return is a rare combination. Be that rare gem, and success will follow.

7. ALWAYS have a question.

At the end of each interview, your interviewer will ask you “Do you have a question for us?” Have a question ready for that part. The question should be regarding the company. It shows that you really are interested in working for that particular place, and you have done your research. It also shows that you keep tabs on what is going on with that particular company. So you never know, this one segment could be the “make it or break it” part of your interview.

I am not giving you the guarantee that you will get the job if you follow these tips. But you will definitely stand out from the crowd, and sometimes that is all that matters. So go get it, champ! I hope you nail it!

Cheers.

Things to consider while learning a new language

All of us at some point in our lives do consider learning a new language. Maybe it’s because you want to study abroad or to boost up your resume or simply because of your K-pop fandom. Whatever the reason may be, the idea of becoming bilingual or a multilingual speaker does have its perks. But nothing in life comes that easy. I came across many people who worked every day to be fluent in their target language. So, before you start learning do consider these things that can help you along the road.

Say goodbye to Google translator:

Things to consider while learning a new language

“It is a bad idea to use it, especially for us Bengali speaking people. Every language has its own complexities, be it for grammatical structure or word stock, and Google translator, as a system, cannot comprehend it all. I found bizarre Spanish translations, but in Bengali, it’s even worse” says Nusrat Maati a former student of Institute of modern languages (IML).

Try using a pocket dictionary or a dictionary app instead. It helps to get the proper translation along with a variety of examples. Apps like Duolingo, FluentU, Memrise are great for practice because of their interactive features. So, don’t be lazy and install away.

Try to accept the language barriers:

Things to consider while learning a new language

It’s crucial to bear in mind that each language has its own attributes. Things get super easy when we find similarities but can get twice as much hard when there aren’t any. So don’t get overwhelmed when you see new things that are absent in your native language.

French and Spanish languages are generally gender based. Every object is either masculine or feminine which makes it hard for a non-native speaker to differentiate between them. It can get quite frustrating at the beginning for some.

Watch Movies, TV shows, Talk shows, and YouTube Tutorials:

Things to consider while learning a new language

Developing your listening ability at the beginning is the right way to go. Many language learning methods focus on very strict listening activities. To make your listening activities fun try watching shows or movies with subtitles. Also, like always YouTube can offer you many basic language tutorials.

“Watching movies did help me a lot. It automatically helped me enrich my vocabulary, learned how native speakers communicate and helped to develop a better accent. Plus, it was a good source of entertainment too” says Marjuka Afzal currently doing her diploma at Alliance Franceas De Dhaka.

Be committed:

Things to consider while learning a new language

Commitment is very important. Never take your language classes for granted. If you want to learn properly make sure you don’t miss out on classes on a regular basis. And if you are leaning at home don’t take long gaps in between. Dedicate 2/4 hours weekly for practice.

“Continuity should be the primary concern. I remember missing out on quite a few classes back to back on sentence making and grammatical structure. Later when I went back after a gap I was not able to catch up.” Says another student of IML Noor Uddin Saikat.

Don’t just memorize without context:

bookworms HiFi Public

Even if you get long verb lists from class or the Internet. Don’t just memorize random words at once because language is a matter of processing. Start with the very basic daily used words and try making sentences with them.

“When we learned new German words, we primarily were given pictures. Started with naming the things in the classroom, or grocery shopping list, or a trip to the airport. We hardly ever needed to memorize” says Trishna Mutsuddy a former student of Gothe institute.

Communication is a must:

Things to consider while learning a new language

No matter how many lessons you take or how many audiobooks you practice. None of this will do you any good unless you converse with people. If you are already taking classes in your target language, talk among your classmates. If you are learning on your own, find someone who is a better speaker than you. One hour of conversational practice with a person helps you more than doing five classes.

It will take hours and hours of awkward and embarrassing conversations before you learn to speak without errors. “I remember once our Spanish instructor asked my age. And I accidentally said that I was 109 years old” says a Yoga teacher Shahnaz Sultana.

