the-art-business-amidst-covid-19

The art business amidst COVID-19

The business of the creative arts, as like any other profession, has seen changes during the past year. Freelancers, creative marketplaces, and galleries have experienced positive and negative impacts while in some cases, the situation has inspired creative endeavours.

Gallery Shilpangan, currently directed by Rumi Noman and one of the pioneering private galleries in Dhaka, has been operating since 1992. The gallery displays its own artwork to the public for purchase and curates exhibitions.

However, with the turn of events and a decrease in regular exhibitions, the gallery’s main source of income, selling paintings, has taken a hit. Despite adapting to the situation and arranging online exhibitions, the number of sales were still quite low.

Noman says, “These exhibitions are not just about the art, it is also the interaction and the gathering where art students can also come and learn.”

With hopeful intentions, the gallery will exhibit a charcoal exhibition towards the end of June, taking place both in the gallery and online.  Similarly, Saria Saguaro, owner of The Flourist, curated an art show and sold a lot of paintings in the dine-in space launched in February 2021. Despite her passion and desire to curate more, the space had to be closed down due to the lockdown.

While some businesses like that of Sultan Ishtiaque’s were secured due its pre-existing online market, some freelancers like Tahseen Nur aka Mr Pencilist, encountered a surprising increase of workflow.

Nur says, “The amount of mural work I get now has doubled compared to what I got before.”  Both Ishtiaque and Nur had feared that their businesses would fall. Despite being doubtful, Nur saw an increase in the demand for murals and Ishtiaque only faced issues while delivering his paintings.

Nur makes a guess that perhaps business owners had become more conscious about interior designing for which he had a spike in business, while Ishtiaque’s business was secured due to 90 percent of it being dependent on his online platform and the rest on gallery exhibitions.

TukiTaki.xyz, originally a Facebook marketplace, shifted to an only e-commerce site realising the threat COVID-19 posed and anticipating the need to shop from home. Keeping customer satisfaction and convenience in mind, founder Leonika Hannan was quick to provide creative entrepreneurs with a platform to showcase and sell their products.

Their much-awaited event Arts & Crafts Fest held annually since Winter 2016 was one of the many events which had to be postponed.

Hannan says, “This event gives sellers and customers an opportunity to get to know each other and interact offline. This is our favourite event of the year.”

Moreover, sales had declined for creative entrepreneurs selling paintings while entrepreneurs focusing on creating home interior products saw a 70 percent increase in revenue since the start of the pandemic.

On the bright side, the pandemic has also inspired many businesses supporting the creative arts. For instance, the website Esscre, being developed by Moontasir Shahriar Bijoy and his team, was inspired by the rise of creativity and people being able to hone their creative skills during the lockdowns.

The website is designed to be an inclusive artistic space for all kinds of creative artists where these individuals will be able to showcase their work while having their own personalised portfolios.

Just as COVID-19 was one of the motivators of Esscre, it also presented some obstacles in terms of finding investors and a physical space. Additionally, due to safety regulations, the team itself is yet to properly come together.

Bijoy says, “Some people in my team, their families were affected by COVID-19. These tragic losses also stretched the development process.”

Despite the specialised digital platform, Bijoy believes that a physical space is necessary to unite, groom and motivate creativity among artists.

He says, “Experiencing an artistic setting is motivating, and more productive. We want our place, which will be called ‘Dreamcatcher,’ to be a place where people can nurture their talents and interact with the artists directly. This is more engaging.”

Seeing paintings face to face as opposed to seeing a photo of it online distances people from the paintings’ aesthetic, and sentimental values. With both positive and negative outcomes from different artistic lines of work, this community is doing its best to remain on its individual and collective artistic journeys.

Hannan would encourage customers to buy from online businesses and marketplaces to support the growth of creative platforms in Bangladesh. As such, despite the distance and intimacy, these businesses would come out stronger, with more creativity and artistic opportunities.

Photo: Galleri Kaya

eight-years-of-connecting-food-enthusiasts

Eight years of connecting food enthusiasts

Since the last eight years, The Food Talk has built a community of food enthusiasts, bringing together owners and customers under one platform. “The goal of The Food Talk is to create a community of food lovers and the cornerstone has always been peer-to-peer learning,” said Taskin Rahman, Founder of The Food Talk.  

