Hoichoi, a BDT499/year Bengali alternative to Netflix

What if we tell you that there is a video streaming platform with a subscription of only BDT 499 per year? Yes, Hoichoi is here with a library of over 500 Bengali movies, exclusive original shows and shorts, and they are adding new content every month!

Hoichoi, a 499BDT/year Bengali alternative to Netflix?

They also have over 1,000+ Bengali songs from the most popular albums for the music buffs out there. Their collection doesn’t end here. Hoichoi is releasing films and documentaries soon.

Easy payment methods

All of this, for only BDT 499 a year! And to make the payment process easier and accessible to everyone, they have all sorts of transaction options. Including the major cards and even bKash.

About Hoichoi

Hoichoi is a Bengali on-demand video streaming service based in West Bengal. A concern of SVF films of Kolkata, Hoichoi boasts an impressive collection of West Bengal based films and TV series’ as well as a decent but growing number of Bangladeshi based content.

From Satyajit to Srijit, it offers all types of films. Starting from classics these days’ modern films and all the genres in between. Hoichoi offers videos in every quality options generally available: 240p, 360p, 480p, 720p and 1080p.

Read more: TV shows you shouldn’t have watched but did anyway

The same with music! You get to listen to popular Bangla songs of the past two decades on Hoichoi. No more struggle of downloading songs separately, let them take care of that. And just when we thought it can’t get any better than this, the music streaming is completely free on Hoichoi mobile app!

Is it worth it?

Chances are, you, the reader, are a member of the young generation, who worships Netflix and Amazon Prime. Hoichoi might not sound very “worth it” to you even after all this.

But you can consider getting the subscription for your parents who are old-school, who probably might not understand the hype of Netflix, but will definitely love this site. For the love of Satyajit and Uttam Kumar at least. Let them also get on the hype train of online streaming!

Hoichoi is a place for all Bengali culture lovers. Doesn’t matter if you are divided by boundaries, every source of Bengali entertainment can be in your grasp through this site. You now can enjoy non-stop Bengali entertainment online, anytime and anywhere!

8 Tactics to help manage your insomnia

Sleep is an integral part of human life. The amount of sleep needed might vary from person to person, but most healthy adults need somewhere between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. But sometimes, Hypnos refuses to bestow his blessings on us, and we end up with a condition called insomnia.

Merriam-webster defines insomnia as “prolonged and usually abnormal inability to get enough sleep”. The symptoms include difficulty falling/staying asleep, waking up early with an inability to fall asleep again, daytime sleepiness, tiredness and so on. But for someone to be diagnosed with insomnia, the symptoms have to be there for at least 3 nights per week over a course of at least four weeks. Anything less than that is easily manageable through some simple lifestyle changes. And here’s how you do it.

Can’t sleep? Here are 7 musicians/bands you could listen to.

Maintaining a sleep schedule

Yes, it sounds hard, especially when sleeping in is so blissful. But you need to train your body to sleep properly. So get up on a set time every day. Your sleep cycle will be back to normal in a matter of weeks.

No naps!

We know, naps help you through the long and hard workday. But if you want to fall asleep at night, then limit your naps. Push yourself through the day, and by night you will be tired enough to have a good night’s sleep.

Tire yourself out

Exercise regularly. Go on a hiking trip on the weekend. Walk to work, run in the morning. The idea is to make your body tired enough so that by the time you go to bed, there is nothing on your mind except for the sweet release of sleep. And then do it all again.

Manage your stress

Taking measures to manage your stress goes a long way in managing your sleep problems. Basic stress management strategies like deep breathing, yoga and aromatherapy will take away your troubles and you will sleep like a baby.

Take care of your body

No matter how cliche this sounds, your body actually is your temple. Take care of it. Cut down on nicotine, caffeine and alcohol. Eat balanced meals at regular intervals. Be careful of stimulants that might hamper your sleep cycle. Practising these techniques will surely help with your insomnia.

Get your anxiety under control

Human beings are prone to anxiety. It is a part of our survival instincts. But that does not mean you have to succumb to your worries without fail. Simply get done with your worrying before you go to bed. Your bed is for sleeping, and that is it. Set aside a few minutes to fret over your day, and get done with it. Don’t make phone calls in bed, do not eat in bed, don’t do anything in bed that is not related to sleeping, and you will see noticeable improvement in the quality of your sleep.

Set the mood

You are not designed to sleep in a room full of crying children. So before you go to sleep, set the environment. Make sure your bed is comfortable, the temperature is just right, and disturbances are minimum. Do not eat or drink anything right before bed to avoid going to the bathroom every half hour. If you have a pet that sleeps with you, consider moving it’s sleeping location so it does not accidentally wake you up during the night.

