Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 25, Tuesday June 24, 2008



eating out
H = Healthy

Staying healthy isn't the easiest thing to do in Dhaka these days. Wherever you go, you run into a fast food outlet, tempting you with scrumptious junk food, so that you go home and hate yourself for that extra pound on your weight scale, or that brand new pimple on your face. Then there's the whole stress angle. With crazy deadlines to meet, and a constant need to appear your very best, you're always on the run. The gym is located at one place; the beauty parlour somewhere else. Looking good literally involves running a race.

Wouldn't it be great to have all your options available under one roof? With their newest venture, Herbal Solutions aims to do just that. The Spa and Beauty Salon opened its Gulshan branch earlier this year, offering massages, facials, and spa treatments that relied solely on herbal products, ensuring rejuvenation of hair and skin without side effects. Since then, they have also added yoga classes to their menu, so that you have the option of getting that healthy glow from within as well as without.

The latest feather in their cap, however, happens to be the garden café named Café H, which offers a fresh fruit juice bar, as well as a comprehensive menu of salads, sandwiches, and tasty, healthy tidbits that will refresh without fattening you. Located on the grounds of the Herbal Solutions premises, the little bamboo hut housing the bar, and the al fresco seating arrangements ensures a nice, tranquil time spent over a fresh drink. Being healthy in and out was never this convenient.

Café H is located on Road 113, Gulshan

By Sabrina F Ahmad

Budget smart
Instant power supply

Shougata Ghosh is 28, married and a father of a six-month-old girl. Only recently, he moved to Dhaka from Chittagong and rented a three-bed room, 1280 square feet apartment at Shantinagar. As expected, load shedding is a huge problem, which makes life miserable for the couple, not to mention Autoshi, the toddler. Ghosh is looking for an IPS to beat the summer heat during the odd hours of load shedding within a budget of 40,000 takas.

These are the options we found for him...
Actually, there are lots of options in the local markets when it comes to buying an Instant Power System (IPS). Both branded and generic products are available with a varied capacity and price tag. Non-brands, although sell cheap, don't comply with a high standard of components and also provide no after sales service. That's why it's wiser to go for branded IPS like Rahimafrooz, Navana or Rangs.

But before you decide on the brand, assess your need and budget. Strategically figure out which electronic equipments you want to use and how much electricity they would consume. Generally each tube light and bulb consumes around 60 Watt, each fan consumes 80 W and a 21”color TV 100 W. Since IPS is sold on Watt basis, their price obviously depends on their load. The higher the Watt, the more you pay.

If Shougata wants to run three fans, three tubes and a TV for his three-bedroom apartment, he would need an IPS with a capacity of 500 Watts. A Rahimafrooz IPS, with this capacity would cost around Tk 28,500. Since Ghosh has a relaxed budget, he can also opt for 640 Watts, which would run four fans, four tubes and a TV. And it'd cost him around Tk 39,000. It should be mentioned here that for these models there is an added advantage of selecting the preferred alternative combination of equipments.

Other than these, there are two low-cost options from Rahimafrooz. The most common and popular for household use is the Radiant 350, which provides 280 Watts for two tubes and two fans. And it costs around Tk 16,000. The Radiant 550 having 400 Watts can run three tubes and three fans costing around Tk 23, 243.

Rahimafrooz products come with a one-year battery warranty and two years of after sales service around the country. And the prices are inclusive of VAT, installation and accessories.

Nevertheless, there's one fact that should be kept in mind - Instant Power Systems may be not available instantly. Since they are on high demand during summer, you are required to pay full in advance and wait for a few days or weeks before you can have one. So plan ahead, plan smart and keep load shedding at bay with an IPS in your home.

By Shakhawat Imam Rajeeb

Random Thoughts

The dating dilemma

For couples in Dhaka, finding a non-eating dating spot is like finding a needle in a haystack. The comparison may sound very clichéd but the truth cannot be denied. Restaurants and cafés have, over the past ten years, become the most popular dating places for couples in this metropolis.

Today, the city food outlets target the younger generation- the décor and the menus of these restaurants clearly reflect the choice of young people. Soft music, exclusive interiors, modern furnishings and good food have converted countless restaurants into great meeting places. The restaurants now regularly refurbish their exteriors as well as interiors to attract more crowds. They now experiment with their menu and come up with new meal deals. The reason? To attract younger crowds.