To celebrate their eighth year, The Food Talk arranged a live session entitled “Palate and Perceptions: The Evolution of International Cuisine in Bangladesh” on 7 July, 2021. This live discussion brought together food connoisseurs including perceptions of restaurateurs, reviewers, bloggers, and the media under the limelight.

The interactive session provided a holistic synopsis of the food industry, including discussions revolving around the altering culinary landscape, importance of food reviews, challenges in the restaurant industry, and consumer perceptions.

Farhan Quddus, having experienced the evolution of the food industry, hit viewers with nostalgia by describing the food scene in Dhaka from the ’70s. While back then, options were limited and eating out was a rare treat, cafes and fast-food shops started popping up by the end of the decade.

“In the ’80s, people started flying from abroad and brought along their cuisines too, such was the advent of the Korean cuisine. The ’90s was a game-changer when food and entertainment were combined, and after the year 2000, people witnessed a complete revolution,” he shared.

Having seen the evolution in food trends for a couple of decades, Raffat Binte Rashid, Editor of Star Lifestyle, The Daily Star, shared her valuable opinion regarding reviewing food.

“Back when we started two decades ago, the scenario was completely different when we would rate restaurants by stars based on some relevant criteria. However, now, reviews are often questionable due to some practical factors involved where authenticity is compromised,” she informed.  

Another speaker, Ali Arsalan, co-founder of Izumi, pointed out the most important parameters to ensure in order to successfully sustain in the restaurant business while maintaining quality, consistency, and authenticity. He mentions that sourcing high quality raw materials and skilled chefs combined with the constant desire to improve are key.

Nashra, Founder of Soi71, shared her journey where she chose to reintroduce Thai cuisine to Dhaka, by crafting a menu keeping health and taste in mind. “We support local people and produce as much as possible while strictly adhering to the authentic Thai palate, which enabled the transfer of skills and secrets to local chefs in the process,” she mentioned. 

Labib Tarafdar’s brilliance is defined by going from one cart to 16 outlets within eight years, while serving the mass market in a highly competitive industry. Madchef and Cheez being his brainchild, Tarafdar points out the challenges faced while operating in the restaurant business, which include factors of price and people’s perception.  

In Dhaka, where food is synonymous to socialising, groups such as The Food Talk come into play to ensure better food experiences for people through honest reviews and exchange of knowledge, while building an amazing community of people with common interests.

By Fariha Amber

bishworang’s-eid-ul-azha-collection

Bishworang’s Eid-ul-Azha Collection

Blending our deeply rooted traditions and international trends, Bishworang has brought their Eid Collection for the year 2021. The fabrics of choice have been dupion silk, joy silk, tussar silk, soft silk, katan, etc. The colour scheme includes off-white, red, maroon, royal blue, green, and golden. The dresses have been embellished with embroidery, zardosi, karchupi, cutwork, and screen print. 

One may shop at the comfort of their homes by logging in at www.bishworang.com or their Facebook page, Bishworang Fan Club. 

badhon-wears-aarong-jamdani-at-the-cannes-film-festival

Badhon wears Aarong Jamdani at the Cannes Film Festival

Azmeri Haque Badhon, star of ‘Rehana Maryam Noor,’ only the second Bangladeshi film to have premiered at Cannes, grabbed the spotlight on the red carpet in her stunning Jamdani and silver jewellery, designed and styled by Aarong.  

The sari worn by Badhon was a 100 thread count beige-olive half-silk Jamdani adorned by golden ‘jori’ thread. It takes nearly 90 days to craft one Jamdani sari of this quality by handloom artisans based near Sonargaon, Bangladesh (a World Craft City recognised for its history of Jamdani weaving). The attire was accessorised with hand crafted silver jewellery, the highlight of which was an ornate stone studded silver choker extending onto the back of the actor’s blouse. 

“Azmeri Haque Badhon has made Bangladesh proud by elegantly representing our Jamdani heritage on the red carpet. We are thrilled about the attention and interest it has brought to the craft and to have supported Ms Badhon on her journey to Cannes,” said Tamara Hasan Abed, Managing Director, Aarong, a social enterprise of BRAC.

“I have always dreamed about wearing an Aarong Jamdani one day at a special event. After reaching out to Aarong about my participation at Cannes, they shared their idea (about my possible wardrobe styling) and the sari, I had no doubt that this is what I would wear on the red carpet. I am grateful to everyone at Aarong who had worked relentlessly on a tight timeline to put this together,” said actor Badhon.

