Israr Hasan

A graphic novel on the push and pull of friendships

The stories occur in places deeply etched into many of our memories—from rooftops to buses to benches in the park to the digital world of emails and texts.

Lee Lai's 'Stone Fruit': Jokes, rhymes, and the depths of relationships

One of the most searing scenes in Lee Lai’s magnificent graphic novel, Stone Fruit (Fantagraphics, 2021) is when a young child, Nessie,

Abdulrazak Gurnahs 'Afterlives': The repercussions of colonialism, unveiled

Abdulrazak Gurnah, this year’s Nobel laureate in literature, seems to come as an admirable choice compared to the Nobel Prize’s controversial recent history.

Blood Brothers: exploring Ali and X’s bittersweet friendship

There are very few friendships that have attracted the public eye and provoked reactions of dread and rapacious approval in equanimity. One of those friendships - better described as blood brothers - is that of the charismatic militant civil rights activist, Malcolm X and the greatest boxer of all time, the ballistic and eye-brow raising trash talker, Muhammad Ali.

Here’s why switching to ebooks is a good idea

Reading is popular. It has always been that way. Human beings have been reading ever since patterns of writing first emerged in cuneiform in Mesopotamia and books have always contained a kernel of our individual merriments.

‘Wendy, Master of Art’: The life of the artist in graduate school

No one said earning a Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) would be easy. After all, art is anything but a linear process of creation. It zigzags through tumultuous periods of unease, delicate uncertainties, and perpetual anxieties, along with quite a mouthful of self-induced negativity.

Essential skills for budding researchers

Many people are interested in research and it is not uncommon for young people, especially recent graduates, to join think tanks or research centres to try their luck at expanding the frontier of knowledge.

Revisiting the lost Jewish communities of Baghdad

Iraq once boasted one of the world’s oldest Jewish communities, encompassing 2,600 years of rich cultural history punctuated with moments of benign tolerance, blatant discrimination, and outright intolerance and persecution.

Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K: personification of 'big brain time'

A glance at the iconic rogue gallery of Marvel’s top villains and you will come across the name of M.O.D.O.K, the iconic villain with an enormously oversized brain with tiny limbs floating on a machine.

Exterminate All the Brutes: telling the whole story as it is

Three words summarise the history of humanity: civilisation, colonisation, and extermination. The three words in concrete terms have shaped and moulded our current world. Each word holds a special significance for us, especially for those of us growing up in what can be perceived as the post-colonial world.

An untold story of Black liberation in the Amazon

The New World, as started by Spanish and Portuguese authorities followed by the Dutch and the English, was built on the amputated bodies of countless indigenous and Black people.

The Code Name for a Bloodstained Era

Vincent Bevins is an award-winning journalist who covered Southeast Asia and Brazil for the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times respectively.

Nurturing warmth with sweet freeze

Gelatos has always been a favourite at our dinner tables serving as the prime dessert course. They pack a brilliant punch of intensified flavour, making it the perfect complement to have in any setting.

2020’s top astrophysicist Tonima Tasnim Ananna from Bangladesh explains just why black holes are so cool

Bangladeshi astrophysicist Tonima Tasnim Ananna, who recently topped the 2020 edition of Science News (SN) magazine's SN 10: Scientists to Watch, has been lauded for her outstanding groundbreaking research on black holes. Toggle caught up with Ananna for a chat, in hopes of understanding the fascinating phenomena of black holes.

Hairstyles to get the groove on

In a year that has generally been nothing short of surprises in every way, it has been quite an eventful journey for the hair follicles of men as many of us have decided to let our hair grow, all the way through the sides to beyond shoulder length.

I May Destroy You: A riveting portrayal of a survivor’s journey

Disclaimer: This is going to be a positive review that won’t make true justice to the subject. There are certain stories that are deeply etched into your mind.

History of tea

Having tea has always enmeshed with our favourite past times, be it sitting in the garden reading a book, having a family discussion, or even sharing a cup of tea with strangers in a nearby ‘tong,’ striking up interesting conversations and new friendships. Since ancient times to the current age,

Looking back at 2020: The ones who made us proud

In what was a terrible and ominous year, many individuals stood out to make the world a better place for the present and future. These are towering paragons of virtue who have made enormous strides in ensuring a more intellectually vibrant and medically safe world.

Video essays are the new art form: Our top 5 picks

Due to malleability and expansion of the internet, a new form of art form – the video essay – has picked up a lot of traction using audio-visuals to provide deep-seated commentary on a wide range of issues. While the initial focus of video essays has been on films, video essays have been used to analyze a plethora of ideas in the realm of diverse intersections between pop culture and the real world. Here are a few of the top video essays of the year you should look at.

Notifications are killing you

The constant ping-pongs and pop-ups have become deeply embedded into our everyday mode of living causing a flow of untrammelled daily minute by minute reminders of various sorts from messages from friends, family, work, and the bank to update notifications to reminders by the apps to use them. Overall, all this seems to be overwhelming at times leading to the loss of energy and direction amid pandemonium and chaos looming large.