According to Jaime Cossa, a language Instructor at IML, the ability to master a language differs from person to person. For an average person, it can take 6 months to a year to do very basic communication. But it wholly depends on your motivation and the effort you put to it. If you are willing to make this commitment there are many places in the city from where you can get a degree. For each level, it may cost you around 8-10 thousand Taka minimum depending on the place and course you take. However, if you don’t have the time for that, consider learning at home. Purchase audiobooks, dictionaries and use all the online sources you find that can help you along the way. It may seem like a lengthy process now but the benefits you get afterwards are countless.

Breaking Bad at Dhaka Lit Fest 2018: a conversation we should have had a long time ago

“If we choose to tell stories about women there will be gallants of storytelling,” says the very well- known Bollywood actress, writer and activist Manisha Koirala, at Dhaka Lit Fest 2018. Invited as a panellist to talk about her book “Healed”, she shares a stage with Nandita Das, another talented actor, director and social activist under the panel “Breaking Bad”, moderated by Sadaf Saaz, the director of DLF. These three inspiring women join in a conversation to talk about women’s role in the film industry, stereotypes in society, gender roles, beauty standards, LGBTQ issues and much more.

The session begins with both women talking about how they started their respective careers in their industry and defied convention with their work. Manisha speaks of how she always wanted to go beyond stereotypes and considered herself lucky because “good filmmakers with good subjects” somehow managed to come to her and was fortunate enough “to recognize those opportunities.”  She goes on to talk about the joy that acting gave her and the satisfaction it brought with it.

In a conversation about how they started, Sadaf Saaz asks Nandita Das about her film Fire and how it was  ”one of the only mainstream Bollywood movies to feature homosexuality.” She says it became a “landmark censor decision” at the time, not having a single scene cut from the movie. While that was a remarkable feat, it was eventually criticized for supporting homosexuality in a deeply conservative society. People were encouraged to not watch the film, and later it was banned because it apparently went against commonly perceived sub-continental culture. Nandita believes that was important in making a nation realise an important lesson about the restriction on freedom of expression. “The film was significant for me because the kind of conversation it triggered” and had a “small role to play” when India passed the bill on legalizing homosexuality.

The session progresses to the role of women in the filmmaking industry. Both panellists agreed on how, even now, we have not been able to move away from the “boxed stereotypical roles” for women in movies. Women are hardly ever given strong characters or leading roles.  They believe that directors need to challenge themselves in making more diverse female characters. Manisha comments “Women are the most interesting characters…I get attracted to stories where women are portrayed slightly differently.” The conversation slightly shifts after Nandita mentions the struggles of being a woman director in a male-dominated industry. She asserts how she would always have to face questions about being a woman director, answering questions on what it’s like. “When we are working we are not constantly thinking that we are women.” She says she felt that being a woman was a “primary identity” before anything else. However, she thinks that just as there is a “male gaze” in movies, there is also a “female gaze”, and the identity of a woman cannot be ignored. It is crucial to acknowledge that identity to inspire more female directors to come forward.

The talk diverts to the “male gaze” and Manisha explains why she included this subject in her book. Women are always trying to cope with beauty standards that society places on them. The objectification of women in movies are still present and women are “constantly being judged by the standards of others.”  The lack of female directors makes it harder for a woman’s perspective to come through properly.

Later, asked about her campaign “Dark and Beautiful”, Nandita says “Being a dark person and living in South Asia, you are constantly made aware of it.” No matter where one goes they are constantly undermined because of their skin colour and people will not stop pointing it out. Fair skin is still synonymous with being beautiful and “matrimonial ads haven’t quite changed yet”. The campaign was significant in taking a stand against society’s obsession with fair skin and using women’s looks.

Caffeine addict’s guide to Dhaka’s cafès

Whether you’re hanging out with friends, getting some sketching done by yourself, or working on an assignment – cafès are suited for every occasion. In the last few years, Dhaka saw a huge boom in cèfe culture, so wherever you live, you probably have a cafè within walking distance from your home. So, picking from this enormous list of choices, where should you get your next cup of coffee? We’re here to help!