Consider seeing a therapist

If you have been doing all of these and still having trouble falling asleep at night, consider going to a therapist, Cognitive therapy works great for some people with insomnia, and it is worth a try.It will help you find proper information about sleep norms and set reasonable goals to solve your sleep problems among other things. So try that!

Not being able to sleep properly can take a toll on both your body and mind. So before the problem gets out of hand, take measures to solve it. And let us know if they work for you. Cheers!

Planning a Date? Here are 10 things you could try

As bustling it is, Dhaka can be a dark and dreary place when you are trying to date someone. Planning a date here is almost impossible because of the lack of interesting activities. After all, just how long can you spend eating at various restaurants and listening to sub-par music? You have to start getting to know the person you are with at some point. And that doesn’t happen at restaurants.

Also read: 5 signs that says that your first date is going south

Lucky for you, we have come up with a list of activities that you can try out with your loved one. Hence, the next time you are planning a date, give these places a go.

Go play

You do not need your own “playroom” (yes, that was a 50 shades reference) to have fun. There are a number of places in Dhaka where you can try out games like bowling, shooting, pool or laser tag. These places are great to see your date in a competitive light. Check out The Ultimate Fun Factory, for example. Look up places that are easy on your schedule and wallet. After that you just need to go and have fun.

Clay station

The art of pottery has been around for thousands of years, and it will never go out of style. So if you want to spend some quality time with your beloved, try taking a package at Clay Station. They have a range of packages where you can make your own pottery, or you can simply pick one and colour it. This will be a new experience for both you and your date, and you will have a lasting souvenir.

Plan a study date!

Not everyone is into books. But everyone needs to study every once in a while. So if you have an upcoming exam, or you need you catch up on some work, do it together. Find a nice, quiet library where you can spend time together as well as being productive.

Take a class

Be it baking, dancing or yoga- taking a class together is a great way to bring out the best in both of you. By choosing to learn something together you get to see completely new sides of the person you are with. And that can be a very pleasant surprise. So do a little research and see what piques your interest.

Go to an open mic

There are a number of cafes in Dhaka that arrange open mic nights regularly. Go check these events out. Every once in a while, lose yourself in a cup of coffee and interesting performances. These are surely going to entertain you.

Go see Puran Dhaka

Puran Dhaka is a place shrouded in history, mystery and culture. It has beautiful places you can explore, delicious food you can taste, and enigmatic alleys that will give you a feeling of adventure. So take a day off and just roam around Puran Dhaka. You will love it.

Go to festivals

Dhaka has a number of festivals going on throughout the year. Make a list of festivals you want to attend- from Sakrain to lit fest to folk fest. Then just enjoy your time.

Gulshan avenue window shopping

Just roam around Gulshan Avenue and check out the extravagant shopping places. You don’t have to buy anything, just look around and have fun.

Art galleries

Art galleries in Dhaka hold exhibitions throughout the year. Spend some time in this exhibitions and indulge yourself in the mystery of art.

Volunteering

This is a particularly decent way to get to know the person you are dating. Do they care about the society? Are they willing to give back to the community? Do they have basic empathy for humans and animals alike? Knowing the answers to these questions are especially important if you are thinking of a commitment. Ask around for volunteering opportunities, and see what clicks.

A word of advice- dating will always be hard. Put as much effort as you can to spice it up. This will make the challenges of dealing with another human being much more bearable.

Good luck, and have fun! 

Want to become a beatboxer? Moktadir Dewan, co-founder of Beatbox Bangladesh shares valuable advice

We spoke to the Co-founder of Beatbox Bangladesh, Moktadir Dewan. He shares an overview of the scene, their future plans and gives valuable advice to anyone new to beatboxing or someone wanting to get better.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What is the most common style that is being explored by local artists?

The common styles would be trap, dubstep, techno, and house. But the core styles are old school beats. Depending on the beatboxer’s knowledge he/she can fuse multiple genres. There are over a 1000 beatboxers of different calibres in Bangladesh (as opposed to maybe a handful or less just 8 years ago).

How many shows has Beatbox Bangladesh had since their inception in 2014?

Since then, Beatbox Bangladesh has organized several events and workshops in Dhaka and Chittagong. The two main events are the national beatbox championships that took place in December 2017 and November 2018. We plan to hold various beatbox meets, friendly battles and other events.

When you are searching for beatboxers for the competition, what is the biggest challenge in finding talent?

The biggest challenge is to find beatboxers with a clean flow. One common habit that sadly exists in all genres and communities in Bangladesh (and perhaps in many countries), is that individuals believe that they can skip to advanced techniques, without mastering the basics. Beatboxers need to remember the importance of having a proper sense of rhythm and composition.

