Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 50, Tuesday June 1, 2004






Banking Tips

Nasreen Sattar , Head of International Sales, Standard Chartered Bank

Q1. I am a resident Bangladeshi national working with an International Organisation operating in Bangladesh. Can I open a foreign currency account?

A. Yes, as per Central Bank guideline foreign currency accounts maybe opened in the names of Bangladeshi nationals working with Foreign/International Organisations operating in Bangladesh provided their salary is paid in foreign currency. Such an account can be credited only with the foreign currency portion of the salary and debited for all approved current transactions like cost of travel, education for children, treatment etc. This type of account can also be credited with consultancy fees received by the above-mentioned category of residents.

Q2. A cheque for BDT 20,000/ drawn by your customer is presented in the clearing on the 27th of April 2004, for payment when the balance in the account was BDT 10, 001/ only . The customer happens to have a Fixed Deposit with the bank for a sum of BDT 10,000/. It is however, observed that the cheque is dated 25th April 2004. How will you act in the circumstances?

A. The banker will not make payment of the cheque for BDT 20,000/ while the balance in the account is not sufficient. The Fixed Deposit Account of the customer is a separate account and not a transactional one. Its amount is payable after the specified period is over. The banker, therefore, cannot make the payment of the cheque on the basis of the Fixed Deposit Account.

Q3. I had given a cheque to a friend where by mistake the words and figures of the amount were different. The bank returned the cheque to my friend. Can you please explain to me in such cases what is the norm?

A. According to the Negotiable Instruments Act 'if the amount undertaken or ordered to be paid is stated differently in figures and words, the amount stated in words shall be the amount undertaken or ordered to be paid'. Thus the banker may treat the amount written in words as the correct amount. However, in practice bankers usually return such cheques with the remark 'words and figure differ' and seek the drawer's confirmation.

Interpreter of Maladies
Dr. Nighat Ara, Psychiatrist

Q. I have recently found out that my best friend is having an affair with someone I know. He kept it a secret from me for at least 8 months. I was surprised that he kept it from me and could not find any logical reason behind this behaviour. I did not ask him why he did that. Should I ask him? And if I feel hurt would that be too irrational?

Ans: Your friend is having an affair with someone you know and he has kept it secret from you. Definitely his behaviour is generating some questions in you. Why he had to do that? Does he think you are not trustworthy? What is the feeling underneath the surprise? Do you think your friend feels unsafe to talk about it? I guess these thoughts are quite logical in this situation and can be potentially threatening. It may mean, this friendship (forget about best friend!) is not based on trust, equality and honest communication. However, from another perspective it may not have anything to do with you at all. This behaviour could be an outcome of the emotional baggage he is carrying from his past. In addition, his sense of insecurity in that relationship or some other issue arising from his personal life could be responsible as well for this secrecy. Whatever be the reason it seems that there is a discrepancy between your expectation and his behaviour. Self-disclosure is an important way of making close relationships but it has to be reciprocal. It is quite rational to expect a close friend to share this personal information without feeling being judged and that is probably why friendship is so special to us. It is a conflict in your friendship that is creating tension and stress in you. How would you like to resolve this conflict? If you keep silence, suppressed emotion might come to the surface quite unpredictably at a later stage. If you value the friendship and want to give it another chance- tell him clearly what concerns you. Successful conflict resolution skills include- using active listening skills and essential speaking skills. Also prepare yourself ahead of time, keep an open mind and focus on the problem that needs to be resolved. Discuss the conflict and try to resolve it, if you can't, throw it away over your shoulder (at least, don't carry it forever).

Style Files
Maheen Khan Fashion designer, Mayasir

Q: How can I distinguish between a terry cotton and pure cotton. I am allergic to synthetic fibres and especially during these hot months it seems to be severe and I want to avoid this fabric totally in this heat. Advice needed.

A: If you are allergic to synthetic fabrics you are in trouble. It is a difficult task to differentiate today between a man made mix and a pure cotton fabric. First of all many manufacturers are mixing some percentage of synthetic fibre to create a finish on cotton while others are mercerising (polishing) cotton in such a way also to create a high finish. If it were not evident from the feel, the nature of the fabric, then the only alternative would be to burn the fabric. If it crinkles, it is synthetic, if burns well to ashes, it is cotton.

