The Various Hues of Summer

Kazi Falguni Eshita

StoryThe pleasant spring atmosphere is now replaced by the scorching rays of the summer sun. The cuckoos have said goodbye, the juicy summer fruits have started occupying the stalls. The first day of the Bengali New Year is approaching fast.
PohelaBoishakh comes hand in hand with heat waves and a sudden rush of illnesses. To enjoy the Bengali New year to the fullest, one has to ensure good health first. Make sure you take in a generous amount of fluids every day to avoid dehydration. Keep yourself away from those apparently tempting roadside dishes. After all, an upset stomach is the last thing you would ever want in the midst of all those celebrations. The common cold and respiratory problems might be devastating as well.
On the other hand, sun-burnt skin is definitely not expected either. Please carry some sort of protection against the harmful ultra violet rays. A good sunscreen lotion or sun block with a high sun protection factor (SPF) comes handy when needed. A chap stick or a mini pack of petroleum jelly will be a good aid for sun or wind withered lips. Nowadays, boys have also become health, weight and skin conscious like the girls. Mix a little sandalwood powder or Neem powder (whichever suits you) with a few drops of rose water. Mix well, and use the paste instead of soap at least once a week during shower. These can also work as very good facial masks. It will give you the necessary glow and cleanliness required. Raw turmeric or chickpea paste can also work as a good substitute of soap. They do not contain artificial chemicals like soap does. These help me better than my make- up kits.  Still, I agree that soap or shower gel is needed to keep ourselves clean if we are running short of time for important works.
A bit of coconut oil every night (make sure to shampoo it off next morning) if possible, mixed with sour yoghurt, is much better than an expensive hair spa.
These days, if you come across any branded cloth store the various summer colors (especially red and white) on the mannequins try to lure me towards them. Though the silks and other heavy materials look nice, it is wiser to befriend cottons now. It will help to absorb the natural profuse sweating of this season. Also, cottons will not be too heavy on your pockets. You can heave a sigh of relief now. A cotton red-white shalwar- kameez or a cotton top with a matching skirt can   be pretty stylish if tailored properly. The latter is not my style now, despite being a favorite in my early teens. I rather prefer the former with three quarter sleeves and obviously a decently wide and long draper.
Sorry boys, I don’t know much about male fashion. In my opinion, just a normal new year colored top and black jeans or trousers would make a boy look good enough. If you wish to be more traditional, pick a Punjabi-Pajama (pure white or off-white Punjabi always attracts me). Dear males, please wear your clothes in a properly ironed state. You may wear anything that suits your personality. Shorts can be comforting, but personally, I don’t like boys wearing shorts.
Those of you, who might be busy with different types of music all throughout the day, please keep a continuous practice. Also, it is very important to take good care of your voice.  Stay away from ice creams. I know nothing seems as good as an ice cream in summer, but just one bar of ice cream might be enough to make your voice sore. You will need a lot of efforts to make it heal then. Prevention is always a much better option than cure. One spoonful of honey before breakfast every day is a great medicine. It is splendid not only for your voice, but for skin and blood as well. Avoid honey and all other sugars if you are a diabetic patient.
Hey! Talking about PohelaBoishakh and leaving all the food out? It just can’t be! Everyone would love to dip their fingers into a clay bowl of Paanta-Ilish (watery rice with Hilsha fry). Or maybe a plate of BhunaKhichuri and beef curry might satisfy your hunger. Come on now, diet conscious people! Voracity for a day will not matter much. You can also try the traditional sweets like Rosogolla or Sondesh. If you are an amateur cook, run into the kitchen to make a special dish for friends and family.
For some seasonal income, you might try doing a business of hand- made greeting cards. Yes, technology might have taken over printed or hand-made greeting materials, but the appeal for creative gifts still exists. Book a stall at one of the numerous Boishakhi fairs at a reasonable cost for a chance to promote your own or a friend’s boutique house. The henna artists may look for customers on the 14th of April. You can also be a face and body painter at the fairs.
Hey! All you lazybones out there! It’s time to wake up now, friends! We do not have much time left before PohelaBoishakh. Get busy, and find yourself a way to celebrate. Shubho Noboborsho!

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