Aarong has historically played a significant role in preserving, promoting and sustaining Jamdani craft by holding exhibitions, fashion shows, and supporting research through the decades. Most recently, at the Jamdani Festival 2019, held in collaboration with several partners, 200 by 200 thread count khadi cotton Jamdanis were produced for the first time in over a century.

Jamdani has been recognised as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage craft in 2013. Much of the Jamdani motif designs are weaved by artisans from memory and have been passed down through the generations. Aarong has worked towards documenting these motifs, and promoting a resurgence of the craft. 

40-percent-discount-at-mermaid-beach-resort

40 percent discount at Mermaid Beach Resort

Where else can one find a piece of paradise, a private beach to oneself in a luxury, eco-friendly villa sitting on a vast, lush greenery just like a painting. The natural design of Mermaid’s villas is such that you can find yourself naturally distanced, secluded in your own private space with your loved ones. Healthy juices at the juice bar, made from Mermaid’s organic gardens and 24 hours in-villa dining available at guest’s fingertips.

Mahfuzur Rahman, Executive Director of Mermaid Beach Resort, said, “We have ensured the highest standards of hygiene protocols in place. Beautiful sea, breathing fresh air, natural sunlight, a natural source of Vitamin D, are also ways of keeping us healthy. We at Mermaid family are eagerly waiting to welcome you back!”.

Book now and stay anytime of the year at a 40 percent discount.

For booking now, contact: Mermaid Beach Resort- + 8801841416468 / + 8801841416469. E-mail: stay@mermaidbeachresort.net. Mermaid Eco Resort- +880 1841416464, +880 1841416465, E-mail: stay@mermaidecoresort.com.

khazana-opens-up-their-kitchen-for-home-delivery

Khazana opens up their kitchen for home delivery

COVID-19 can no longer prevent you from appeasing your taste buds and the finest cuisines from your favourite fine dine restaurant, Khazana.

“We are re-engineering our guest experiences with zero/low associate engagement (including digital ordering and e-payment solutions). The partnership with food delivery apps will assist us in responsibly delivering our unique culinary experiences using their advanced distribution network,” said Avishek Sinha, CEO of Khazana.

Re-inventing their traditional dining model, Khazana is exploring newer avenues to stay connected with their patrons. Khazana recently forayed into Street Menu gourmet food delivery to give a taste of the streets of India from the comfort of one’s own household. Guests can choose from selection of kathi roll to paw bhaji or Mumbai kalija singara and more.

On the weekends, they bring the Kolkata vibes every morning with a selection of their best choices of breakfast items like luchi cholar dal, sambar vada to panner paratha. People missing travelling to Kolkata can relish those memories with it.

To make life easy for the ladies who are not getting breaks from their husbands and children the whole day in this lockdown, Khazana launched thalis in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options to give the home maker a deserving break.

For more information, call 01711476379 or log on to: www.khazanadhaka.com

on-a-serious-note

On a serious note

Dating apps can be a risky and dangerous platform. Although meeting new people might be fun, being cautious of how much information you put out there is a matter of personal safety. Given the disadvantages of any social media platform, you never know who is lurking around to steal your information or approach you with ill intent. There might be individuals or predators on dating apps who actively seek out willing and friendly minds to execute their scams and add them to their malicious line of unethical work.

When you do decide to meet someone you have met on a dating app, it is important to look them up on other social media platforms. If necessary but also additionally, going forward with an initial video call so that you know who you are actually talking to, possibly reduces the chances of being catfished. Even if the person checks out, taking safety measures while meeting the person is always a wise decision. For instance, carrying pepper spray, meeting in a familiar and public space, sharing details with friends or family and letting them know where you will be meeting, and sharing your location from your phones with people you trust.

Dating apps can be fun, but it can also be life damaging if one is not more cautious and careful in how they utilise such apps.

shishurai-shob:-let’s-create-a-child-sensitive-society

Shishurai Shob: Let’s create a child-sensitive society

Shishurai Shobis a voluntary initiative, which aims to contribute to creating a child sensitive society by developing awareness and capacity of all concerned adults across all socio-economic groups.

A Facebook page has been initiated in August 2020. Presently, the page has around 16,000 followers. They are from 34 countries, including Bangladesh, India, the UK, the USA, Australia, Canada, and the UAE.

The Shishurai Shob website was launched in September, 2020. Participants of the launch included members of different government organisations and NGOs, the media, writers, and artists. They expressed interest to work in their own roles so that all children can realise their potential.

