Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 4, Issue 3, Tuesday January 23, 2007


a whole new you

Resolutions, like promises they say, are meant to be broken. Let's not call them resolutions then! We’re kicking off this year on concrete ways you can bring a real change within and without. Have the life you always wanted, and we’ll show you how. Let's start off with 7 things this year that we at Lifestyle have come up with for our readers to do instead of simply whiling away the hours at a work desk or at home not knowing how much could be done!

Give to others
And we don't mean just handing out money to little children at traffic lights!

Give directly
Take a portion of what you earn on a yearly or monthly basis and give it to an orphanage or to one particular poor family or child. Sometimes people don't know what to do with money, so it might be better to buy a sewing machine, bicycle or some other income-generating machine for them.

Give through organisations
If you still don't know how to give to charity in a way that actually makes a difference, go through one of the organisations who help those in unfortunate situations, not just the poor but also survivors of natural disasters, acid victims and people suffering in ill kept hospitals and homes. Different NGOs, women's groups, organisations like the Volunteers Association of Bangladesh, smaller student organisations each specialise in different forms of charity that they collect from others and give to those who need it. Whether it is a boxful of old warm clothes or brand new blankets you are giving out, Bangladesh never runs out of people who could use your help.

Help educate a person
One more person educated is one more step the country takes towards a brighter future, so go ahead and pay for a child's education.

Pay for school
You can go to an orphanage or a primary school for the poor and pay for one child's education. You can also help a street child through primary school.

Enlighten your domestic help
If you don't want to venture that far, there is the domestic help at your home to educate. You can make sure that they are all literate and aware of their rights.

Some organisations take underprivileged children to different schools once or twice a week to be taught as part of social studies class. You can also organise something like this where you and your friends can teach a number of such children on a regular basis.

Raise an extra child
This does not only apply to childless couples and those whose children are grown up, take the initiative to raise a poor child if you can afford it. The country has a million homes full of orphaned, underprivileged children in dire need of the love, warmth and security that only parents can give. Sometimes our own not-so-well-off relatives can't take care of all their children and are forced to give them up for adoption so others can embrace them. Take them in and raise them as your own, giving them proper nutrition, values and education and most importantly the overwhelming love that every child born deserves in spite of the situation they were born into.

Be a tree hugger
Don't think tree logging and dying forests are too far away to touch you. These things affect you and every other person directly no matter where you are on the planet.

Don't pollute
And don't let others pollute either! Most of us can still not wait for the next trash can to shove the empty paper cup into and many others think that saving trees in a faraway forest may be too noble and large a thing for us to be a part of! It's definitely time to do away with that line of thought!

Raise awareness
Making more people aware of how to respect and preserve their environment is a good way to start work. A successful example of such an attempt was the prevention of illegal logging at the virgin forests in Lawachara, Sylhet. The community there took an about turn and actively participated in the conservation movement. You can also become a part of such activities. Visit websites of organisations involved in such work and simply sign up. Sometimes that is all it takes.

Mind your P's and Q's
Whether it's at work or at home, most of us no longer have a plan, an organised way of going about our daily activities. Exercise a degree of discipline in everything you do, even your diet. Let's not waste the one lifetime we get living unhealthy! Be civil to yourself and to others.

Stand in queue
From the way we spit on the pavements, use the drains as public toilets and swear at each other while our cars and scooters collide on the road, one would hardly think we are civilised. Let's change that and pair our formal education with some 'manners'! Stand in line and wait your turn. Refrain from swearing at the next car driver- most of the time it is your own family and not him that hears these profanities! And although the state refuses to make us proper public toilets, it does not give us the go ahead to use the streets as such!

Say thank you
It takes only a pair of words to say thank you or excuse me but you hardly hear anyone say them anymore. Whether somebody is passing you the salad bowl, or handing you the remaining change or dropping you off somewhere, they all deserve a show of gratitude. Nobody's asking you to bow and give a royal address. Just say thank you!

Know the signs
At a time when public transport is sometimes hard to find and you run the risk of being delayed by traffic jams even if you have a car of your own, walking is a great alternative to explore. However, it is important to know the different pedestrian rules, what the signs mean, where to cross the roads and so on. So, do take a stroll to work and try to get as many people interested as you can.

Stop whining
Whether it's while exercising our democratic rights or just carrying out a simple chore, we seem to have taken up whining as a national pastime! Get over it and start doing something about whatever it is that bothers you instead of complaining about it. Write to a newspaper, talk to that annoying person, protest, whatever it takes. Just do it!

Take up some healthy hobbies
Take a yoga or healthy cooking class, tap into those long lost hobbies of gardening or origami or running. May sound like a royal waste of time when you could be making big bucks somewhere but these activities give you time off your crazy work life to slow your pace and contemplate. There are plenty of places and opportunities in the city now to get into something like this, a philosophy class if nothing else, that will help you relax for a couple of hours each week, exercise your mind or body in a positive manner and bring you a fuller, healthier life.

If you can successfully pull off even one of these seven things, it will not only make you a better person, but also win you our lifelong respect and gratitude.

By Diya
Photo: Amirul Rajiv


home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2007 The Daily Star