Thought craft | The Daily Star
  • What is essential?

    My grandson, a delightful child aged five, is always full of smiles and good cheer. He trotted in from school one day, joyful as usual, and announced “I love everyone, including the people I don’t know!” “But there are so many people in the world,” I replied. “How will you find space in your heart for all of them?”

  • Season of fruitfulness and fortune

    I see a flash of yellow, then a glimpse of parrot wings, sometimes even a baby parrot perched on a terrace railing, or crows arguing on a distant ledge. Butterflies flutter past, tiny messengers of births and marriages, there is much to enjoy in the constant activity of nature.

  • Diary of a Homemaker

    There is little to do these days. The virus has struck fear into the stoutest hearts, and most of us have changed our lifestyles to suit the times.

  • The peacefulness of water

    The universal dream of Paradise is a garden, nourished by crystal-clear waters. The garden of Jannat, with the waters of Salsabil and Tasneem; the Biblical garden of Eden, and the mythical Elysian fields are all havens of peace, with channels of flowing water,

  • Of life and memories

    When a new year begins, most of us try to sort through and organise all the detritus of earlier years, and start afresh with tidier cupboards, and neater desks. It can be an interesting task, because we come across things long forgotten, or thrown aside, to be looked at another time. Sometimes, we find really special things, long forgotten, but important.

  • On being well and unwell

    There are few things as all-encompassingly comfortable as a large soft warm bed. Nestled in soft sheets, with fluffy pillows cradling my head, and the gentle weight of the quilt over me, I feel I need nothing more.

  • A delightful day

    “Oh! This is so you. What a wonderful colour! You have to buy this right away,” says one lady to another.

  • The essence of nature

    I saw a picture the other day. It was just a picture of a simple green shrub; but there, in the centre, glowing like a jewel, was one perfect coral pink heart-shaped leaf.

  • Life and its seasons

    Morning, with its first pale pearling of the sky, its slow shading into pink and coral, and its final blossoming into gold, is a never-ending miracle.

  • Mirror mirror on the wall

    According to an old wives' tale, the story goes that if, on a certain midsummer night, you light two candles and gaze deeply into your mirror, the face of your true love will be revealed to you.

  • Dhaka Streets

    This morning, I looked out of my window and saw a face I had not seen for some time. It was the neighbourhood cobbler, seated cross-legged at his usual place on the pavement across the street, working away at some shoes.

  • Winter is coming

    Large, expensive wedding cards have begun to arrive; lettered in silver and gold, with tassels, fringes and ornate scrolling as well as boxes of delicious sweets! Our fourth favourite season is on its way.

  • First Class People

    If, in the course of your daily rounds, you see people with serene, smiling faces enjoying a cup of coffee and a doughnut in one of our many coffee shops, in the middle of a weekday morning, or sitting in deep chairs at a club, reading the papers, or eating ice cream near a swimming pool, you will know that they are RETIRED, or SEMI-RETIRED.

  • Cakes and aches, pains and gains

    The other day, I ran across an old friend, a charming elderly gentleman, who is well known for his charm and impeccable manners. I happened to ask him about his aches and pains. "Oh, there are so many that if we start talking about them, it will take all day," he said, waving it away with a smile.

  • Tell me my fortune

    We never know what the future holds. To my mind that is one of the charms of life. For instance, when my husband was in the foreign service, while I loved every posting we had, I could not help looking forward to the next place we would go to, and the new experiences we were bound to have.

  • Manners manners

    I had never met the couple or their parents before, nor did I think I would again, thankfully. This is a new world in many ways, and I find that there are more and more young people like this.

  • Tapestries

    The evening draws in quickly. At one moment the late afternoon sun is there, mellow orange against the sky, and the next minute it is almost twilight, and time for me to leave my rooftop plants and flowers, and return to my flat. As I take a last stroll around the jasmine, an aroma of warm ghee floats up from some nearby kitchen, and soon after, a long-forgotten and much loved familiar fragrance—the smell of curried chicken—as it was cooked in my mother's kitchen in olden days.

  • Not another new diet

    Every week, in some magazine or the other, there are enthusiastic pieces on some new miracle diet promising to transform us into our dream figures in a matter of weeks, or days even! There are dramatic pictures of 'before and after' and promises of a gorgeous new shape if we eat only bananas, or green peas, or whatever the latest studies claim will have said magical results.

  • The Young at Heart

    The Young at Heart Someone else, not foreign and also past forty, said the opposite, which was that older people should put aside all

  • Golden women

    The streets of Dhaka being what they are, one has time to just look around and observe things from the car while waiting at traffic lights or while stuck in jams: hugely battered buses driven by what look like twelve-year old boys high on cough syrup; cheap cars; costly cars; and people going about their daily business.

  • Of housework and exercise

    I also liked doing housework, truthfully! In my mind the bending, lifting, cleaning and mopping made up for my reluctance to go to the gym. I even found washing dishes therapeutic, and I would find myself humming while I soaped and rinsed, admiring the rose sprigs on my saucers, or the blue border of a much-loved tea cup.

  • December a season of happiness

    The months have flown by, and so did December, one of the loveliest months of the year. There is a crisp feel to the air, and the winter flowers have begun to show their blooms — dahlias, roses and all the other delicate flowers that cannot blossom in the heat.

  • Kitchen Disasters: Fond Memories

    We had arrived in Cairo on our first posting, and the Ambassador and family had come to tea. I had baked strawberry cake from what was supposed to be a full proof cake mix.

  • Great women

    I feel the pleasures of the eye before everything else. Someone glides past in a shaded sari flowing from grey to flame orange, I see a figure in exquisite embroidered powder blue, a vision in mint green chiffon, and suddenly flash of brilliant red lipstick.

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    Little Ninjas

    It is morning. I know it is because I feel someone tugging at my sleeve. I open my eyes and see two little faces gazing at me. Grandson #1 says "Nanee wake up. It's time for the battle to begin."

  • Pure joy

    I love tea. Any time is perfect time for a cup, preferably with nan khatai, or chocolate fudge cake, ginger biscuits, carrot halwa, or simply on its own — first thing in the morning, in the afternoon, or whenever I feel like it.

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    Golden tunes

    Krondoshi Pothocharini by Atul Prasad is one of my very favorite songs and always strikes a certain chord in my heart.

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    Evening dreaming

    Sometimes in late afternoons I take a book, a chair, and a cup of tea to the roof, hoping to sit and read among the plants and the flowers of the rooftop garden.

  • The simpler things in life

    I wake early. When I hear the call of the muezzin and the first soft sounds of birds chirping, I go to my window to see the sun rise.