Since the launch, Shishurai Shob website and Facebook page have covered the following:

Writings and videos on children’s health, education, protection, recreation, participation including messages on providing the right support to children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Resources on laws, policies, convention, research reports related to children.

Recommendations on books, films, and creative activities.

Questions and answers on parenting.

Children’s views.

Shishurai Shob has posted content on many topics, which includes protecting children from physical and mental violence, importance of play and reading, effective communication with children, protecting children in emergencies.

Challenging gender stereotypes and promoting inclusiveness is central to the editorial policy of Shishurai Shob.

The content is usually in Bengali, however, Shishurai Shob hosts key resources available in English also. The online platforms have also posted content generated by others, as Shishurai Shob believes in avoiding duplication and encourage collaboration. In addition to sharing reports published by international organisations and research institutes, they have posted messages developed by national organisations like Breaking the Silence, BRAC, Disaster Forum. They are in touch with various organisations on possible collaboration in future.

A Facebook live event was organised on protecting children from sexual abuse, which generated rigorous discussion on the issue. Recently, Shishurai Shob has created its first video on providing guidance to children to protect them from harmful impact of excessive screen time. This has been well-received by the audience and shared by various individuals and organisations through their social media channels.

An advisory board has been formed comprising child rights experts who are providing strategic direction to Shishurai Shob.

So far, Shishurai Shob has received positive response from the audience. Some mentioned that if there was an initiative like this before, then the quality of children’s lives in previous generations would have been improved. Others hoped that people will learn about children, and do the right thing. Many have expressed interest to remain involved.

Shishurai Shob will continue to generate and disseminate messages on various child rights issues. There are plans to organise virtual and face to face events. In future, Shishurai Shob wants to engage campaigns on specific issues.

Some have asked if Shishurai Shob is for parents only. While we promote information on effective parenting, the initiative targets all adults of society, as it is important that each of us become sensitive regarding children’s thoughts, feelings and needs. For example, media staff will need to understand how to interview children in an appropriate way; planners and architects should develop awareness on child friendly design; restaurant owners should consider children’s needs while planning the sitting arrangements and the menu. The list goes on.

Being involved with Shishurai Shob is as simple as engaging with the content of the Facebook page through Likes, Shares and Comments. Feel free to make suggestions on ways to improve, and let them know possible topics that may be highlighted.

Write articles (within 500 words) and/or send reports, videos related to children developed by your organisation.

If you are interested in sharing content, then please get in touch at shishuraishob@gmail.com, and the editorial policy of the organisation will be sent to you.

There is an African proverb which goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Shishurai Shob plans to be a platform where all members of society can come together, learn, and feel inspired to perform their responsibilities so that the “village” is more liveable for children.

Convener, Shishurai Shob

Photo: Shishurai Shob

Website: www.shishuraishob.com;

Facebook: www.facebook.com/shishuraishob

kebabs-mouth-watering-grilled-delicacies

Kebabs mouth-watering grilled delicacies

The smoky, char-grilled aroma and melt-in mouth texture of kebabs can easily get you hooked. Kebabs usually served as an appetiser with chutneys and dips, kebabs are made with minced meat and mild spices. Though lamb is the original meat used in kebabs, this dish has been localised to include beef, goat, chicken, and meat varieties.

The history of the kebab traces back to both Asian and African cuisines. Kebabs are considered to have originated in Turkey when soldiers used to grill chunks of freshly hunted animals skewed on swords on open field fires. The name was firstly discovered in a Turkish script, which is the oldest known source where kebab started as a food item.

Kebabs are usually cooked on a grill or barbecue or baked in a pan in an oven. Some of the kebabs are deep fried or shallow fried on a pan and served with various accompaniments according to each recipe.

SHAMI KEBAB

The history of shami kebab is quite interesting. They were first made by a highly skilled chef for the toothless and aging Nawab of Lucknow, Wajid Ali Shah. The Nawab had lost all his teeth. However, his desire for meat continued. Hence, this melt-in-the-mouth kebab was prepared in his royal kitchen to satisfy the Nawab’s love for meat. The kebab was made so fine that it required no teeth to eat. Shami is an Urdu word, which refers to “sham”, meaning evening. Although this kebab is made for evening snack with tea, we enjoy it on all occasions.