Marinated with history

There is one secret to the delicious T-bone steaks, the barbecued juicy lamb chops, or seared vegetables — marination!

A History of the Destruction of Knowledge

Humanity has always had an ambivalent relationship with knowledge. While the written word has changed from being recorded on papyrus to tablets, scrolls, ink-ridden bindings to printed books all the way to electronic screens,

Netflix courts the anime world

Netflix is the world’s largest streaming entertainment service with millions registered as its users. In the current awards season, Netflix has been making rounds with brilliantly executed respective

Delving into the world of Korra

Everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked. What followed was finding Aang in the iceberg, genocides, Iroh’s advice, Zuko’s revolutionary redemption arc, and the climactic battle between Team Avatar and Fire Nation punctuated with thematic awestruck music and emotionally charged state of the art animation.

Garnished — with panache and taste

Ever since the pandemic altered our lives, we have seen an outgrowth of creative synergies all around us enabling better lifelines of help and eking out a standard of life in a time of deep uncertainty.

The Trauma of Identity

George Takei’s visceral and heart-wrenching graphic memoir, They Called Us Enemy (2019), dives deep into the cold, dark heart of America’s perceived multiculturalism.

Exploring the layered histories of Dhaka

Densely populated and a witness to centuries of Mughal, British, Pakistani rule and now, the capital city of Bangladesh, every nook and cranny of the city bears a strong link to the multicultural heritage of the city and the country at large.

Fahim triumphed against all odds, only to be silenced by death

22 years old Fahimul Karim of Magura was known as the man who defied expectations constantly pushing the efforts of mental and physical endurance.

The Trial of The Chicago 7: A trial of reflection

Offering a stellar cast portraying America’s motley mix of stoned rebels, radicals, pacifists, and social activists, the film showcases a scope of talent that truly reflect the happenings of an (in)famous trial.

The not-so suitable adaptation of A Suitable Boy

Vikram Seth’s monumental gigantic 1,488 pages galloping novel, A Suitable Boy finally got its adaptation produced by the BBC and is now streaming on Netflix.

How Covid era freelancers are making money through gigs

It is not uncommon to see people looking for work on LinkedIn as we see a wide array of people from professionals to graduates to young students to anybody in general who is affected by the pandemic and is willing to make a few bucks to keep things going it were before. In order to offset the changes in income, job security, and uncertainty thrust upon us by the pandemic, many people, regardless of backgrounds and age have taken to freelancing.

Streaming the whole world

Before it was Netflix vs Hulu, vs Amazon Prime, vs Disney +, it was simply Netflix vs the World in its scope and breadth in an epic David vs Goliath showdown.

When gaming giants clashed, gamers benefitted

The newly released film, "Console Wars" looks at the battle waged between two giants of the gaming industry, Nintendo and Sega, at a time when the video gaming industry was starting to be established.

Pioneering cutting edge cancer research from Bangladesh

Dr Sajib Chakraborty, a computational biologist at the University of Dhaka has been working with his colleagues at the University of Freiburg to find out new horizons in the treatment of cancer, which in reality remains one of humanity's gravest illnesses. Toggle sat down with Dr Sajib this week to talk about his research and more.

Shopping amidst a pandemic

The parking gates are disinfected routinely with hand wash and hand sanitisers available in each section of the store itself. A strict policy of wearing a mask is maintained at all times amongst the staff with a hand sanitiser in their pockets. Customers are not allowed to enter until they have a mask at their disposal to wear.

Washing vegetables and fruits with ease

The pandemic has been here for a while, and it is highly likely that it will linger on for quite some time, leading to some major shifts in lifestyle, both in and outside of the premises of our homes.

The myth of the Batman

Batman is consistently ranked in the list of top superheroes with him not having the one attribute that his fellow superheroes share in common – superpowers. The psychological makeup of the Dark Knight has taken a host of different shapes of guilt, shame, and alienation.

The new normal for internships

Virtual internships have largely become the norm since the countrywide lockdown commenced in March and even now, as lockdowns have been largely relaxed, internships take place remotely ensuring maximum safety and social distancing. For numerous fresh graduates and students who find themselves locked in uncertainty, the proliferation of numerous virtual internships, both at home and abroad, present a new lifeline of opportunity and hope to eke out a sense of working outside.

Sketchy memories

Travis Dandro’s King of King Court: A Memoir (Drawn & Quarterly, 2019) is a large, dense book that reads light and fast. The coming of age story is packed with the raw emotional power of the author’s traumatic childhood.

Online interviews in the age of remote working

The lockdown following the global Covid-19 pandemic has shrunk the office space from a shared space saturated with buzzing colleagues to largely solitary confinement in a room with a laptop, pencil, notepad, and yes, the most important accessory, good internet connectivity.

