Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5 Issue 76, Tuesday, July 14, 2009



Dearest diary,
Last week as I went to pay my half-hearted respect to a local hospital for my quarterly blood test, I yet again faced another unique situation. As I was waiting for my report, the person delivering it took it upon himself, reasons best known to him, to go through it before handing it to me.

In this part of the world, I have seen, everyone goes through the 'bhai bhai' syndrome. Your secret is my secret, your problem is my problem. Nothing is sacred. The term 'confidential' surely must be the most alien concept to them. I cannot tell you diary how many a times I have cringed when my weight was always announced for all and sundry to know.

Anyway my scowl or my look of displeasure did not deter him from asking, why I did not have 'high pressure' or 'diabetics'. Yes, diary, that is not wrong spelling. He said...diabetics. I was so pissed, that words failed me. I simply glared at him, snatched my report from his oily grubby fingers and stomped away.

I know he must have been thinking, "there goes another well-fed, garment manufacturer's wife"...but I just couldn't be bothered. He didn't know how close he had in having his ba...head bitten off.

Anyway, after a satisfactory report reading, I got to thinking. Yeah! How come I do not have any obesity related diseases? And the answer to that is diary...I do not do stress. Stress and I, aren't friends. I tried, hoping it might diminish hunger pangs, as it apparently does to some people. But no. Stressing is an alien concept to me. I guess it is something you are born with. You cannot switch it on or off at will.

Maybe to some extent one might learn to manage or control it, but it does have a mind of its own. I know of certain people who thrive on stress. They are the type who think if they do not have 'tension' in their lives, they are not living it. Control freaks, I call them.

And there is a breed, whose attitude is 'whatever'. Nothing is an issue if it doesn't involve them personally. I see it this way...if there is a situation, which is happening to me, but it is beyond my mental and physical capability to control it...I do not stress over it. But on the other hand, if it is a situation where I could have done something and didn't...it majorly freaks me out.

Listen; let me relate you to an incident, maybe then you might understand me a bit better.

The year was 2002. Place...Saudi Arabia. We had just completed Hajj and we were going towards Madina to pay our respects to Prophet Mohammed (pbuh). We left right after sunset from Makkah. As darkness descended all I could see was big, black mountains and coal-like sand as scenery.

So as there was not much to see, I pulled my well used haversack somewhere from down under, tucked it under my neck to get some shut-eye. My friends who were with me seemed tired to chat, so sleeping seemed like the best option. And, just as I was drifting off to a mindless slumber...I was jolted back to reality to the frightening sound of two metals clashing. Our bus apparently hit a car.

With the collective sound of scared babble around me, I sat up straight to understand the situation. By then I gathered that while I was in my semi sleep state, the drama had already started with my husband and his cousin in the lead role. Apparently the driver was falling asleep and to keep him awake they were talking to him, clapping their hands and doing all sorts of hand gestures just for him to drive safely. In spite of their efforts, he still hit a car. Might have been worse...who knows?

As I then looked around the bus I saw a sea of helpless, apprehensive faces, with slightly glazed eyes, praying fervently with dry, silent lips. So to cut a long story short diary, I did exactly what my mind asked me to do. I went back to sleep.

Diary, please try to understand. I saw all these people praying so hard for a safe journey, do you think God would have grudged if one person went to sleep? And I did tell you before that, I am not good dealing with such high octane stress. And, God did look after us that day. We reached Madina safely and I woke up....refreshed.

Life is too short people. Play your cards well, so you don't have things to stress about. Do good. Have no expectations. Avoid issues. Enjoy life with a capital 'L'. Live every day like it is your last day on earth. I know I am sounding very, 'Cosmopolitan' and 'Good House Keeping', but believe me...that is the way to live.

So, diary, have a good day, the Sam Q. way.

Serves 6
1 pack ready-to-cook lasagne sheets
For the meat sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
800g minced beef
150g minced chicken
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
200ml vinegar
200ml whole milk
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
400g tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
Pinch of sugar
For the white sauce:
75g plain flour
900ml warm milk
125g strong white Cheddar cheese, grated

For the meat sauce, heat the oil in a heavy, cast-iron casserole. Add the onion, carrot and garlic then cook gently for 5 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add the beef, chicken and a good pinch of salt, then increase the heat a little and brown the meat for a few minutes.

Pour in the vinegar and let it bubble until it has reduced down. Add the milk, bay leaves, oregano and a good grinding of black pepper, then simmer for about 5 minutes, until the milk is fully incorporated.

