Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   | Volume 6, Issue 24, Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Breathing enough?

An average person breathes only about thirty percent of what he's supposed to!

Not just that; our eating habits, and our entire lifestyles, have become such that they affect our minds, bodies and souls negatively.

The age-old saying “you are what you eat” is one of the vital keys to your mental and physical soundness. It's not just what you eat, though.

“Your eating habits determine your well-being to a large extent. What, how and when you eat are vital. Most people don't eat right. For example, they eat heavily those very foods that are not suitable in this hot weather Bangladesh has,” opines Rafi Hossain, a teacher at the Art of Living Foundation.

Our ancestors knew about eating right, maintaining a perfect lifestyle and the natural and effective healing processes such as herbal treatments, etc. The Indian subcontinent used to be the ultimate place where such notions thrived. “But throughout the years, these beliefs and practices have been washed away to a great extent; sadly, we didn't embrace them,” he said.

But now, in the twenty-first century, when our lives can't possibly be more stressful and mechanised, alternative living -- a throwback to the ancient peaceful way of life -- has squeezed in.

“In order to stay positive and healthy, both mentally and physically, you need to eat the right kind of food, maintain a proper lifestyle; and combine them with meditation and yoga to realise the full potential. Each of them is complementary and dependent on one another. You can't eat the wrong foods and have the ability to meditate well, for example. Thus, it's the combination that's important,” Hossain said.

Maintaining this balance is not as difficult as it sounds. “To start with, we should have a time alone for ourselves everyday. Although we say that we love ourselves, we refuse to keep some alone time for ourselves in our jam-packed schedules. Thirty to forty minutes is not only adequate but perfect.”

If you do love yourself and want to keep your mind and body at its best, incorporate yoga, meditation and some breathing exercises in your everyday life. “I can talk about the benefits of these things for hours, but it won't help if you don't do it yourself. They work like magic!” he assured.

So go ahead and enrol in a course to do it right. Art of Living Foundation operates in more than one hundred and fifty countries worldwide. The organisation, along with many other activities, also provides a six day breathing course followed by yoga, meditation, pranaium and asanas for Tk 3,500, and free follow-up meetings afterwards.

The foundation has an office in Dhanmondi, House # 35, Road # 28 (old), where the training is held. However, if you have a group of at least twenty people and a venue, the training can be arranged elsewhere, even if it's outside Dhaka.

By M H Haider
For more information contact Rafi Hossain, The Art of Living Foundation, Bangladesh at rafi.hossain@gmail.com or call 01917707070, 01841070707.


Are you really listening?


The ability to do a job or an activity well is skill. This is the definition of the word in a Children's Dictionary. Merriam Webster's Deluxe Dictionary offers the following meanings: a) the ability to use one's knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance; b) dexterity or coordination especially in the execution of learned physical tasks; c) a learned power of doing something competently.

You definitely need good communication skills, but the listening skill plays a major role behind everyone's success in life. Learn to listen. Most people need strict training in this critical skill because poor listening habits can make them miss many important steps in their career path or blissful living at home.

Employing the aptitude to listen in your daily life is beneficial in every arena. Whether it's having a conversation at work or casual discussions with your family members, knowing how to comprehend what others are telling you by listening without interrupting is always valuable.

As a good listener, please use your sense of perception to perceive what another person may not be saying aloud. Listening carefully can help you understand correctly how effective you are in life or the subtle message signalling for improvement that needs realisation.

People who give quick, snappy responses that don't necessarily address the point are the ones who have conveniently avoided developing the listening skill or have failed to believe in its significance. You can only craft a more intelligent answer to a tough question or put together a thoughtful plan for tackling a general problem if you listen calmly. Never believe that you will be given the due credits if you answer first. In your haste you will forget that well thought out responses are more impressive than careless ones.

We all aspire to build a healthy and constructive working relationship wherever we are placed in this highly demanding world. Give due importance to the elders or the boss or even the children. Be focused as they speak. Squeeze your toes a couple of times in your shoes to take some extra time to figure out the most appropriate feedback. Enjoy the satisfaction in your answer as it is well taken.