Tips on trying different varieties of tea

With its origins going back as far as 5,000 years, green tea is commonly drunk in a serene emerald green tint.

Virtual Reality made easy

Since the onslaught of the coronavirus, many of us have been cooped up in our homes far away from the usual hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle.

Crimes that history cannot absolve

Korean literature has been enjoying a literary renaissance for quite some time through translation, from the likes of Hang Kang’s beguiling yet gruesome novel, The Vegetarian (2007) to Yeonmi Park’s heart wrenching memoir, In Order to Live (2015).

Reviving fondness of vogue through reading

As we spend more time whiling away our time on Netflix or any other streaming service during the quarantine period, we should also be acutely aware of the importance of self-care in our times of compulsory isolation.

Clash of the tech titans

Social media has also not been left untouched as proponents and distractors of social distancing battle it out. The world of technology likewise has its fair share of arguments with the latest battle-taking place between tech billionaires of Silicon Valley, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg on the easing down of lockdowns.

The revolutionary history of the Swivel Chair

Be it in office boardrooms, workplaces or even our own bedrooms with our gadgets and computers/laptops, there is one common denominator we are bound to find in all three — the swivel chair, more commonly known as the revolving chair.

Relishing the delights of the Deli

The Gulshan Baking Company (GBC) had its inauguration on 18 December, 2019, when the Renaissance Dhaka Gulshan Hotel, a part of the esteemed Marriott International portfolio, made its grand debut in Bangladesh.

A good summer for fans of science biopics: Tesla and Curie headed our way

Two of the most thrilling biopics have knocked their way into our screens this summer: Tesla and Radioactive. One, which many would argue, is a testament to the afterlife resurgence of a reclusive and much-underappreciated scientist while the latter deals with a rich scientific legacy cemented on fighting the societal evils of sexism, xenophobia, and poverty.

July 17, 2020
July 17, 2020

The rise and fall of TikTok

TikTok has breathed in a completely new possibility of whiling away one's time other than having meetings on Zoom or chilling with Netflix. While both of the latter activities are primarily connected to work and solitary leisure hours, TikTok acts as a portal of unlimited creative pursuits through dancing, lip-syncing, and memes.

July 17, 2020
July 17, 2020

Rediscovering books in lockdown

The raging pandemic has put a painful bind on publishers and readers alike hindering physical and social mobility. This has resulted in the book lovers' paradise known as Nilkhet being shut down meaning bibliophiles cannot have the chance to get hold of their beloved hardcover books.

July 7, 2020
July 7, 2020

Organising the kitchen properly in 3 simple steps

With a significant decrease in the number of deliveries ordered and less dining happening outside in the current situation, many of us now find ourselves spending longer periods of time with children and other family members at home, 24/7.

July 3, 2020
July 3, 2020

Five Isaac Asimov books you should read

With the release of Apple TV's Foundation TV series, based on Asimov's most famous storybook collection, "The Foundation" series, his legacy remains firmly cemented on all of our minds. Here are a few books we should read to gain a deeper insight into the mind of the titan literary polymath.

June 30, 2020
June 30, 2020

The quintessential summer drink

The “sharbat” or “sherbet” is commonplace on everyone’s table during this time of stifling heat of the monsoon season. The sherbet acts as a cool drink composed of fruits and herbs serving as a stimulant and energiser at the same time.

June 19, 2020
June 19, 2020

Rediscovering yesterday’s hot game titles for some righteous button smashing

As we head into another extended phase of social distancing and public lockdowns, many of us often look to old passions such as video games to settle old scores with our erstwhile younger self and at the same time, to seek the old adrenaline rush that would keep us awake many nights, mess up study hours, and occasionally be a point of contention between our parents.

June 9, 2020
June 9, 2020

Brewing history out of coffee

For many of us, coffee remains an embedded part of life; a go-to beverage at all times and an aid in running our day-to-day activities. Even during the month of Ramadan, many of us like a cup of hot brewed coffee to seal the day with some raw energy and bring order to our chaotic minds.

June 5, 2020
June 5, 2020

Tech overhaul to lead Bangladesh’s agriculture to the future

The current coronavirus pandemic has created giant seismic shifts in our day-to-day living and has presented us with a new set of challenges.

May 23, 2020
May 23, 2020

Hay Festival goes online

As well as fiction and literary greats, topics this year will include discussions about the Covid-19 pandemic, world affairs, art, economics, and global health. What is still gratifying and mind-boggling is that the festival will be conducting 80 events, all of which will keep us dutifully entertained to the say the very least.

May 8, 2020
May 8, 2020

Film Festivals going online and you are invited

With the Covid-19 pandemic raging on with no sign of a cure in proximity and tight lockdowns placed throughout the world, our lives have also taken a seismic shift from students having to attend online classes to many of us working from home to conferences and workshops all being held online.