Marking the months the artsy way
Other than brand new hopes, each new year brings us a few new tangible items in the shape of diaries and calendars. Reputed business houses, banks and multinational companies produce these diaries and calendars by thousands and they also try to promote new artistic works and ideas. Amongst these, the calendar is a good source of short-term income for designers, artists and photographers. Above all, it provides these artistic people with a proving ground of their talents. However, the artists usually have to bend to the will of the sponsors and thus cannot enjoy full artistic freedom.
Then there are people like Dr Mahboob Ali, a professor of the National Institute of Cardio Vascular Disease by profession and a photographer by hobbywho spend their own resources to do something simple, yet creative.
Cave Hotel Cappadocia
Ali produced a very small and humble desktop calendar that fits quite appropriately in the smaller office cubicles. The black and white calendar puts up 24 of his photographs taken during his journeys to different countries of Asia, Europe and USA.
Ali is a well-known photographer among wildlife lovers of the country because for decades he has been taking thousands of Bangladeshi wildlife photos during his weekends or other vacations. He has also photographed life on the streets and at selected spots. Many of his photos landed in the newspapers due to their merit.
In recent years, he has switched completely to black and white photography and focuses more on landscape and playing with light and shadows. In the last several years, he has piled up another few thousand pictures of this kind. Many of them were taken during his visits abroad and Ali picked some of these photos for the calendar.
His idea of this calendar is that small is beautiful and it does not have to flash colours to stand out. The crispy black and white photos here have all stood out by their own merit.
The photographs cover from New York's skyline to Roman Colossium or the Dzongs monastery in Bhutan to the Cave Hotel in Cappadocia. Each page is intriguingly interesting for the diversity. How's that for making your year a really memorable one?
By Sharier Khan
Photo: Ali Mahboob
Don't let the noose of Asthma go loose
For asthma patients this is the season to take extra care. Asthma attacks tend to be severe and frequent as the mercury gradually dives downward with the beginning of winter. Children and elderly people with asthma suffer the most. Here are a few advices that would help you keep asthma under check at this time of the year.
Keep your inhaler and all other medications near you; it doesn't matter if you are at home or outside. If you are planning for a vacation then don't forget to take the life-saving inhaler with you. If you are planning for a long vacation, carry at least two with you.
Remember that cold air is one of the common triggers of asthma, therefore wrap yourself properly in this cold season. Wear a muffler whenever you are outside. Dress small children in layers before taking them out-of-doors, the same thing is recommended for adults too.
Those of you who exercise in the open air must take extra precaution because cold air causes dehydration in the airways of the lungs, leading to a spasm. Therefore, it's suggested that you use the inhaler 15 minutes before you begin your outdoor exercises. Call your physician as soon as you undergo an asthma attack.
Hydration is important; therefore drink plenty of fluids during this cold season to prevent asthma attacks. Ensure that you don't catch the flu during the winter. In the western countries people don't forget to take their annual flu shot before winter, but since we don't have this practice in this country, you need to survive the winter with proper medication, rest and a balanced diet. Experts say that the best defence against colds and the flu are frequent hand washing and getting enough rest. Wearing a scarf over your mouth and nose will cut the incoming of cold air, therefore lessening the chance of catching a bad cold.
By keeping yourself warm, drinking plenty of fluids, and opting for a balanced diet you can keep your asthma under your control throughout this cold season.
A true taste of asia
Halibut or Betki Cubes in Thai Green Curry Sauce Recipe
2 tblsp Thai green curry paste (see notes)
¼ cup sliced green onions
½ pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
1 tblsp Thai fish sauce
1 pound halibut steaks or betki fillets, skinned, boned and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium firm but ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely diced
1 handful of fresh basil or mint leaves OR a combination
Do not shake coconut milk before opening can. Skim 1/4 cup of thick "cream" from surface of milk and heat it in wok or saucepan over medium heat until bubbly. Add curry paste, green onions and green beans and cook until mixture is quite fragrant and oil begins to separate from cream.
Discard remaining cream from coconut milk if desired, then add remaining milk and fish sauce to pan. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium and cook until mixture is reduced by half. Add fish cubes and tomatoes and simmer until fish is done, for about 6 minutes. Stir in basil leaves and serve with rice.
Notes: Coconut milk is high in saturated fat, so if you're watching calories, discard the oil-rich coconut "cream" and use 1 tablespoon peanut or corn oil when cooking the curry paste, green onions and green beans. You'll lose just a bit of the coconut flavour.