North End Coffee Roasters

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North End has established its reputation with its own distinct blend and style. So, if you’re a fellow coffee addict, this cafe is a must! While each of their branches has a different ambience, our personal favourite is the one in Badda. This particular branch has a lovely homely feel to it, and it’s perfect to just sit and get some sketching or writing done – just let that creativity flow. The other branches of North End, particularly the one in Dhanmondi, would be our first pick to work on any group assignments as they’re much larger and the atmosphere feels a lot more formal. Plus points to North End Dhanmondi for having a branch of the Bookworm store inside!

They also opened a new branch in Banani very recently.

Must try drink(s): Cappuccino, Chai Latte, Mocha, The Freddos

Must try food/dessert: Bagel with cream cheese, Cinnamon roll, the 4C sandwich, the Chilly Milly, Brownie

Crimson Cup Coffee House

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With its marked red interior, Crimson Cup’s branches are pretty similar in terms of mood. If you have a huge group of friends, this cafe is the best place to hang out in, especially after lunch hours. For morning people who want to get some work done, this is also a great place to do that before the crowd sets in around noon. Their breakfast platters and sandwiches are amazing, and so are their frappes.

Must try drink(s): Crimson Cup Mocha, French Vanilla Creme, Matcha (acquired taste)

Must try food/dessert: Cold Pasta, Brownie, Every sandwich they have

Tabaq Coffee

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Tabaq Coffee in Gulshan is easily one of the best places in Dhaka to spend some quality time over a cup of coffee. Their interior is cosy and beautiful. Has a distinct style from the other cafes in Dhaka and for those of us who prefer stronger cappuccinos than most, Tabaq is a go to. Their coffees really bring out a strong flavour and their wide collection of unique dessert items are mouth watery.

Must try dink(s): Cappuccino, Hot chocolate, Caramel latte

Must try food/dessert: Yoghurt, Cheesecake brownie, Affogato

Gusto/Emerald

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This cosy little cafe in Uttara has a charming ambience to it. The decor has a subtle artsy vibe and the coffee is amazing. Best part? Its quieter than most, (Probably because it’s in Uttara, but anyway) which makes it an ideal place to go and read a book in peace with a lovely cup of coffee.

They also have a second outlet at Chef’s table in Gulshan. This one’s called Emerald. And also, their bakery items are as good as their names. Try them.

Must try drink(s): Cappuccino

Must try food/dessert: Affogato

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

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One of the few international coffee chains in Bangladesh, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf is famous for its distinct ambience and world-renowned frappucinos. Their all-day brunch is also quite good.

Must try drink: Latte

Peyala

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This little cafè in Gulshan DCC market offers a desi twist with its range of desi style teas and fusion desserts. Apart from their lattes and cappuccinos, the masala teas and the wraps are to die for. They also offer salad bowls which are still a relatively new culture in Dhaka. The best part though is that their wrap and salad menu changes every day. If you’re having alfredo chicken one day, you’ll probably find Indian butter chicken the next day!

They also opened a new outlet in Kawran Bazar recently.

Must try drink: Masala Cha, Peyala Cha

Must try food/dessert: Alfredo chicken wrap, Gulabjamun cheesecake

Second Cup Coffee

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Second Cup in Banani is secluded and charming. With a huge range of snack and dessert items and lots of drinks to try from, this is a cafe ideal for a relaxing coffee date or catching up with a friend. Be warned though, their serving sizes are huge. If you love this cafe and wish you didn’t have to travel 2 hours for it, good news for you – they’re in Dhanmondi now!

Must try drink(s): Latte, Hot chocolate

Must try food/dessert: The cheesecakes

Nerdy Beans Coffee Haus

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This cosy little cafe in Dhanmondi was made for book lovers! Located in the basement to make it a little more soundproof and decorated with shelves filled with books from every genre and in both Bangla and English – this cafe was made specifically to get some reading done with a steaming latte by your side, or to finish some homework quietly. Despite this, though, there usually is quite a crowd here especially in the afternoons, so we recommend that if you’re going here for some quiet time, go in the mornings. And if you see a book you really like, make sure you ask at the counter because they let you borrow them!

Must try drink(s): Mocha, Latte

Must try food/desserts: The sandwiches, Mousse