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How Bangladesh is adopting the Halloween culture

On the 31st of October Halloween was celebrated throughout the world. Even until 10 years ago, it was something we only got to see in movies, cartoons or TV shows. The costumes, stories of trick or treating and everything in between fascinated us. Our generation fed on things like ‘The Addams Family’, ‘Hocus Pocus’, ‘Halloween Town’ and much more. It didn’t come as much of a surprise when we grew up people started embracing and celebrating the culture.

What is Halloween anyway?

This tradition has somehow managed to influence us although it has pagan origins. The tradition goes back to a two thousand years old ancient Celtic festival of Samhain.  People wore costumes to avert ghosts and spirits. After the Romans took over, most of the Celtic regions and some of their traditions got mixed in with this old tradition. Later American people started following their own version of the rituals. Gradually, other cultures around the world mixed, matched and adapted versions of Halloween into their merrymaking. In the same way, Halloween is now celebrated in Bangladesh.

What does Dhaka have to offer

There are tons of things to do in the city of Dhaka. If you are into movies, Cineplex presents the latest horror movies. You can reminisce your childhood by dressing up as your favorite characters. Attend cosplay competitions. Go to the various private Halloween parties that are held throughout the city. Even five years ago these events weren’t as prevalent into our mainstream city culture in such a scale. Almost every well-known hotel has different arrangements for Halloween.

How Bangladesh is adopting the Halloween culture

A recurring event is the Haunted House at Four Seasons. They trap participants into a resort for a horrifying experience. This year the Haunted House will be spooking their guests till the 3rd of November. Some say its like living through a horror movie.  Also, hotels like Pan Pacific Sonargaon, Regency, and Six Season all hosted special events such as Halloween Party 2018, Halloween carnival, Halloween Haul 2018, Halloween Expo etc. In these people participated in cosplays, watched magic shows, storytelling and much more.

Happy Halloween!

Let your inner Morticia Addams come out. Once a year revisit or enact the inner child, bring back your best Scooby Doo, X-File, Pikachu and all. Dhaka’s Halloween craze is something that we millennial and young adult have been craving for a significant while. So we wish you an eerie, spooky, hair-raising, spell-binding Halloween and may you have a bag full of candy, bones, bats and amazing memories.

Types of people you see during puja

It’s that time of the year again when you will have to go through your closet to find sarees and panjabis that shoutout “Amit Ray” and “Labannya” from “Shesher Kobita”. Yes! It’s time for this year’s Durga Puja and all the festivities it brings along with it. During these festivities, it is hard not to jump into the celebrations like everyone else. Any event or occasion in Bangladesh is as hectic as they come, and you will meet a wide spectrum of peoples in these five days. Somehow we all have a particular role to play. So, here are the handful of the different types of people you will probably bump into this puja. So which one of the following types will you fall under?

The ultimate mandap hoppers

Durga Puja-HiFi Public

If you live in Dhaka there are a host of options for you to choose from for your puja hopping adventures. Almost every neighbourhood has little their mandaps set up for the occasion. However, there will be some who won’t be satisfied by going to just one or two mandaps. They will not leave out a single puja mandaps in the vicinity. From Jagannath Hall to Dhakeshwari Temple to Banani to God knows where they will be there battling through Dhaka’s traffic. Where do they get the energy?

The social media fanatics

Durga Puja-HiFi Public

These are the bunch who dedicate their lives to social media. You will see them in the perfect puja attire going to fancy restaurants with the best offers for this holiday. Also, they will not leave out any of the typical puja rituals either. From dressing up like Aishwarya Ray in Devdas to ringing the puja bell to playing with siddur, you name it. They will have done it all as you can see from their Snapchat stories and Instagram feeds. And don’t forget the hashtags #shoptomi, #oshtomi, #nobomi, #doshomi, #PostPujaShenanigans.

The unfortunate hosts

In every circle, there will be one or two unfortunate beings whose homes become the ideal spot for post puja hopping hangouts. Your close one or two Hindu friends will be there as your saviour and accommodate you after a long day of hopping around. They will have to feed all the hungry ones that end up in their doorsteps while also managing to juggle their ongoing family responsibilities as well. But can you really blame us? Luchis are love, luchis are life.

The ones that are never there

Durga Puja-HiFi Public

AKA the getaway groups. These are the individual who always either makes plans or are the most hyped about it. But when it comes to actually appearing they somehow always manage to go out on quick one or two-day getaways out of town. Because no matter what you plan on puja it cannot measure up to their special getaways. Plus they somehow always have the perfect excuse that ends up saving their sorry asses. I must say these people are the smartest and are the ones winning at life.

And last but not the least, the people who never get any puja vacation

Durga Puja-HiFi Public

These are the guys who belong to the institutions (ahem ahem, private medicals students) or workplaces in which they never give any vacation during puja. They are the saddest bunch. They will have to work hard all day and after getting home will have to tolerate the social media fanatics online. If you are one of them take my advice and avoid social media for a few days.

So here’s to all the different type of people we will be meeting during this puja season and শারদীয় শুভেচ্ছা ও ভালোবাসা.

How life in Dhaka University changes you

Dhaka University, along with all the universities around Bangladesh, has welcomed in their newest batch of pupils. Being in my final year as a Dhaka University student, it has been quite an experience seeing most of the freshers of different departments flocked together in TSC, Curzon Hall or in front of a random tea stall in the campus.

Dhaka University, despite all its flaws, will change the outlook of its pupils.

Whether it is good or bad, that remains a question. With that in mind- here’s how Dhaka University will change you.

