Sunday, December 31, 2006

Pics 2006

*Dedicated to Saddam Hussain*

Baitul Mukarram, Dhaka

New Market area - a favourite place for the young

Dhanmondi Residential Area

Harvest time

Bull fight in village during festival

A river scene - overloaded cargo

Explosion in Kansat - April 2006

Garment factory put to torch

RAB (Rapid Action Battalion) vigilance

Unequal match!

Kungfu with police

Handicaps not far behind

Braving the rain and inclement weather


Dhaka's face marred by bulls-kiln brickfield built around

Leisure and 'chatpati' [read more in Phuchka stalls in Dhaka]

Tribal (adivasi) rally in the city

Long wait for a ticket

The lucky ones!

Homebound for Eid

Garment ladies - the life line of country's economy

Bullock carts with sacks of grain to city

View of Cox's Bazar

Rice thrashing

Ducks on the way to market

Trawlers for carrying earth

Snake charmers' (bede) boats

Pedestrians take risky steps on curb of Ramna overbridge as deck remain under foul water

Bamboo bridge (Shako) in village

Bargain over New Market foot overbridge

Sells for Tk. 5/-

Hardway to earn a meal

Palm fruits in demand -------- innovative curtain for sanitary latrine in village

Tabla master (hand drum) ------ Golden fibre of Bangladesh (Jute)

Common man's fan - made from palm leaf

Mason helpers pose for camera

Four elderly in shop

Nobel laureates Prof. Amartya Sen and Prof. Muhammad Yunus (R) at Dhaka

Henna or Mehndi - a symbol of tradition and joy

pic: sonali sokal

Henna or Mehndi is a traditional form of body painting which uses a natural dye made from leaves of the Henna / Mehndi plant.

Henna or Mehndi is the leaf of the dwarf shrub that is dried and powdered, and then made into a paste. The plant grows in warm climates like the Indian sub-continent, parts of Africa and in Middle Eastern countries. Henna is intertwined with many intriguing traditions and cultures, dating as far back as Egypt during ancient times, where it was known to have been applied to the toes and fingers of the deceased Pharaohs before mummification. The paste is even used to ward off evil spirits.

The tradition of applying Henna traveled to the Indian Subcontinent from Arabia hundreds of years back, when the Muslim rulers came to rule in India. This remains an important part of culture in the Islamic belt that spreads from the Middle East and goes beyond to the Far East. It has flourished in the Subcontinent both under Muslim and Hindu rules for ages. In Indian subcontinent, a wedding is incomplete without a mehndi ceremony. Henna symbolises fertility, and at weddings, it depicts the love between a husband and wife.

Henna's traditional decorating purposes vary from culture to culture. The most popular traditional use is tied closely with bridal preparation, weddings and Eid. It is the night before Eid, when the auspicious crescent has been sighted, women pool together in their living rooms in an atmosphere of merriment to apply mehendi in intricate patterns on each other’s hands and feet.

In modern days, most often, the Henna paste is prepared with tea, coffee, lemon juice, sugar and clove oils to create different hues. Cones are commercially available for use as opposed to applying it with sticks, which make designs more detailed and intricate. Designs vary from country to country. Henna is also applied in a thick layer on the palms.

Besides the aesthetic element, Henna is believed to hold special medicinal value. It is said to soothe dry skin, heal certain skin diseases, and reduce swelling.