Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 2, Tuesday June 29, 2004






Monsoon blues

The mushy monsoon is here. It is time for sitting beside the window, languidly sipping a hot steamy cup of tea and looking at the clouds moving away fast and pouring on the tree branches. It is high time for romance. Err…apology for invading the romantic mood but it is time for a water logged city, dengue fever and a damp household as well. Soggy days are here to stay for a while. It will bring about certain discomforts in life. Here are some easy tips for you that might come in handy this monsoon.

In the wet weather always keep an umbrella in your bag. If you travel by a car store two umbrellas and a raincoat in the boot. You never know when they come in handy as rain may catch you by surprise. Cover you head to protect yourself from cold. Avoid slippery shoes. Visit the Singapore market behind New Market, or Polwel Super Market. These two places are full of rubber slippers perfect for wet weather. The ones with high platforms will help you a lot if the streets are water logged.

In the rain cotton outfits are hard to dry. Avoid jeans or thick fabric. They give out foul odours if not dried properly. Pay a visit to Chadni Chawk for cheap synthetic dress materials. They are easier to dry. Some people hang wet cloths above the stove. It can cause serious trouble. Find some empty space in your house, clear the place, arrange for a fan and use the area for drying wet outfits. To keep clothes crispy, fresh and odour free, place dehumidifier and naphthalene inside the closet in between clothes.

To keep the floors of you house damp free and dirt free, place jute doormats on stairs and on the doorsteps. Before you get in, stand on the doormats on the staircases for a while, clean your shoes by rubbing against it and before getting inside the house take your shoes off.

Fungus attacks leather materials during the rain. Keep them in a dry place. Occasionally place them around the stove. All the mango pickles that you made during the summer can be ruined by fungus too. The contamination usually starts from the top. If it does clear the fungus from the top then get the pickle out of the jar and place it on the stove for a while. Put them back in a dry jar adding more mustard oil and place them around the stove.

The monsoon will be even more enjoyable and the clouds will seem more beautiful if you can get rid of these minor discomforts that it causes.

By Shahnaz Parveen

Remedies for relief

Has the cold got you down? Is your throat scratching? Do you have allergies that itch over? These are all common problems for there is some form of drug or other to cure it. But from the time the drug is swallowed to the time it starts working, what do you? Why go through the suffering during this waiting interval when you can find relief sitting right in your cupboard? You'll be surprised to know that simple ingredients in your household and garden can give you relief and ease your pain as you wait for the pill to work it's way. Here are a few of these simple remedies.

For blocked noses, gravel throats and deep coughs:
If your nose is all blocked up and you have an excruciating headache, it's because you are unable to breathe properly. Snort a little mustard oil up your nasal passages and while it may sting a little, within minutes you'll be running to blow your nose. Within minutes your nasal passages will be cleared and you'll be able to breathe properly again.

If your throat feels raw and scratchy or you have difficulties swallowing, honey lemon-tea will do the trick. Add two teaspoons of honey to a cup of raw tea (without sugar) and squeeze in to slivers of lemon. This potion has a two-way effect. The lemon adds flavour and helps to dissolve the honey in the tea that helps to get rid of the scratchy feeling. The raw tea provides the heat necessary to get rid of the swelling. If the problem persists before bedtime, add two teaspoons of honey to warm milk and it will do the same trick while helping you to sleep better.

If you have a deep-set cough that just refuses to come out, stop coughing, it will only make matters worse. Put a kettle of water on the stove. Add cinnamon, cardamom and some ginger into it. Roll up an old magazine and inhale the steam that comes out of the spout through your nose and mouth. The heat will travel down and loosen the cough set in your chest. Pretty soon you'll be coughing out big chunks of you know what. In the meanwhile, if your nose is blocked, it will also help to clear it.

For itchy skin and prickly heat:
If you have allergies that are causing you to itch all over, add neem leaves to your bathing water and you'll find relief. Rubbing a paste of the leaves all over before a shower and then showering helps as well. If the leaves aren't available, you'll find neem oil in the store. Substitute that for the paste to the same effect.

For sore gums and teeth:
If your gums or a tooth is giving you a hard time, add some salt and a dose of strong mouthwash to warm water and gargle. It will ease the pain and give you relief.

Why sit and let pain wash over when you can get relief through some simple remedies? So try these remedies and see for yourself.

By Tahiat-E-Mahboob


I watched nervously from the shadows in the dark alley as the glaring red lights of the police car flashed by. I couldn't believe I had managed to escape from the Hanover county jail.

That night, I slept beside a garbage can in that dark alley. I knew that I had to leave Hanover very quickly or I would be locked behind bars again. The next morning, I cautiously went to a friend's house. He gaped in shock when he opened the door. We quickly went inside. We celebrated my "escape" with a couple of cold beers and Cuban cigars. I looked at the paper to see if I had made the news. The heading read " Deadly criminal escapes the county jail." Below that was a picture of me in striped black and white prison clothes. I realised that I would have to disguise myself. I shaved off my one-year-old-beard and cut my hair really short. When I looked into the mirror I couldn't even recognise myself. That afternoon, I decided to go outside and test out my new image. As I expected, there were leaflets with my photo with the heading "Most Wanted" posted on lampposts, billboards and walls. When I was returning to my friend's place, I was shocked to see two police cars parked in the driveway. I was enveloped by a cloud of fear when I saw a police officer staring at me; he was sitting in one of the cars. I tried to act calm and asked him "Is anything wrong, officer?" He shook his head no and started to heat his doughnut. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and calmly walked away. I realised that I would have to leave Hanover immediately. I got into a taxi and told the driver to take me to the train station.

Throughout the journey my heart raced like a Ferrari. I kept looking back dreading the sight of a police car. At the train station I quickly bought a ticket and got into my cabin.

I received a bolt from the blue when I saw the sheriff of Hanover county prison sitting on the bunk across from me. I nervously sat down and put on my dark glasses. He casually glanced at me and then again continued to read the newspaper. I lit a cigarette and as I took a puff, I grinned to myself. I was as free as a bird.

By Van Helsing



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