The idea of buffet lunch and dinner wasn't there even five years ago. People would go to a restaurant and order from the à la carte. Today, a couple would rather go for a set or buffet meal than order from the bill of fare. It not only lessens the chance of a bicker between the couple (as most couples can't decide on the right dish to order), but also gives them an opportunity to enjoy a wide assortment of food. Nevertheless, it's difficult to chitchat when such a wide array of food awaits you. However, with no one to bug and beg you to buy a packet of peanuts, your time in a restaurant is indeed more pleasurable than in a public park. Students prefer fast food outlets to public parks for reasons such as, security and unwanted trouble. Yes, sauntering in a park doesn't cost money but one has to be watchful, for goons and drug abusers now frequent public parks more than anyone else. The time when a couple would sit together on a park bench and plan their future is long gone. Young people coming from well-bred families do not dare hang around Botanical Garden, Ramna Park or Suhrawardy Udyan for the fear of being mugged and teased by hoodlums.

The trend of dating in a restaurant has made couples more materialistic than they're past generation. Fast food is unhealthy. Deep-fried chicken, pizza and burgers have little food value. Trans-fats, which are commonly found in fast foods, have been shown in many tests to have a negative health effect on the body.

A junior friend of mine was complaining the other day that she gained almost 8 kilos since she started dating a year ago. Why? They go to fast food restaurants to meet each other. She was lamenting over the fact that Dhaka doesn't have a safe and clean public park. Many like Sayma are worried about the extra weight that they are gaining from eating outside. But they do not have a better option.

We not only have good non-eating places to go on dates, but also to spend time with our friends and family. Try remembering the last time you met your best friend alone outside your home. Where did you meet him/her? We assume, in a restaurant. Eating-out has become almost a ritual among young people. Consumption of food with little nutrition value is having a detrimental effect on our young people. Farah, who works for a private organisation, became over-dependent on fast food after she started a full-time career more than a year ago. She had neither the drive nor the time to prepare her lunch before rushing to office. As a result, she used to go to one of the numerous restaurants adjacent to her office for a quick lunch. After a year of regular intake of fast food, she not only became an overweight young woman, but also a victim of malnutrition and low appetite. A thorough check-up revealed that Farah had an alarmingly low level of haemoglobin in her blood.

Although the fast food outlets, cafés and restaurants selling oriental food are mushrooming in the capital, there is nobody to ratify the standard of the food served. The drive of the Mobile Court against restaurants using harmful ingredients in food was effective to a great extent. However, news on this drive is no more seen in newspapers and on TV. Has this noteworthy campaign come to a standstill? When it comes to non-eating dating spots, Dhaka is a barren place to live. Although many young people want to be free from the grip of burgeoning city fast food outlets, they cannot see the alternative. Fairs, such as the DITF and Ekushey Boi Mela give some respite to the young couples. But then too many visitors sometimes ruin the appeal of these fairs. Another flaw of these mega fairs is that they are normally held only in winter.

The absence of a safe public park or a recreation centre is not only drawing the young people to restaurants and cafés often selling unhealthy food, but is also at the same time making them more materialistic than before. The rise of retail food business is certainly creating new employment opportunities, but this increase in the number of food outlets is also having a damaging effect on the health, lifestyle and eating habit of young people. It's time we checked the scale and see which one is more beneficial for the society at large. Safe and healthy public recreation spots or fast food outlets?

By Wara Karim

On The Cover

With the exams over, and the days still lengthening out, this is the best time to grab that perfect vacation. Cruise on to the centerfold, and we'll show you how.

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

Switching roles?

Transitions of our life cycle sometimes place us in circumstances beyond comprehension. As we step into adulthood, certain responsibilities fall upon us, whether we are ready for it or not.

Our mothers are always considered to be the “Supermom”. She does all the household chores, manages and takes care of the entire family with high energy levels; does this, does that- does everything! It's a mother who takes care of everyone in the family but when she herself falls sick and is hospitalised it is your turn to switch roles.

The first thing that you need to do when your mom is sick is to give her a moral boost! Make her feel special, make her feel she is indispensable. A few warm words can give her all the mental strength to recover.

A mother often feels guilty when she falls ill. The mere thought of disrupting the family routine often leads to the 'supermom' hiding her health problems. She might completely refuse to give in to her needs. Make sure you ask her what would make her feel better or what she wants to do. Make her feel comfortable, make her understand that she is very important to the family and you would do anything to get her back to her usual bustling self.

Illness often makes a patient short tempered and cranky. But this is something everyone deals with when they are ill. So bear with her, if she throws the tantrums at you. God knows, she's definitely earned it, especially with her unending patience with whatever we, as children put her through! Stay calm even if she shouts at you. Try to make small talk with her at the bedside, give her family updates and don't miss the gossips! A good conversation can totally make her feel light and comfortable.

You don't need to be a “MOM” to take care of your mother. A little bit of warmth coupled with compassion, is all she needs!

By Zannatul Lamea



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