Ingredients

500g boneless mutton, cut into small cubes

½ cup chickpeas (soaked in water)

4 green cardamoms

4 cinnamon sticks

2 tsp red chilli powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste

½ tsp caraway seeds (shahi jeera)

3 tbsp deep fried onion

1 tbsp chopped green coriander

½ tsp chopped green chilli

2 eggs

Salt to taste

Oil for frying

Method

Soak chickpeas in water for about 2 hours and let the water drain out. In a pan, add the meat, water, chickpeas, cardamoms, cinnamon sticks, red chilli powder, turmeric powder salt, and ginger-garlic paste. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and continue to cook it until all the water has evaporated and the meat is tender. Remove the pan from the heat and keep aside to cool. Remove the whole spices.

Grind the meat in a food processor alone with the green chilli, caraway seeds, and green coriander. Now add eggs and fried onion, mix well. Divide the mixture into equally portions and shape each of them into a flat kebab. Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry the patties until golden brown. Remove and drain the excess oil on kitchen towels. Serve hot.

SEEKH KEBAB

Seekh kebabs are spicy and extremely flavourful, a sure success at any occasion. They can be either grilled over a BBQ or baked in the oven or pan-fried on the stove-top, and are commonly served with a salad, naan, paratha and a variety of dips.

Ingredients

½ kg bone less beef (thinly sliced)

1 tsp red chilli powder or according to your taste

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp garam masala powder

2 tsp ginger paste

2 tbsp chickpea powder

2 tbsp plain yoghurt

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp seekh kebab masala

6 tbsp oil

Salt to taste

Skewers

Method

Clean and wash meat and drain water. Put all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix well. Cover the bowl and put it in a refrigerator. Let it marinate overnight. Skew marinated meat to the skewers. Preheat grill for high heat. Brush grate liberally with oil, and arrange kebabs on grill, cook until well done, turning as needed to brown evenly.

Tip: Aluminium foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make the cleaning process easier.

JALI KEBAB

Ingredients

500g beef keema

3 pcs bread

1 tbsp ginger paste

1 tbsp garlic paste

1 tbsp mint leaves paste

1 tsp green chilli paste

Garam masala paste (4 cardamoms, 2 cinnamon sticks, ½ nutmeg, and a pinch of mace)

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp black paper

½ cup fried onions

2 beaten eggs

1 tsp red chilli powder

2 tbsp tomato sauce

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp chilli sauce

¼ cup bread crumbs

¼ cup chopped coriander leaves

¼ cup chopped mint leaves

Salt to taste

For coating —

4 beaten eggs

1 cup breadcrumbs

Method

Soak bread in water. Squeeze water out and keep aside. In a large bowl, add all the kebab ingredients and mix well. Using your hands make round flat kebab. Coat them with bread crumbs and leave them into refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Heat enough oil in a big pan. Dip kebab into the beaten eggs, and then drop into the hot oil. Using fingers, sprinkle some egg over the kebab to make tiny nets. Fry them into medium flame. When one side of kebab becomes golden brown flip them and sprinkle some more egg over the kebab. Fry till both sides of the kebab until brown. Serve with biriyani, naan or paratha.

MUTHI KEBAB

For all those who love to undertake different but extraordinary side dishes, I present you another effortless and easy side dish, muthi kebab. Just endeavour once and you will find it irresistible to make it again and again. Everyone will love these juicy kebabs. Serve hot with different kinds of dip.

Ingredients

500g meat mince

2 onions, chopped

1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

3 chopped green chilli

1 tsp ginger paste

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 tbsp chopped mint leaves

1 tsp chat masala

2 red pepper, crushed

½ tsp pomegranate seeds powder

1 egg

3 tbsp gram flour (pan roasted)

½ tsp cumin seeds powder

Oil for fry

Method

In a bowl, put minced meat and add all the ingredients except for oil. Mix with your hands until well combined and let stand for half-an-hour to blend flavours. Now take a handful of the mixture and give them oval-like shape. Then heat oil in a pan. Deep fry the kebab till golden brown. Remove on a platter and serve hot.

GALOUTI KEBAB

Ingredients

500g mutton mince

1 tbsp ginger paste

1 tsp garlic paste

25g papayas

1 tsp red chilli powder

2 tbsp butter

½ tsp ground mace

½ tsp garam masala powder

2 tbsp roasted chickpeas flour

Ghee as required

Salt as required

Method

Wash and drain the mince and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Peel and deseed the papaya, put in a blender and make a fine paste. Mix all the ingredients, except the ghee with the refrigerated meat. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes. Divide into equal portions, apply a little melted ghee on the palms and flatten the mince-meat mixture into patties. Heat ghee in a pan and shallow fry over low heat until both sides brown evenly.

