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.

Organizations you can donate your unused warm clothes to

Winter has finally arrived. The perfect season to rock that favourite red sweater again and the time to finally execute the trips you have been planning for all year. Some of us just like to curl up in a blanket with a warm cup of coffee and a nice book. Maybe even binge-watch something on Netflix. While we’re all so excited, the scenario isn’t the same for everyone. In fact, for a massive proportion of the population, the season means enduring a series of hardships and miseries. Yet, there are many who cannot afford even a day’s meal properly, let alone buy warm clothes for winter.

So, how about instead of stacking up those extra blankets and sweaters that don’t fit you anymore, you give them away to a needy family? Even your smallest contribution can bring a smile to someone’s face who probably is in dire need of it somewhere right now.

While we all want to help out people in need, we often struggle with finding out a proper medium to do so. We just don’t know where to go

Here is a list of organizations where you can donate your warm clothes to:

1. Warmth for Winter by It’s Humanity Foundation (IHF):

IHF has been organizing winter fundraising campaigns for the last 5 years for the unfortunate underprivileged suffering from the harsh realities of the extreme cold in Northern Bangladesh. This year, they have organized “Warmth for Winter 2018”, a campaign through which you can donate your warm clothes like sweaters, shawls, socks, blankets etc. and they will get your precious gifts of warmth to the distressed in the northern part of the country where the cold gets so unbearable, people have reportedly died of extreme cold in the past years. After collecting your donations, the team along with their volunteers will set out for the distribution by the beginning of January 2019.

Contact: https://www.facebook.com/itshumanityfoundation/

Website: www.itshumanity.org

Phone: 01879800800

2. Smile 18: An initiative by Studio Green:

Organizations you can donate your unused warm clothes to

Smile is an annual initiative by Studio Green to reach out to the underprivileged of the society and provide as much support to them as possible to make their lives easier. Although they mostly focus on providing assistance to the aged underprivileged, children on the streets and kids at orphanages. They will be collecting donations till the month of January 2019 and will be accepting donations in the form of warm clothes which are in usable condition. Donating warm clothes instead of cash is encouraged. After collecting the donations, they will be distributing the clothes and blankets to the underprivileged community living in the Northern Part of Bangladesh by the beginning of February 2019.

Contact: https://www.facebook.com/events/210302723201878/

Phone number: +880 1672-704823, +880 1824-850938

3. APON Foundation:

There are numerous child-care centres across Bangladesh. However, APON foundation has already distributed a huge quantity of blankets and clothing to its young beneficiaries over the last 10 years. They will be accepting unused warm clothes for children aged between 4 to 10 years and they will be receiving donations throughout the month of December 2018. The distribution will be carried out by the end of December 2018.

Contact: [email protected]

Facebook: www.facebook.com/aponfoundation

Phone: 01711054701

4. Winter Drive 2018-19 by Project Kombol:

This year Project Kombol has organized “Project Kombol Winter Drive 2018-19”. Through which, you can donate your unused blankets and warm clothes in good condition. Moreover, by only making a meagre contribution of Tk. 300, you can ensure a blanket for someone in need. Distributions will be carried out in certain remote areas of Bangladesh by the end of January 2019.

Contact: www.facebook.com/projectkombol

Website: www.projectkombol.com

Phone: 01819230486

It really takes nothing but kindness to make the world a better place. Moreover, your donation, no matter how big or small, can create a huge impact on someone’s life. Share the love of warmth this winter and make someone smile. Cheers!

Winter wear roundup for the year

The fan is on and the blanket is out. As is that mixed feeling of winter arriving. With each year (and more Instagram bloggers), the winter trends get more creative (and extensive). Its the season of fashion, badminton, barbeques and of course, weddings.

Here is how you can merge western and local fashion, be comfortable while making a statement:

1. Shawls: Versatile and lots of choices

Shawls are the most comfortable piece of winter clothing which you can never go wrong with. It is also as easy to pair with a shirt and denim, as with a Panjabi or a  long tunic.

Our pick: Aarong, Deshi Dosh, Shada Kaalo’s winter collection includes a good range of both plain shawls and shawls with embroidery.

2. Turtlenecks: Warm and goes well with a hat

Winter wear roundup

For the inner 90s in all of us, a turtleneck or a sweater with a colorful barrette is the way to go. It is warm, cute and of course, makes you stand out from the crowd. Try fun color combinations.

Our pick: The unpretentious and affordable sweaters and hats at Nurjahan Market and New Market.

3. Sweatshirts

Winter wear roundup

Sweatshirts bring out a real winter vibe, hide the occasional kacchi belly bump and can have fun brands or logos plastered on them. Experiment with colorful ones; beige, baby pink or blue go with denim and black sweatshirts for the less adventurous ones.

Our pick: Lussotica, Gorur Ghash, Yellow and Artisan have a collection of sweatshirts for your choosing.

4. Leather Jacket: Let out the inner rebel

Winter wear roundup

Black leather jackets never disappoint– durable, warm and elegant. Also, with the weather of Dhaka city, winter is the really the only season one can indulge in the badass-ary.

Our pick: Wear with a wrapped shawl around your neck and faded jeans. Wear the jacket with formal clothing to make a bold statement.

5. Bomber jacket: Still trending

Winter wear roundup

Let us face the fact that bomber jackets haven’t fizzled out yet, unlike the high school sweatshirts which were pretty 2016. Bomber jackets are known for the flattering shoulder and neck fit. Originally designed to keep the pilots warm during the war, the bomber jacket has found its way to both mainstream and punk wardrobes. A black or mud-green bomber jacket could be a good addition to your winter look!

Our pick: Keep an eye out for the jackets at the winter sales at Sailor, Cats Eye, Westecs. The website “Shop Hobe” gives easy access and good service to many collections in different online stores.

6. Good Ol’ denim: Still swiping right

Winter wear roundup

When everything fails, you know what doesn’t? Denim. It has been decades and denim is here to stay. It can also be a perfect piece of clothing for a desi fusion with Kurtis and Panjabis. A faded blue denim jacket might be a perfect match for you this winter.

Our pick: Look for denim in different online stores. And of course, Nurjahan Market will not disappoint you!

Enjoy the cold breeze, hazy mornings, hot cuppa all wrapped up in your trendy winter attire. So here’s to winter and ending 2018 with grace and fashion!