Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   | Volume 6, Issue 46, Tuesday, November 29, 2011


And happily ever after

Marriage today is an altered institution. Although the basics of companionship, support and love are still the cornerstones of marriage, its rituals have altered drastically. Today, marriage is no longer a transfer of a girl from under her father's control to a husband's control but rather a mature woman setting out to be a part of and build a relationship of equality. Today's husbands no longer see themselves as the dominant decision maker but rather as one of the two voices which make up that bond for life. The journey this far has not been easy and may not yet be prevalent in our society, but the steps towards such utopian equality in marriage have been taken and as the interviews below show, we have come far.

A wedding and a marriage are as different as chalk and cheese. While one deals with the glamour and celebration of the basic concept, filled with laughter and joy, the other is scary and overwhelming, requiring immense maturity to ensure that 'happily ever after'.

Mehnaz Chowdhury, a banker, has been married for just a few months and Eeman Ahmed, who runs her own business from home, has been on the marriage wagon for a little less than a year. These ladies describe marriage as 'learning a different way of living' with changes that translate one into a completely different individual. Living with a different person, under a different roof with a different family seemed overwhelming to both of them and both have taken the best of the two worlds at their disposal.

For Mehnaz the biggest change was waking up under a new roof and not having her father around to share her morning cup of coffee and discuss politics and the economy with. Eeman, the more experienced of the two says the pain of leaving your parents never disappears and she too sees this as the biggest change marriage has cast upon her. “Now that I no longer have them around, I realise the love and patience my parents have shown me and appreciate them everyday for it,” says Mehnaz. Eeman adds, “Before I used to fight with Maa all the time but now every minute I get with her is far too precious to waste by fighting.”

Eeman remembers her experience from the first few days of her marriage. “When I woke up in the morning I had no idea what I was required to do,” she explains, “Was I meant to have breakfast with my in-laws or was I expected to make it for them? If it was the latter, I dreaded to think of the impending debacle I would create in the kitchen. I did not know the first thing about cooking!”

But Eeman soon learned the ropes. A supportive husband and understanding in-laws soon assuaged her apprehensions and helped Eeman adjust. “I definitely have changed, but the change has been so gradual that I do not know how and in what sense I have changed, all I know is that it is for the better and that I am happier.”

There have been changes in food habits and clothing as well. Mehnaz says she likes having more options and can choose what to eat from each of her two houses. Eeman on the other hand finds herself eating out more than before in order to enjoy more time with her husband. “My mother-in-law has been extra cautious in ensuring I do not suffer due to the change in food and still prepares food I like.” When it comes to clothing, Mehnaz has experienced no changes whatsoever but Eeman says she is more 'properly' dressed now, “I do not always wear jewellery and I am still mostly in jeans and t-shirts, but I do try to look older and more mature.”

Personal time has disappeared for both ladies. “Any free time I get I now spend with my husband or with one of my two families and my friends are suffering because of it,” says Eeman. Mehnaz on the other hand likes not having to spend time alone and says that is perhaps the best thing about being married. “Whenever I feel like having ice cream, I have someone to go with but I do realise that just because I do not need 'my-time' does not mean he doesn't so I ensure he has time to himself.”

Mehnaz says marriage has provided her with more freedom since her spouse shares the same expectations as her. “I am now more able to live life, do what I couldn't do before and I am enjoying this to the fullest before life takes yet another turn and becomes suddenly serious,” she says.

Eeman says patience and flexibility are necessary for both parties to a marriage in order to come to terms with the inevitable changes, sacrifices and compromises that need to be made. “I left my job because I did not like being apart from my husband. Yes people thought I was making a stupid decision, giving away my independence; but I would choose happiness over independence any day.”

But how about living with a male? “I refuse to share a bathroom!” Mehnaz declares, “I can adjust to his talking in his sleep and getting the room messy given the opportunity, but a wet, cloth strewn bathroom is where I draw the line.”

“Before I was waited on hand and foot, bordering on being spoilt,” says Eeman with an adequate giggle, “But now it's me keeping the room clean and often cleaning up after him. Boys are just so messy!”

But in living together the men have it harder as both the ladies project the situation. “He has to live by new standards because I do not pamper him and pick up after him,” says Mehnaz, “So even when he is dead tired after getting back from the office he takes that compulsory shower before crashing into bed.”

Adjusting to another person's habits, making room for another person in one's life all seem extremely difficult at first glance. But the very fact that many of us are doing it and most are doing it right is the ray of hope that reinforces this age-old institution. Perhaps what Eeman says is the mantra of marital bliss for both its participants, “Sacrifice and compromise; because you want to, not because you have to.”

By Raisaa Tashnova
Disclaimer: this article portrays the views of the interviewees without any inferences or judgments. Lifestyle does not endorse any of the interviewees' ideas but only conveys their views.


Lucid dreaming

Dr. Nighat Ara, Psychiatrist,
Counsellor and Therapist

Dear Doctor,
I'm a 22 year old boy and I have recently become very interested in lucid dreaming. To my understanding, a lucid dreamer knows that he/she is dreaming, and can take control of his/her dreams. I dug into the subject on the Internet, and numerous articles told me that there are various techniques such as Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreaming (MILD), Wake-Back-To-Bed (WBTB), Wake Initiated Lucid Dream(WILD), etc by which one can become a lucid dreamer. No matter what method is followed, someone who aspires to be a lucid dreamer must keep a dream journal.