BOTI KEBAB

Ingredients

500g boneless mutton (cut into 1-inch cube)

2 tsp raw papaya

1 tbsp ginger paste

1 tsp garlic paste

½ tsp red chilli paste

¼ tsp garam masala powder

1 tsp Kabab Chini Powder

1 tbsp hung curd

¼ cup melted butter

Salt to taste

Onion rings, as required

Method

Mix together papaya, ginger, garlic, hung curd and green chilli pastes with chilli powder, garam masala powder, Kabab Chini Powder and salt, apply this on the cubes of mutton. Set aside in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours to marinate. Now cook the marinated mutton cubes with one cup of water till the mutton is half done and all the water evaporates. Remove from heat and set aside. Put the mutton cubes on a skewer. Heat a grill and grill the mutton cubes till completely cooked. Baste with melted butter from time to time so that mutton does not dry out. Once done, transfer to a plate and serve with the onion rings and chutney.

Photo: LS Archive/ Sazzad Ibne Sayed

why-take-a-gap-year?

Why take a gap year?

A gap year is more than just taking time off from one’s academic career. It is a period of time for experiential learning, developing new skills, expanding horizons, and culturally diversifying oneself. It can take many forms, from trying out new career options and internships to independent travelling and volunteering in social work. Needless to say, despite being uncommon in our society, a gap year offers more clarity and newfound structure in one’s life.

Avoiding an academic burnout

Our academic system demands that we stay at our sharpest at all times and that we are continuously working hard to get our desired outcomes. A period of prolonged study can cause exhaustion, frustration, lack of motivation, and enthusiasm and affect school performance. This is known as an academic burnout.

The tremendous pressure put on students to pick a career path impairs their judgment and clouds their minds. So, a gap year not only provides a well-needed break from all these stresses, but also opens new doors for self-exploration and opportunities for clearing one’s mind. Furthermore, doing so will help in making these decisions more confidently and with vigour.

Performing better academically

Although some might assume that a gap year would hamper one’s studies, the reality is quite the opposite. Taking a break from the hectic life of being a student and being overwhelmed with classes and assignments is necessary. Taking the time to seek out a career path at one’s pace and also discovering one’s career passion, understanding their own skills and satisfying curiosity will provide more clarity and help one decide what they truly want to do with their lives.

Increasing job satisfaction

It is difficult to maintain a job while being in school. Due to time constraints and juggling between school and work hours, it is difficult to explore any career options. But with a gap year, one can take up paid or unpaid internships or jobs, engage in volunteer work and community service to explore multiple career paths. In doing so, having understood where one’s interests and skills lie, it will be easier to aim for a job which will provide more happiness and a sense of fulfilment.

Cultural exposure

Given that the opportunity arises to travel abroad or within the country, a gap year can be used to become more culturally aware. This will help one understand and experience cultures, traditions and ideas which they often read in textbooks. These experiences will assist in grasping how societies are different in their own unique ways but are yet so alike. Providing perspective into new cultures, languages, communities and ideologies, a gap year will also contribute to becoming aware of one’s unique place in the world.

Becoming more financially aware

Be it during individual travel or in employment, managing one’s own finances is a crucial skill. During a gap year, when one has to handle their expenses on their own with no one to monitor their spending, it provides perspective into how to divide finances better.

Cultivating soft skills

Cross-cultural communication, empathy, adaptability, quick thinking, and problem solving skills are some of the soft skills which can be nurtured during a gap year. These skills are only useful in everyday life, but also increases employability. Additionally, being able to practically implement and exercise these skills is something that cannot be taught inside a classroom.

Having a good time

Life is not just about academic success. We often forget to enjoy the limited time we have in this universe and drown ourselves in studies and in the pursuits approved by society. A gap year is crucial to make up for these experiences and make one’s life even fuller. Having fun, new experiences, meeting new people, discovering oneself — are all just as important as having an outstanding transcript.

Academics have become a dominant force in our society. Being associated with socially approved success and honour, our studies is something we fear to go easy on. However, taking a gap year can offer more self-improvements, skill development and also newer experiences which will help one’s mind to go beyond the information on a textbook and numbers on exam scripts.

Photo: Collected