But hey, if you want to go abroad, we can help you a little there too!

A bit of a culture shock

Dhaka University is a melting pot for all sorts of people around Bangladesh. It’s an entirely new scenario for a majority of the fresher’s. The first few weeks in DU can be a bit daunting for most, irrespective of whether they were born and raised in Dhaka or came from a remote suburb or village of another district.

For some, this culture shock might be a bit too much to handle. But asking anyone who has studied in DU for more than a semester, they will all more or less agree that waiting out the initial shock was totally worth it.

Judging a book by its cover

Judging people based on where they’ve come from or their background is one of the dumbest moves a fresher can make. Some of the best people you will meet in DU will probably have come from completely different backgrounds than yourself. DU gives its student a place to interact with hundreds of like-minded people. Don’t let something as minor as different backgrounds get in your way from achieving it. Be the first to introduce yourself to seniors, peers or juniors.

Learning to take responsibilities

Whenever a student is admitted into Dhaka University, he or she is pretty much thrown into the deep end when it comes to doing things by themselves. From giving tuition fees to filing for lost id cards, Dhaka university’s excessive bureaucracy will make you much more responsible whether you like it or not. And nothing sums up that expression more aptly than DU’s notorious “Registrar Building”. A place where according to myths, time slows down equivalent to travelling around a black hole. Freshers, you have been warned.

Becoming street smart

Being Street smart is always a great quality to have. And Dhaka University is the perfect space for even the rookies to hone this amazing quality. They know the right people for the right job. They can bargain to get a better rate on books or clothes in new market and Nilkhet. They have ideas about the best routes to travel around the city at minimal cost. These are just some of the things the students get a grasp on in just the first few months in DU. And we all know these things can’t be learnt from textbooks.

“Being here has definitely helped me become a better negotiator and conversationalist”

Says Amitabh Sarkar a third-year student.

Political awareness, because duh!

It’s generally quite hard not to be politically aware in most public university in Bangladesh. The credit goes to the culture of having student wings of most of the prominent political parties. Dhaka University is still the largest hub for student politics and activism in Bangladesh dating all the way back to the British era. Even in today’s political climate, DU still seen a bastion for free speech and progressive ideas and movements even with the ever-strengthening presence of Big Brother.

“However you don’t automatically become politically aware just by studying here. The truth is, awareness comes from the will to be aware. And comparatively, we do get the opportunities here”

Says a third year Peace and Conflict Studies student Megh Mallar Boshu.

Exploring the more artistic side of life

The artistic side of life draws you more? Then you cannot go wrong with DU. Take a stroll around Charukola compound. Attend the many concerts, poetry recitals, and movie screening.

It’s undeniable that DU nurtures the appreciation of different forms of art. The students’ associations, clubs, and societies work to showcase, promote, inspire and support many budding artists within the DU community.  

Afternoon tea breaks taken to a whole other level

DU students gain a newfound appreciation for tea. It is much more than just tea, it’s the whole experience. The afternoons at TSC with a cup of tea of your favorite kind and the mingling with virtually everyone. The heated conversations in those afternoons are the things that shape the person you turn out to be later on.

Dorm life and the bed bugs scourge

No DU experience is complete without staying at the dorms at least once in a while. And having a good friend or two who staying in dorms will make your time in university so much easier. The life in these dorms is no joke. People struggle the most during the tenure of their undergrad. But these five years of dorm life will teach you valuable life lessons that you can’t get anywhere else.

Struggles of an English major in Bangladesh

Being an art major in this country is never ideal. People may appreciate literature and art but most of them don’t see the point of studying it. As a literature major myself, I constantly hear people saying the same things when they find out what I study.

“So you want to be a teacher?

I understand why it may seem like the obvious choice to people. But not all English majors want a career in teaching. There are other jobs that we can excel at as well.

“Your syllabus looks so fun. I wish I had that”

Yes, we read interesting novels, plays, stories, and poems. It’s not always fun and games when you will have to go through millions of other texts/explanations to just understand a 14 lines sonnet. Trust me it’s way more complicated than it looks. Because we have to critically analyze every bit of a text and later come up with our own opinions. Also, need to justify our opinions with the help of a gazillion critics. This often takes the fun out of the actual piece.

“How is your BCS preparation going? Try to get in the foreign sector.”

I don’t think in the last three years I have ever uttered the word BSC. Still, I don’t know why people keep asking me if I have taken any preparation for it. I mean come on people there are other ways to get a job even for public university students.

“How will reading poems help you get a job?”

If one asks what the point of poetry is, ask them what is the point of life even? Sorry to break your bubble but reading poetry will definitely give me jobs. Why? Because a person who constantly reads poetry develops better analytical skill. Which is a crucial skill to have in one’s work life.

In this complicated economy, it seems useless to study something related to art or literature.

“You can always work in a bank”

Thanks to all the uncles, aunts, random well-wishers for saying that. I appreciate your concern. But no I don’t want to work in a bank. I didn’t spend the last four years learning about Austen, Shakespeare, Wordsworth etc just to count numbers and handle people’s transactions (no offense to anyone working in banks). 

“Do an MBA after your undergrad”

Yes, because why not? My four years of undergrad was such a waste. So let’s just waste another two years doing an MBA and everything will be just fine. If a person actually wants to pursue that then it’s different. But please stop advising students who actually want to stick to their fields.

People still having these remarks makes it evident that we don’t take art majors seriously. In this complicated economy, it seems useless to study something related to art or literature. People forget to look at the fact that art portray our everyday life and it’s crucial to have a better understanding of it.