Dear Readers, it can be easy to forget to listen to others when trying to get your point across. However hard it may be to remember, you definitely need to be an excellent listener. Cherish the skill of listening.


Body reconturing surgery II

M.B.B.S, D.L.O ENT, Head-Neck
& Cosmetic Surgeon,
Phone: 01199845531

Liposuction can be done in many places of the body and if the patient leads a healthy lifestyle, the weight lost is not regained. In some patients liposuction does not produce desired results as they may have a sagging abdomen that will not reshape, even after liposuction.

Abdominoplasty or tummy-tuck surgery can come to their aid in these situations. Here, the excess fat and sagging skin are marked and then excised. The loose abdominal muscles are also tightened. This gives the abdomen a flatter appearance after the surgery.

Sometimes mothers who have had three or more children develop a lax abdomen. These patients are not severely overweight, but do not possess a nice contour. Women who have had caesarian sections or any other surgery may develop hernias and often require surgical intervention. In these cases, after repair of the hernia, tummy-tuck surgery can be done to improve the shape.

Tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is not only for females; males with saggy abdomens or abdominal hernias can also opt for this form of surgery. Done under spinal anesthesia, it takes about two hours. The patient needs to stay overnight and can go home the next day.

As the extra bulk of the abdomen is gone the patient starts to feel lighter from the second dressing. Recovery time is about 5 to 7 days depending on the patient, but usually they can go to work from the seventh day. A belt has to be worn for about a month and the patient can start exercising after 20 days.

Patients who are excessively overweight or who suffer from obesity are prime candidates for bariatric surgery either in the form of gastric banding or gastric resection. This surgery is not very well known but is now being performed in the country. It's almost a life saving surgery for obese patients.

The main problem with these people is that they cannot control their eating habits, so the stomach is made smaller by resecting it. The patient will not be able to have large meals and as a consequence, lose weight. It is seen that after surgery the patient loses up to 20 kg in the first six months.

Also, the incidence of diabetes and hypertension, along with associated complications decreases in these patients. After about 18 months the patient is assessed and the excess skin is excised for reshaping of the body. This surgery is done under general anesthesia and endoscopically. It is expensive as lots of disposable devices are used.

All of the surgeries mentioned are very safe and can be done even if the patient is suffering from hypertension or diabetes, as long as they are within the normal limits.


Capturing moments in time

In some of the photographs of Tawheed Reza Noor, seen at Alliance Francaise recently, the colours were mostly monochromatic -- sepia or black and white -- that caught the eye with their drama. In one of the coloured photographs, one saw the movement of humans in the form of impressionistic images in an abstract form.

The soft, pastel images, which were actually moving human beings, merged into one another creating a moving path of pale red, yellow, white and black. This appeared like some wings of a butterfly or a bird and was titled “Abstract Life.” “Whatever interesting or unusual sight I see on the way, motivates me to click, especially unique images dealing with street children. When I have nothing planned, I wait for Nature to prompt me and goad me on,” said Noor.

In one of the frames, one saw a shaven-headed child, next to one with hair askew and uncombed, bare-topped and with only panties on. In “Madonna” one saw the little daughter of a construction worker, who lived in the slum, with eyes so damaged that her numbed sight did not feel the flies hovering over her face. In the simple face, Noor discovered the goddesslike vision which inspired him.

In “Goti”, a personification of strength was evident, which Noor believes is there in every man. There is something dynamic in every human being -- he felt. In “Mahabharata” the past, present and future, were symbolised by the image of a flower in the centre of a piece of wood, combined with wood, which was actually a door.

The ailing motherland is what the photo enthusiast had in view, which he brought in the “Sriti Shoudho,” the national monument in Savar. This showed the image of an ailing, aging mother, in the lap of her son. The inclusion of the colourful balloons was to bring in the element of hope. There is light at the end of the tunnel, as they say. The backdrops included street children, who begged for a living, and yet carried a smile on their faces.