Fortunately, we found over 40 beatboxers who knew that, for each competition. 16 competed at each battle. We are hoping as the community grows and with each year, the talent will be more formidable. Beatboxers from previous events are also trying to help others grow and support each other. Some are learning through more research.  We also hold workshops and live video tutorials along in addition to the tutorials on our youtube channel.

How does the local community support you?

Locally, we received help from LMG Beats, Glitch, Ujjiban, ABC Radio, The Mothership, Jadughor, ShopHobe, BeatsBangla, Desi Hip Hop and many others. Tilok Adnan and Shafiq Alam of The Pod helped us build the Beatbox Bangladesh logo and the brand identity of “Battle Box BD”. The brand identity was even nominated at the Spikes Asia 2018

Battlebox BD also got international support. What kind of support was that and how was that?

It was overwhelming. We received support from two major hubs of the beatboxing community: Swissbeatbox and Humanbeatbox.com. Both Pepouni and Kazu from the respective communities have been supportive. They announced our work on their social media platforms and websites. Human beatbox followed both the battles; the breakdown was highlighted on their website. 

Other communities and crews have helped as well, namely Beatbox Australia, Beatbox France, Portuguese Beatbox and The Beatbox House. Professional beatboxers Napom (USA), Gene (USA), Amit (USA), Kenny Urban (USA), Chris Celiz (USA), Ibarra (Netherlands), Ettoman (Japan), D-koy (USA) and Tioneb (France), gave shout-outs or video messages on our Facebook page and Youtube page.

The local beatboxers get personal advice from beatboxers abroad. Amit (from the USA) was a judge at our first Battle Box BD in 2017. He also facilitated a workshop at the EMK Center in Dhanmondi. Soulrock from Germany is one of the first beatboxers to personally come and teach the local community.

Want to become a beatboxer? Moktadir Dewan, co-founder of Beatbox Bangladesh shares valuable advice
Scenes from Battle Box BD 2017

Any advice for someone who is interested in starting beatboxing?

Well, he or she has to be extremely patient. Initially, it might seem tough to make the distinctive sounds with your mouth. But, when it is done properly it becomes easy and quite fun. Beatboxers need to practice daily with a metronome no matter how good they may think they already are. We encourage the beatboxers to abstain from smoking or doing drugs. They must have good stamina and healthy lungs.

Any beatboxer needs to do research on the background of beatboxing and the origin of the sounds. She needs to learn about the instruments we mimic and try new sounds. Youtube and the internet exists, which means there is absolutely no excuses and plenty of resources to learn from.

Gather knowledge, stay humble. Teach what you know and learn what you don’t know. Bangladesh isn’t a place where one can chase fame just by beatboxing. But, things can and will happen if a beatboxer builds himself or herself, beat by beat, from the ground up.

What is next for Ronesh Biswas and Moktadir Dewan Shanto?

We will be busy with doing activities to help spread and build the beatboxing community around the country. We have found beatboxers in Bogura, Sylhet, Gazipur, Narayanganj, Cox’s Bazaar and are hoping to meet more in Barishal, Khulna, Rajshahi, and other places.

We will be uploading original compositions and shout-outs from participants of the battle, to our youtube channel. We hope to organize more beatboxer meet-ups, a 7toSmoke battle, friendly battles, open mic showcases, crew/tag-team performance, etc. 

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.

How to write a cover letter that will stand out

1. Identify a problem in the company. Then tell them why you are the one to help solve the problem

Research the company and the industry. Suggest one thing you would change or problem that you would solve if you came on board. Your challenge is to identify a potential pain point and how valuable a solution can be. Demonstrate that you can help them run their department more efficiently and successfully than what they can achieve with their current hires.

You need to make it clear that you’re approaching this organization for very specific reasons. And ideally, your specific reason should not be the same specific reasons that all other candidates are giving.

Don’t say, If you’re looking for someone who can turn around projects quickly…” Say “I can deliver posts that are more SEO friendly in less time and a website that explains your services more clearly”. Use examples that are relevant to the job you are applying for.

And if you’re new to the industry or the role? Just ask current or former employees. Go on informational interviews and inquire about the company’s challenges.

2. Be the best match to the job description

Going into the room saying “Hey, I’m great. I promise!” is not enough. You need to scrutinize the job description, determine the key requirements and responsibilities for the job, Make it clear to the reviewer that you can deliver the goods on these key things.

Look for the keywords in the job description (they’re typically listed first on the job description or mentioned more than once) then talk about your strengths in connection those priority requirements.

Start sentences with “I have direct experience with…” or “The first reason I want to be in [role] is because I learned [directly related skill] in [experience in it]” or “I am fascinated with [skill included in job description] because of [something you have already done]”.

3. Tell a story, one that’s not on your resume

Do not repeat all the facts in your resume. Use the space to be more personable. Talk about what brings you to the company. What motivates you?