I also learned that more or less everyone, at one point or another, experiences a lucid dream. But, like these web sources suggested, can one actually become a frequent lucid dreamer by choice? I want to be a lucid dreamer! What are the best methods? Any food or drink you can suggest that will help?
- Monk Junior

First, I apologise for my delayed response to your question. This is a very good question but I'm afraid that my answer may not be satisfactory to you.

It is true that Internet searching can give us a lot of information on any possible topic but unfortunately it is not always easy to know which information is authentic or accurate. So, this dilemma about what to believe is quite natural.

Your interest in lucid dreaming surely stands out but frankly speaking I haven't been exposed enough to this field to completely gratify your curiosity. However, I understand that in a lucid dream someone knows that he is dreaming while dreaming.

REM sleep is mostly associated with dreams which are abstract and surreal. People however tend to remember the dreams that occur during REM sleep. Dreaming also happens in NREM sleep which is primarily lucid and purposeful in nature.

I suspect, having a lucid dream and remembering it clearly in a wakeful state would probably involve a complicated and swift transition from NREM to REM sleep and then to a wakeful state.

Artificially induced lucid dreams do sound impossible to me. The trick is bringing in the delicate chemical balance that facilitates lucid dreaming in the brain. I believe this is practiced in sleep laboratories for research purposes.

I'm not aware of any practical use of this method in a clinical set up. Some psychoactive medications are reported to produce lucid dream-like experiences by their chronic users. However, becoming a frequent lucid dreamer by choice would also mean using these medications quite frequently and running the risk of getting hooked to these drugs.

Psychiatric medications like antidepressants and sedatives can alter the natural proportion of REM/NREM sleep and thereby change the quality of sleep and dreams. Their indications for use however don't include deliberate lucid dreams.

The brain chemistry of sleep and dreaming includes many neurochemicals like serotonin, acetylcholine etc. There are certain foods that are good sources of the precursor amino acids of these chemicals. I don't think it would be so easy to induce lucid dreams with food/drink alone as the steps included in converting these precursors into actual neurochemicals are pretty complicated and are controlled by many other biological factors.

I believe those biological factors would have to be taken in to consideration to measure their influence in this whole process which would make it quite unpredictable or even hazardous without a controlled laboratory environment.

So, sorry that I can't help you to become a frequent lucid dreamer by any healthy choice but what is wrong being in real life? Living in a dream-like state is nothing even close to living an exciting good life! Of course you may disagree!


Hair care

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

In this week's segment, we shall discuss problems related to hair. I think it is a vital part of our persona, especially for young people. The number of patients I get with problems related to hair fall is really a matter of concern. Basically, when I see these patients, I find that most of them don't take proper care of their hair and also their diet. And then there are some who suffer from chronic diseases; for some it may be genetic, especially in young adult males and also pre-menopausal women. We will discuss all the problems and solutions to these conditions.

Now that winter is almost here, the weather is getting dry and dusty. People like us, who go out everyday, need to shampoo regularly to keep the hair clean. Keeping the roots clean is very important to avoid hair fall. If the roots are not clean, the follicles get blocked and the blood supply reduces, so the hair falls off. This dry weather also causes dandruff, which is a problem. If we notice even a slight amount of white flakes, it's very important to get rid of it. We don't necessarily need to use an anti-dandruff shampoo. A mild shampoo used every alternate day should help in getting rid of this but if that doesn't help then a good anti-dandruff shampoo should be used.

Also, we can use fresh lime juice mixed with coconut oil, massage it into roots, keep it on for half an hour, and then shampoo off. This also helps a lot. If the dandruff still persists, you need to consult a doctor. The main thing is that the scalp needs to be clean and well moisturised. Some people think that using lots of oil will help hair care but that is not true.

We should not keep any kind of oil for more than an hour or two on the scalp; shampooing properly afterwards is very important. Using a good conditioner after shampooing twice a week will keep hair healthy and moisturised. Conditioner should never be applied to the scalp. It should be applied to the hair only, kept for three/four minutes then rinsed thoroughly. Try to use separate shampoo and conditioner.

These basic rules for clean hair will help a lot.

Diet also plays a big role in hair care. Eating green vegetables, some amount of dairy products, almonds or mixed nuts everyday helps with hair nutrition. We should avoid foods with too much fat, food additives like artificial colouring, and artificial flavours. Also reduce the intake of deep-fried foods. All of these cause reduction in blood flow, which affects hair growth. The biggest offender however, is smoking. If you have hair fall, it should be totally avoided.

Then we get those people who use a lot of chemical hair styling products. These should not be used everyday. If you are involved in the media and need to style your hair regularly, try using mild products if possible and make sure you wash the hair and detangle it properly.

Brushing or combing hair few times everyday is very good for the scalp as it improves the blood supply. Those suffering from hair fall following a disease like viral fever, malaria, typhoid or dengue should take adequate nourishment to boost immunity and that will stop hair fall.

(To be continued)


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