Q: I recently returned to Dhaka from abroad. As I didn't get a chance to remain updated about latest fashion trends here I was wondering maybe you can fill me up with the latest fads. I want to know about salwar kameezes for both everyday wear & party wear. What kinds of sarees are in these days? One of my cousins is getting married. Do you have any suggestions about the kind of sarees I should buy for the occasion? Zainab

A: Dear Zainab,
The latest trends in short kurtas, in both day and eveningwear are varied in their look. It really depends on the individual's style and sensitivity. If you are someone who is looking for a western essence then try blouses in kurta or summery peasant styles that are in vogue, paired with trousers and a scarf. For the evening try a sleeveless short fitted blouse and pair it with tight churidar and flowing duppatta. A light embellishment of mirror, sequence or beading will surely add glamour to your outfit. Sarees that have become very popular over the last one or two seasons are crepes, chiffons, and georgettes. These are lightweight fabrics that are sexy and comfy. These sarees are often lightly embellished. You can check out the local saree shops. But if you are planning to invest in an heirloom piece then I would suggest you buy a Dhakai jamdani or a traditional Indian woven saree that is timeless.


Build an exercise regime

Summer may be fearsome this year but it should not halt your effort for a better shape. Working out does not necessarily have to be everyday an hour routine in the gym. You could walk to places instead of always taking a rickshaw or driving a car. Avoid elevators while going up instead take the stairs. Do whatever it takes to get moving.








Extra-Marital-Affairs: Monologue from a desperate heart

She was in mid-sentence, spelling something completely ordinary, giving an extra emphasis to some words by pouting her lips, and I fell in love. I had seen her before a few times. She is nothing magnificent, but there was something striking about her, about her asymmetrical face, the way she stared, not straight but from an angle. It almost looked evil, but I fell in love.

It was my desperation, my constantly nagging mother, my half-spent youth, my urgency to spread my blood, for it to run in children's bodies, the ones who would call me father. So I fell in love because I imagined, I set expectations, I made up a personality and I determined her character, because I was in love.

It was a gathering with mostly Bengalis and a few token "Americans" of fairer or darker skins, to compliment our brown tones. I forgot why the party was being thrown. It was either an anniversary or a birthday party- the usual, just another gathering to get more Mikasa vases and chomp on catered food. Just another gathering to find out new gossip and disparage each other, and for the ones like me, just another gathering to fish for a bride.

The last time I saw her was at another one of these gatherings; I spent most of the night staring at her; she knew; I knew; and everyone else pretended not to know. I would have gone up to her and started a futile conversation about how the rice is too stale or how the achol of her sari is dragging on the floor, but the hosts from the previous party were a bit older and conservative so I didn't make today's move. Today's party is more relaxed, filled with younger but an equally judgmental crowd who on the surface pretend to be open-minded and progressive. So I started a conversation about how tasteless the tandoori chicken was and continued the conversation from then on.

It's been about half hour since then; she is still sitting in front of me, with her plate half filled with cold, stale dinner which I am sure she will throw away with the plastic forks and knives. We flirted in a pure Bengali way, with the drawn boundaries, but initiating interests and throwing necessary details. It doesn't take long for average Bengalis to click and fall. And like me she too was average.

Her voice has the high tone that women often use to be perceived as being innocent and pure in the Indian/Bengali culture. The whole standard Lata Mangeskar has set for us with her high-peach-forever-virgin voice. Usually South-East Asian girls don't want to talk with a husky or low tone, it's considered to be too raw, hence too sexy. Sexual matters always run subliminal and the sweet voice giving off the virgin vibes is the superficial front, a front demanding standard-Bengali respect. And we the desperate men are suppose to dive into this teasing sweetness without looking left or right, lacking life support or insurance. That's the way it goes. So I fell in love.

When I was going to ask her for her card or at least give her mine, her brother came up, I saw him before too; looked a bit pompous in a harmless sort of way. Now that I think about it, I should have tried to get to know him, and built a connection, so at least I would have another way to get close to her. He came near; looked at me; looked at her; they looked at each other with mutual disinterest and boredom. He asked her when she wanted to leave. She said whenever he wished. I thought what an obedient little sister. She will be an obedient wife too, and I fell in love even deeper.

He stepped away, and I asked her, "Your older brother?" she said with a feeble voice "no my husband." She sighed; I stopped breathing for a few seconds. I would have felt worse if it wasn't for her meaningful look, a look that said, "I know, I should have told you, I too am guilty." I thought it's no big deal, it is love of a desperate heart, and it will wear off in an hour, and I will fall for the next pretty thing.

But things changed as she stood up and walked away dragging the ends of her sari, and just when I was about to look away, she turned and gave me the most welcoming grin.

An affair was born…

By Iffat Nawaz
*You can contact the writer by emailing nituta@hotmail.c



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