“Waiting for Godot” had the seated woman in a sari, waiting for a passenger. The mother with her child was dressed in red, sitting at the railway station in Kamalapur, full of expectation. The man, who is focused at an angle below the stomach, is walking in the opposite direction. The play “Waiting for Godot” has a character that waits in vain for God.

“Ultimate destination” has a blue grave in the Christian graveyard around Narinda and Wari, in Old Dhaka. The blue grave, the aerial roots of a banyan tree were seen along with windows in blue and black shade. The atmosphere in the picture was mysterious and bone-chilling. The picture was supposed to stand for the unknown life after death.

Abu Saleh Titu, the self-taught artist, who had exhibited his pictures with Tawheed Reza Noor, depicted women in nature. The paintings contained statuesque women with fleshy leaves or burnt ones, depending on the mood of the artist. He stressed on the beauty of nature and mankind and the destructive ugliness of so-called civilisation. The only hope is by going back to untainted nature, where there was no pollution of the surrounding sounds, the air and the rivers. Romantic in vision, the idyllic past was what the painter rested on.

By Fayza Haq

Shopaholics Anonymous

Benarasi bounty

There appears to be a staunch, correlative relationship between a love for fashion and a lack of intellect; only I don't see it. Almost as if to say, so in-spacious are our minds that we must be incapable of having an interest in clothes alongside, well, having an opinion on politics or practicing medicine.

When it comes to fashion, feigned indifference allegedly implies that one has better things to think about. Because deep-thinking minds reduce clothes to their very basic function and are happy to wear something, anything, so long as their bodies are covered. Yet how often does one get the short end of the stick for being a food enthusiast? Or waive an interest in food because they have more intelligent things to fret upon and eat only 'to live'. That's right, next to never.

An acute sense of fashion, readers, is not quite different from an interest in beautiful architecture, the ability to appreciate a good painting or the love for photography. It is an appreciation of aesthetics.

In this our new column, we will chronicle the (guilt-free) shopping charts of several clever individuals who can earn degrees, balance careers, run families and have enough intellectual ability left to take an interest in shopping (surprise!). Keep an eye out for this exciting (yes it is) new addition to our magazine that will give you a peephole into our closets and our dressers, our homes and our hearts (whoever said shopping was not an emotional affair, lied) and of course, the dents in our wallets.

We jumpstart the pilot edition of this column with a bit of an unfair advantage. One called India. Although most of our escapades will see us impaling the Bangladeshi shopping experience to extract its very best, we will also be adding to it the occasional international twist.

As anyone who has shopped in India recently will tell you, and a very many have, four days is not quite enough to sample all that a city such as Delhi has to offer. I came back to Dhaka feeling like I hadn't bought enough, or more truthfully, like I hadn't bought anything at all; but to be fair that is true of every personal shopping experience I can recall.

Amidst the sea of options that lay sprawled before me, purchased or otherwise, the jewels of my bounty were in fact, two saris not even my generation's own. Authentic, intricate, hand-woven, Benarasi silks. I discovered these heritage pieces of timeless sophistication in a state-run cottage industries' emporium that showcases the best from regions all across India -- Kolkata kaantha stitches and taants, Madhya Pradesh chanderi silks and cottons, South Indian kanchipurams, Lucknow hand stitches, Kashmiri embroideries and the likes.

I gazed and caressed my way through the racks until I reached the shelves of Benarasi silks; not only because they are the pinnacle of traditional elegance, but for the more heart-warming reason that such saris were part of my own mother's wedding trousseau.

I sifted, draped and fanatsised through hues so saturatedly rich they threatened to bleed me red, emerald and turquoise before I settled on a crimson with golden zari work of such finesse as to look almost like detailed and exquisite little pieces of jewellery woven onto the soft, near-liquid silk and a midnight blue with silver, similarly and startlingly intricate work adorning its border and aanchal.

At a USD 100 a piece, they may have cost me an arm and a leg, but I can type with one hand and kick with one leg.

In endnote ladies and gentlemen...no who am I kidding...ladies, shop on! Because by looking presentable you are doing neither yourself nor anyone within your vicinity a disservice.

By Broke


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