Chop the tomatoes roughly in the can using a sharp knife. Tip the tomatoes into the casserole and add ½ can of water, the tomato puree and sugar. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200ºC
For the white sauce, melt the butter in a pan, stir in the flour and cook, stirring, to form a smooth paste. Pour in the milk, whisking all the time. Bring to a simmer and simmer gently until you have a glossy smooth sauce. Remove from the heat and beat in the grated Cheddar cheese.

Spread about a quarter of the meat sauce over the base of an ovenproof baking dish. Cover with a layer of the white sauce then arrange a single layer of lasagne sheets over the top. Repeat this process, finishing with a final layer of white sauce, until all the ingredients are used.

Place the dish on a baking tray in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until the lasagne is golden and bubbling all over. Allow to settle for 5 minutes before serving with a crisp well-dressed salad.

Ckeck it out

Speak your mind

A name derived from pseudo-mathematics, Crank is the expression of urban youth. Brainchild of Samira Hamid and Taskin Rahman, crank creates extraordinary tee shirts. Initially targeting the teens and the twenties, the designers now cater to the needs of everyone looking for a statement in fashion. Most of the designs are uploaded before production and once order is placed, they deliver. The product can be collected from the Crank office or from 'Time Out'.
Contact: Road #63, House #30, Gulshan 2. # 01678222202, 01611837744

Once more, with feeling

Last year, Chef Ray Liew gave his diners a little taste of what he could do with Italian seafood, when BETSS organised their first Aficionado event at Prego at the Westin Hotel.
This year, the quest for fine dining takes place at Sublime at the Radisson Water Garden Hotel. Wielding the wok this time is Chef Kai Uwe Kle who will be preparing a ten course tasting dinner, showcasing some exotic recipes from Down Under. At Tk 10,000 you can be part of this flavourful experience. Contact BETSS events at betssevents@gmail.com to book your place at this invite-only event.

check it out

Splash in the pool

As the heat of the summer sinks in, the very thought of leaping into a pool drenches our hearts with sheer tranquility. Before you proceed, however, the basics are a must know.

Swimming is a good exercise to add to your schedule as it leaves you feeling soothed. It relaxes the mind, the body and the soul. Thus, with the arrival of the summer, Dhaikaites eagerly seek pool facilities for themselves.

Uttara Club Ltd. is one of the many places where you can learn the basics.The charge pertains to members and non-members as follows: Tk 1,000 and Tk 2,500 respectively. The pool hours are divided into one-hour slots with the allotted timings lying between 2:00 pm-5:00 pm for men and 11:00 am-2:00 pm for women. The learners' program is flexible to an extent that it allows you to take your time as you learn your lessons and pick up your swimming skills.

Similar facilities are available at Gulshan Club. However, in this case, the doors of the pool can only be accessed by or accessed for you by a member. The charge is Tk 700 per month, along with a daily varying pay of Tk 25-50, depending on your age and on your usage of the pool facilities. Mixed hours commence from 7:00am and continue till 12:00 pm; and from 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm. The designated hours are 12:00 pm-3:00 pm for women and 5:30 pm-6: 30 pm for men.

Dhaka Club is well known for the quality of its pool facilities and flexible hours. The same entrance rules apply to the premises of the Dhaka Club pool as to that of Gulshan Club. The mornings are open for all from 7:00 am to 9:00 am. The ladies' hours start at 9:00 am and goes on till the clock strikes 11 and then again from 3:00 pm-5:00 pm. The hours from 11:00 am up until 3:00 pm carry no gender distinction. Children's time starts at 5:00 pm and extends well into 6 pm.

Fridays to Mondays, the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel offers swimming lessons from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm. The learners' program here consists of 16 lessons with the charges of Tk 12,000 applying to children and Tk 15,000 to adults. If more than one member of the family wishes to avail this service, the discounted rate is Tk 10,000 for each child and Tk 13,000 for each adult.

The health club membership at Regency costs Tk 100,000 but with this price tag comes an access to facilities such as the sauna, gym along with the swimming pool. For a month, the cost for each individual is Tk 15000; for couples it is Tk 25,000. The half yearly charges range from Tk 65,000-95,000.

The Westin has a different tariff schedule for the pool: Tk 75,000 for a year, Tk 50,000 for 6 months, Tk 40,000 for 3 months and Tk 18,000 for a month. Tk 1,600 is the daily charge for pool access. Hour-long children's lessons are offered on Fridays and Saturdays at Tk.12,000.

Having said it all, it is up to you to choose from the facilities mentioned. Swimming is fun, thrilling and most importantly a complete body exercise. So this summer, prepare yourself for a cold splash!

Special thanks to Fahteen Khan

By Yamin Tauseef Jahangir




home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2009 The Daily Star